Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First Impression: Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens

When it comes to Star Wars I'm a fan. But my fanboy days were back in the 80s and 90s. I wanted episode seven to be a good fun movie, but I was prepared for it to be less than that. I did my best to avoid spoilers, but I did read a few reviews from folks I trust (and who kept spoilers out) and they were all positive. So I was excited to see the film, but didn't feel the need to rush out and see it right away (in sharp contract to the ravenous mania that gripped me in 1999 for The Phantom Menace, yeah I was one of those fanboys).

So this little post is basically my first impression of the film. I intend on seeing it again, probably at home. I've purchased all the previous films, why stop now. Once I've given the movie a second spin, I'll provide a full review. But for now...

Three Things I liked
  • Gorgeous looking cinematography 
  • All of the new main characters were well realized and fun
  • Some of the dialogue was very funny and had me laughing out loud
Three Things I didn't like
  • The plot structure was overly familiar
  • Went into fan service overdose a few times
  • Lacks an immediately memorable musical theme as the identity of this episode
I had a really good time with The Force Awakens. It was a fun movie that felt like an extension of the original trilogy. It was good to see the original cast come back and be worked into key elements of the story and the new character's journey. I also really liked the new characters. I want to see what happens to them in the next installments. This is a well made and constructed film that delivers solid entertainment. The overly familiar plot and moments of "hey look old time fans isn't this just like the original trilogy" do end up keeping this from feeling like a fresh film. But this is a great start to a new trilogy of adventure in this universe. And for the first time in a  long time, I'm looking forward to seeing this movie again and seeing the next episode.

What did you think of the movie?


  1. Scifi/horror writer F. Paul Wilson commented that there was no better way to revitalize the series than by remaking A New Hope. I haven’t seen the movie yet so I can’t either chuckle or disagree, but I’m glad to see your review is positive (as was Wilson’s). One curious take on the movie was in Psychology Today, which is worth a read if only to show how much pop culture relates to contemporary social thought.

    1. That was an interesting article. I think he is looking at the movie a little too much on its own and not as part of the wider scope of nine movies. Yes the positive father figure is potentially missing at this point, but things may change up in episode 8 and lets not forget that episode 4 had Obi Wan and episode 1 had Qui Gon... or we can forget episode 1 if you want to.

      But I do appreciate giving the female hero a journey to take. Rey is a great character and I'm looking forward to where she ends up.

  2. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and laughed at a lot of the dialogue and quips, and to be honest got choked up at some of the more emotional scenes. Plus the lightsabre scene I thought was pretty thrilling.

    It's hard to tell yet about some of this new series, as we haven't seen where it's going yet. There are still many things about Kylo Ren we don't know yet. Plus the new supreme leader that they introduced we hardly know. Mark Hamill barely got any screen time, and we never saw Yoda. They still have a lot more to say, but for sure Abrams is a hot director. I know he has his detractors, but for me anyway, he knows how to reboot a franchise.

    1. I agree. I think Abrams did a very fine job. Star Wars seemed like a very good fit for his style. As much as I enjoyed his two Star Trek films, I still feel like he took the Star Wars formula and pasted it on Trek. Fun, but missing something that made it feel like Trek. But with Star Wars, his style felt much more at home.

      I also really liked the light saber battles in this one. They were more savage and brutal than the ones in the prequels. The prequels looks very pretty and well choreographed, but started to feel less like people fighting and more like dancing. In this one, you got the feel that these people were fighting for their lives. Also helped that both Finn and Rey looked very frightened when facing Kylo Ren. But even his skills looked rough, much like Luke from Empire.