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Matt Dorey

A bird is sitting on the grass with a kite

The Force Awakens: Some Thoughts

Image detail from poster for Star Wars The Force Awakens

I’m not a massive Star Wars geek, though I could become one after seeing “The Force Awakens” this weekend. I really liked it. However, as someone who tried really hard not to see spoilers before seeing the movie, I thought I’d note down a few thoughts in lieu of a review as I don’t think I could do it justice without a few spoilers.

Here are some thoughts (maybe I’ll add more if I see it again):

  1. It's really good. It acknowledges that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie, even if the plot itself is more similar to A New Hope.
  2. I'll admit that the timeline doesn't make that much sense to me.
  3. Clever use of previous characters and even cleverer to drive through most of the action without them.
  4. Harrison Ford is a legend.
  5. John Williams seems to get a bit confused at one point as I'm sure he uses something very similar to the Indiana Jones theme to soundtrack a bit of Han Solo action.
  6. I loved the colours in this movie. With “The Force Awakens” J. J. Abrams manages to achieve the same thing he did with the Star Trek reboot: a modern feel, yet totally in line with the original Star Wars movies. (The "modern feel" may stem from lots of the action scenes being primed for 3D – I saw it in 2D and the "old school" version did not lack in any way)
  7. It's restrained in its use of CGI. There are quite a lot of practical effects used. This injects a bit of physical humour: it's a funny film too.
  8. It's also interesting that the locations used for the action are often pretty generic, especially later on in the film, and this is actually a pretty good device for focusing your attention on the plot and the characters.
  9. Despite the previous point there are lots of beautiful staging shots and what I call "world building art". The Star Wars universe has always been a place that viewers have wanted to explore.
  10. The sound is great and really satisfying in the cinema. There is the thwack and vroom of the light saber (of course!) and the pyow-pyow of the blasters, but the ship noises, the aliens, and more are all beautifully sound-designed. More than that, there were also points where I thought the surround sound added to my understanding of what was going on. The music is great too.
  11. There are at least two glaring plot holes that feel as though they can only be plugged some weird prophecy or predestination stuff. I hope I'm wrong. I can think of one explanation that I'm satisfied with but I won't discuss that until trailers are out for the next one!

The cover image is taken from the Star Wars website, used under fair use terms.

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