Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

Movie: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer: Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), J.J. Abrams (screenplay), Michael Arndt (screenplay), & George Lucas (characters)

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Max Van Sedow, & Simon Pegg

One-Line Plot Synopsis: The First Order continues its attempt to take over the Galaxy and are challenged by The Resistance and a new group of fighters.

I just want to get this out of the way so that I'm not focusing on it and more so focusing on the actual movie, direction, special effects, and acting...which are all great, but I think I have a new super crush in Hollywood.  Yes, I'm talking like I'm a 15 year old adolescent, so what, wanna fight about it? Daisy Ridley (first of all, FANTASTIC name) is stop-in-your-tracks drop dead gorgeous.

Don't for a second think that I don't realize that she's basically a mash-up of my two previous Hollywood crushes Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly, apparently I have a type.

Alright, good, now that we got that out of the way, we can get to the movie.

The Force Awakens is by far my favorite of the four "newer" Star Wars movies.  I think that the original three (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) are their own separate entity.  I think that in a couple of years once a couple more of these new Star Wars movies have come out, we can group together The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith too.  I didn't particularly like any of the new group besides maybe a fight scene in each.  Besides that they were just boring as shit.  The special effects were pretty awesome in most of them but the movies themselves weren't anything special.

The Force Awakens on the other hand, is a different story.  First of all, the cast is filled out with some of the best up-and-coming actors that the movie industry has to offer.  Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Adam Driver are three of my favorite young actors working today.  Daisy Ridley literally burst onto the scene with this movie.  She's fantastic and to be able to be this good in her American film debut is an insane thought.  I might as well just throw this in the middle of the review, but the trailer for the new Star Wars movie Rogue One looks like it's going to be off the charts.  Whoever is doing the casting for these movies needs to receive pats on their back for the rest of their life.  Especially coming off momentum of The Force Awakens, I can't even imagine what is in store for this new movie.  Also, it's an original story, so my anticipation (which I didn't think could get any higher) continues to grow.

It was pretty cool to see some of the characters from the first movie, from Leia to Luke to Chewy to Han, but I can honestly say that I'm more excited for what the new characters have in store for the upcoming films.

The special effects were phenomenal, as always, but the acting was on par with the effects. Usually, in huge blockbusters like this, the acting is there to give you a storyline between explosions and fights but in The Force Awakens, it gives the film an emotional center that it can build the fight and rebellion scenes off of.  There's a depth to the movie that is especially appreciated and welcomed.

Let's hope this trend continues with these new Star Wars films.  I'll trust J.J. Abrams with any sort of science fiction based material, so I couldn't be less worried about this franchise going forward. 

Rating: 9/10

P.S. The movie had an $245 million budget, crazy right?  Opening weekend grossed $247 million, that's the power of Star Wars.