Welcome back to The Road To The Last Jedi, the series where I review the original trilogy (the remasters from the early 2000’s) and The Force Awakens in anticipation of the release of The Last Jedi which opens tonight (I have tickets for the first showing) as of writing this so expect my review (which will be spoiler free) of that either tonight or early tomorrow. Also thank you if you’ve been reading the series up until now it means a lot to me that people find what I have to say worth hearing and I’m grateful to those who read my reviews and enjoy them, so thank you. Also spoiler warning if you haven’t seen The Force Awakens because we are going to delve into major spoilers.
The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the original trilogy and wastes zero time righting the wrongs of the prequels (hence the first line of the movie “This will begin to make things right”). The plot follows Rey a scavenger, and Finn a Stormtrooper who escapes due to a moral dilemma as they try to get a droid called BB-8 to the resistance because he has a map that leads to Luke Skywalker. If this sounds kind of like A New Hope that’s because it is. A lot of people had a problem with this but I honestly was pretty o.k. with it. I thought it was a great way to introduce new fans to the series as well as reminding old fans what made the series great in the first place. What I will have a problem with is if The Last Jedi is a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, because the series does need to gain its own identity instead of just borrowing the identity of the original trilogy.
What I really liked about The Force Awakens is that it still uses the practical effects the original trilogy did so well. I could have made a lot of the creatures CGI. Luckily a lot of the creature are still puppets and look real enough to fit into today’s Holywood. The characters are instantly likable and the cast works extremely well together. It also goes out of its way to make Kylo Ren a good villain and it pays off. He feels like the tortured villain that George Lucas desperately tried to turn Anakin Skywalker into and failed. While the movie does borrow heavily from its predecessors it does so in a way that makes the recycled ideas feel organic and fresh.
Spoiler warning for the next paragraph if you still haven’t seen it skip this next paragraph.
That being said my only issue is that it could have borrowed a bit less from its predecessors. If you go back and look at the rough plot outline it’s almost A New Hope beat for beat. I do think they took a major gamble killing off Han Solo, but one that I think will ultimately pay off. It has a chance of affecting the characters in new and interesting ways and I can’t wait to see how.
To conclude The Force Awakens was not perfect but it was a great way to introduce fans, new and old to the world of Star Wars.
I rate The Force Awakens a A- or 9.3