MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens” stars Daisy Ridley (Scrawl, Blue Season [short]), John Boyega (Attack the Block, Imperial Dreams), Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fugitive ), Peter Mayhew (Terror, Killer Ink), Adam Driver (This is Where I Leave You, Girls [TV series]), Carrie Fisher (The ‘Burbs, When Harry Met Sally…), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Drive), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Unbroken), Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop), Anthony Daniels (Dirigible Days [TV mini-series], Ghosts of Albion: Embers [TV movie]), Gwendoline Christie (The Zero Theorem, Game of Thrones [TV series]), and Mark Hamill (Regular Show [TV series], Kingsman: The Secret Service). It is directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek , Super 8) who also co-wrote it with Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dreamcatcher) and Michael Arndt (Oblivion, Toy Story 3). Taking place three decades after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” Luke Skywalker (Hamill) has disappeared with both sides of the Force looking for him. Two new heroes arise, one being a poor woman waiting for her parents named Rey (Ridley) and the other being a stormtrooper named Finn (Boyega) who realizes being evil isn’t for him. They will need to team up with some old faces in order to find Luke and stop the new threat that is the First Order, led by the vicious Kylo Ren (Driver).
I have seen it guys! I, the Juicy Reviewer, have contributed to the monster at the box office that is “Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens.” I know, it was bound to happen, but if you ever asked myself from 2012 if I would watch this, I would’ve said “never in a million years.” As it turns out, I was against Disney taking over the “Star Wars” franchise when the deal came to a compromise three years ago. I thought that the tale was told and there should be no newer additions added to pile. It seemed over, nowhere to go. The only reason for starting it up again would be for money. But then the trailer came…somehow it sparked something in me. Something telling me “hey man, you gotta see this! What are you doing sitting there and loathing it, this looks good!” More trailers came, and I got even more pumped. Good job Disney, you brought me around to watch this. So, the question really is, did this film meet my newly found expectations? Yes. My family was running late for this movie. Although we were early, I feared that seats were still taken because of the sheer amount of people who are seeing this even after thirteen days of its original release date. We got outside of the theater, and low and behold, there was a massive line. The many beings awaiting a ticket were discussing “Star Wars,” and I was beginning to think I would have to break my neck to see the screen once I got in. We got our tickets, walked in, stood in another line to get to the theater room, and fortunately for us there were quite a bit of seats open. We took the top row, not by my decision but rather the little ones. The railing for people to walk up the isles was in my way of the screen, but it wasn’t in such an obnoxious way that I couldn’t see half of the screen. I sat there for fifteen to twenty minutes, waiting. Then the lights dimmed…and in came John Williams legendary score, with a slow crawl of words telling us the beginning of this new adventure. It’s been since 2005 that I’ve seen a “Star Wars” movie, “Revenge of the Sith” being the only one for me to see on such a grand scale. The expression on my face when the opening title bursted is indescribable. After that, the journey began to unfold. Right from the get go we meet our new heroes and villain. Kylo Ren is awesome, everything he did (when he had his mask on) was brilliant and scary. He’s no Darth Vader, but he put on a heck of a show. Our heroes, Rey and Finn, caught me by surprise. They are very rich characters, both full of fear of the First Order but willing to face them in order to save each other. I couldn’t believe it, some characters that I can actually see as being real people. What I also couldn’t believe is how not one moment were they sitting in a room with windows looking out CGI landscapes while discussing trade (that one’s for you George Lucas, thanks for those prequels). It takes a good while until I saw Han Solo (Ford) and his lovable sidekick Chewbacca (Mayhew), but when I did, I couldn’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach. It was awesome to see this character again, and up to the same old antics nonetheless. The acting in this whole picture was great. No one felt wooden, all emotions feeling genuine. I couldn’t tell you how great it was to see everyone back, even the droids. Carrie Fisher did a pretty good job herself, being the only person other than Oscar Isaac (who was great) I haven’t talked about. Wait, Domhnall Gleeson, you rocked it! Everyone was so good! J.J. Abrams had a lot to undertake, and the man pulled it off. His directing of this was fantastic, giving a sleek finish that he always bestows his movies with. The locations of this movie were beautiful and amazing. I loved all of the planets that our heroes went to, and what I loved even more was the special effects. Sure, there was CGI (we are at the point to make it almost realistic), but there was also a ton of practical effects. It was so good to see real droids and some “real” creatures as well. The action sequences went to a new level in this, making me feel epic inside watching all of the X-Wing battles with Tie Fighters as well as Stormtroopers blowing up. This is such a fun release, and I am glad I watched it. Even though I was in awe throughout this whole thing, there was a thought that crept up on me during the experience: haven’t I seen this before? If you haven’t seen this but have seen the classic “Star Wars” movies, then you pretty much have most of this film mapped out. There is a bad guy who has a voice-changing helmet. He runs a giant planet that shoots a big laser to destroy planets. He only answers to an overlord who is old and decrepit. Apparently he has family that is on the good side. This family wants to stop him and his plans, doing so by trying to blow up his laser. Our heroes come from nothing, not thinking they are special, but actually are. They have someone wise that gives them advice on the world of the Force. It’s basically the whole classic trilogy. I feel that the writers wanted to play it safe, and in order to do so, they would need to take from the films that brought all the hype in the first place. It’s smart, but it’s also way too safe. There were several scenes that paid homage to the originals that it became predictable at times. I figured out a lot of aspects of this story before they took shape. Although this made me upset, I couldn’t help but feel happy anyway. This is what makes “Star Wars” good! Not the predictability, but the guideline of this story. Since this is displaying the characters everyone knows and loves, it’s almost common sense to make it almost like the originals so that it can take people back to a simpler, better, no-prequels time. It worked because I left the theater happy. Of course, in old school fashion, they leave some loose ends to be tied, so that gives reason to see the next installment. The sad thing is, Disney is going to make a new “Star Wars” movie every year, and soon enough my early predictions will be true and they will begin to diminish in fresh storytelling. Until then, let’s celebrate this one, for it is truly great. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
The score of this movie has been changed. Looking back on it now, there are quite a bit of issues with the film, primarily how Rey can basically do anything a Jedi can do, even though she has had no training. That and the lame Kylo Ren. It does not affect the running for the Movie of the Year for 2015.
Here is the trailer: