When Disney bought Lucasfilm in October of 2012, I was pretty overwhelmingly excited. A new trilogy of films were coming and they weren’t prequels. We were going to get the characters we know and love more than thirty years after Return of the Jedi. Then, after dodging rumors for awhile that he was jumping sci-fi franchises, J.J. Abrams announced that he would be leaving Star Trek and was helming Episode 7 of Star Wars. It was all very promising and the Star Wars hype train got rolling.
Soon the original cast started returning. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill all confirmed their involvement as well as Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels and there was even more reason to get fanboy giddy. They were getting the whole band back together and I for one still hold hope that we may see Billy Dee William’s Lando Calrissian in Episode 8 or 9. The point is that the cast was behind doing something just as great as the original trilogy and brush off the stigma that the prequels left behind.
What about the script? This one really got me, as Lucasfilm and Abrams tapped Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay, the same man that wrote Empire Strikes Back, largely regarded as the best Star Wars film ever. Along with Abrams and Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt (who dragged a lot of tears out of us in that film), combined to immerse us back into a galaxy far, far away.
Now, finally, the movie is here and I’m sitting here mere hours after watching it, staring at my computer, trying to figure out how I’m going to talk about the film without spoiling anything at all, and I mean anything. Lets face the facts, there’s one group of people out there who just want to see the world burn and put out spoilers with snide messages illustrating how happy they are about ruining your experience. Then there’s another who will kill you for posting anything that can be construed as a spoiler. I have to play this carefully.
So, I’ve decided to make this very brief and will engage people on social media who want talk about it (my twitter is @thestevildead) and just give my feelings about the film without describing it.
Before going any further, let me say that I like the film but I didn’t absolutely, whole-heartedly love it. There are certain things that I outright did not like and the fact that J.J. Abrams played the film so safely is kind of a detriment to it. The result for some of this is The Force Awakens comes of like an Episode 4 for a new generation or, what I call it, A Newer Hope. That being said, the fan service in this film is absolutely immense, many times causing the audience I was in to cheer and clap many times during it.
The new cast mixes pretty seamlessly with the old cast and gives us some really interesting plot threads heading into Rian Johnson’s Episode 8. Our villain is intimidating with some deeply compelling character developments and it’s near impossible to keep your eyes off of Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey. She very much reminded me of young Carrie Fisher in the original film and we all know that many Star Wars fans’ first crushes were on the beautiful Princess Leia Organa. Consider Ridley a renewal of an old infatuation.
Did my hype crush me? Maybe a little but in the end and after a time of reflection I really enjoyed my experience with this movie and am looking forward to the next time I watch it, some time next week. In a closing of this brief review I say go and enjoy yourself because J.J. Abrams has managed to restore the fun feel of the popcorn side of this franchise. We can also breathe easier knowing that we have no knowledge of where this trilogy is going, just that we won’t have the darkness of the prequel’s finale. I had fun with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and give it a four out of five.