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Spoiler Free Review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A Spoiler Free Review

by Ryno

No spoilers here! I don’t want to ruin any plot points for anyone who intends to see this film so read on worry free. This article is just my initial impressions and reaction after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A more in depth review will follow after people have had some time to see the movie and the hype has settled a bit more.

First off, there certainly was an awakening in the force this evening. JJ Abrams has made Star Wars good fun again! I have to say I was pretty psyched up to see this film before I went. I was getting to the point where I would just keep watching the trailers, daydreaming up my own plot. I tried not to read too much that wasn’t on the technical ‘making of’ side of production. I’m a big no-spoiler guy. I like speculation from official offerings like trailers, commercials, and official stills. I’ll tell you right here and now, I was not disappointed one bit. What was so enjoyable about this film, is even with all my obsessive trailer watching, I still had no real clue as to the actual plot of the movie. Some of the plot I made up turned out to be true, but there were still plenty of major surprises. I am not one to be audible during a film, but there were many noise worthy moments for all of us in the theater tonight. We laughed, we cried. We gasped, we cheered! This movie succeeded, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to bring that fun adventure spirit back into Star Wars.

Right off the back you’ll notice a major notable thing that Abrams has blessed us with, which is a group of talented young up and coming actors who can in fact, actually act! I loved every character. Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) had wonderful chemistry and the actors were clearly in love with the film they were making. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), maybe the character we knew the least about going into the film, was just great. Oscar Isaac will win an academy award someday. If you have not checked out his body of work I highly recommend it. He is a chameleon and has yet to look or sound the same from one film to the next. I will also praise the actor behind Kylo Ren, Adam Driver. He was a wonderful bad guy. His character was intense and driven but motivated. Driver delivered a great performance. Of course seeing Han Solo (Harrison Ford) back at it with his old pal Chewie was just the best. I was a little concerned that Harrison Ford was going to be the bitter Han Solo here, but he brought back that smuggler magic. Don’t even get me started on how much you’ll fall in love with BB8…

It was also nice to not have to groan through insufferable dialogue during this outing. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back), and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) really did a stellar job with this story and script. Some would say it’s not hard to top the prequels and in fact, everyone should say that. However, on the other side of that, we ultimately knew where those prequel movies were headed. This film had the almost insurmountable odds of charting new territory while trying to continue where we left off the story more then 30 years ago. Without going into any specifics (remember, let people see the movie before you explode every twist and turn of the plot on them) “The Force Awakens” may feel like it treads some familiar storytelling ground at points, but not in a bad way. It does this in the best of ways possible. It has this fresh and exciting feel to it while also making sure we remember where it came from. By doing this, we get to stay very focused on our characters. We get to learn their stories, feel their motivation. It’s such a great story of light versus dark, about people trying to do the right thing. It’s very relatable in a fantastical way.

The visuals are outstanding in this film as well. I know the goal was to do as much practical f/x as possible and it really payed off. Combine that with JJ Abrams’ unique visual style (sans the lens flairs in case anyone was worried) and you have a visual spectacle. This is one of those films I could honestly watch on mute and just enjoy the set production and camerawork. Again, this was another area that it seemed like everyone involved decided to just have fun. There are so many great camera angles with the X-wings. We were all blown away by the Millennium Falcon maneuvering against the TIE fighters from the original teaser released last Thanksgiving. The rest of the film does not disappoint.

“The Force Awakens” certainly proves that a Star Wars film is an experience. I always think of the definition of cinema as an experience shared with others in a theater setting. It’s meant to be communal. Films like those of the Star Wars franchise are the reasons why cinema exists. This is not a film to be watched at a house. This is not a film to be ingested on a small screen. This is not a film to be watched alone. This is a massive screen, packed house, night out type of film. I’ve used the word fun so many times in this article, but that’s the feeling I’m left with. It was fun! JJ Abrams made Star Wars fun again. Do yourself a favor, get some friends together, or just have a You Day and go have some fun. Go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The force is strong with this one.

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