Film Review: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Directed by: J. J. Abrams

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Ma von Sydow

 

A droid that doesn’t speak has in its possession some information which will benefit the good guys and could be of some harm to the bad guys, this droid comes into contact with an untrained Jedi who brings it to a rebellion team who plan to attack a spherical planet-destroyer and a final confrontation between a father and son, one of whom wears a black mask and is under the training of a higher villain. I’m sure I’ve seen this movie before.

The Force Awakens brings the Star Wars franchise back for the sequel trilogy, set much later than the events of Return of the Jedi, with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, Return of the Jedi) having disappeared and Han Solo (Harrison Ford, Blade Runner) and Leia’s (Carrie Fisher, Return of the Jedi) son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, Logan Lucky), having taken up the mantel of his deceased grandfather as a leader of the dark side. We soon meet Rey (Daisy Ridley, Murder on the Orient Express) and Fin (John Boyega, Detroit) and a droid, BB-8, and the adventure begins.

I really enjoyed this film, however I felt a little disappointed they decided to treat on so much old ground, borderline rehashing the plot from A New Hope, and I don’t necessarily agree that the villain, Kylo Ren, needs to be the ancestor of a hero. I would have been perfectly happy if it was someone completely new who happens to agree with Darth Vader’s antics. And while it was nice to have Luke, Leia and Han return, I felt they took up more time than this film should have given them. I don’t mean that as a negative towards them or the story, but I wanted the film to take more of an independent touch, to introduce a whole new cast of characters to a whole new generation of fans.

That aside, the decision to cast Daisy Ridley and the writing for her character were both brilliant. I fell in love with her almost immediately, and there’s so much potential waiting in her character that can be explored, between her lost parents, whoever it was she was waiting for, Luke’s lightsaber calling her and her powers of the force, all give her character so much going forth in the trilogy, all the while brilliantly played by Daisy Ridley, who was a complete unknown going into this film, which took a lot of guts from J. J. Abrams to cast her, but it’s paid off. And her relationship and chemistry with Fin was brilliant, charming and hilarious.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was not a bad decision, I’m hoping in The Last Jedi he comes into the role a bit more; his voice changed too much in this as well so I hope he fixes that (without his mask, I mean, it changed quite a bit, as if Adam Driver or J. J. Abrams couldn’t decide which worked best). And I also hated the decision to have Fin put up a fight in a lightsaber duel against Kylo Ren; it really takes away from his aura and dominance if a stormtrooper who has never used a lightsaber can go toe-to-toe with him.

As always the score and visual effects were brilliant, but, as always, they used wipes. Seven films later and I still hate the wipes. But overall a very satisfying entry to the new trilogy, even if it is a copy and paste version of A New Hope.

 

Plot: * * * *

Acting: * * * *

Writing: * * * *

Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * *

 

Other films in the Star Wars series:

 

Five Positives:

  • Rey and Fin’s chemistry.
  • Daisy Ridley.
  • Lot of unanswered questions.
  • Cliff-hanger ending.
  • Score and visual effects.

Five Negatives:

  • Wipes.
  • Too similar to A New Hope.
  • Does it really have to be another family fued?
  • Even thirty years later and under a new leader, Stormtroopers are still useless.
  • Fin’s fight with Kylo Ren.

 

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