Partly due to time and money being devoted to the holidays and partly due to the fact that with it’s record setting advance ticket sales there may legitimately be people who want to see this this weekend and can’t, I will put up a very loose spoiler free review and link to a second post if you want to read ahead and see what happens. If you want to know nothing about the movie and just need a yes or no… yes. Go see it in IMAX.
If you don’t want to read a very loose description of the plot, don’t read the rest of this paragraph. Roughly thirty years have passed since the death of the Emperor. The galaxy seems to be divided into three factions, the First Order, the Republic, and the Resistance (I could be wrong about this. I was a little unclear on why the Republic and the Resistance aren’t the same thing). Luke Skywalker has gone missing. General Organa (Leia) has sent Poe Dameron, one of her best pilots, to get information from an old Alderaanian ally about his possible whereabouts. Along the way he hooks up with Finn, a Stormtrooper seeking to leave the First Order (The First Order is using Stormtroopers made up of kidnapped children who are raised and indoctrinated instead of clones). They then meet Rey, a scavenger on the junkyard planet Jakku. Poe needs their help to get the information in his droid B-88 back to the resistance. Along the way they meet some old friends who help them try to steer clear of the evil Kylo Ren.
OK, back to being vague and mysterious. For those of you who aren’t Star Wars savvy, it’s quite the forty year soap opera. Written and directed by little known (At the time) George Lucas, it set a hype and box office rarely seen since. After that, Lucas would step back and split writing duties on the next two sequels with Lawrence Kasdan and turn over directing duties to other men. Now, I’m sure they exist, but I’ve personally never met anyone who says A New Hope is their favorite. It’s almost always Empire or Return of the Jedi. Despite this, when the technology became available, Lucas wouldn’t be stopped from re-releasing the original trilogy with added effects (Which included several edits deemed to be bastardized versions by die hard fans) or writing and directing a new trilogy himself that, although enjoyed by children, seemed to set new lows for what was acceptable in the cinema (He would later go on to do this with Indiana Jones as well).
Sure, people were pissed, but George Lucas has so much money he could possibly legitimately pay hitmen to murder all the people talking shit about him on the internet. You know who has more money than George Lucas though? Walt fucking Disney, that’s who! The same studio that bought and churned out several fantastic Marvel Comics movies in the last few years. I feel bad for George, I really do, but the selfish part of me wished that he would give up and let someone new take over. Disney not only decided to put ol’ George out to pasture, but then they brought in the Chosen One, J.J. Abrams (Who, in turn, brought back Lawrence Kasdan). Expectations were high for this and I’m glad to say they exceeded my wildest imagination.
I had a few problems with this flick but I can’t really discuss them without getting into spoiler territory and at the end of the day it didn’t really dampen how much I enjoyed it. The new cast is phenomenal. I read an interview with the Chosen One a few days ago where he mentioned that there was this desperateness to John Boyega’s (Attack The Block) audition that matched the tone of the original trilogy and man did he hit the nail on the head. The poor guy is sweating and/or screaming in almost every scene. His character is complicated and interesting and not only did he NAIL the comedy stuff but on the one or two occasions where it was time to get serious he showed serious chops.
Daisy Ridley is electric as Rey. She can fly. She can fight. She can crow! Not only does she do a phenomenal job encompassing a strong, independent, young woman but her mannerisms are distinctly alien once she gets moved from the society she’s used to. Just the way she held her head in some scenes gives her an endearing awkwardness that never took away from her badassery. Oscar Isaac turned in his most recent in a string of good performances. Between the three of them, they’re able to encapsulate most of the strengths and weaknesses of the original big trio (Luke’s youthful exuberance and later quiet calm. Leia’s grace and hubris. Han’s leadership and stubbornness.) and rather than making carbon(ite) copies of them, they split them up amongst the new trio so they can interact in new and exciting ways.
Visually, the movie was stunning. The 3D is phenomenal. There is a shot that is just a Star Destroyer sitting still that somehow was truly a sight to behold. There’s also a ten second POV shot from the cockpit of an X-Wing that might be even cooler than the 3D free fall web-slinging scene in Amazing Spider-Man 2. Abrams truly went three dimensional by mixing together dogfights with ground attacks into long continuous shots. They even mirror several shots from the original trilogy and even use some of the original transitions between scenes. There’s also quite a bit of humor but not the childish kind that was somewhat out of place in the original trilogy and way overdone in Episodes I, II, and III. At the end of the day, they were able to just match the tone and the pacing of the original trilogy very well.
Much like Creed did earlier this season, The Force Awakens took everything that was good about the original trilogy and repackaged it to fit the new characters and also added a bit of dramatic touch that dare I say… maybe even made it better? I’m tempted to take away points because I hated Adam Driver (Although maybe I’m supposed to…) and I would have liked them to tie up a few questions I have but it was too enjoyable. Quite simply, this movie made me feel like a kid again. The audience even applauded and verbally ejaculated when it was supposed to (In both showings). I’m probably giving it a little better score than it might deserve due to nostalgia’s sake, but at the end of the day even with all my nitpicky complaints it still kicked a whole lot of ass so I’m giving it a not-so-solid A. If you would like to see my nitpicky complaints and discuss a few spoilers, click here.
T-Bagz has been waiting for the bowcaster to receive it’s due