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Movie Review: Star Wars – The Force Awakens (No Spoilers)

Movie Review: Star Wars – The Force Awakens (No Spoilers)
5
Game Name: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Publisher(s): Disney
Developer(s): J.J. Abrams
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Release Date: December 18th 2015
ESRB Rating: 12A

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This review will be as spoiler free as I can make it. I will do my best to limit anything I talk about to what was shown in the trailers. At no point will I discuss specific plot points or reveal critical information about the characters that would lessen the impact they will have for you.

TFA_thumb_b1c49964I enjoyed the original movies quite a bit, and it’s these movies that J.J Abrams takes his inspirations from. Told decades after the events of Return of the Jedi with the Rebel Alliance scoring a victory over the Empire, their victory is albeit a short one. The Empire is now The First Order where the Rebel Alliance has been replaced with the nearly eradicated Resistance.

Where the conflict of the Rebels vs the Empire is retooled to fit this new trilogy with the First Order and the Resistance, this borrowing of similar plot beats from the prior films doesn’t end there. Borrowing heavily from A New Hope, they also dip into Empire for a few scenes as well. The familiarity of certain elements of the story doesn’t actually hurt the movie, but allows the film to hit a bit closer to home like an emotionally charged nostalgia trip. That being said, while it doesn’t full on feel like a been-there-done-that type of story telling, it is noticeable.

The new characters that are brought into this existing franchise are well crafted and expertly acted. Meshing the old guard with the new feels natural and never forced. Daisey Ridley, who is instantly likable as Rey, is a fantastic lead for this film. John Boyega plays Finn and at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like him, but he almost steals the movie as every scene he is in is just gold. Characters like Leia, Han, Chewbecca and Luke are all back and work well with the story being told.

star-wars-7-force-awakens-images-kylo-renKylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, the film’s central bad guy is, no pun intended, a force to be reckoned with. His character is beautifully written and has just great material to work with. I also really enjoyed Oscar Isaac’s character Poe Dameron, I just wish he had more to do in the film.

Some characters are very poorly utilized and may be there just to sell toys. A character I really wanted to see have a strong impact, is limited to 3 short scenes. Other characters that were heavily talked about had maybe a few lines and that was it. I am sure that at least a few of these characters will see more screen time in the next film, it’s just sad to see most of them as mere background dressing. Maz Kanata, who is voiced and motion captured by the wonderfully talented Lupita Nyong’o is a truly amazing character. BB-8, the round little droid shown in the trailers is a scene stealer and possibly the best droid they have ever made in the franchise.

Screen-Shot-2015-10-19-at-8.40.25-PMThere is also a lot of humor in the movie. Where the prequels tried to add in a laugh here and there, most of it just didn’t land. Here, the humor works so well that it feels fun, natural and well thought out.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is beautifully paced, well acted and visually stunning. The film was buried in a mountain of hype for such a long time that somehow J.J. Abrams, and all those involved, not only pulled it off, but hit it out of the park. This movie feels so much like the original films that it more than feels right at home as one of the best Star Wars films of all time. It’s easily one of my favorite of the entire franchise and one of the best movies I’ve seen all year.

The force is strong with this one.

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