Review—Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS!)


#1

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#2

I liked it. It had the nods to the original series whether there were too many overlaps of plot points is subjective. I liked the interaction between Finn and Rey. Him wanting to save her and often realizing she didn’t need to be saved while still getting some hero moments. i liked the level of humor too. Not too much just the occasional beat.

The set up for the next movie could have been done better but maybe they were thinking people deserved more of a payoff on this one than what I was expecting.


#3


#4


#5

I really enjoyed it, for all the reasons mentioned here. Loved the new characters, loved Han & Chewie, loved Maz Kanata. Even loved the petulant, uncontrolled fury of Kylo Ren.

However, I had a few bits of vague concern [DUH, SPOILERS]:

  • Who’s running things? We get a quick mention of what the Republic’s doing, but who’s actually in charge these days? One line of dialogue or a quick shot on Coruscant of, I dunno, Chancellor Mon Mothma saying “The New Order is a big problem” would do the job. The political state of the galaxy is left weirdly vague.
  • What planets did Starkiller Base blow up? We see it do horrible things, but to who? Did it just blow up the Republic fleet? I’m unclear as to what happened there and what impact it has.
  • I would’ve liked five seconds to just… rest. The movie was incredibly dense and felt like a nonstop sprint. The OT movies varied their pace; maybe just a few more moments with Chewie after his loss to grieve, or Han sitting down for a drink to chat.

#6

I loved that the cast was so diverse and looked more like our contemporary society than even the originals. I also thought it was interesting that they resisted the urge to go into incredibly complex Jedi/Sith fight scenes like the prequels. (I know Ren is not technically a Sith). They instead chose to stick with the more staid duels of the originals without all the force jumping and force pushes and crazy lightsaber maneuvering. I think that does them credit as in the prequels a lot of times when they panned out to show the crazy Jedi moves you just kind of glazed over and forgot that they were actually human characters. Anyways, thought this one was great. It was very fast paced but hopefully the next one will slow down and explain a bit more. I completely agree with this review.


#7

I gave the movie a B+. Definitely great but not as good as Star Wars or Empire.

The biggest issues were:

1. Overall plot holes.

The elder statesmen at the beginning didn’t make a lot of sense. It would have been better that the person Poe was meeting was actually Finn who had already deserted and had the information about the Star Killer base. And when Poe doesnt return after a while Han and Chewie (who are part of the resistance) are sent to find him and rescue Rey and Finn.

The Falcon being on Jakku? That really bothered me. The whole idea that Han would lose that ship is absurd. The ship you never see capturing the Falcon that Han and Chewie captain is really bad also. The gangs…don’t even know what the point was. It felt weak/out of place/even Star Trek.

Some weak characters/weak moments/weapons

Captain Phasma. What was the point? Really worthless character. Didn’t do Boba role justice.

Star Killer base. Can’t we just have the base be powered by the core. The sun thing just looked like something out of Star Trek. Can the Empire make something other then a spherical machine of death that needs fighters to run a trench to kill it?

Falcon humor: I don’t understand why they had to have the Falcon lumbering about…especially on Jakku and also on the ice planet. Just seemed to be pointless CG.

The Kylo Ren temper tantrum really was out of place for a Star Wars film. Should have been cut or reshot him just using the force to blow the circuits in the room.

Rey’s Jedi Mind trick scene was also really bad. And once the guard heard that he would have left the room. I don’t get that they know they have these prisoners and in TWO parts a prisoner escapes. Poe then Rey. Makes First Order look really bad/stupid vs scary. For all the things Finn says about how bad/evil/destructive they are…all I got was they were a bunch of idiots.

Lack of a true SW Music Score

Don’t know about some but the movie lacked any true Star Wars theme. The score was very uninspiring.

In the end this movie was good, but it could have been a hell of a lot better. First Order felt weak.

Chewbacca
I don’t get how after Han dies besides the immediate aftermath, Chewie doesn’t even seem phased. He comes off the Falcon and doesn’t even approach Leia or hug her. Instead she hugs Rey who she doesnt even know. That whole scene felt wrong.

I hope they take some bigger risks with the next one. This movie was good but was just a mash up of A New Hope in different parts.


#8

Felt Finns humor was a tad too much. Needed to be toned down some.

