Q30 Entertainment Review: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Photo courtesy of TerraS12

By Vincent Guarino

After years of speculating and anticipating the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is finally here. The question is, does it return to the glory days of the original trilogy or does it stay buried in hate after the disappointing prequel trilogy? I am happy to say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens made me feel like that seven year old sitting in front of that TV watching the original trilogy eleven years ago.

Right when the opening crawl ended, my eyes started to well up and tears started to come down. It was here that I realized that this was actually happening and that I was finally getting to see what happens next in this universe.

The film is directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Abrams, Michael Ardnt, and legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. The decision to bring Abrams in to direct The Force Awakens seemed like a no brainer right from the announcement of the film. If you have not already, go watch his two Star Trek film and try to tell me those were not Abrams making Star Trek into Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is about – well, you know what, I do not think it is right to tell you what it is about. Disney and Lucasfilm have been keeping so much of this film under wraps that some may consider the actual plot to be a spoiler. So I will do my absolute best stay away from any types of spoilers in this review. What I will say is that I loved the story of the film.

All the performances in film are excellent, especially Daisy Ridley as our main hero Rey. For someone whose longest acting job on a set was two weeks long and worked mostly on TV shows in the U.K., she has some serious chops. She adds so much strength to this character and has already landed on my list of favorite Star Wars characters. Ridley also brings such likability to the character that the second she gets on screen you fall in love with her.

Same goes for characters like Finn, Poe Dameron, and the villainous Kylo Ren played by John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver respectively. They all give great performances, which I expected from all of them due to the work they have done in the past. Once again though, it is tough to go into why I love their performances so much without getting into spoilers.

Franchise veterans, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, are back in the roles that launched them into superstardom. All three embody these characters from the second they get on screen. While you might not get to see Fisher and Hamill as much as you do Ford, they all have an appropriate amount of screen time. Never once did I think I was watching Ford, Fisher, or Hamill. Who I saw on screen were Han, Leia, and Luke.

BB-8 is a new droid in the film and almost steals the entire film. I haven’t met one person who came out of this movie who was not a fan of BB-8. He is cute, funny, and just so cool to look at. He roles around and makes these really cute noises, courtesy of Bill Hader (Yes, Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live) and Ben Schwartz. BB-8 is what I want to find under my Christmas tree come Christmas morning. So Disney Merchandise wins this round and every other round with me.

One of the big things Lucasfilm has been hammering down on us is the use of practical effects in this film. It is so great to see a world that, just like the original trilogy, looks lived in and totally believable. The film is full of amazing costumes, models, and effects, but that is not to say the film does not have CGI. Thankfully it is not overused and when it is used it looks excellent.

Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong’s play motion capture characters Supreme Leader Snoke and Maz Kanata. They both look great and are another example of the great things motion capture can do. They fit into this world and never look out of place, especially Maz Kanata when she is with characters like Han Solo, Finn, and Rey.

Abrams has proven his ability to direct fine action sequences in the past and he sure does in this film. All these scenes feel like the Star Wars I know and love, while adding Abrams’ style to it all. This doesn’t just go for the action set pieces but almost everything in this film. Abrams has made a film that has one foot in the original trilogy and one foot in todays era of filmmaking.

This is also might just be the most well-paced film of 2015. It runs at two hours and fifteen minutes but zooms right past you like a speeder bike on Endor. Not once did I check my watch or feel like anything was dragging on too long.

There is a sense of wonder, an enthusiasm for the material, and a sense of humor to this film that was missing from the prequel trilogy. For anyone who was turned off by those films, this is the film that will most likely get you back.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the film us Star Wars fans have been waiting for since the last scene of Return of the Jedi. It does the rare thing of meeting my very high expectations. Are there minor issues? Yes, but not the type of issues that would ruin the film. I won’t go into them here because they involve tiny spoilers. At this time, I have now seen The Force Awakens four times. On each viewing it has gotten better and better, and has me already wanting to go see it a fifth time. Star Wars is back and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.


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