Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens: A Review (No Spoilers)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment of the Star Wars saga, exceeded my expectations and delivered a performance that made it more than worthy of being a Star Wars film. The movie, which was released in theaters on December 18, combines an exciting story with excellent acting and good special effects.
As a long-time Star Wars fan, I was initially skeptical of the direction the story would take in the new movies. However, the script was well-written and helped to create a story that is fast-paced and and lively without being too frantic. There is also an element of mystery, as the viewer is taken to the setting with only a little bit of exposition; in some ways, the film introduces more questions than answers. Reveals and shockers are well-spaced throughout the story as well, though the plot is not dependent on these elements to be a good one, as well as bits of comedy such as witty one-liners that help to lighten the mood without altering the pace of the plot. Another reason that the story itself appealed to me is that the movie was able to have its own unique story that allows for the development of new characters that newcomers to the series can appreciate while still staying true to the aspects of the Star Wars universe that its fans love. My only criticisms are that the certain actions in the story felt too convenient to be true at times and that there could have been a greater build-up to the climax.
The acting in this movie was great. The emotions on screen felt more real than in the prequels and (accompanied by John Williams’s music) set the tone for each of the scenes. Rey (a main character played by Daisy Ridley, whose exact role I will not say for the sake of no spoilers) and Finn (another main character who is played by John Boyega) both have in-depth character development and motivations. The same can be said for villain Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver), who has a sinister yet multifaceted personality. Harrison Ford also gave a great performance as captain Han Solo; the character had the same wittiness from the original trilogy while still showing evidence being an aged person who had been hardened by his experiences. Lots of thought went into the relationships between the characters as well.
The Force Awakens does a good job of balancing the use of CGI and practical effects. While many scenes did involve the use of a green screen, the effort of the film’s crew to use more practical effects is evident. For example, many real-world locations are used to portray the surfaces of different planets and many aliens and extras are played by actors in costumes instead of being portrayed by CGI. For the most part, the scenes that involve CGI are well-done too.
Overall, The Force Awakens makes for an entertaining, well-acted, and action-filled movie that met my expectations as both a Star Wars fan and a as general moviegoer. It involved many of the things that I loved about Star Wars while still being its own new story. It is definitely worth seeing. Ultimately, this film proved to be an excellent introduction to the next chapter of the Star Wars saga.