Episode VII was one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and that is not a small feat.
This year was had huge buzz on movies like “Jurassic World” and “Hateful 8,” and people were wondering if J.J. Abrams could pull off Star Wars. The simple answer is yes; I really enjoyed it but it wasn’t perfect.
A brief warning to the poor souls who have yet to see this movie: this review will contain spoilers. I repeat! This review contains major, experience-ruining spoilers.
We start our movie with the Ben-Hur Scroll of text that became famous from Star Wars to see a remote desert town get taken over by storm troopers. This scene had me especially relieved that we were not going with the prequel route of discussing the politics of the current universe. We are introduced to BB-8, the ball droid that basically has the personality of Wall-E. The plot is identical to the movies of the fourth and fifth movies, and the overall scene and script are nostalgia-laced.
The saving grace of the film lies in the performances of the newer actors. Overall with the exception of the returning cast, this was the best acting in the Star Wars films without a doubt. Besides acting the characters stand pretty strong by themselves.
Finn is your generic hero who is reborn through his rebellious traits. His chemistry with Rey is far better than couples of other hits this year like “Jurassic World.” His fish-out-of-water approach, even if the act itself gets old, felt fresh in a star wars film. That being said his personality does take a backseat whenever the plot needs him to. Sadly this turns him into the annoying comic relief.
I have no problem with Rey other than the déjà vu effect I get while watching her. There was no doubt in my mind that she was going to be the one with the midichlorian count over 9000.
The film hints Rey has a relation to Luke, but honestly going that route doesn’t seem right. Being cousins with the main enemy sounds like something a sequel to “Spaceballs” would do. Obi however may have a granddaughter who would be really creative and in terms of movie lore would make perfect sense. Between Prequels and Original Trilogy he has a family.
Between the original and new trilogy, someone obviously important to Rey abandons her on the remote planet know well known by the name of Jakku. Besides the failed attempts of Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi and Rey are the only ones throughout the cinematic universe that master use the Jedi mind tricks. This would also explain why she harnesses the force so quickly.
Kylo Ren is not impressive, which is no fault of the actor; the character is just written oddly. In a movie that tries to show that it can be bigger and better and have character development. He is made more of a villain who is not ready to be the villain.
We already know by their first encounter that Rey is stronger and since the next time they meet they are in the finale. Even the prequels did not make that mistake. Other than killing off one the best characters from the previous trilogy, again another trope copied from the original, he does not do much intimidating.
All the returning actors do an alright job, and they were mostly hit and miss. C-3PO and R2-D2 return which was a nice touch. R2-D2’s “off mode” was eye rolling at best and it would be a huge missed opportunity if Rey were not Obi’s granddaughter.
Overall the film was great, but it simply did not take any leaps of creativity. While enjoyable and full of energy, “The Force Awakens” plays it just a bit too safe. They stick too close to the plot of “A New Hope”, and do everything to avoid making mistakes.