Friday, January 8, 2016

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Movie Review

Fan opinion has been varied over the new "Star Wars" film, "The Force Awakens". Seeing yet another Death Star wasn't exactly appealing to many, including me! But, while there are a fair number of familiar elements to the film, I have come to like it. A lot! That first impression wasn't the knockout I was hoping for. But, after seeing it twice in 3D the past weekend, I have just given up having an issue with Death Star 3.0, etc. Instead, I've concentrated on all the cool stuff in the movie!

Like Han Solo! Harrison Ford is top billed here for a reason. Han gets to be Han again, edgy, impulsive, just the classic rogue we love! There are the "Star Wars"-required beasties in the Rathtars, which are pretty much big mouths with pointy teeth that roll around and get people with their tentacles. Cool! We also get good dog fighting, albeit not in space as the title "Star Wars" would indicate!

The highlight of the movie is the amazing star turn by Daisy Ridley, who I hope gets an Academy Award nomination. She does great work here, and is really the person who anchors the film. John Boyega and the chameleon actor Oscar Isaac turn in great work, as well. Carrie Fisher is okay, but her plastic surgery/botox has really made it difficult for her to emote. Plus, we like Carrie as Carrie! You don't get to see that spark here. Mark Hamill does what the script asks, but we definitely need to see a lot more of him next time around!

Also key to the film's success is the magnificent film score by John Williams! I have listened to it many times, and am more impressed with it each time! It doesn't have as many of the hummable themes as his previous "Star Wars" scores, but I have forgotten that with subsequent listenings. And, the score works perfectly in the film!

J.J. Abrams does a much better job here than it the truly awful "Star Trek Into Darkness," which still ticks me off! Man, that was bad. But here, he's in his element and delivers a great movie under high pressure. The script, by Abrams and "Star Wars" writing vet Lawrence Kasdan has the previously mentioned pluses and minuses. Visual Effects and Creature Effects are both just fine, although the production using more practical effects isn't often that obvious.

Overall, a very good "Star Wars" installment! Looking forward to seeing what "Looper" director Rian Johnson does with "Episode VIII!"

★★★★ (4 Stars Out of 5)

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