Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Undoes The Prequels
Before going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I re-watched the original trilogy to prepare for it. I also made the mistake of watching the prequel trilogy as well. It reminded me of why you should have people around you to yell, “No, George, no. Jeez, that’s awful. What the hell? Mother of God, someone tackle him!” Lucas had that with the first movie, but when he went to make more as a billionaire, no one stood up and told him to stop.
Premise: Luke Skywalker has vanished, and both the Resistance and the sinister First Order are searching for him. Crack pilot Poe Dameron obtains a clue to his whereabouts, but when everything goes wrong, a droid called BB-8 becomes the center of the search, along with scavenger Rey and Stormtrooper deserter FN-2187, who have found the droid.
This is a spoiler-free review, so if you want to know what happens, you have to go somewhere else to ruin it. Let me just say that from the beginning it took me back to when I was little and saw the original trilogy for the first time. The anticipation for the Star Wars logo was even something to behold. I’m not even a huge fan, but I knew that it was the first new one since 1983. You’d have to be a monster to not laugh in that moment. You didn’t laugh because it was funny, no, you laughed because you were so excited that you laughed at yourself for being so excited.
Let’s get into it: Harrison Ford stole the movie. He was the movie. You see the vague previews and think he might be in some sort of background role, but no, he was the main course in a homemade meal of a movie that was made with love. Sure, you see him and Indiana Jones and he owns that role, but when he gets back to Star Wars, you don’t see Harrison Ford anymore, you see Han Solo. You know it’s Harrison Ford, but it’s not at all. He brought his A-game to the film.
Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are new to the franchise, but you wouldn’t know it. Ridley plays a scavenger named Rey, who is thrown into this new, gigantic world after living what seems like a quiet life just picking at the bones of the old Empire. Boyega plays Finn, a Stormtrooper that has left the remnants of the Galactic Empire that is now known as The First Order. I can’t stress enough about how much I am telling you and how much I’m not telling you. It’s like telling you what your first slice of pizza tastes like, but it’s impossible to understand until you actually take a bite.
Adam Driver plays Kylo Ren. Again, the previews tell you nothing. Will he be just a faceless baddie, or will he be a complicated bad guy with an amazing back story? Yep, it’s the latter. Ren is a scary figure, but like Vader in the end of the original trilogy, he has a history that really humanizes him. I just sat there watching his portrayal dumbfounded. It further removed me from remembering the prequel trilogy because it felt like J.J.Abrams was actually a fan. He gave iconic characters and new ones the same amount of care and respect: Solo was a wiser version of himself, Rey and Finn are our favorite new protagonists, and Ren is a fantastic new bad guy. But who am I forgetting.
Oscar Issac as Poe Dameron is a straight-up Solo 2.0. There’s a reason why Issac is being given all the best roles in Hollywood… because he’s one of the best and most charming actors. I sort of hope he kills all the X-Men in X-Men: Apocalypse because he’s so fun to watch. He can play tragic in Show Me A Hero or a musical genius in Inside Llewyn Davis. Here he is singing Bill Murray’s classic Star Wars theme, but redone for current times. It’s funny, but it also shows off how damn talented this guy is.
The movie comes off as half-reboot/half-remake, but that’s totally fine. It nailed every point of nostalgia it went for and left you wanting more. Seriously, when it ended, I felt like 5 minutes had passed and was a little bit ticked off. The Force Awakens felt like it went by too fast, but when something is amazing like this movie, it burns by fast and leaves you wanting more. Episode VIII can’t arrive fast enough, and if this movie is the start of a new trilogy — this is going to be the one we always wanted.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is playing in pretty much every theater on the planet right now. Here’s some advice: Go see it in IMAX. Don’t go see it in 3D, but go see it on a gigantic screen to get the full experience. You won’t regret it.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.