Star Wars The Force Awakens (2015)
Director – J.J. Abrams
Writers – Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams
Starring – Daisey Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford
Rating – PG-13
Genre – Adventure, Fantasy
Metascore – 81/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 94%
J.J. Abrams is well known for rebooting movies by cleverly taking the best parts of the originals and uniting them with his own creative flair to create something wonderful. In The Force Awakens he has done just that. TFA is reminiscent of EP 4 and many have found this to be a disadvantage. Alternatively, I believe the throwback works to the advantage. A New Hope laid the foundation for the Star Wars universe. It didn’t explain everything, there wasn’t much exposition and the plot was propelled by the action of the story. All of these qualities solidified it as a science fiction archetype. Abrams has taken those admirable qualities and applied them to TFA.
Practical effects, physical stunts, and real locales are the pillars the film is built upon whereas the prequels were built upon green screen worlds. There are only two CGI characters in the film, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), which are motion captured by incredible actors. The remaining alien characters are represented by award worthy full body costumes. CGI in TFA is reserved only for scenes that could not be physically created. The lightsaber battles are uniquely choreographed as the characters in the film are untrained, making the fights believable. They come across as hectic and uncontrolled, and bring a fresh aspect to lightsaber duels.
The screenplay is alive and is similarly paced to EP 4 though it contains more action and in my opinion is funnier than the other films in this saga. It carries the same mystery the original trilogy has and the screen time for each character is well balanced. I found myself wanting more and more of each character as I spent time in their dialogues and attitudes.
Daisy Ridley brings us something unique as Rey. Though it is her first feature-length film she gave the best performance overall. As the lead she was captivating and winsome. Ridley is supported effortlessly by John Boyega (Finn) who is the breath of fresh air the Star Wars universe needed. He is truly funny and essential to the film. Harrison Ford rolled into Solo as if he had never left. Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) gives a performance equal with Ridley’s, though more enthralling. As a Sith he is both chaotically motivated and conflicted. He expresses his emotions and conflicts well, leading you to crave more of him or hate him outright. The attraction of the new characters is that they are written with the proper depth and purpose in the midst of mystery. There is so much that we don’t know about this new universe, leaving us to speculate incessantly.
Star Killer Base is essentially Death Star 3.0, and I found this to be a disappointing use of a plot device for the Resistance to destroy and focus on. However, the scene at its core is almost enough to redeem its placement in the film. My other issues are minor, mostly concerning Rey’s apt use of the force under no formal training.
TLDR – Abrams delivers a well-curated and carefully directed film to lay the foundation for a new era of Star Wars films. He brings back all of the things we love about Star Wars through a remarkably talented cast who are dedicated to this series. The film has a few minor flaws but it is absolutely a step that will begin to make things right…
Jesse’s rating – 9.2 / 10
Author : Jesse Ingram