Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Movie Review

Dec 16, 2015
the force awakens review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, with all the hype surrounding it, can easily be the most disappointing film of all-time next to ‘The Phantom Menace’. This is a celebratory picture that is so big, even a filmmaker on the caliber of David Fincher refuses to make. The amount of pressure and responsibility making it is colossal—especially when it being a follow-up to the classic original trilogy that caps off in 1983 with ’Return of the Jedi’. Fortunately, we are in good shape with the guy to helm it in the form of JJ Abrams, the director famous for the last two Star Trek and Super 8. Regardless of what you think of him, this is a director who knows how to acknowledge other person’s work. In Super 8, he injects every Spielberg-ian references as he can, and with the Star Trek films, he basically rips-off Star Wars (in a good way) to make it work. The latter film(s) can easily be a respectable choice for everyone on the tribute he made on Star Wars alone on a rival sci-fi franchise. This is someone who is silently begging to direct Star Wars by screaming it on his past movies. Someone that is a big fan of the franchise, just like the most of us. And thankfully, JJ Abrams took a big dump on the prequels. ‘The Force Awakens’ is not just one of the better entries of the long-running saga, but the most honorable way a follow-up can get to its iconic predecessors.

In a way, the film takes cues from A New Hope. It opens on a desert planet, a small person with dreams learning her real purpose, and a droid on a mission. The familiarity of it doesn’t really eschews predictability on the over-all plot. What ‘The Force Awakens’ does is that it extends the formula of its source to an extent where the real mission only happens not until the remaining minutes of the movie. The noticeable difference though is that the McGuffin of the whole fight between the good and evil comes in the form of a person, and not simply a plan to defeat the Death Star.

the force awakens review

The main hero of the story is Rey (Daisy Ridley), who has been abandoned by her family all her life, and scavenges droid parts in exchange of money. Like the moment we first see Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, it’s not in her mind to give up because she knew in her own self that time will eventually come to show her real potential. Daisy Ridley as Rey steals the entire movie here, and delivered a very strong and committed performance.

the force awakens philippines

Along with Rey on her mission is Finn (John Boyega), who is essentially the same character as her—but on a fresh perspective. He is a stormtrooper who we later learned isn’t proud of his profession, which forces him to leave. The trauma of all the violence is felt with the long-range of emotions actor which John Boyega perfectly encapsulates. Boyega clearly is the man in the film having the time of his life here, as his energy and charisma mirrors of how fun his experience went behind-the-scenes. He and Ridley are perhaps the best actors to fill in the roles of Rey and Finn as their chemistry and friendship clings just right, and I can’t wait to see it progress in the later sequels.

the force awakens review

With the heroes being too likeable, it will be a very hard duty to do the same way to the villain, but thankfully the movie made a great deal out of them. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) infuses hate and motivation in his immoral actions, and we later on learned that he did for the sake of keeping the legacy Darth Vader continued as a Sith. What they got right here is presenting the stormtroopers, who literally go full-on Nazis. General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is a Hitler-like leader who finds pleasures in destroying other people’s lives, and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), criminally underused here leads the First Order troops in an old-fashioned manner.

the force awakens review

The return of the original trio, Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han (Harrison Ford), thankfully didn’t overshadow the new characters. The thought of seeing them again on-screen is like meeting old friends we haven’t seen in a very long time. 

the force awakens review

The moment this film opened, the sense of urgency is already felt within every scene. Either a character is on the loose, or in the middle of a battle, the fast-paced approach of the filmmakers worked so well, and never a moment in the entire run will bore you.  With everything moving so fast, the entire third act turned out to be mushy because of how the filmmakers intentionally rushed it to progress the story. 

the force awakens review

With all its hype, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ didn’t disappoint and actually turned out to be better than expected. It followed the classic energy-filled route of the old films tonally, blended with JJ Abram’s signature fast-moving humor—and despite the noticeable flaws, that concoction worked perfectly. 

The geek rates it 10/10!

the force awakens review

Thank you Walt Disney Pictures Philippines for inviting us to the Philippine Gala Premiere of the movie last Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at the IMAX Theater, SM Megamall!

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' opens Thursday, December 17 in theaters nationwide locally distributed by Walt Disney Pictures Philippines!

the force awakens review

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