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):
- 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.
- I'll admit that the timeline doesn't make that much sense to me.
- Clever use of previous characters and even cleverer to drive through most of the action without them.
- Harrison Ford is a legend.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.