REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – “Fans, We’re Home”

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A Spectacular And Welcome Return For The Star Wars Franchise!

Great news for Star Wars fans! Star Wars is back and this movie is a fantastic return to form for the franchise. Those of you, who may have been put off by the feel of The Prequels, welcome back, because this is the movie you have been waiting for!

I can remember back in May of 1977 when my parents took me to see a movie called “Star Wars”. Within the first few minutes, I knew I was witnessing something special. I never realized at the time that this would become something that would stay with me and be a part of my life forever. It not only affected my life, but Star Wars went on to become a global phenomenon and transcended from being part of American culture to one of the world’s and impacted the lives of billions of Star Wars fans.

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Let’s get right into the review. I’ll save any Major SPOILERS for the last paragraph. Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduces a brand new cast as well as welcomes back fan favorites such as Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO from The Original Trilogy. The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi. Immediately we are treated to the familiar Star Wars theme and the opening crawl informs us what has transpired since the events of Return Of The Jedi. You would think that after the conclusion in Jedi, that all would be well for the Rebel Alliance. Well, that is not the case. The Empire was never fully destroyed and they regrouped to form the even more powerful First Order. There are very little remnants of the Rebel Alliance around and now emerges a new group to challenge The First Order called The Resistance. A new villain emerges who embraces the Dark Side of The Force and whose goal is to fulfill the destiny of Darth Vader and become the heir to Vader’s rule, but where is Luke during all of this? That is the big question that many of us have been asking after seeing the trailers and marketing for the movie and that is what helps drive the story for this movie.

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All of the acting is well done especially by the new comers: Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. But for me, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren steals the movie. He does a fantastic job as the new villain and is right up there with Darth Vader as a real threat. Kylo Ren reminds you at times of Darth Vader but he is also very different. There definitely is an internal struggle going on with his character and he does some really horrible things in this film. The Force Awakens has a great blend of action, drama and humor. John Boyega and Harrison Ford especially do a fantastic job with their comedic lines. And even BB-8 has great comic timing too!

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J.J. Abrams was a great choice to direct the film. Abrams has been a long term fan of Star Wars and it shows. One of his goals was to bring back the look and feel of The Original Trilogy by using 35MM film instead of digital and incorporating practical effects along with CGI. Lawrence Kasdan was also brought on board to help write the script. Kasdan is known for writing the scripts for Empire and Jedi and his writing is without a doubt a welcome return.

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This movie just comes across as a movie by Star Wars fans written for Star Wars fans. Some will disagree with me, but that is what we needed after Lucas’ handling of The Prequels. Although those movies had the Star Wars moniker in the title, they just didn’t feel like The Original Trilogy. The good news is The Force Awakens brings back the magic and feeling of The Original Trilogy. I still respect George Lucas for the world he created. There would be no Star Wars without him. I would love to see George Lucas back with the Star Wars franchise, especially a Star Wars spin-off movie, but have him working with a team in which ideas are shared and thrown out if they are bad.

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Thanks have to go out to Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm. This movie would not have been made without her. She has always been partners and friends with George Lucas. George trusted her to take over after he sold Lucasfilm to Disney and she was instrumental in bringing in JJ Abrams to direct, John Williams to score the film, Lawrence Kasdan to come back and write the script after he passed on The Prequels, the original cast such as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. And most importantly, she was a huge fan of The Original Trilogy and wanted to see the films return to that direction. Kennedy surrounded herself with the best people and also is good friends with Steven Spielberg who heavily suggested Abrams to be director. You also have to thank Bob Iger for working with George Lucas and help bringing Star Wars to the Disney family. Bob Iger is also a huge fan of the Original Trilogy and wanted to see those characters stories continue. Without Iger’s influence we probably would have never seen a new trilogy and sequel to the greatest trilogy of all time.

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I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens a 4 out of 5. I rank this above The Prequels but below The Original Trilogy. But it’s definitely in the same category as The Original Trilogy. It loses a point for being a little too similar to A New Hope.

UPDATE: I saw The Force Awakens three times now and have to change my rating to 4.5 out of 5. Definitely an awesome movie that keeps getting better and better with repeat viewings!

Get ready folks, because it has begun. The Force has now awakened! A new Star Wars movie every year! Star Wars is back!

