A Strong, yet Recycled, Start To The Trilogy

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A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, George Lucas created a simple movie that would blossom into one of the biggest franchises in history. Over 40 years, Star Wars has managed to work its way into numerous media that keeps fans screaming in glee. After a corporate buyout, Disney has set their sights on reviving the movie franchise in the form of Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Yet with the mixed response to the prequels and dry movie spell, is the Force still strong enough to keep us entertained? Hi, I’m Robbie K and I’m here for another review on the latest Sci Fi Blockbuster, spoiler free.

From the trailers, there were three questions I wanted to address in this review:

  1. Is it action packed?
  2. Is the acting better?
  3. Does it feel like Star Wars.

To answer the first question, Yes The Force Awakens is an action packed adventure that gave us a taste of nearly everything we loved from the preceding films. The strongest piece was the ship/space warfare that finally stepped back into the shoes of the original trilogy. Exciting dogfights on multiple fronts kept things diverse as both factions’ ships flew about in a chaotic slew. The editing impressively brought you into the cockpit, maximizing the thrill of flying into battle against the enemy. Ground combat wise it felt similar to the original trilogy, skillful blasting with a touch of suspense to keep things exciting. As for the lightsabers, well they are off to a good start, but this movie lacked the finesse style the prequels saber fights held, sometimes being a little hokey and drawn out. Regardless, there are few dull moments in Episode 7, which may be the biggest strength of this film.

Now what about the acting? You’ll be happy to hear that the Episode 7 has improved on this aspect as well. This should be no surprise when regarding the prequels lack of chemistry between the leads, however in regards to the original trilogy this installment has managed to reach the same quality of acting. Our seasoned actors (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Anthony Daniels) once more bring their characters to life, just with a few more wrinkles and some digital editing for looks. Ford in particular steals the show, maintaining that charismatic, live strong attitude that we fell in love with all those years ago. Fisher’s lost the majesty in her voice, but makes up for it in facial expressions and body acting that bring the feel of Leia with it. As for Daniels, well the man has not let age wear down his quirkiness, making the most of his screen time.

Our new cast has stepped up to the task placed on their shoulders, and created new characters that fit into Lucas’ world. Daisy Ridley leads the charge of the new generation, a nice balance of strength and vulnerability to craft a dynamic character. John Boyega drives the story and provides comedic relief to ease the tension of this movie. As for Adam Driver, he certainly has the arrogance and regality of his character down, but there are some qualities that need tweaking (either by him or the writing staff) to capture the ominous tone his predecessors had.

Finally, does the Force Awakens feel like Star Wars? Yes. The Force Awakens takes the best of both proceding trilogies and mixes them into an adventure of spectacular quality. The opening crawl gets the nostalgia started, as Star Destroyers, alien creatures, and beautiful worlds emerged in high-definition graphics. I found myself laughing at the multitude of references to the classic adventures, primarily in the clever placing of small trinkets here and there. This installment also expanded the galaxy further, adding a variety of new planets, species, and technology to the mix that fit well in Lucas’ world.

While the nostalgia and classic references are a welcome attribute of this film, it is also the biggest issue I have with the movie. The Force Awakens has little originality to it in terms of story, essentially using recycled plot elements in this story. To me this plot felt more like a remake with much of the original story amped up to a grandiose scale that sometimes was a little too big for me. In addition, I felt this movie tried to stuff too many things into one movie, and the new additions to the film (many scrapped from the expanded universe books) felt rushed or greatly underdeveloped. Perhaps more details will come in the next movies (both main film and side stories), but for now their stories remain very shallow.

I greatly enjoyed this new adventure and felt that The Force Awakens was a Star Wars tale worth the wait. It provided the whole Star Wars experience, especially in terms of the design of the worlds and the action packed plot. While the lack of originality is annoying, I think this movie sets a solid ground for any future films, one I hope to see flourish in the next five years. I definitely recommend a trip to the theater for this one, whether in 3-D or regular is your choice.

 

My scores for this tale are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 8.5

Movie Overall: 8

 

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