Yeah the end set up was really bad. Not sure why they did that…and with a wide pan with a helicopter shot doesnt fit any of the original endings.


#9

i took the fighting style (or really the lack of) as an indication of how much has already been forgotten. they don’t KNOW how to wield these elegant weapons other than to hack at each other with them, because all the teachers have been lost.


#10

He’d lost it while gambling several times (and so had Lando) when we first meet him. I can totally see a grizzled Han who’s a bit rusty losing his ship to a card shark.[quote=“TK_Fourtwoone, post:7, topic:70920”]
The Kylo Ren temper tantrum really was out of place for a Star Wars film.
[/quote]
I actually really liked his tantrums. Vader was cold as ice; Kylo is young, petulant, and pure rage, and loses his temper. The guy’s lightsaber spits sparks and he’s untrained and unpolished. It’s a really interesting change from Vader as a baddy.

I was just listening to the soundtrack, and thinking that Rey’s Theme is the best new piece of Star Wars music since “Duel of the Fates”.


#11

Yes, B+ seems fair to me too. In general I liked the new characters (although it didn’t help that the moment Ford appeared on screen, everyone else might as well have just gone home.) And I really liked the absurd idea that the “First Order” would have built a bigger and better Death Star in the face of all prior experience, which would perhaps explain a lot of the other things about them as well - probably including the absurd hero-worship of Vader indulged in by Kylo. I was less impressed by his apparent loss of skills at the end considering that at the beginning he could hold a blaster bolt fixed in one place without apparently blinking; how he could have been even challenged by Finn, let alone almost bested by Rey seemed dangerously inconsistent. On the other hand, we’d never have got that magical moment with the lightsabre so maybe it was worth glossing over.


#12

I saw the movie and I was very disappointed with it for several reasons:

Being better than the prequels does not a good Star Wars movie make. Just because it wasn’t poorly written, directed and acted doesn’t make it a better movie. It needs to be compelling in its own right and what little story was in the movie was unimaginative and boring.

The Force Awakens isn’t a nod to the Original Trilogy it is a redux of the exact same story. It retreads the same character arcs we already saw the original cast go through and doesn’t deliver any new depth to them. In fact it undoes every major plot arc and storyline by the end of ROTJ. The movie should have been Episode X not VII because of all the new backstory that has caused a galactic chessboard shift. Maybe in 20 years we can get prequels for the sequels.

The new characters are all angsty from Rey to Ren to Finn. Even Hux and Phasma’s characters are over dramatically portrayed but underused. Finn and Poe are the best and Snoke is about what you would expect. The droids are funny and loveable but disconcerting when it comes to how much they like their masters in this new adaptation. A little too much. And Rey had to do nothing to earn her talents or abilities. Why can you mind control? Plot demands it. Can you expertly pilot a ship you’ve never, ever flown? Yes, plot demands that too.

I want to see an epic about the galaxy. I want to see well-established forces that do battle for the fate of mankind. The Luke/Vader connection was not the central plot to the original trilogy. It was the Empire vs the Rebel Alliance and how Luke’s connection was the key to bringing it down. This feels like the First Order and Resistance are just there to underpin the smaller conflict. More like they were born from a family feud, just call them the Hatfields and McCoys.

I can easily keep on going but I will leave it there. In conclusion: The Force Awakens is an interesting side story that belongs as a narrative in a much larger, sprawling world that is truly more interesting and enjoyable than the cold, empty landscapes that JJ Abrams gave viewers. If the prequels can be canon then so can this but this is not the sequel you are looking for.


#13

The very highest praise I can give this movie is that it feels like Star Wars, in a way that the prequels - for all their retreading of familiar planets and characters - simply don’t. The story wasn’t clunky, and didn’t feel like it was forced to adhere to a checklist of “planets/characters we’ve seen a dozen times by now” for the sake of cramming in something familiar. The dialog was quick and witty without relying on awful puns or obvious jokes. There was a good amount of humor, and I think it was well-executed. The environments felt real (I think because, for the most part, they were). The returning cast members had real involvement in the story that gave their presence more than just an obligatory baton-passing. The new characters were well-cast, and had motivations and personalities that I felt immediately invested in. Their roles and personalities were also their own, instead of being carbon-copies of the original cast. And while I agree that in some ways the story hewed very close to that of A New Hope (ferry a droid carrying vital information to a group of freedom fighters who blow up yet another planet-killing super-weapon run by a red-lightsaber-wielding force-user who extinguishes an important mentor figure (in a room that telegraphed “this is a hole to throw a main character down” a mile away, because that’s just what happens in those kinds of rooms in Star Wars films, but it still hurt to see it happen)), it did so in a way that was fresh and exciting to watch. After all, everything is a remix, the important thing is how you tell the story ;).

