Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I dare say, surpasses even the source material that spawned it.
Crafted by the talented director, J. J. Abrams, this episode of the eponymous franchise is modernized with the latest practical and computer effects, mixed with today’s cultural influences of strength, villainy and heroism.
From his efforts, we the audience, in terms of cinematography and narrative, are provided with arguably the most beautiful chapter of Star Wars.
(Spoiler-free review ahead)
No longer under the guidance of the original creator, George Lucas, this entry is allowed to go in directions that were otherwise unexplored, compared to the source material. Lawrence Kasdan, one of the writers for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, composes sharp, witty, sometimes emotional dialogue from beginning to end.
The acting is top notch from all of the principle actors. Returning stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, among others, deliver their parts brilliantly, either through their lines, or simply with body language. Newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver also contribute to the story in the most positive ways. They show strength when they need to, emotions when called for, and delivery of humor is spot-on, thanks in part to the script, as well as the acting.
The story centers on the search for Luke Skywalker, who disappeared sometime after the events of episode VI. From there, the fates of many individuals collide, and an adventure spanning worlds is set into motion.
The film is not without its faults. By the final act, there is so much story that wants to be told, but with limited screen time, some scenes had to be abridged, or even cut, to the detriment of exposition or character development. The obligatory air battle towards the end, while exciting, felt rushed, and offered very little to the plot. Many characters, as seen on the movie poster, contribute barely anything to the film.
Nostalgia is a double-edged sword here: while long-time Star Wars fans will enjoy seeing X-Wings fly by, hearing TIE fighters scream past, blaster fights, lightsaber battles, the fact remains that much of this means treading on already explored territory. For example, to up the ante set by the Death Star of the first film, a planet-sized destroyer of worlds exists. Its own destruction involves a two-pronged attack; both in the air, and on the ground, which is a scheme familiar to those who are acquainted with Jedi.
This is a movie I would certainly see many more times; I had fun experiencing it, and look forward to the inevitable sequels. While not a masterpiece, Abrams and his crew breathe new life into a franchise many believed was dead. The film is expected to break records this weekend, and if it does not live up to the hype, it is at the very least a superb movie to wrap up the end of 2015.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is rated PG-13, with a run-time of 136 minutes. Tickets for your local theater and available showtimes can be purchased in advance from Fandango.
Have you seen The Force Awakens? What did you think about it? As always, let us know in the comments below.