I am a Star Wars fan but I’m not a crazy fan. I had very mixed feelings about seeing episode seven. I didn’t dislike the prequels as much as many people did but the fact that I’ve only seen each of them once, in the theatre, speaks to how underwhelmed I ultimately was with them. I also always wonder when does something become too much? Yet, with the return of several of the original cast members and J.J. Abrams directing I was cautiously optimistic about episode seven.
I didn’t see it on opening day. In fact I didn’t see it until December 22nd, a full five days after it came out. During that time I tried to stay off of social media and to spend as little time on the internet as possible in an effort to avoid spoilers, it was definitely worth taking on that challenge because I managed to pull off the impossible of being unspoiled on the biggest movie event of the year.
I’m so thankful that I went into the movie knowing as little as possible about it.
The reason I waited five days to see the movie when it felt like the rest of the world was seeing it the second it came out was because I wanted to see it with my mom. I was born the year episode four came out but other than that first movie I’ve seen all the other Star Wars movies with my mom. That was easy with “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” because I was a kid. “The Phantom Menace” was also easy because in the summer of 1999 I lived with my mom while I took a year and a half off from college. However, “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” were more challenging because I live in Los Angeles and she lives in Denver. We’ve both had to wait to see episodes two, three and now seven until we have been in the same city so we could see it together. Thankfully, my mom came to Los Angeles for Christmas this year so I didn’t have to wait all that long to see it…I waited three months to see episode 3 back in 2005.
We saw the movie at Disney’s historical El Capitan theatre in the heart of Hollywood. I honestly didn’t realize how excited I was to see the movie until the laser light show the El Capitan was putting on before the movie started. Then, of course, I felt a thrill upon hearing John Williams’ iconic music play and seeing the scrolling go across the screen getting us up to date on the goings on of a galaxy far, far away.
I love, Love, LOVED “Star Wars-The Force Awakens”. It was everything I could have hoped it would be. It was fun, exciting, funny, and dramatic.
Obviously, the new trilogy needs to have a new generation of characters. One of the many things that makes “The Force Awakens” so great is that it makes you care about Rey (Daisy Ridley), Fin (John Boyega) and even BB-8, in a way that episodes one, two and three never really did.
Another thing that was really smart was that the movie waits until the second act to bring back Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chew, C-3PO, R2D2 and the Millennium Falcon.
We all want to see the old characters but we need to care about the new characters and if we are going to do that we need to care about them outside of the new characters…And in case you haven’t seen it yet Luke Skywalker does return as well. He just gets less screen time than the other returning characters which makes sense considering certain details of the plot, which I won’t reveal as to not spoil the people who haven’t seen it.
You don’t see a Star Wars movie for the acting (despite Alec Guinness’ Best Supporting Actor nomination for “A New Hope” 38 years ago) but the acting in this is all good. It is much better than the often wooden acting that came in episodes one, two and three. The three performances that I liked the most were Daisy Ridley’ as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Harrison Ford returning as Han Solo. Ridley creates a heroine that both little boys and little girls can root for. As Kylo Ren, Driver is in a role that is very different than anything the usual slacker roles I’ve seen him in before.
As Harrison Ford…Considering what a big disappointment 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was it was a gamble for him to return to his other iconic role. But he really does slip right back into the skin of the Han Solo we all know and love. Ford isn’t playing a grumpy old man, like he has in so many recent movies, he’s still playing Han Solo, be it an older Han Solo.
I often don’t go to blockbuster movies because I find them boring and because I think the CGI looks fake and is over used. However, I didn’t find “The Force Awakens” to be boring and with one exception I didn’t find that the CGI looked fake.
As much as I loved the movie there are a few things I had issue with. Frist the “Supreme Leader” was the one piece of CGI that looked super fake. I don’t understand why everything else looked so realistic but he looks like a video game nightmare.
Second, while I like that Princess Leia has become Commander Organa but I wish she could have gotten more screen time and gotten in on the action a little more. Third, I also wish Gwendoline Christie and Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong’o had actually gotten real screen time instead of more or less lending their voices. Fourth, I think the details of the story that link the new generation of characters with the old works and makes sense but I was able to figure it out before the movie revealed it. I wish the writing had been a little bit better as to disguise these important details. Fifth, I also wish a certain actor hadn’t talked about his feelings about his character. It made a very important event very obvious well in advance. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. And sixth, as for that certain event I also feel that the way the scene is set makes it really obvious what is going to happen. My issue isn’t with what happens, I think it kind of necessary, but the way it is presented.
Despite my nit picking I really did love “The Force Awakens”. I was not disappointed at all. I’m glad it will pass “Avatar” as the highest grossing movie of all time and I’m already looking forward to Episode nine, which (of course) I’ll see with my mom.
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