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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Movie Review: The Force Awakens 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
December 18, 2015 (USA)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Film series: Star Wars
Music composed by: John Williams
Story by: George Lucas
official site
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights.

Review by Pamela K. Kinney
I will warn of spoiler alerts here, so if you have not seen the movie and don’t like spoilers, please, do not read any farther.
Highlight below to read

Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

It starts off with a sparkling image of Lucasfilms’ LTD, no Disney logo insight. Though we all know by now (unless you live under a rock) that Disney owns all rights to Star Wars. The familiar crawl of words comes after that, stating that Luke has been missing for some time and that General Leia has sent the Resistance’s best man for finding the map of his whereabouts to find him as they need him back to help them in battling a new foe, the First Order. The First Order is built on the same principals as Palpatine’s rule—formed out out of the Darkside—its goal to rule the galaxy.

The First Order. Obviously, some are remnants of the former Empire wanting back their glory days of Palpatine’s rule, only now this is under a new leader, “Supreme Leader Snoke.” Most of him is by hologram and he looks creepy and alien—is he a new Sith lord that has arisen after the defeat of Palpatine and Vader in Return of the Jedi? Or something else?

This movie is what was old is new again. Old in the stormtroopers, new in the way their helmets look, like having their former what I call a frown, now turned upside down or like a smile. Or as some have said, looking like a duck, like Donald Duck. The First Order no longer uses clones, instead they were taking children at a very young age and training and programming them to become these new stormtroopers. Maybe they assumed they would be better shots, but I think they missed this as it appeared to me these new guys still can’t hit the broad side of a barn, as the joke has always been. Another old is new, is Kylo Ren, a Darth Vader wannabe. Like Anakin Skywalker and less like Vader, he acts out in spoiled child anger when certain things do not go his way, destroying equipment on the ship he is on. There were times I wanted to reach through the screen and smack him, tell him to grown up. More of this particular old is new, how they had made him look like Anakin. Can you not figure out who he might be? If anyone has read any of the old Star wars Expanded Universe books before Disney said those were gone to create their own universe after ROTJ, there is an ‘a-ha’ moment when Kylo’s is in fact told in the film. Kylo Ren is acted by Adam Driver. I don’t think I am ready to place him in the gallery of best evil rogues and villains at this time. For a Vader wannabe, he would need to wear Vader’s boots and cape and be the nasty, evilness that was Palpatine/Darth Sidious, the one I always felt was truly evil, as he had no qualms about anything he did.

Also old is the original main characters from the original Trilogy, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and yes, Luke. Han and Leia have been separated for a few years, due to personal tragedy in their lives concerning their son. Harrison Ford reminded me more of the older Indiana Jones from the fourth film than Han Solo. And that was fine with me. Chewie has been with Han. When both show up on the Millennium Falcon and Hans says, “Chewie, we’re home,” clapping filled the theater. We missed Han or someone like him in the Prequels and it appeared I was not the only one happy to have him and Chewbacca together and back! And Leia is now General Organa, in charge of the Resistance battling the First Order from taking over the New Republic. As Leia pointed out to Han, each had their own way of dealing with the aftermath of the disappearance of their son. Han his way and she hers, doing what she has done before, helping with the Resistance. As for Luke, he had been training the new Jedi order when terrible things happened, and he vanished in search of the first Jedi Temple. One of these terrible things by the way, concerned Han’s and Leia’s son Ben, whom Luke had been training, as the boy had the Force in him same as his mother and uncle, same as his grandfather.

