The event of the year has finally arrived. I had the privilege of going to Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens opening night. I arrived an 1 ½ hours early and the line was extremely long. There were fans of all ages, and the excitement was palpable. The success of this movie is due not only to the hype and nostalgia of the film, but also to the quality and the fact that a new generation can appreciate the magic of a galaxy far far away.
The excitement radiated off of viewers as cheering erupted as soon as the Lucas Films logo appeared on screen. There were a few other moments that elicited cheers from the crowd throughout the movie.
Star Wars is know for it’s loved characters, and this film created new ones while also involving those beloved characters that we have known for years. Having a female lead in the form of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley in her first big role, really plays on the popular trend of strong, female protagonist that has become prominent in today’s media. Not only that, but Ridley also far outshone all the other actors in the movie. She conveys emotion, and brings the character to life in a way that no one expected. We learn a little about her backstory, but there are still some mysteries that need to be solved. Joining Ridley is John Boyega (Moses in Attack the Block) as Finn, an ex-Stormtrooper. We also are introduced to a new villain Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver (Al Cody in Inside Llewyn Davis), who aims to defeat the Republic with the help of General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2). Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac (Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis), is a joke-cracking Resistance pilot who was also the original owner of BB-8, who just so happens to be the cutest robot ever. (Seriously, I want one).
Director J.J. Abrams creates nostalgia for fans of the original trilogy by bringing back Leia, played by Carrie Fisher (Marie in When Harry Met Sally…), Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark). As well as bringing back Peter Mayhew to reprise the role of Chewbacca and Anthony Daniels as C3-PO. Even R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill (Professor Arnold in Kingsman: The Secret Service) for a short period of time.
The visual and special effects far surpass those of the originals. This is mainly due to the advances in technology over the past decades. But, Abrams is able to use practical effects to make it seem more life like, instead of just using CGI. The movie was filmed on location for many scenes that take place on planets, and it pays off. They help bring the story to life in a way that is convincing and exciting.
All of the fight scenes were well done, be it starships, lightsabers, or blasters. The fights between starships were well filmed, and fun to watch. they captured the same presence as those in the originals did. the lightsabers duels were well choreographed, and fully returned us to the world we know and love.
Abrams proved that he could revive an old franchise when he directed Star Trek in 2009, this film solidified that belief as he pulls off yet another reboot of an even bigger franchise.
The plot of movie proves impressive, but is lacking in some parts. It isn’t uncommon by any stretch for movies to have plot holes, but this movie had some minor ones that could have easily been fixed. There were also some plot points that could have been excluded. There was one moment in particular when I’m pretty sure the entire theater audibly gasped. (Not gonna say what it was though because… SPOILERS!) However, the plot was a rehash of that from early installments in the franchise, and a little more originality would have been appreciated.
Overall, I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens 7/10 stars. It lived up to the hype, but it could have been better if other actors gave the same caliber performance as Ridley, and if the plot hadn’t been a rehash of things we have seen before.