Fans (including me!) have been waiting for this film for a long time. After the general disappointment of the three prequel films, I was a little leery of anything else George Lucas planned to do, so I was excited to hear he really didn’t have much to do with the production of Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Sorry, George.
Thirty years after the events in Return of the Jedi, the First Order has taken the place of the Empire and is trying to crush the new Republic and the Resistance. Kylo Ren, an apparent Sith (after all, he wields a lightsaber and is bad), is on a quest to find Luke Skywalker, who disappeared. I won’t go into any more plot since I want you experience it without anything beyond what’s in the trailers being explained beforehand. No spoilers here.
As expected, John Williams did a great job with the music. It felt like a return to home the way the various scenes were arranged and scored. Never once did the music feel out of place. Instead, it fit The Force Awakens like a tailored glove, giving just the right fit in all the right places. It was, simply, awesome. The snappy dialogue is back, too!
The general feel of the film hearkened back to the days of the original trilogy. Instead of grand pompous fluff, J.J. Abrams gave us what the trailers promised: an old universe that felt lived in and had a long, long history. The clothing worn by the characters went beyond costumes. Everything looked useful and practical, like the clothing everyone actually wears for everyday life. It was real.
And it really worked. Abrams showed us that there were 30 years of events experienced by the returning characters which led up to The Force Awakens. There was a story outside of what was being shown, which made it feel much more real and not simply staged for the story. Abrams gave us a a single book, but showed us the library of possibilities.
One of the most important things that happened, though, was making us care about the new characters. These were fully fleshed-out people with minds of their own, who just happened to be part of this story. There was no one obnoxious, no one there just for the laughs. Even BB-8, while providing plenty of fun moments, had a serious side and played an important role. He was intelligent, and that mattered to the main characters.
If there was one drawback to the film, it was that one of the plot points was pretty obvious. However, there were plenty of obvious bits in the original trilogy, and—just like in those films—everything worked despite the flaws. In fact, I think having a few obvious bits made the story feel more real.
In the end, I really, really liked The Force Awakens. I can’t think of anything that would have made the film better. I love the new characters, and I loved seeing the old characters. The story is interesting, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. If you loved the original trilogy, you will enjoy this film. To quote a friend, “Star Wars – The Force Awakens is what a Star Wars movie should be.”
Release Date: December 18, 2015 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 1 (very brief and mild)
Violence: 1 (gunfights, space battles, murder, death)