Review: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Links The Past With The Future

Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy Directed by: J.J. Abrams Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, George Lucas (characters)
Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, George Lucas (characters)

Synopsis: A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). (Imdb)


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The Force has awakened the Star Wars franchise from a long coma. The hype for “The Force Awakens” has reached a manic level. J.J. Abrams has the insurmountable task to satisfy a fanbase that’s starving for him to re-create the Star Wars nostalgia of the past that will make them forget about the last three films. Abrams succeeds on delivering the best Star Wars since the early 1980’s, and one of the best ever. The classic opening and John Williams musical score remain. The opening intro with the title and the sliding description with the story set-up are done the same way as they were in 1980.

“The Force Awakens” introduces its three new prominent characters to the Star Wars universe. Daisy Ridley is introduced as Rey, a scavenger that unintentionally gets involved with the Resistance. The strongest female character since Princess Leia. John Boyega is another newbie coming into the franchise as a mainstay, he plays Finn, a Stormtrooper that’s on the run from The Force. Oscar Isaac is everywhere these days, so it’s only natural that he’s included in the new Star Wars. Isaac is Poe Dameron, an expert pilot that wears an orange jumpsuit, sure sounds like someone familiar.

A lot happens in act one. That’s where all three of these characters are introduced and come together, and they are all linked to the charming little droid BB-8. He serves as an important linchpin to these new characters, as well as the overall storyline of the film. He serves as Rey’s R-2 D-2. The introduction of the characters is well established, although due to time constraints are somewhat rushed. You don’t get the entire reasoning why these characters are doing what they do, and what’s their motive. Rey is homeless, without family, and living day to day being a scavenger in the empty wastelands of Jakku. Unbeknownst to her she’s pretty much a Jakkuvian Macgyver.

Adam Driver is established early on as the evil and imposing Kylo Ren, or Darth Vader 2.0. Driver, known for his quirky characters in romantic and smart dramatic indie films is actually the perfect for this role, it’s because we haven’t seen him take on anything remotely similar to the role of Ren. Finn’s character is introduced in the early portion as a Stormtrooper gone rogue that actually has conscience, but is that the real reason why he turns? That’s not completely explained. Finn does provide constant comedic relief, and goes toe-to-toe with Han Solo when it comes to witty and funny dialogue.


Ridley and Boyega are a great tandem
Ridley and Boyega are a great tandem

These new younger actors don’t just represent an infusion of new blood in the franchise, there is a societal commentary by bringing them aboard. They represent a modern age of cinema diversity. Ridley’s character is a fierce woman who is tough, smart, and can fight off any man or enemy. She’s a female heroine in a prominent and important role in terms of the story and significance. This sends a message of the importance of female characters in cinema, and in the action adventure world. On a personal note, Ridley has this Keira Knightley thing going for her. Not only does she resemble Knightley, her facial expressions and jaw movement are identical to Knightley. Plus they are both British brunettes, so that doesn’t hurt either.

Boyega is a talented English actor who happens to be black. Including him as one of the central figures in the film really adds some much needed diversity to the franchise. He’s very charming on-screen, and surely to be a fan favorite going forward. Isaac is one of the better young talents in Hollywood, securing such a rising star is a huge coup.


One of these Storm Troopers is a good guy
One of these Stormtroopers is a good guy

This is the first Star Wars film that’s backed by Disney. The concern was that Disney would be too PG and tone down on the action, but the film doesn’t miss a beat, it’s as if Disney had no involvement in it. The action is well put together, not too over-the-top, and also not limited. There are plenty of exciting chases and battles. Even the Millennium Falcon gets dusted off and taken for a spin. No worries, the lightsabers get a workout in the film also.

What ultimately this movie accomplishes is it bridges the gap between the Star Wars movies from the 80’s to this one, while bypassing the garbage that was the last three films. It’s a collection of Star Wars all-stars from the past coming together and passing the torch to the stars of the present and future. For sports fans this feels as if you combined the 90’s Jordan Chicago Bulls with the Lakers of the 2000’s, or even Steph Curry’s current Golden State Warriors team. Han Solo and Finn in the same scene. Leia and Rey. That’s pretty cool stuff. The abundance of talent in the film is at times overwhelmingly pleasant. There are plenty of laughs throughout the movie, along with plenty references to the past films. You don’t have to be a die hard, or even watched all of the previous films to enjoy “The Force Awakens”. It’s important that casual and young fans can grown with this franchise going forward.


Solo and Chewbacca are finally back
Solo and Chewbacca are finally back

Personally I’m not a Star Wars die-hard-never been. I have seen all the films, and as a casual fan I appreciate them for what they. “The Force Awakens” is an exciting film. The story arc is supremely crafted. The introduction of the new blood, re-introduction of the nostalgic characters of the past, set-up a couple twists along the way, and lead up to a payoff that sets up a new story going forward. To accomplish all that in one movie is a credit to Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt. It’s hard to ignore all the hype, but the movie stands on its own as being a quality movie, Star Wars or not.