SPOILERS:

  • Wooooo! A lot of stuff went down here. These are mostly questions and thoughts about what could happen in the future sequels. But they do contain MAJOR SPOILERS from The Force Awakens.
  • The one question I had hoped that would be answered but wasn’t was who is Rey’s parents and why did they abandon her at such a young age? A lot of people thought she could be Han and Leia’s daughter, but that was not the case. Rey is very Force sensitivity and if history has shown us anything, that means her parents (or parent) were too and possibly even Jedi. Could her father be Luke and he abandoned her before he went into exile? Could it have been Leia? It appears Han left Leia so it is possible that after he left that she met someone else.
  • The big reveal is that Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son. Kylo Ren is definitely struggling between The Dark and The Light Side Of The Force. He murders his own father with hopes that would remove the internal struggle he was having with good and evil. He worships his grandfather, Darth Vader, but apparently does not believe or know of Vader turning from the Dark Side to save Luke and help defeat the Empire. Will Kylo Ren be visited by his grandfather’s Force Ghost and Anakin tell him the truth? Will Kylo Ren redeem himself similar to how Vader did? I can definitely see that happening. Leia still believes there is good in her son.
  • What is Kylo Ren? He is not a Sith. He is Force sensitive and uses the Dark Side but he does not appear to be a Sith.
  • Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? I still can’t tell if he is a giant or not. That hologram could be misleading. The Emperor appeared to Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and at the time he looked gigantic but when we finally saw him, he wasn’t. I have heard rumors that Snoke me actually be Darth Plagueis who was the Emperor’s Master. The Emperor tells the story in Revenge Of The Sith how Darth Palgueis’s was able to cheat death but he was killed in his sleep by his apprentice. If he cheated death once, who is to say that he couldn’t cheat it again when he was killed by The Emperor and maybe he has been in hiding for all of those years.
  • I was definitely surprised and disappointed in the amount of screen time that Captain Phasma had in this movie. Her character was highly marketed and she is barely in the movie. She is set to appear in Episode VIII, so hopefully her role will be expanded.
  • Now that Han is gone, will we see Chewie and The Millennium Falcon again? It does appear that Chewie is Rey’s co-pilot. I have a feeling that Luke will train Rey in the ways of the Force and she will eventually reunite with Chewie and The Falcon.
  • Luke is expected to have a much larger role in Episode VIII. Will he go back to the Resistance Home Base and reunite with Leia? Or will he just remain a hermit after instructing Rey? I do believe at some point that we will see Luke in action again. Maybe he will take on Kylo Ren or more likely Snoke.
  • What about Finn being in a coma? I’m pretty sure he will be out of that coma fairly quickly after Episode VIII starts.
  • Will BB-8 be reunited with Rey? Kind of surprised that BB-8 stayed with Poe. Even though he was Poe’s droid it seemed like Rey and BB-8 bonded more than he and Poe did.
  • The lightsaber duel between Kylo Ren and Rey I thought was very sloppy and was kind of disappointed. I know they are not full Jedi or Sith but to me that had to be the worst light saber duel in the Star Wars Saga.
  • I was also a bit disappointed in John William’s score for the movie. Yes you heard familiar themes from previous moves but nothing really stuck out like Dual Of The Fates or The Imperial March.
  • Loved that they destroyed Coruscant. To me that was a message to The Prequels. No more boring Senate hearings or negotiations! Edit: Thanks to Chris for informing me that was not Coruscant but the planet Chandrilla, which was mentioned in the Star Wars novel, Aftermath.
  • Maz Kanata was a great CGI character voiced by Lupita Nyong’o. But she still is very mysterious. Will we see her in future sequels? Why is she so sensitive to The Force?

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About the author

Joe Hogarty

Joe moved from New York to Florida back in 1997. He currently resides in St. Petersburg and visits the parks frequently. His first visit to the Magic Kingdom was when he was 8 years old back in 1974. Joe originally originally started as a photographer for WDWNT and is now the host of WDWNT: Nerd Alert, our movie reviewer and reports the news for WDWNT. You can contact Joe through email at [email protected]

6 Comments

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  • Coruscant was not destroyed. The planets in the Hosnian System were. You saw Chandrila blow up. The new republic and senate was established there. This was explained in the book Aftermath which is considered canon.

  • Great review! I was so grateful that they finally returned to the “essence” of the originals as well… for a while I was afraid that the original “spirit” may have vanished forever! Any prediction as to how long we’ll have to wait for Episode VIII to make it’s debut?

    • Thanks Shannon! I agree with you. Was very glad that it felt and looked like the old movies. Episode VIII will be released May 26, 2017.

  • Great review! I’m a brand new fan… never watched a single one of ’em till about two months ago. However, since I’m a Disney fangirl first and foremost, I knew with episode vii’s release I was going to have to catch up! My boyfriend is a huge Star Wars fan, and we watched them in order; prequel trilogy first, then original trilogy. Saw TFA last night and I can safely say that thanks to Disney, I’m now a huge fan. :D

    • Thanks Courntney! I always try to convince my friends to watch it in the order 4,5,1,2,3,6, That way it doesn’t spoil the surprise about Vader being Luke and Leia’s father. I was really glad when I heard Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise and that they would be releasing a new movie every year. Hopefully these movies will keep getting better and better!

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