Derek could not join us today. Instead, I—his inner child—will be taking the reigns on this one. I’ve watched the movie twice, the first time I was watching like a hawk to see if the movie was good or bad. The second time, already knowing I enjoyed it, I was able to enjoy the movie like it was supposed to be enjoyed.
Yes, this movie has flaws, yes it is not a perfect movie. But I think we can all agree that even the good Star Wars movies are not perfect. So I’ve held this movie to the same standard as I’ve held all the others. And it passes with flying colors.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is a fun movie. For most of its running it is a safe movie, but all things considered I can’t fault the filmmakers for that. This could have gone wrong so easily.
But like the Millennium Falcon, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” Though to be fair, looks are one of the places this movie has got it. The effects, many of them practical, are beautiful. Even the CGI effects are well done, for the most part, only standing out compared to the gorgeous practical effects.
The acting is excellent, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are a perfect set of leads. Their chemistry is great, and they play off each other well. And they are written in a way that you most certainly believe that these two characters would form such a strong bond so quickly.
The music is a bit lacking, staying in established Star Wars territory for the most part. The Force Awakens does not have its own theme, something that I appreciated in the prequels. Even in the lesser movies of that trilogy, they always had a distinct musical theme. Attack of the Clones may be remembered as one of the worst romance movies, but John Williams captured in music what the writing for that movie could not. The theme is grand, romantic, and tragic, everything the romance should have been but was not. Here it feels more like he was hired to do the music because we would have revolted if he hadn’t. I didn’t quite feel like his heart was in it.
The plot, as said, is safe, relying on safe tropes that may bother some viewers. But in a world of retellings and reboots I’m not going to complain about similarities to the original trilogy. This is a setup movie, meant to test the waters for whether audiences are actually ready for more Star Wars. Now we can go in different directions for the following two movies.
The lightsaber effects, which I’ll fully admit are the main thing that keeps me coming back to these movies, are brilliant. They’re the best they’ve ever been in the entire series. Pay close attention, notice how they shine light on their wielders’ faces. This isn’t something we’ve seen before. These are physical objects in the world of the movies. Even if George Lucas wanted to take the series in a different direction, I imagine he’s pleased with these effects if nothing else.
I had some concerns after my first viewing, I wasn’t sure if I really enjoyed this movie. I took stock afterwards and decided, “Yes, I enjoyed myself. This is a good movie.” But a lot of people did the exact same thing after Revenge of the Sith. After a second viewing I can say that I’m not deluding myself. I loved this movie and any concerns I may have are minor points at best.
This movie has what it needs. Good effects, good characters, good music, good structure. Where it lacks in the plot it makes up for in those places.
This is Star Wars. Real Star Wars.