Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A Review
To fans worried about this movie like I was, don't be.  It's good.  You'll probably like it...if you
liked the original, you'll like this.

It's probably JJ Abrams best effort yet.  Which isn't exactly saying much coming from me because
I don't really like his work.  I think he recycles too much.  It's what he did with
Star Trek, it's what
he does here.  It's like he sits down and thinks: "What did people like about
A New Hope?  Death
Star, Darth Vader...check and check."  That's right, there's newer, "badder" versions of each in
The
Force Awakens
.  Some things are so reminiscent of the original it's actually ridiculous.

But it's good and well-made and you'll enjoy it and have a good time watching.

Overall, I give it a 7 out of 10.

It was a toss up between a 6 and a 7 but I decided to give it a 7 because I'm giving it credit for
continuing the magic of the original trilogy.  I'm a New Yorker and we tend not to approve of
very much or at least it's very difficult to get our approval and the theater I was in  people
clapped and cheered when the first titles & music started, they clapped and cheered when each
original character was introduced on screen for the first time and they clapped and cheered
when it was over.  So there is something to be said for that.

Props for having sets, filming on location and building props and creatures practically.  Really
made a difference.  The effects of the prequel trilogy, in my opinion, still hold and are still
impressive and paved the way for certain things in
Lord of the Rings and definitely Avatar, but
they were a little cold for the
Star Wars universe.

There are story elements that I think are overly strongly telegraphed pretty early on, such as the
parentage and continuing issues plaguing the Skywalker family.

And I didn't like what I will refer to as "The Big Shocker" which you'll understand immediately
if you've seen it or when you do.  I refuse to spoil that mainly because I don't even want to talk
about it.  That's how upset I am over it.

I guess it's traditional and in keeping with both the original trilogy and the prequels (as I had it
pointed out to me by my nephew), but I didn't think that this Big Shocker was absolutely
necessary.  And I'll argue that at the time of those other instances in the first and fifth movies,
you didn't know those characters well enough to really be that upset.

I also didn't like the way the Big Shocker was handled in the story & by the characters, or not
handled.  It was barely acknowledged and no one really mourns other than a few guttural yells
and a hug.  I am hoping that this is something that will get evened out over the next two films.

I tried to keep myself in the dark as much as possible for this movie because I didn't want to
have any expectations.  I was already afraid that it was going to stink, again because I didn't
really trust JJ Abrams, and I haven't really liked some of what they've done with the series so I
didn't realize that Andy Serkis wasn't actually going to be on screen this time.  I missed him and
would have liked to have really seen him and not just a digital projection.

Some of the other digital characters are interesting; I don't know if they were necessary.  And I
will give them some leeway with the character of Luke even though I don't like the implications
this movie made about him and his post
Return of the Jedi life.

I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt on most of the story elements I took issue with
(which is revolutionary for me because I don't do that, but they did earn that much) since this is
only the first in a new trilogy.  I'm hoping they'll be evened out over the next two films.

I thought it was overly long as is typical with most directors who achieve success they lose the
ability to edit themselves.  I don't think the story or the action frankly was as tight as it could
have been, but again, it is enjoyable for just about everyone.  

I like the original trilogy blaster fighting better.  Everyone shoots constantly and occasionally
random people fall down.  I didn't like the added violence of blood on the helmet and blaster
scars on the armor.  Though it's probably still safer for the kiddies than even the
Avengers.


Notes on the Cast:
Adam Driver  - ruined the entire thing, to me.  He should have kept his helmet on the entire
time.  But I am prejudiced.  I'm sure he did a fine job in actuality he's just not my preference.

That Gleeson kid - all I kept thinking was that this was the only Weasely kid that should have
been thrown into Slytherin!  Bastard.  Traitor.  But then I remembered that I was crossing my
universes. ;)

I was pleasantly surprised to like most of the new characters which I didn't think I would, was
already annoyed by some of them just from the trailers.  

I liked Poe.  He's played well though he's briefly in it, for the time that he is, he's dynamic.  And
Finn I was also very worried about him but he's actually a charmer and amusing.  I wasn't really
pleased with the seeming intention of his character arc but overall in this movie I don't think
you can help but like these guys.  

I even liked BB8 who I have pretty much hated since they started blasting it's stupid face
everywhere.

Daisy Ridley is a gem.  Plain & simple.  

It was absolutely great to see basically the entire original cast back together and, all-in-all, I
think it's great to see
Star Wars back on screen.  


Story Elements I Didn't Like:
I guess some of these are common in movies but it still irritated the crap out of me in this
particular film.  For instance, if Kylo Ren is so super powerful with the force and with the
lightsaber and nobody can touch him, he's more powerful than any of the other baddies we've
seen so far, why would he even entertain the idea of fighting Finn?  

We saw Ren stop a blaster shot mid shot and yank thoughts out of people's heads, but he can't
just whip the lightsaber away from him?  By the way, Finn had no business holding that
lightsaber, in my opinion, and it's like the second time he tried to use it.

It was great to see a girl get to step up this time and see her journey.  Rey's moments both in
captivity and in the forest were great and people laughed and cheered.  It was a great moment
and you will definitely heart her character.

She has a dream/vision sequence much like Luke's trials but these were more flashbacks of her
own life and strangely placed in the film, and the supposed cause of them made no sense to
me.  Would have liked to have seen maybe less of Lupita's nonsensical character and more
explanation/set up for that sequence.

I also had a problem with them revealing that Kylo Ren is seemingly being tempted/led to the
Dark Side by his grandfather, complete with burned up Darth Vader helmet (it's his lightsaber
being fought over in the movie).  

Annoying specifically because an entire arc of the original series was to rescue and recover
Anakin Skywalker and that mission was a success in the end.  His soul or force spirit shouldn't
be tempting his grandson to do anything but walk towards the light; I am hoping that this pans
out to be a red herring so to speak.

Also a point was taken off for having the movie not end in some sort of celebratory group shot.  
Poor form. ;)


To Give You Some Perspective:
My mother loved it!  Thought it was great!  Hate, hate, HATED the Big Shocker!!!  Hated it.  
Seriously.  Loved Rey and that she's the Jedi.

My father loved it, thought it was great.  He thought it was in true
Star Wars tradition and didn't
mind that it kept so close to the original.  He did not think it was too long; thought that it was
exciting and there were no boring parts.  Also liked that it's a girl this time.

Two young men I was with in their late teens/early twenties thought it was great as well and
completely enjoyed it.  And are already predicting which kid belongs to which parent and what
will happen next.

It's also been great to see the nerds out.  See kids dressed up.  Adults with lightsabers.  Nice to
see girls engaged by this movie as well.   And the general excitement has been really nice to see
and pretty contagious in a good way.

I am even more curious now about what George Lucas' vision was for these stories.  It was
previously released that he was going much darker and since this is pretty much an updated
retelling of the first movie I'm super curious where an original story would have gone.

All that being said, I already want to see it again.
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Ok.  I lied.  There is TOTAL SPOILAGE here.

I'm warning you again.  I'm talking only to people who have seen the movie.  If you haven't stop
reading right now, come back when you have and compare notes.  If you never will see it,
you're only allowed to read this if you promise not to spoil it for others.
Spoiler Alert!  You have been warned!  Continue at your own risk!