I’m one of those people who was barely old enough to see the original Star Wars in the theater. Thus the entire franchise has a unique place in my personal history and is appropriately cherished. After my unique San Diego Comic Con experience with the JJ Abrams Star Wars concert, I’ve felt oddly tied to this film. Perhaps it rests entirely with the concert experience but to say I’ve been looking forward to The Force Awakens would be an understatement of grand proportion. My viewing took place three days after launch and I chose the late-late show at my local plex. Truth be told, I was quite surprised at the number of people in the theater for such a late showing.
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (NO SPOILERS included) was an incredible film, themed with intense action, plenty of intrigue, an admittedly overused plot but all-in-all an excellent addition to a storied franchise. To quote Mark Hamill in the YouTube behind the scenes video, “Nothing has changed. Well, everything has changed but nothing has changed.” If I were to capture this film in a few words, I would say Star Wars VII is exactly what it is supposed to be — down to almost every detail while paying homage to the original films.
The story finds our budding protagonist, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) struggling to survive in the wilderness of Jakku by scavenging tech from derelict ships. Her fortunes quickly turn as she is thrust sharply into a right-place, right-time plot bringing her and First Order Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) into a forced partnership. The action continues at an unrelenting pace while the rapidly developing story brings the audience to the only conclusion a Star Wars film can end with — a spectacular event combined with a strong lead into the next (as yet unreleased) Star Wars VIII film.
The production value must be highlighted as some of the most incredible special effects, both subtle and epic, to grace the screen in recent memory. Clearly, JJ Abrams set about the task of telling this story with precision and the production value displays that intent. Effects are both mind blowing and gently weaved into scenes with care. The acting of Daisy Ridely and John Boyega (along with the most of the remaining cast) deliver their characters with depth and realism. Everyone involved shows dramatic range befitting such a large story arch. Star Wars VII also delivers some enhanced themes not yet seen in the franchise which provide additional depth and intrigue to existing Star Wars lore.
On the opposite side of the coin, I do have a couple of minor quibbles. I believe one awkward scene could have been completely rewritten and found another moment of quipped levity completely wrong for that moment of the story. Finally, the plot reveal will be very familiar to Star Wars fans — and those hoping for a brand new story will be momentarily disappointed (though that disappointment is quickly forgotten in the mayhem of action).
I found Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens to be a fantastic film and a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience. The iconic music, the plot, the action, and promise of more to come leaves me rating this film 8/10. Catch this in the theater, you won’t be disappointed.