Friday, December 18, 2015



From IMDB:


30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat rises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of Heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

 8.9/1098,176 votes

Reviews 414 user | 1 critic
Popularity 1


The Star Wars saga continues with this seventh entry -- the first under the Walt Disney Co. umbrella. The film will act as the start of a new trilogy set after the events of Return of the Jedi. J.J. Abrams directs from a script by Michael Arndt. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence)
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Runtime: 2 hr. 16 min.
Walt Disney Pictures - Official Site

Average Rating: 8.2/10 | Reviews Counted: 245
Fresh: 233 | Rotten: 12
Critics Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.
AUDIENCE SCORE 93% liked it
Average Rating: 4.6/5 | User Ratings: 117,092


This person here will be very important to the current Star Wars Universe... ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

30 years after we fell in love with the original trilogy and audiences went from being fans to fanatics we finally get a sequel... A good one... 

So the first trilogy began in 1977 with Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), followed by Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and ending with Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Then it was followed up by the prequels Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), which split the fan base into those that didn't care for it and those that outright hated it.

Episode IV was written by George Lucas, episode V by George Lucas, Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan and episode VI written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. The prequels meanwhile were written primarily by George Lucas with Jonathan Hales only contributing to episode II. So it could be said that as much as the Star Wars universe was born out of the mind of George Lucas, left on his own without a little help from the people that helped him in the original trilogy it became a very different universe. 

And this man wants to be the next Darth Vader... ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The problem that I personally felt that the prequels had was that it lost pretty much everything that was fun in the original trilogy. It became a practice of self indulgence for Lucas. In his attempt to explain the reasons for Anakin Skywalker's slow slip towards the dark side everything else was put aside. There was no balance to the prequels. In the three films all we got was political maneuverings, melodrama, a lot of talking and a lot of whining from Anakin. The episode I felt like it was a Saturday Morning Disney movie complete with an overacting adorable kid and every adult in that film patronising him while the following two felt like Lucas was channeling a not very good Ivory Merchant film with the elaborate costumes and all that officious dialogue. Gone were the lovable rogue characters that we had in Han Solo, the young Jedi Luke that we all sympathised with and the strong-willed Princess Leia. Instead we had everyone become politicians, and I mean everyone. Jedi, Siths, Senate committee, Princesses all involved in politics all broken up in between by flashy battle scenes and not very funny characters found in military droids and of course that annoying Jar Jar Binks. All three prequels became a tedious watch punctuated occasionally by pretty cool battle scenes between the Jedi and the Siths and of course those space battles. 

And of course who can forget suddenly seeing Yoda bounce around like a super ball while waving his lightsaber then immediately needing his cane again and walking like a geriatric old man. 

This new one, Episode VII is no longer in the hands of George Lucas. Although he had ideas for  sequels to the original trilogy it didn't go beyond the story treatment phase and he didn't really have any real intentions of making them. And when he sold Lucasfilms and the entire Star Wars franchise to Disney and gave them his treatments for Episode VII-IX, Disney wasn't interested. When Disney decided to begin the process of coming up with Episode VII and although George Lucas himself had picked J.J. Abrams to helm the project Disney decided that they didn't need George Lucas to be involved in anyway with the project. This of course disappointed Lucas but he eventually conceded and let the project proceed without his involvement saying, "If I get in there, I'm just going to cause trouble because they're not going to do what I want them to do, and I don't have the control to do that any more, and all it would do is just muck everything up."

I'm guessing some fans breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that bit of news.

He may not look like it but he'll be pretty important too in the following sequels. The question is how? ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Anyway, so the project got greenlighted and the screenplay for Episode VII was first written up by Michael Arndt later to be taken over by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Before Abrams was set to direct Disney considered David Fincher, Brad Bird and Guillermo del Toro for the job. All great directors to be sure but each with a very distinct style and would have probably taken a very different direction from what Abrams eventually delivered. Casting took well over a year and everyone that auditioned for it were asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement forbidding them from talking to anyone about their involvement with the project. Even when the world did find out about who was going to be involved in it most would make vague comments about their participation and their roles. But the casting that took the world and the fans by storm was of course the inclusion of most of the original cast Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony DanielsPeter Mayhew and Warwick Davis. This had the fans just shrieking with joy and anticipation. 

So what's this much anticipated sequel about? Well, I'm not going to go there and fill this blog post with details and spoilers even though the movie is already out and most hardcore fans have probably watched or are currently in line waiting. I'm also going to apologise right now for offending any and all fans of the Star Wars franchise and fans of J.J. Abrams. Although when it comes to fans of Star Wars trying not to offend is nearly impossible. 

This is the hot shot pilot who'll probably be back to kick more Imperial ass. ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Let's start off with me saying I enjoyed the movie, I liked the movie. Do I love it? Not quite sure of that yet. Basically what J.J. Abrams has done is that he's stuck to the formula that made us all love the original trilogy. Everything that you loved in the original is present in this new one. And I do mean everything. It's gone through the J.J. Abrams filter to give it a little more polish and to make it interesting for the current generation of moviegoers and Sci-Fi fans and some of the tropes have been given a twist but it's still the same things we have already seen in the original three. 

The cast were brilliant and relevant to current moviegoers. Daisy Ridley was pretty good as Rey and I'm very much looking forward to seeing her develop her character more in the upcoming films. John Boyega who plays Finn was very entertaining to watch and did a pretty good job as well. I'm curious as to the direction that the upcoming films will take his character to. There's nothing much to say about the rest of the cast other than they did an equally amazing job. From Andy Serkis who did the voice and motion capture work behind Supreme Leader Snokes, to Lupita Nyong'o who lends her voice to Maz Kanata. And of course there's the original cast who brought back memories for me of watching the original series. Although the entire cast did a brilliant job in their respective roles and in their scenes, the scenes that actually moved me were those with the original cast. 

Let's be honest us fans just wanted to see these guys back again. The other stuff is just a bonus. ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Then there's the visual aspect of the film. I watched it on IMAX and although only a small percentage of the film was actually shot on the IMAX format it still looked amazing, And Abrams decision to not heavily rely on CGI might sound silly but his reasons for not using it make sense and the end product looked very cool. Gone is the much too clean and polished look of the prequels which never did sit well with me. The gritty look made things look so much better! And since this is a movie for a new generation Abrams and Star Wars fans were treated to some pretty cool camera work in the battle scenes.

All in all, The Force Awakens is a worthy successor to the original trilogy. Everything I loved about it is back, the witty dialogue, the humor, the action and of course the characters we all loved to bits in the original. And it also introduced us to new characters that are very much like what we are familiar with in the original trilogy. Gone are the much too serious politicians and bureaucrats of the prequel and of course the melodrama of the Jedi Council and the Sith Lords. The Force Awakens returns us to the fun and adventure of the Star Wars Universe while introducing us to it's next generation of Rebels, Imperial Lords, Jedis and Siths. And it did all that without getting too bogged down in nostalgia. The baton has been passed to the next generation while still paying its respect to the old.

And of course these two... ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

So maybe I do love this movie. And now I'm very much looking forward to the next installment. I'm going to give Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens a solid 4 out of 5. I just may go watch it again. 

This may be pointless but here's the trailer: 

1 comment:

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