Star Wars The Force Awakens (No Spoilers Review)


In so many ways the Star Wars films have always been relatively review-proof, say what you want about them (especially the original trilogy) but you either enjoy them or you don't. They have never apologized for being what they are, Space Opera in the grand pulp tradition. They borrowed from so many genres that they sort of invented their own genre, neither truly science-fiction nor fantasy - but something that combined elements from across many pieces of art, nostalgia, pulp-science, Samurai films, and more.

That is the strength of Star Wars and why it has resonated across the decades. And why it managed to survive the miss-steps of the prequel trilogy. This is not an easy task, just because we understand the DNA of a thing, doesn't mean we can replicate it. Many have tried and most have failed miserably. So how then does one start another chapter and take that DNA in a new direction, while maintaining a connection to the past? It is, and was, a very tall order.

I freely admit to having my doubts that JJ Abrams was the right choice to make that leap. It helped that Kathleen Kennedy was involved, it helped that Lawrence Kasdan was brought along to help write the script. Practical effects, John Williams, the news about the old cast returning, everything seemed to be pointing in the right direction. The band, such as it could be, was back together again. Would they be able to pull off a nearly impossible task? Could they bring magic back into Star Wars?

I'm here to tell you that they nailed it.

Star Wars The Force Awakens is more than worth the price of the ticket, in whatever format you choose to see it. I saw it in 3D on a huge screen and it was glorious. I promised I wouldn't spoil anything and I won't. In my opinion if you don't enjoy this film you must be dead inside. Granted it isn't perfect, nothing is. Certainly not the original films. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and the pull is strong. It is difficult to measure a contemporary expression against the power of that nostalgia, and few things pose that challenge more than Star Wars does. But if you can let go, sit back and let it flow thru you, you'll have a blast. I promise. I did.

I'm going to see it again over Christmas break and I'll probably write more thoughts about it after a second viewing. I left the theater today with that old Star Wars feeling churning in my guts, and a strong urge to see it again as soon as possible. That doesn't happen much these days. And it should.

I'm very excited about where this new adventure will take us. And really looking forward to the stand-alone films. Exciting times.

Until then, May The Force Be With You.


PS: Let's try to keep the comments SPOILER FREE ok?

10 comments:

  1. I love it even if not perfect. My only real irk was that Gwendoline Christie was almost invisible. Here's hoping for the next film

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  2. Just got home from seeing it with my eldest and have to say - I thought it was solid, but not earth shattering. The nods to the original trilogy were obvious but not overdone and it was fantastic to see modern effects applied to Star Wars.

    That being said, I felt that it lacked some punch. The flying and fighting scenes were pretty much spot on, but the interactions of characters (particularly the old cast appearances) were a bit rough.

    Without spoilers it is hard to single out things, but no matter what I'll be looking forward to Episode 8, as well as the spinoffs. I have a good feeling about the spinoffs.

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  3. I was 17 when the first Star Wars was released. I can remember watching 3 times that week. Awe the memories. Thanks guys for not spoiling it... I can't wait to see it with my 9 year granddaughter!

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  4. I second Cabon. Thank you for not spoiling. I plan to watch it over the weekend with the wife. :-)

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  5. I felt like a kid again - and would definitely love to see it a second time.

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  6. I loved it. I'm too young (27) to have seen the old movies in theatres and honestly I like the story of them but think they're not that good.
    But this one, it's so much fun, references to the old ones are awesome and they really nailed the story and everything else.

    I admit some parts weren't that great but all in all, a good cinema experience.

    I too saw it in 3D, although I didn't like it. So I'm going to go check out a normal viewing too sometime later this week.

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    1. Yeah the movie wasn't really made for 3D and it shows, although a couple of scenes knock your socks off. In general I'd recommend regular showings.

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  7. One reviewer suggested it was the best movie of 2015. I hardly think it is that, but I do believe it is the best Star Wars film, period. Adam Driver is brilliant.

    But I will echo what others have said about the 3D. If you do have to see it in 3D, sit at the back. We managed middle/middle seating, and things seemed a little too frenetic for me in a few action scenes.

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  8. Loved the movie. I've seen it twice and while there were parts that I want to fast forward though on the 2nd time. But that is dwarfed by theme parts that I wanted to see. Those parts seemed to shine even more. Then there were parts that I looked forward to see my son's expression. I'll end up going a third time, and I look forward to the next one!! JJ I thought did wonders for Star Trek, and seems on par for Star Wars.

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  9. Saw it with my wife on Friday then took my 9 yr old on Sunday. Both times in 3D which I thought was good, but am curious to see normal as well, though not planning on going back to the theater for a third time.

    I think it was a great movie. It had a good pace, good action, good story. The use of old story lines in new settings allowed for nostalgia and a way for my son's generation to have the old stars wars anew.

    Overall I was very happy with the movie and feel that it was on par with the originals as far as epic feel and I think it will be a great launching point to continue the legacy for years to come.

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