Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (PG-13)
This review contains SPOILERS!
I was going to write this review as really vague and not include a SPOILERS warning, but then I decided I couldn't. It's still going to be vague and I really won't try to spoil anything; but you have been warned.
It's been an interesting journey for the "Star Wars" franchise. After it was announced that Lucas was selling the rights to Disney, with the intentions of making more movies, the internet exploded. Skepticism, loyalty, outrage, excitement—you name it, I'm sure we all read blogs about it. Needless to say, people were waiting for this.
George Lucas stepped back (thank the Lord) and "Star Trek" renovator J. J. Abrams (the lens flare is strong with this one) came in to fill the lack for the first of a new trilogy of "Star Wars" flicks. What immediately occurred was the obsessive secrecy around the film. Take a look at Twitter and tumblr and you'll find that no one...no one...wants the new "Star Wars" spoiled for them.
With this consideration for how secretive the filming was and how the film has generated so much attention I find it kind of silly actually because nothing in the movie is remotely shocking.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is an easy success, relying on pleasing fans by making the safest of safe movies and not really doing anything. It could be condensed to a "good guys are fighting bad guys and we want the good guys to win" because it lacks all the innovation of the first movies.
Like him or not, George Lucas created a universe by not having to explain every last detail of the world the audience was introduced to in "A New Hope". In "The Force Awakens", there has been so much discussion on this world, that it feels compressed and small. This, and the fact that every character can magically get where they're going in a matter of seconds, makes the film feel very intimate and much less...cosmic.
"The Force Awakens" introduces us to many new characters, the origins of whom are kept very secretive and will not be named here. There's a girl named Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a man named Finn (John Boyega) and then another Darth Vader like character with an ominous voice and a great deal of power that they call Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Other fun characters who serve no larger narrative purpose pop up and sing songs or dance for the camera, but essentially, nothing is terribly new.
"The Force Awakens" attempts to push all shocks and gasps from the original trilogy into one movie and by doing so, the audience really isn't given that much time to react or even be surprised. This is a movie that reveals many "plot twists" in its first forty minutes that Lucas took two and a half movies to do. Everything that needs explaining becomes quickly explained and I found myself not really shocked or surprised by anything...then again, this is a movie that is just set up for the next two. There is nothing particularly unique about it, nor should there be...it's just the foundation for the next two films.
The acting here is adorable and fun (Ridley and Boyega are exciting new faces), even if the script gives clunky and harsh lines that feel out of place. Abrams is a fan of "Star Wars" and as such, probably makes the best movie anyone could have in his position, I don't envy him that.
"The Force Awakens" is a whole lot of fun. It's entertaining, funny, thrilling, and has just enough action. It's just a perfect blockbuster and its immediate success is proof of this. Unfortunately, I'm very skeptical of how the next two movies are going to pan out, seeing as the franchise is shifting hands with each movie so a different director will make each film.
There's not a whole lot to say about the movie without spoiling it besides: good heroine, okay villain, nice robot, fun flying, cool fighting, and nice ending. It's a very good movie; but considering the scrutiny it is going to go under for being a "Star Wars" movie, I'm disappointed that the movie wasn't more surprising. If you've seen "A New Hope", you won't be surprised. I am faulting the script writers (among whom is Lawrence Kasdan, who is usually brilliant) and the production team for not trying something just a little more original. "The Force Awakens" implies, even in its title, of new life, fresh air, and exciting chances...what we got was a remake. A really, really good remake; but still, it's nothing to lose your mind about.
I think subsequent movies will stray farther because there is enough unique story in the film to make it worth while to stick around. I'm sure you won't be disappointed to see it. My advice: watch "The Force Awakens" in theaters if not for the film itself (which really doesn't disappoint on entertainment value or female leads), but for the experience of including yourself in the newest iteration of what will most certainly be one of the biggest franchises of our lifetimes.
Posted by Micah Jones