Directed By: J.J Abrams
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
Sullywood Rating: 8/10
SPOILER FREE REVIEW
There were cheers, there was laughter, and someone was probably crying at some point. But one thing is for sure, the force is most definitely awake. After 30 plus years of being left in the dark regarding what happened after the events of Return of the Jedi, our imaginations were retired and we were presented with the brand new chapter in the Star Wars saga this week.
The Force Awakens had one objective in my opinion: Mold the old with the new, and do it well. It was imperative that we love these new characters, even more so than our old favorites turning in great performances. Before the film’s release we were introduced to the new kids on the block: Rey, the scavenger, Finn, the ex-stormtrooper, Poe, the hot shot pilot, and Kylo Ren, the new generation’s Darth Vader. These characters were pivotal to not only this first episode, but for the overall success of this brand new trilogy.
So how’d our newcomers do?
Rey: Played by newcomer Daisy Ridley. Ridley was absolutely fantastic throughout the entire film. Without bells and whistles, her character was captivating in every scene. Little was known about her before the film, and truth be told not much is still known after. But one thing is for sure, we know who Daisy Ridley is now, and I cant’ wait to see how she develops the character of Rey in the next installment
Finn: Played by John Boyega. I was very impressed with how seamless Boyega transitioned into the world of Star Wars. His interactions with Ford were fantastic to watch. What’s great about his character is that I felt like Finn was the man the audience could relate to the most. He seemed to react to situations like most of us would. I can’t relate his character, or background, to any player in the past Star Wars films. The character definitely brought us a brand new perspective.
Poe: Played by Oscar Isaac. Not to “spoil” anything, because I’m basically not, but Isaac’s Poe has the least amount of screen time, and it’s not even close. Not that it was a bad thing. The pilot shined in his scenes while performing his expertise in the famous X-Wing starfighter. I particularly enjoyed the quick friendship that blossomed between Poe and Finn in the film.
Kylo Ren: Played by Adam Driver. The man, the myth, the legend….well for at least the past year. He’s been all over your TV, the internet, and toy store shelves, but we finally got our chance to meet the new “Darth Vader” so to speak. Let me get one thing straight, he is NOT Darth Vader. I don’t mean that in a bad way, they are just vastly different. The emotion and complex nature of his character supersedes anything that Vader provided in the original trilogy. While Vader was calm and collected, Ren is the exact opposite. A man with mixed emotions and who is utterly unpredictable. His emotional outbursts throughout the film were something so very different than the black-masked figures from our past. The vulnerability of the character was fresh to a series in which villains are, by and large, one-dimensional.
BB8: BB8 was a fantastic successor to our beloved R2-D2. His purring was undeniably adorable and he was pretty darn helpful in our heroes’ mission.
Supreme Leader Snoke: Probably the most disappointing aspect of the entire film. His background, identity, and full appearance has been kept under wraps for months. I don’t mean to spoil anything, but prepared to be full on “Wait, that’s it?”, when meeting our brand new big baddy of the trilogy. His appearance looks like a poor attempt to re-create Lord Voldemort and his scenes came off dull and he was overall unimposing.
How about the vets?
Han Solo: Like most, I believe Harrison Ford did an excellent job in this movie. It’s like we never left Solo and he battled back and forth with our new characters in attempting to steal the scenes.
Princess Leia: So clearly someone might be dabbling in BOTOX….just a bit? I know getting old happens to all of us, but boy, you could hardly hear Princess Leia at all in Carrie Fisher’s voice. Unfortunately, her performance was forgettable.
Luke Skywalker: I’m just not going to say a darned thing. Anything I say would be considered a spoiler. My lips are sealed.
The Rest: Chewy, R2, C3PO, they were themselves and every minute we saw of them was enjoyable.
In short, I enjoyed every single new character, except for Snoke, and the way each actor portrayed them. The backgrounds of each were refreshing and their chemistry was top notch for this being only the first film.
Well I would imagine the one gripe you will hear from people, even years later, will be this: honestly the movie parallels A New Hope far too much. It’s perfectly okay and actually necessary to have parallels and imagery going back to the original trilogy, but one could actually argue that The Force Awakens and A New Hope have the exact same plot. Now, saying that would be disrespectful to the writers, actors, and to the people who had the seemingly impossible task of continuing one of the greatest movie epics in history. But, I could totally buy the idea that they were a little too similar.
Overall, The Force Awakens passed with flying colors on achieving it’s goal of merging the old with the new. The chemistry was great between the whole cast and the ending leaves you wanting more…right away. The one thing I loved about this film was that it wasn’t overly complicated. The new trilogy from the 2000’s was so convoluted with political nonsense and plots that were unnecessary and took away from the characters we were supposed to fall in love with. The simplicity of the The Force Awakens was a breath of fresh air. Also, unlike the prequel trilogy, I felt like we were at home with the places, people, and things that made the original trilogy so great, and what made the prequel trilogy so disappointing.
Could you be disappointed? Sure. Do I think you will at least enjoy the new installment, without a doubt.
May the force be with you.