“The Force Awakens” might be one of the most ambitious fan pleasing attempts made in any movie franchise. Credit Abrams fro officially resurrecting two prominent and beloved franchises in Star Trek and Star Wars. Keeping up with the sports terms, he’s the Phil Jackson, or better yet it’s time to start comparing him to Mr. Star Wars George Lucas himself. The nostalgia is alive and well. May the force awaken you from a long overdue Star Wars nap.


Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 135 minutes

Release Date: December 18, 2015


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  • Acting - 8.5/10
  • Cinematography - 9/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 9.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 9/10
  • Buyability - 9.5/10
  • Recyclability - 9.5/10

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About Jim Alexander

When it boils down to it, Jim's passion is entertainment. Aside from being an avid sports fan, that follows all things NFL, NBA, and Soccer. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. At the core of his interests...movies! Whether trying to catch the newest flick coming out this weekend, or the latest On Demand release, to heated debates with his friends and colleagues about the most recent "Box Office Blunder". The passion for movies lies deep within him. When he isn't writing, he immerses himself in his other interests; Acting and Radio Broadcasting. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimRko.

8 thoughts on “Review: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Links The Past With The Future

  1. Star Wars movies never failed to amused me. This is one of the best movies for me! I am just wondering if the new movie called Rogue One will maintain the usual Star Wars movies reputation, since Disney will help it create.

  2. It’s amazingly directed, and the effects still hold up today, the whole way through. Your Article is Great!
    you could actually view more fresh independent films on ITN Film distribution

  3. I am a huge Star Wars fan. When I first saw the beginning title screen and heard the opening score, I screamed like a little girl inside. Every moment for me was amazing and left me in awe. However, after the movie and after the hype subsided, I was able to see the movie in an objective light. I enjoyed the story of it, even though it seemed like a recycled version of a New Hope. The character development seemed a bit rushed, however, I did not mind it considering that there is going to me major character development in the sequel. The special effects were second to none. The use of both practical effects and CG was extremely entertaining to me. I did, however, have some issues surrounding the movie. I feel like the movie was focused too much on the old cast. I understand that this is the metaphorical “passing of the torch” in the series, however, I would have liked to see the new cast take control of the movie more. The biggest gripe I had with the movie was the character of Kylo Ren. Adam Driver is an excellent actor, however, the character of Kylo Ren came off as extremely whiny to me. He seemed more like a child who who was mad at his dad for taking away his toys than a “dark lord”. All in all, however, I really enjoyed the film and would have to say that it lived up to the hype.

  4. I will try to keep calm, while i write my problems with the movie that every movie pundit or critic downplays as they write their raving review of the force awakens. In my opinion, this movie failed. JJ abrams and crew dropped the ball on so many levels. First of all, i get it, everyone was desperate for a movie to bring them back to the days when they were kids and enjoying the original trilogy. I get it, i truly do. The problem is most viewers are so nostalgia thirsty, that they completely overlook the issues with the movie or give it a pass because JJ had so much on his plate and this was the only way to please old and new audience members. First and foremost the chemistry between the new cast and old cast was terrible. So first we get poe, then we get conflicted fin, poe gets captured, fin saves him, and they become best buds in a matter of minutes, literally. That buddy cop bullshit after just meeting each other from opposite sides of a war was ridiculous and you expect us to believe this would actually work is absurd. And poe knows how to masterfully fly a tie fighter without any problem at all sans not knowing how to disengage the chain attaching it to the star destroyer. Come on. And here comes rey, she scavenges parts for food, shes been on her own for a while, and she is a scrappy little thing. cool. we get like 10 minutes of her before she bumps into fin, and off they go on an adventure. She expertly knows how to fly the falcon, so much so she out maneuvers tie fighters somehow. And boom now rey and fin are best buds after surviving that. (eye roll). And that whole sequence with the introduction of han solo into the movie and we get 15 minutes of him being a scoundrel again with irish and asian gangs going after him for what he owes them i could have done without. especially with that whole Men In Black monster killing everyone. Oh and that was thanks to rey, cause she is just so darn good at everything and she saves the day even by accident! The reunion of han solo and leia is awfully executed. Carrie Fisher is clearly rusty as shit and han is just to old…plain and simple. Ren, i love the idea of ren. I love how they portrayed the force in this movie with ren. I got chills. Then ren started to speak and i thought of the problems nolan had with bane. Barely audible and off putting. and the whole banter with ren and poe, i could have done without also. people loved it, but no. I don’t know what it is regarding the skywalker men, but they are some whiney ass fucking pussies. Annikan, Luke, and now Kylo. So let me gets this straight your mother and father are han solo and leia (general and princess no less). You are sent to your uncle, Luke freaking skywalker, the greatest jedi after yoda, to become the next big thing, yet for ben solo, this is not fair for some reason. So he throws tantrums and disowns everyone, joins the dark side, wants to be like his bad ass grandfather instead,(who killed his own master, but i guess ben can overlook that as well for the sake of this bullshit movie). So kylo now is this punk gothic rebellious kid, that comes from a well to do family, and wants to be bad ass, and throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and this punk kid is supposed to be the next villain? give me a fucking break. When they revealed han was kylo’s dad i knew han was going to die. Why the fuck else would they rush out such a huge secret like that in the first half of the first freaking movie! so that was not surprising that han was going to die. and his death also poorly executed. The whole star killer base thing was a cop out, we can all admit that, and the way it all come down at the end was crazy predictable. but thats on par with this movie. Maz and Snooke’s cgi presence in the movie was also off putting and threw me off as a viewer. Hux was another cornball. Overacting by gleeson destroyed hux on the screen. now lets get to the whole rey specifically using the force. One minute she thought it was a myth, the next she knows specifically how to use the force to manipulate the weak minded, reach for light sabers, and also she had become good at using the light saber after a few minutes of dueling kylo freaking ren a sith. oh thats right kylo was injured so that evened the battle field. got it. (eye roll). anyway those are just a few (yes a few) of the problems i had with the movie that completely ruined the experience for me. So you guys want to poo poo the obvious issues because you got your movie that had the look and feel of the original trilogy go right ahead. The movie for me failed. The chemistry between the new and old cast and amongst their respective groups was forced and unrealistic. kylo ren is yet another whiney skywalker. i knew han was going to die. rey is just so darn good at everything thats its insulting. did the movie deliver on visuals yes. thats about it. but hey they have 5 more episodes possibly to fix it all, so thats good……right?

