A New & Familiar Adventure In A Galaxy Far Far Away…

Star Wars The Force AwakensI promised myself I wasn’t going to do this.  Since Austin did not screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens for us prior to its release like glorious Los Angeles did for all my friends out there I told myself no way was I going to write a movie review for free about a film entry in one of my favorite all-time movie franchises.  However, how else are you supposed to kill another three hours in line waiting to see this film for a second time within 12 hours in IMAX yet again?  I know that’s a rhetorical question and I could be spending my time doing many other things, but why the hell not, right?  Again, that is strictly rhetorical.  Haha.  Let me get my groove back like Stella once did and get busy down below.  We have a space opera, thirty years in the making, to discuss.

So I’m not going to do what the majority of reviews are doing today.  That’s right, no spoilers at all.  While that’s hard to do because I want to divulge so much classified information and talk about everything I love and the very few pain points I have I promise you that there will be nothing spoiled below.  I hate my food spoiled and I know it tastes even worse for movies.  I am not Deep Throat.

Star Wars Force Awakens

The one thing I will talk about as my title implies up above is how good it feels to be home.  Yes there were the prequel films and yes there are many moments of guilty pleasure for me in them, however, this seventh entry in the Star Wars universe just feels like home sweet home.  I can also see by the name I have chosen from my title that the uninitiated may feel like I’m panning this film.  I’m not.  It just feels familiar and when you’re talking Star Wars that’s all that matters.  In my opinion where the prequels kind of divide the audiences from the original trilogy this seventh entries marries us with the OT.  For me, that’s a win-win!

I use the “familiar” moniker loosely in a way to paint a picture that accurately describes the overall visual feeling of the film.  The original Star Wars DNA runs rampantly strong through this one.  There are new discoveries to be made and new faces and planets to acquaint yourselves with, but at the end of the day it’s all about the reunion with the old characters that my generation grew up adoring and the passing of the torch from them so to speak.  And quite honestly, I always felt this was the overall purpose of this film being made too, much akin to A New Hope, more so than I care to admit.  But again, it’s all good.   It’s Star Wars after all.  The costumed aliens, cheesy dialogue and aerial dogfights are all there.  What more can you ask for?   Haha, no Slave Leia in this one.

So let’s talk about one of my pain points from a high level point of view.  First there’s the very familiar storyline.  I won’t go into any details, but if you love A New Hope, I can’t see you walking away disappointed from The Force Awakens.  Everything from the patriarch figure to the exciting third act screams A New Hope for a new generation.  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it?  Think not I do.  So while that feeling of knowing how things are going to go down may bother some, look at it this way.  You know there are two more films to come in this new trilogy.  Look at how A New Hope set things up for you back then and appreciate how The Force Awakens does the same for us here.  It doesn’t answer all your questions, but there are a few shockers that may bring a tear or two to some fans, and in my opinion were completely necessary and ultimately praiseworthy.  And unlike the Hunger Games 3.1 film or Harry Potter 7.1, The Force Awakens is a bonafide self contained film that exceeded my expectations, even though I had no doubt in J.J. Abrams.  However, here’s the real deal if I can be honest with y’all for a moment.  After taking this in twice now the second opportunity allowed me to enjoy myself more, dispense with all the comparisons and truly appreciate this one for what it is…a new entry in the Star Wars universe and the expansion of it.

Star Wars Force Awakens

That brings me to my next point, the gang’s all back folks.  We have the holy trinity of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill plus other fan faves like Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew.  Did you notice how I  did not tell you what characters those five names portray in this film?   That’s because if you don’t know that already, you’re reading the wrong damn review.  This is indeed then not the review you’re looking for.  Hell, even Kenny Baker came back as a consultant and Tim Rose reprised his role as Admiral Ackbar.  So yeah, there’s plenty of new faces to go around here too.  In addition to some cool cameos there are the likes of Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Adam Driver (the villainous Kylo Ren), Daisey Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke) and even the crazy guy from Ex Machina, Oscar Isaac, who portrays the very likable Poe Dameron.  However, let’s not kid ourselves.  BB-8 is the real star of this flick.

So now that we have all the new and old faces out of the way you’re probably wondering what it’s all about, right?   Didn’t you read my second paragraph up above?   There are NO SPOILERS here.  So with that being reiterated its really hard to discuss the plot so I’ll do my best just to convey public knowledge to give you an idea of what to expect with The Force Awakens.  So here goes nothing.  This is my best attempt at telling you the plot and remaining spoiler free.  IT’S FRICKING STAR WARS, FOLKS!  Enough said!   They had me at it has a lightsaber in it.  Does it really matter what it’s all about if it has lightsabers in it?  But oh alright.  You still want to know?  I give in.  It goes a little something like this…

The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (Episode 6 in the timeline), and follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron’s fight with the Resistance, led by the veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order, basically the remnants of the old Empire complete with Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers.  So now equipped with this knowledge tell me, what the hell are you still doing reading this review when you should be seeing this swashbuckling, fantasy, space adventure?  The Force Awakens has a little bit of something for every one: a thrilling space opera adventure, a whiff of romance, familiar faces and undertones, recognizable musical cues (John Williams) and thanks to the PG-13 rating of 2015, blood smears and open wounds as well.

Star Wars Force Awakens

There you have it folks.  There’s a bit of familiarity in just about everything in The Force Awakens with a couple of surprises that were somehow nicely kept under wraps from the nosey public all these years.   If you’re a fan of the series in the first place, there’s no way you should walk away from this one feeling disappointed or shortchanged.  If you’re a child seeing this new Star Wars world for the very first time with wide open eyes, I envy you.  In fact, that’s one of the very few reasons I ever would want to be a father, to take my kid to their very first Star Wars film.  I could not think of a more endearing moment between a child and their parent.   That bond is stronger than the Force in my opinion.  Star Wars is like family, and families are supposed to stick together through the good and the bad, thankfully The Force Awakens is the former.  Enjoy and may the Force be with you this magical movie weekend.  It’s a fun time and it feels oh so good to be back home!



Star Wars The Force Awakens


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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