Reviews of an Acute Cinephile.

Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) Movie Review (Spoiler-Free)

Finally, I get to see this film!

Honestly, the past couple of days, I’ve felt like I’ve been playing hide and seek with the internet, trying my very best to avoid spoilers. Despite my best efforts, I did get spoiled on certain aspects but thankfully, nothing really major. That being said, let’s get on with the review!

First up, I’ll answer the burning question on everyone’s minds (or atleast, the question on the minds of those people who didn’t look to Rotten Tomatoes, ImDb or just any other professional critic out there for some reason). A question, quite simply put – How was it?

In turn, quite simply, I’m delighted to answer – Fantastic!

Now, I have to preface my review by stating that, Although I’ve watched all the star wars films, My favorites of all the 6 are going to be quite controversial; So far, my favorites are Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith (It’s extremely underrated in my opinion).

Told you they were going to be controversial. But hey, subjectivity is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

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That being said, I’m extremely glad to add The Force Awakens into that list as well; for if my one word answer didn’t stress it enough, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I especially love what Director JJ Abrams has brought into this franchise. Sitting in the director’s seat of a beloved franchise such as this, while certainly not an enviable job, isn’t something that is strange to Abrams; Having reinvigorated The Star Trek franchise by directing 2009’s fantastic Star Trek film (which, coincidentally, happens to be a film that I consider to be heavy in the rewatchability factor) and it’s subsequent and in my opinion, equally fantastic sequel, JJ Abrams is no stranger to pressure. He is yet to make a film that hasn’t, at the very least, wowed me; and Star Wars: The Force Awakens is no exception. His ability to tell great stories in a very remarkable fashion is very apparent here as it is on all his previous films. From the gee-whiz wonder he brought up in Super 8 to the realistic sensibilities of Mission Impossible 3, JJ Abrams has proven himself to be quite versatile. To that end, I personally feel that he’s well on his way to being this generation’s Spielberg; and with Steven Spielberg being my favorite filmmaker of all time, That’s high praise (Not that Spielberg or JJ Abrams actually cares about what I think)

Since this is a spoiler-free review, I will not be divulging any kind of plot details here. I’ll just be discussing how I felt about the overall experience as generic as I possibly can. First up, the cast is simply fantastic in the film, with the newcomers doing fantastic things with their material. To me, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley as Rey and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren were all true standouts, with Kylo Ren making for a very interesting and surprisingly compelling antagonist. Harrison Ford and Carrie Driver return to their respective roles as Han Solo and Leia, with both of them doing tremendous justice to their parts. Daisy Ridley, as Rey especially brings a great new sensibility to this universe with a role that’s both immensely likeable and mysterious.

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Now, while I don’t hate the prequel trilogy as much as most people out there (as if that wasn’t evident from my favorite star wars films), I will say that there was a notorious lack of humor in them and the presence of it is exactly what I loved about The Force Awakens. The humor in the film is great and works really well, with newcomer droid character BB-8 and Finn being great sources for the laughs. Hell, even Kylo Ren, the menacing bad guy, is involved in a scene that had me (and the audience I was watching this film with) in splits. It is also important to mention how amazing the film actually looks, with Dan Mindel, the cinematographer, composing shots in a manner that’s very evocative of actually feeling like a Star Wars film while, at the same time, feels very contemporary. There truly are a lot of wide shots that threaten to take your breath away with how beautifully they’re composed, and I feel that the same can be said about the action sequences as well.

Very well shot and choreographed, there are instances in this film that made me whoop with joy while, at the same time, put me on the edge of my seat, biting the hell out of my fingernails. There was especially a shot of Kylo Ren stopping a blaster beam with the force, mid-air, with the suspended beam crackling in one position, which was such an amazing moment that left me awestruck.

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It’s hard for me to write about the truly interesting aspects of this film without spoiling the plot some degree, so I will just say that there are a couple of moments in this film where I truly felt numb with shock of what I just witnessed. Needless to say, I loved it all. There are a lot of plot points here that are left open-ended with (hopefully) the aim of tying them up in future films and I for one, cannot wait to see how all this finally pans out.

On the negative end of things, There are definitely a couple of things that could have been improved, with the pacing in some areas feeling a bit uneven, but quite honestly, they’re all minor nitpicks. Although, I will say that there was a lack of truly memorable musical scores this time around which was a bit disappointing, especially when considering that composing legend John Williams composed the soundtrack. In all honesty though, even a disappointing track by John Williams is something that other composers can only hope to achieve. Also, I really don’t get why some people think that the parallels that this film draws to A New Hope is a bad thing. I actually enjoyed that aspect of the film, so it really doesn’t feel like a negative to me.

Suffice to say, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for me, delivered on the hype and then some.

Rest easy JJ Abrams; Rian Johnson, the ball is now in your court.

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Rating – 8.5/10

Money Moment – Both “TRAITOR!” moments….and BB-8. I f*cking love BB-8.

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