New are new main heroes and heroines. There is Finn, one of the stormtroopers who could no longer stomach the violent things done in the name of the First Order. He helps Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac), the pilot sent by Leia to get the map escape so he can get a pilot for a Tie Fighter and race away from this life he hates. He knows what they will do to a traitor and he is frightened. Finn is played by John Boyega and though he does fine, his acting of his character could have been better. After their tie fighter crashes on Jukka, a desert planet; he thinks Poe is dead. Then he comes to the small settlement and runs into a young woman, Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. She is kick ass. She can fight her own battles, she can fly, and is smart. I loved how Ms. Ridley portrays this character well. Be sure to watch this actress for things in the future, besides the new Star Wars films. Though there is a slight click between the two, it is not as believable as the one between Han, Leia and Luke. Their budding friendship is too fast. As for Poe, he did not die as Finn thought, and I think he might be the new “Han Solo” for this new saga, best pilot in the galaxy and cocky and brave. But again, that could be Finn, too. My favorite quote of his when Kylo Ren had captured him: " does this go? Do you talk first? Do I talk first?" My favorite new character who can be considered old but new again is a new robot—BB-8. He is adorable, cute, funny and loyal. He moves fast and behaves a little like a puppy. His relationship with all the characters (especially with Poe) is heartwarming.

I have set up some spoilers, but not all. To give away all of the secrets of this film would ruin it for those who accidently read this, or want to anyway before seeing the movie. Plus some are still merely speculation as only a mere smidgen of Finn’s and Rey’s background are told or shown in the film. I will give fair forewarning that there is a shocker close to the end of the movie. Enough to catch me of guard. Though there is a logical reason behind it due to certain story concerning Return of the Jedi, still, it was heartbreaking. As for J.J. Abrams directing of the film, it is way better than Lucas handling of Episode 1-3. Is it a Lucas film? No, there is more of a sense of Spielberg touch in this. Now Abrams has been taken under the wing of Spielberg and you have seen it in a past film, Super 8. Personally, I would love to have seen Spielberg direct this film (he did those four Indiana Jones movies, remember?). It is said they even wanted him to direct this film. He instead suggested Abrams.

The action was great. Better placed here than in the two Star Trek films he directed. There are those moments of tribute to the original films, even in the storyline. Can it stand toe-to-toe with what I think is still the best Star Wars film, Empire Strikes Back? No, but it is many steps above the Prequels. And the ending, I won’t give away for those who haven’t seen it an accidently read this, keeping their sense of wonder and anticipation for this movie. It does have me wanting to see Episode VIII in 2017. And to see how the new director handles it.

I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens 4 ‘May the Force Be With You’ sheep.


  1. I can't comment too much without giving away spoilers. I will just say, I love your comment "maybe they thought they would be better shots" made me laugh out loud. I also agree that J.J. Abram did much better than Lucas with 1-3.

  2. It got all 5 Sheep from our house.... LOVED it!!! :D

  3. Great review! I might want to go see this movie, and I have never watched any of them. I think. Hmm. I did love Star Trek though, so don't unsheep me!

    1. I am a Trek fan since the original Star Trek. Sadly, Abrams did not get that right and looks like the new one may not be right either. A lot of us Trek fans are not happy with his Star Trek.

  4. I'd have given it 4.5 sheep. I liked the chemistry between Finn and Rey, but thought Carrie Fischer's General Organa was completely wooden. And, yeah, the stormtroopers STILL can hit anything! lol

  5. Way back 30 years ago, I was seriously into the Star Wars thing, and I even purchased the toys to go with it. Fast forward to now, and I'm not as excited, however, I will pick this up when it's on DVD. Loved the review!

  6. I just got back from seeing it. I'm like you, I loved the first three and then my enthusiasm waned with the next three. But this was a nice walk down memory lane. It is definitely worth seeing :)

  7. I thought it was OK, but it mostly felt like a stroll down memory lane with the old cast giving assent to new characters to take over the reins. I loved Reyn though! It was hard for me to accept that a guy who was raised and indoctrinated as a stormtrooper was such a nice guy. And, the bad guy seemed too cliché to me.

  8. I thought it was OK, but it mostly felt like a stroll down memory lane with the old cast giving assent to new characters to take over the reins. I loved Reyn though! It was hard for me to accept that a guy who was raised and indoctrinated as a stormtrooper was such a nice guy. And, the bad guy seemed too cliché to me.

  9. Lets just say, this movie is like comfort food and most people want this. I enjoyed it, but I also knew what it was and why those who saw it ages 6-11 liked it. Seeing the first film as an adult has me seen it with less rose colored glasses.