    1. This movie did not fail. The comraderie and bonding with the new cast is arguably on par with the bonding in the first trilogy.

      I had no problem understanding what Kylo Ren was saying with or without the helmet. I guess others might but it certainly wasn’t an issue for me. My biggest issue was that the dorky looking guy from HBO’s “Girls” was now the new villain for Star Wars.

      Kylo and his tantrums… Kylo is a young guy that comes from a privileged background and has way too much power than he knows what to do with. So famous people’s kids acting spoiled and throwing tantrums when they don’t get their way sounds bizarre to you?

      Ben/Kylo did not like the idea of being trained by Luke Skywalker. Luke did not have much training himself considering all other Jedi were trained from childhood. I wouldn’t wanna be trained by Luke either all things considered.

      Rey using the lightsaber to fight Ren seemed understandable to me based on the fact that she seemed to know how to handle herself with a staff on Jakku. One could surmise she may have had some sort of training on how to defend herself with weapons. The fact that she could hold her own against a fairly injured Kylo Ren is also a completely different thing but I try to give it a pass because the guy was bleeding his guts out and Finn got a couple of shots in on him before Rey got her turn. Why he didn’t just use the force and fling her around like a ragdoll is beyond me but it is what it is.

      Rey being great at everything was just weird. I can’t give that a pass. Where did she even get the idea to TRY a Jedi Mind trick? I’m assuming she picked up a lot while reading Kylo’s mind in the interrogation room but that’s a whole LOT to pick up in a little time.

      The death of Han Solo and how it was handled was a travesty. That I can agree with.

      Was Star Wars an original movie? No. Was it a movie that asked you to let your hair down and have fun? ABSOLUTELY.

      Is The Force Awakens as great as people are making it out to be? NOPE. After a while folks will watch a few more films, let the Star Wars hype settle and look back to have an intelligent conversation about the merits of the movie and what faults they’re dismissing based on nostalgic desires.

      The great news is that it’s only the beginning and there will be plenty more Star Wars to answer your needs.

    2. The plot is not original to the movie script it is adapted from the old star wars novels, from the 90’s I think. The reason Rey is such an natural Jedi is because she is the daughter of Luke Skywalker (although they seem to be taking elements from that character and combining it with Jaina Solo, Kylo’s twin sister). Kylo’s turning and his battle with his sister is a big story arc in the books and is also a continuation of the thematic elements of the previous films including the crappy ones. The force temps people and they are easily corrupted, which is the reason that Luke decides to go into exile like Yoda did before him, ultimately for the Sith to be destroyed the Jedi must cease to exist…

      I’m not a big fan of Star Wars by the way (I like em ok I just don’t love them or anything), I just read some of the books as a kid and remember the plot. But anyway a lot of your complaints have explanations plot-wise. I however have no justification for how wooden Carrie Fisher was in this film tho ;P

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