The Force Awakens Review: The Force is storng in JJ Abrams

star-wars-7-trailer

It’s been 10 years since the last Star Wars movie (Revenge of the Sith), not counting the animated Clone Wars movie that came out in 2008, Sith is the last film in the Star Wars franchise. Knowing that Sith might be the last movie in the Star Wars franchise, fans, including myself, had to be content on reading books, comics, playing the video games and watching the Clone Wars TV series. But when Disney/Lucasfilms announced Episode 7, we couldn’t contain our excitement, speculations where thrown left and right and yes we were excited to know that the original cast would be part of it. The thought of Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia back with the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Imperial Star Destroyers, and for a time the Sun Crusher (it was rumored that they’ll be doing or adapting Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy) would make an appearance in the big screen is something to get excited about.

Years and months have passed and rumors have changed, trailers were shown and we still got excited with X-Wings flying over raging waters, lasers, the Falcon avoiding the TIE Fighters, Han telling Chewie that they’re home, a Sith Lord who I thought was Exar Kun unleashing a bad ass saber, a glimpse of Luke and Leia hugging Han. Boy we were ready, I was ready, I even declared that 2015 is the year of Star Wars, doesn’t matter if movies such as Avengers 2, Ant Man, Mission Impossible, Spectre, Heneral Luna, Mad Max Fury Road to mention a few were box office hits.

Anticipation mounted as months became weeks and weeks became days and days became hours eventually I find myself buying advance movie tickets and taking an unpaid off because I want to be one of the first few (and privileged) to watch this film. A day after I bought the tickets I find myself contemplating whether this might end up being another Episode I, another half cooked effort (yet still has a tickle of excitement) or would it have the magic of A New Hope or Return of the Jedi. Short reviews on Facebook by friends who watched it on Tuesday however suggested that it’s good, giving me a bit of a sigh of relief. Indeed the world is buzzing, as critics haven’t posted their reviews, JJ Abrams and company did an awesome job keeping it away from the public, except for the sick kid who is a big Star Wars fan who had the honor of watching it first.

It was raining a bit when I arrived at SM Fairview, the show starts at 8PM so we were allowed to come inside the theater at around 7:15 or 7:30 PM. The crowd is thin making the viewing a bit intimate. They show trailers from movies both foreign and crappy Filipino ones (yeah that rushed AlDub movie is gonna suck). I even waited for a possible Star Wars Rouge One trailer, but alas it seems that the project is also a secret, trailer after trailer makes my anticipation grow even stronger. Then darkness. The pitch black moment was replaced when the Lucasfilms logo showed up and the famous “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” text showed up. Then the Star Wars logo and the text crawl begins. Episode VII The Force Unleashed it says, can’t contain my excitement.

Star Wars

The fading before the text crawl

 

 

The Force Awakens

The text crawl itself, for obvious reasons I didn’t bother taking a picture of it paragraph by paragraph so you won’t be spoiled. .

 

*MINOR SPOILERS*

The movie itself brings us back to how the original trilogy works. Solid storytelling, characters that are relatable (the new characters are lovable), even returning characters such as Leia, Han, Chewie et. al. (yes there are some returns here, if you’re a true fan you can easily point out who they are). The humor from the original trilogy was there as well, and the old and lovable characters still have the charm that made us fall in love with this film series, even added layers on how the Force works, and reminds us that the Force isn’t about the midi-cholorians. The battles are a breath of fresh air (minor spoilers), space battles have been replaced with mid-air dog fights and the feel of A New Hope at the final dog fight is there.

The chase scene between the Falcon and the TIE fighter proves that even though the Falcon is becoming a bucket full of threads and screw it can still make the Kessel run in 14 or should I say 12 parsecs :D.

Then we go to the Sith Lord who has that bad ass saber named Kylo Ren. Kylo is such an interesting character, no offense to Finn and Rey but Kylo is perhaps the strongest character in this film, (*MINOR SPOILER*) his development in the upcoming Episodes is key with tutelage of the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. The emotion of the characters is felt, the frustration of certain characters after seeing one of the main protagonists dying in the hands of…. is well crafted. Other than one over-the-top moment, the acting in this film seems to be on point, which was lacking in the monotone-filled banter from the prequel trilogy.

All in all my salute to JJ Abrams, the cast and the crew for making Episode VII magical, can’t wait for Episode VIII, after that ending, damn, I want more.

Now with one minor negative thing, I find it odd that this force-sensitive character was able to beat a former Jedi apprentice and now Sith follower in a lightsaber duel, maybe the Sith in this story is a puss but I just find it odd, on Episode IV Luke used the Force to lead the proton torpedoes in the exhaust port of the Death Star but this one is a saber battle with an experienced wielder, but yeah *maybe* the Sith training is not yet complete but come on, he already had a damn saber built, at least he’s capable of maiming someone who doesn’t have formal training, but then again, the Force moves in mysterious ways.

My verdict, I told a friend that I will only review bad films, but I guess I have to break that in the meantime. Star Wars Episode 7 brings us back to the old formula, how it works, the very reason why it works and why it’s loved. Episode 7 brought the child back in me, the magic, the excitement and the drama was recreated as I watched episodes IV, V and VI on the telly. You shouldn’t miss this one. 5/5 stars.

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