Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Review

   As far as films go, you can’t build much more anticipation than Episode VII has. Arguably the most talked about movie of not only 2015 but possibly the last few decades made me wonder if typing a review up was worth it. Those of you who will are going to see it will see it no matter what and those who have never enjoyed Star Wars (the evil people that you are) will probably not give this a chance. But the reviews here anyway because I can’t not talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
   It’s been thirty years since the rebellion blew up the second Death Star and seemingly won the war against the Empire. That was the case until the First Order picked up the scraps and continued the streak of tyranny throughout the galaxy. Now the Resistance tries everything in their might to force the First Order out of the systems they control.
    And that’s the only story points that I will give away. Anything else you need to experience in your own right or read in the opening crawl of the movie. If ever there was a film to trust not reading any spoilers, it is this one.
   The base for restarting any franchise is good characters, and the new ones for The Force Awakens are certainly character the audience can get behind. There’s Finn (John Boyega), the former Stormtrooper who just wants to get away from the First Order but is being held up by his desire to do the right thing. Boyega creates this sort of fear inside the character at the sheer power of the First Order, but a sense of bravery just waiting to burst out. From there we get Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). A largely underused character, Poe is an ace pilot and the starting point for the entire film. Isaac is a great actor and I’m really hopeful that he’ll have bigger part to play come further installments.  The new villain of it all, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is menacing yet immature at the same time. Driver gives Ren’s own drive for power his weakness and puts off a very emotional performance.
   There are two performances in particular to talk about, one being: Rey (Daisy Ridley). If ever there was a time for someone to nail a character it was this instance. Ridley as Rey is a character the audience can get behind, and this is in large part to the charming performance from Ridley herself.  The second of these has to be Harrison Ford as Han Solo. For someone like Ford, who never seemed to enjoy the big budget blockbuster Star Wars was, he delivers a very familiar role with the ever so subtle twist of wisdom with age.
    The second key to getting Star Wars back to what it was has to be setting it in the right direction. J.J. Abrams does it so well and the film, and franchise, benefits because of it. Abrams knows that the getting a great cast and story are just the pieces to the larger puzzle, but making the movie FEEL like Star Wars is what makes it truly spectacular.

   Overall Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a spectacularly fun film, and the first good Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi in 1983. There is just the right mixture of nostalgia and new factors to begin the new trilogy of films the right way. Some story elements are a little too familiar to the 1977 original, but with this reinvigoration for the franchise I can forgive it for the first time out. That being said, the characters are all interesting, the story does still contain all the magic you’d hope, and the direction and writing pull it all together to make Star Wars truly great again. (9.0/10)

So what did you think of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Have you seen it and where you you rank it among the other six episodes? Share or comment and let me know, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews.