Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review
“Chewie, We’re Home”
Star Wars is back ladies and gentleman in a bombastic blaze of glory filled with nostalgia, humor, action sequences that’ll melt your face off, and of course light saber duels. While much of it feels familiar it never feels unwelcome.
In a day and age of CGI and green screens, director JJ Abrams opts for a more subtle and genuine approach towards the production value. Choosing to shoot on location in Abu Dhabi for the desert planet of Jakku’s scenes as well as traveling to Ireland for forest planets helps to ground the world the viewer is being whisked away to. The characters of the universe feel fully realized thanks to the use of practical effects on nearly every single non-human character, which is refreshing to see.
The films plot isn’t something incredibly original nor is it groundbreaking, but it works due to the characters it introduces. Harrison Ford returns as Han Solo injecting a huge amount of nostalgia into the movie while never feeling shoehorned in. He’s not only an integral part of the story but also a sort of mentor to the “new generation” of characters Rey and Finn, played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega respectively. They absolutely crush it, their line delivery is near perfect and their chemistry completely works even if it’s in its infant stages. They’re incredibly likable. Carrie Fisher returns as General Leia and Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker. But the films best stuff is saved for Kylo Ren, whose inner turmoil is some of the series better character developments. His complexity adds a level of depth never seen in Darth Vader or any other villain presented in the universe.
The film does have a fair share of flaws, specifically in character Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma. They have almost nothing to do in the film and Snokes appearance is a bit of a let down but his actual character reveal is done in a very unique manner that works well. As for Captain Phasma…. Why was she here????
The film handles all its moving parts very well and has some of the best pacing in a movie since this years Mad Max: Fury Road. There is literally never a single moment when you aren’t locked in for the ride, and there are no exposition spewing moments of the prequel trilogy that led to a stop and go approach of the story. Stop and explain random things nobody cares about, go do an action sequence, come back and talk about politics and negotiations. Nope. No more. It’s simple and clean, which is why the film works so well.
Look, this movie is by no means an Oscar contender and it isn’t flawless, and thankfully it isn’t another Phantom Menace but it’s one of the most entertaining movies of the year and possibly the best action sequences in the entire franchise. We really are home.
Star Wars “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” is in theaters today!