Before you become afraid and click away, don't worry, there will be NO spoilers in this review. Fear not folks!
Guys, I simply cannot believe that it happened but Star Wars is BACK. Don't worry this won't be 1,000 words simply gushing about how much I loved Star Wars growing up or anything. I'm going to break this film down into the top 3 goods and top three bads of [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158).
I'm going to do my best to not constantly compare this to other Star Wars films and discuss this as a film in general. Let's not waste any time. I can't wait any longer, I have to tell you about the three best things of this film. Honestly, guys there's way more than three but I had to restrain myself.
Here's my full video below if you'd like to watch!
3. The New Characters
Yes, it was a fun time seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca on new adventures after 30 years but what really sold me was the new characters brought to the story. Rey in particular was a tremendous example on how Hollywood should be solving the problem of not having enough strong female leads. Why was she so great? Rey was a freaking badass for starters! Also, she wasn't a damsel in distress or over-sexualized love interest.
Even look at Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She's badass but she's played both the damsel and she runs around in a skin-tight leather outfit. Rey was never showing too much skin and during a time she is captured, she figures out a way to escape herself. We need more characters like Rey.
The other main character that was a lot of fun to get to know was Finn. For being a man raised from a young age to kill and serve orders he sure had a hilarious sense of humor! By far Finn is the funniest character in the film. He's played amazingly by John Boyega who is sure to take off into more leading roles in the film industry.
Lastly, I'll mention Kylo Ren. It could've been very easy to try to replicate Darth Vader by making a tall, intimidating and powerful villain. This time around he's a more complex and unpredictable foe for our heroes. Trying to stay away from spoiler territory I'll simply say that Adam Driver brings a performance to the role that we wished Hayden Christensen would've brought to Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy.
2. Overall Style
Another best part about this film is the overall style, look and effects used in this film. J.J. Abrams took a big risk by spending more money on practical effects, makeup, prosthetics in place CGI and green screens. Sure, this film has its fair use of some CGI but it feels more naturally hidden. The sequence pictured above features Rey, Finn and BB-8 running from explosions. The prequels would've rather added that explosion in the editing process. By actually creating an explosion you feel the intensity and fear for the character's safety.
The chaos during the stormtrooper battle sequences felt like real military battles opposed to CGI clone troopers against CGI battle droids. I sincerely hope this starts a trend where studios allow directors to use practical effects as opposed to overloading the CGI.
1. Humor & Heart
I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is probably the funniest Star Wars film to date. They have all had a tiny bit of humor thrown in throughout, but this humor never felt forced. John Boyega and Harrison Ford in particular were able to be able to pull off hysterical humor while having you on the edge of your seat a scene later.
One character that could've been a real dud was the droid BB-8. He picked up where R2-D2 left off. Even though he's just saying beeps and boops you can sense the real emotion and feelings behind this little cute droid. BB-8 stole the show here.
Now, obviously I've talked a lot about all the Goods but now it's time to play devil's advocate and bring up some of the gripes and nit-picky problems in the Bads section of the film.
3. Some Characters' Screen Time
Two characters that immediately jump out at me that didn't have enough time to shine where Captain Phasma and Poe Dameron. Captain Phasma is an interesting character and has the perfect actress playing her, Gwendoline Christie. However, if you really count her scenes you'd probably have a few fingers left on the first hand you started counting with. Gwendoline Christie deserves more time to show how menacing she can be as one of Kylo Ren's highest ranking storm troopers in the First Order.
Poe Dameron had a tremendous opening sequence to be introduced in. Oscar Isaac was able to grab your attention with his performance and keep it for as long as he was on screen. Problem is that for a large chunk of the movie he disappears. I wanted to know more about his character's backstory or motivations beyond what was on the surface. I don't want him to fall under the moniker of the 'cool guy for the sake of being cool,' like Chris Pratt's character in Jurassic World.
2. That CGI Alien Monster Sequence
I'll try to describe this scene without giving too much away but, when aboard Han Solo and Chewie's ship, they encounter this large CGI alien monster. I understood the purpose of the scene. However, it really felt out of place in Star Wars as a whole and this film.
The effects were not up to snuff and if you were to take the entire sequence out, nothing would really be different for our characters. I enjoy everything that Han and Chewie go through before the alien comes into play but the action simply didn't carry any weight. I would rather have had more scenes to develop Rey, Finn or Poe.
1. Rehashing Old Devices
Some filmmakers prefer the term homage, but sometimes when there are more homages than original thought it could be seen as repetitive. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not repetitive but there are some pretty decent sized plot points that strike very similar to Star Wars: A New Hope. This is another instance where I'm really trying to slide by spoiling anything for you guys who haven't seen it yet.
There are some plot points, ideas and character actions that are pretty obvious they are calling back to the original trilogy. It doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable but if the 8th episode of Star Wars follows the same suit then we could be in trouble for lack of originality in the franchise. I personally understand why Abrams borrowed so much from the original Star Wars. It's because he is a true fan and he knew this is something true fans needed after the prequel trilogies left people in such an angry fashion.
What I said in my video review is that this is not a perfect movie by any means. No one should really argue that it is perfect. J.J. Abrams did make a perfect Star Wars movie, and this was the best way to kick this franchise back into high gear. We needed this to re-charge the batteries and get ready for Star Wars movies coming out for years and years to come!
My Rating: Tremendous, Buying it the Day it Comes Out on DVD
The video above is a comedy sketch I wrote and directed if you want to take a look! If you want to see more sketches or web shows you can click here for Entertainment Buffet. You can also follow me on Twitter @TheProze as well as LIKE Entertainment Buffet on Facebook.
THANKS FOR READING AND HAVE A TREMENDOUS DAY