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Review: Star Wars Force Awakens
Eric Schaen (12/31/2015)
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Related: Clix Craves: Star Wars
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Star Wars Spoiler Free Review
edits made on 1/7/2016 to correct some grammar.

Like the Force itself, the Force Awakens maintains a delicate balance of good and bad.

So I finally got around to seeing the Force Awakens and I can’t remember that last time I felt so conflicted about a film. It’s not a bad bit of filmmaking, but I’m not sure the gushing reviews and overexcited reactions are justified either.

Now before you go getting the pitchforks and torches just hear me out. After all, if you remember, moviegoers had a comparable reaction to the Phantom Menace back in 1999; but if you ask most how they feel about that particular installment today, you get some very negative feedback now that the meal has been digested.

Even though it’s been out for a couple of weeks, I realize there may be a half dozen people who still haven’t seen the Force Awakens yet, so I’m going to do my best to keep this spoiler free while informing you on what I enjoyed and loathed about the movie.


s appearance actually captures the atmosphere of Star Wars quite well. The various planetary landscapes, the characters attire and the used environments ground the film in the mythos George Lucas idealized decades ago. Here's some main points to get out of the way right now...

A big credit to this film is the switch back to more practical effects versus the CGI that audiences were forced to suffer through with the prequels. CGI is spattered in here and there but it only stands out in a few scenes. This was a great decision, kudos to director J.J. Abrams and Disney for recognizing the significance this would have on the look and feel of the film.

Right: Discounted HeroClix

I was a little worried there would be an overabundance of lens flare, but Abrams managed to restrain himself and boy did it pay off. Abrams is a fine director and his hyperspace style fits the Star Wars universe’s like one of Vader’s gloves. I particularly enjoyed the preference for lightsaber duels that favor function over flash. I never could get on board with the prequels exhaustive use of fancy spins and twirls while wielding such a deadly and precise weapon.

The actor’s, both old and new do a pretty great job with what they are given. The emotional range displayed by Rey (Daisy Ridley), shows she has the right stuff to bloom into a fine actress. Carrie Fisher’s return as Princess General Leia was heartwarming, it was good to see her in role once more. Oh and Harrison Ford; he knocked it out of the park. I’ve heard that he has mixed feeling about playing the character, but it didn’t show on screen. He seemed to be enjoying himself and brought the sarcasm and swagger you’d expect from an aging but spry Han Solo. That ladies and gentleman is called professionalism.

Oh and you won’t find a single midichlorian reference in the movie. That’s almost enough reason to rejoice in itself.  So it sounds like a pretty good time so far, right? Well as I mentioned, there is plenty of bad to balance out the good.

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Your Comments:

Lies: "TFA wasn't the worse movie ever made, far from it. but its the only movie that had fans leaving the theater afterwards actually mad. Mad at the film and Abrams. With all the problems in the prequels, they never had THAT reaction. "

Lies: "nobody has a problem with "midichlorians", its just part of the universe."

I remember quite a bit of rage. As a refresher, George Lucas took one of the most iconic villains ever, and turned him into a failed Jesus Christ complete with virgin birth! Compelling lines like "Yippee!" and "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo" caused the treatment of Vader to be worse than Jar Jar or anything in Force Awakens.

Posted by: Kragnorak on 9/20/2016 11:29:37 AM
@Lord Vader

I think you mean that the prequel films were better then TFA. Sure, the original trilogy was even better (that should go without saying) but the prequels at least were true to the created universe and were they're own stories. TFA was a fanfic retelling of A New Hope with a Mary Sue character - that's worse then Jar Jar Binks. Think about it - worse then JAR JAR BINKS - that's bad, that's really bad, but its true.

TFA wasn't the worse movie ever made, far from it. but its the only movie that had fans leaving the theater afterwards actually mad. Mad at the film and Abrams. With all the problems in the prequels, they never had THAT reaction.

3 out 5 stars is generous and um ... nobody has a problem with "midichlorians", its just part of the universe.


Posted by: Truth on 7/28/2016 12:11:17 PM
@ freindly - I'm not so sure it should read: "It's not *a* bad bad bit of filmmaking". (bad twice)

Nothing worse than correcting someone on an error while making one yourself. And to think, you didn't even have to write multiple paragraphs to make an error. You go dude!

As for me I enjoyed the film. Sure it has some problems but anything is better than Jar Jar Stinks!

Posted by: Wade on 1/7/2016 5:49:10 PM
Excellent review. TFA is better than the prequel films but it is a bit disappointing when compared to the original trilogy.

@ Friendly, it would be nice if you actually commented on anything regarding the movie or the points the reviewer brings up about the film. As it stands you just come off like a pathetic troll.

Posted by: Lord Vader on 1/7/2016 5:23:07 PM
Page 1, Paragraph 3, Sentence 1
Reads: "...pitchforks and torches just here me out."
Should Read: "pitchforks and torches just *hear* me out."

Posted by: @FriendlySpellchecker on 1/7/2016 1:44:52 PM
Page 1, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2
Reads: "It’s not bad bit of filmmaking"
Should read: "It's not *a* bad bad bit of filmmaking"

Posted by: @FriendlySpellchecker on 1/7/2016 1:43:04 PM
@ You'll never know
Lucas's words not mine! Doesn't stop me obsessing over it though!Did you enjoy it?

Posted by: MantisWarrior on 1/7/2016 11:13:06 AM
@MantisWarrior: "Kid's film" sounds just a little bit condescending. *eyebrow raise*

Posted by: You'll never know... on 1/5/2016 7:39:18 AM
I'd give the film a good 4/5. Star wars is, in essence, a kids film. Us nerds just obsess over the little things too much. I enjoyed most of the plot homages to a new hope as they had enough spin on them and as for blasters causing bleeding, perhaps they're more cutty thirty years on in design. The only thing that prevented the 5 for me is that the first order comes across as somewhat incompetent and no threat to the resistance. Think about how many obvious imperial blunders there are. Do you really believe the resistance could lose?

Posted by: MantisWarrior on 1/2/2016 3:25:53 AM
Glad to hear that Harrison still has it. Thanks for not spoiling anything.

Posted by: Danger5 on 1/1/2016 5:25:16 PM
I have to say, I agree with this review. It was pretty good but could have been a lot better.

Posted by: Scotty Summers on 12/31/2015 5:53:20 PM
I agree with most of your points. But, Fin mentioned that the attack on Jakko was his first action after training, so he was a noob and that was his first exposure to the brutality of the Bad Guys. Good observations of Rey.

I fought hard to LIKE this movie, since I despise JJAbrams. Enough to punch him in the nose if I ever met him. That much. Friends couldn't accept my reasons, which usually doesn't bother me, but I realized that most fantasy fans love it while hardcore sci-fi fans do not. I concluded that this is not sci-fi at all, but light fantasy with a space setting. That doesn't make it sci-fi. You can have a sci-fi movie solely on a planet without any ships or blasters (like Blade Runner). As light fantasy, I can accept this movie more easily and just try to enjoy it for what it is--a kid's film.

Posted by: Jon on 12/31/2015 1:37:48 PM
Reading your review made me realize a couple of things... Yes, Rey learned to use the Force very well and gain control quickly. Perhaps she had heard a few stories about mind tricks and decided to give it a try while remaining calm? As I recall Finn stated that that was his first real mission on Jakku. He had seen on his 'first day on the job' how the First Order operates and he just couldn't handle it. Ergo the defection. I would say 3.5 out of 5 stars ;)

Posted by: Ho1ocau5t on 12/31/2015 12:55:50 PM