Movie Review with Jeff McCullough: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

By Jeff McCullough on January 16, 2016 from Movie Review via

A long time ago in galaxy far far away…. thus begins Star Wars: The Force Awakens, arguably the single most anticipated film of all time. No film this year has been more discussed, debated, theorized, or talked about more, and with record breaking ticket sales, its clear audiences around the world have embraced it. I have friends who have gone to see it five times; heck, there was a guy who got a tattoo of one of the film’s characters before it was even out.
But beyond the films massive financial success, which was pretty much a given (the movie could have been three hours of Jabba getting a sponge bath and it still would have cleared a billion), how does it hold up as a quality piece of cinema? Well, as a blockbuster The Force Awakens is pretty darn fantastic, but perhaps more importantly as a Star Wars story, it’s just about perfect.
Returning favorites like Han and Chewie are a large reason behind this, as are great newcomers like the ace-pilot Poe and force sensitive scavenger Rey, but above all else, the driving force behind The Force Awakens success is the tone. In the nearly 40 years since its release, few films have ever managed to equal the mix of fun, tragedy, and sense of wonder of the original Star Wars, but this newest entry is just as awe inducing as the original.
That being said, Force Awakens is VERY similar to the original, to the point it’s close to cinematic cannibalism. Without delving too heavily into spoilers, there is another desert planet, another Death Star, another orphan learning the ways of the force… many of the beats aren’t just similar but exactly the same.
Is that really such a bad thing though? Star Wars is remembered as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time for a reason, and seeing it again with improved effects and new characters is still a lot of fun. And that’s what this film is, a largely consequence free adventure with light sabers, force powers, storm troopers, and everything else that makes the franchise special.
That being said, should the next movie come out and be a beat for beat remake of Empire Strikes Back, I might have more reservations. For now though, I’m not just content with a more standard Star War’s story, I’m thrilled with it. If you’re reading this at this point, chances are you’ve already seen Force Awakens, but if you haven’t drop what you are doing and go right now. Heck, if you’ve already seen it once, go see it again. I’ve seen it three times now, and I’m not opposed to a fourth. That’s more than I can say about just any movie.
4 out of 5 stars

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