What I really found myself appreciating during the battle around Maz’s bar was how much more real and intense it all felt. The up-close focus on a smaller group of combatants gave the fight a visceral emotion that was missing in every wide-angle CGI spectaclegasm in the prequel. (And speaking of Maz, I absolutely adore her character.) That visceral feeling surfaced again during the lightsaber fights. For as much as I do actually like the ornate choreography of the fights in the prequels, they made it hard to feel like the characters were really invested in the fight, or for their desperation to come through as effectively. Ren’s brutal claymore-like tactics and the inexperienced jabbing and lunging of Rey and Finn might not have been as artsy, but it sure felt more personal and thrilling to watch (and for as absurd as it is “scientifically” for a sword made of light to have mass, I love that these fights gave the sabers a sense of physical weight again).

The only thing that really surprised me was how quickly Rey’s journey to track down Luke went once Starkiller Base was destroyed. R2’s recovery and the quick hyperspace trip at the end of the film just felt kind of rushed and awkward. I’d expected the “oh no, the map’s incomplete and we have no idea where these planets are” dilemma to stretch on into the next film. That said, I think it’s a relatively minor quibble about pacing that stands out mostly because it’s the only real slow moment in the film, and I hope it will tie in better with the next episode when it comes out.


#14

He did have blaster wound to his gut distracting him.


#15

hmm. very interesting idea. I hadn’t even thought of that. thanks.


#16

To me R2’s recovery was related to Rey getting there same as the light saber drawing her to it. Luke had R2 go on deep sleep with the rest of the map until a worthy individual came to claim him.


#17

I disagree. Her realization and then utilization of latent abilities was, I thought, nicely done. We didn’t have to hear any stupid shit about miticlorian-whatevers, and it strikes me that being manipulated by Ren could easily be a trigger for Rey to discern and then use her own powers to protect herself.

As for the ship, I toyed with an IBM XT computer using DOS and then some flavor of Windows early on in my life, and that experience has long enabled me to understand and adapt to new computer systems. I can certainly see the drive systems of future craft sharing a great deal of similarities or legacy systems that allow a generally-knowledgeable person to step in and operate said craft without much or any training.


#18

I liked it. While I have several reservations about the story elements, (blowing up a THIRD planet killer? Really?) they got the tone and the pacing right. No scenes filled with badly written exposition. I LIKED the Rey and Finn. Part of me wants a bit more back story so that I’d care about them more from the get go, but that is one of those things where it is better to want more than to get too much, so I’m okay with that. The same is true for how much we saw of some of the old characters…It is better to severely shortchange C3PO’s screen time so that we have enough time to develop the characters that they DO use.


#19

I haven’t seen nearly enough appreciation of the lightsabers in this movie. They’re alive and spitting and dangerous in a way we’ve never seen and it re-awakened (sorry) my sense of wonder and excitement about them.

Just haven’t seen many people bring this up and it was an unexpected pleasure to see them like this.


#20

I agree with most of you.

My distillation: a real Star Wars movie, in many ways. Looked like it, felt like it. I was surprised to be feel real excitement in the cinema! Can’t remember the last time this happened.

My only complaints in an otherwise excellent film: there never was a real “slow down” like in the old movies. Like in the throne room in Return of the Jedi, for example.

The end also was in no way a typical Star Wars ending. I thought it should have ended once R2 awoke and they completed the map puzzle, but I guess they just had to show Luke in this movie for fan service.

The score. While in the theater I really enjoyed it and paid particular attention to the music. But I can’t remember any particular theme except the already familiar ones! And I know every detail of the scores from the other three movies by heart. Anyway, still bought the CD, it’s already in my mailbox.

Again, minor complaints in an otherwise surprisingly good Star Wars movie. I was expecting it to be just all right, but it was much more than that. The next day I bought tickets to watch it two more time in IMAX.