So I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. It was fun fun. I figured I would post my initial thoughts, leaving out any spoilers.
Overall, I thought it was an excellent addition to the Star Wars library. It was far more in line with the original movies than the prequels, which, of course, everyone appreciates. I do have a couple criticisms about the writing, but since those are spoilery, or at least spoiler-adjacent, I will have to save them for now. (I may do another post in a week or two with more details)
First, I’ll say that unlike the prequels, the acting was superb all around. The new stars in particular, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, did a great job. I was a little surprised about the tone of the film – it was a little darker than I was expecting – but there were plenty of comedic moments, and the cast, especially Boyega and Harrison Ford, were great with their timing and delivery here.
The visuals were also great. Here again, much more like the originals than the prequels. While the creators used CGI throughout, I didn’t find much of it annoying, distracting, or unrealistic. And they did make fairly extensive use of puppets, giving the movie the same kind of gritty, realistic feel of the originals. I found the battle scenes to be pretty stunning, and the landscapes visually pleasing.
One of the most important aspects of this installation was the return to focus on the main characters as the drivers of the story, rather than politics and trade regulations and that sort of shit that ruined the prequels, especially episode I. Okay sure, the bad acting, shitty writing, annoying characters and visual effects contributed too. But still.
So, a fun, compelling movie, done well (with some flaws I may talk about in the future). But it’s hard to say that this was a life-changing movie. Hoping to recapture the magic of the originals that we all saw as kids is a bit of a tough task. Much of that is probably nostalgia, anyway. But I’m glad this happened, and I look forward to more.