The Movie Buff December: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Colby Perron (The Movie Buff) Reviews the most hyped film since that other Star Wars movie back in 1999.

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The Movie Buff December: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Official Force Awakens Movie Poster. All distribution rights belong to Lucasfilm LTE and Walt Disney Pictures

Official Force Awakens Movie Poster. All distribution rights belong to Lucasfilm LTE and Walt Disney Pictures

Official Force Awakens Movie Poster. All distribution rights belong to Lucasfilm LTE and Walt Disney Pictures

Official Force Awakens Movie Poster. All distribution rights belong to Lucasfilm LTE and Walt Disney Pictures

Colby Perron, Staff Writer

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A short time ago in a movie theater not very far away… *insert Star Wars opening music*

Happy New Year everyone! This is The Movie Buff and I have a review for you. Now, this movie came out almost a month ago, but it is about time that I can talk about it a little more in depth as ¾ of the planet has seen it and I don’t have to worry about spoiling it by saying something small. Of course, I will not spoil major plot points in case of the near impossible chance you have not seen this movie and want to see it. Now, sit back and relax, because we’re making the jump to lightspeed over to the Movie Review System.

As you all know, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” is very easily the most anticipated movie probably since “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” back in 1999. However, unlike that disappointing piece of garbage that ignobly and undeservingly holds the name “Star Wars,” I have to say, this movie is definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

Let’s talk plot: “The Force Awakens” is set around 30 years after the last good “Star Wars” movie, “Return of the Jedi.” It begins with a group of stormtroopers landing on the desert planet of Jakku (wow Star Wars, a desert planet… How original) where Poe Damarin, a pilot for the “Resistance” (a group of people that are attempting to destroy the evil First Order) is attempting to get a map to the missing Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker (the main protagonist of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, but you already knew that.)

However, Poe’s plans are thwarted by the First Order as a group of stormtroopers (the First Orders’ soldiers) comes in and begins climbing through their village, shooting people up. Poe is able to hide the map inside his faithful droid companion known as BB-8 and sends BB-8 out into the desert to escape while Poe begins retaliating (Droids alone in the desert. How original Star Wars…). However, Poe is captured by the sith apprentice, Kylo Ren and taken for interrogation.

Without spoiling anything else, BB-8 finds a scavenger named Rey who lives on Jakku who takes him into a market where they meet the ex-stormtrooper FN-2187 or “Finn.” The three are then put in danger when the First Order begins to bomb the market looking for BB-8 location, and the three are forced to escape aboard a starship . The three then meet up with famous heroes Han Solo and Chewbacca who then have to help them get to the Resistance Base to return BB-8 to his owner and hand them over the map. Of course, all kinds of other things happen, but that’s for you to see for yourself.

Let’s start off with some of the positive parts of this fantastic piece of film. Well, for one, there is no Jar Jar Binks! While internet speculation had many people believing the destroyer of the franchise would be rearing his ugly head again, director J.J. Abrams definitely made sure we were Binks-less, and I cannot be happier.

Along with the lack of the amphibious nuisance that single-handedly destroyed the prequels, there were many great things in “The Force Awakens.” For one, the blending of the old cast and the new cast was outstanding. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Anthony Daniels all return as their previous roles (Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3P0 respectively) and they do not at all feel made for fanservice as Chewie, 3P0, and R2 did in the prequels. They all feel like the original characters, older and more experienced.

There is one scene (it’s shown in the trailer so don’t go jumping down my throat for spoiling it) where Han Solo is standing aboard the Millennium Falcon amidst a holographic projection of the galaxy where he is talking to the heroes and he tells them, “It’s real, the jedi, the force, the dark-side, all of it.” That scene sent shivers down my spine. It did not feel like the Harrison Ford that had to work alongside CGI (computer graphic imaging) Prairie Dogs, CGI Monkeys, CGI Aliens, and might-as-well be CGI Shia Labeouf in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” this felt like The Han Solo. Han Solo who has seen the Force, he’s experienced the jedi, and it works perfectly.

Like I said, the old cast blends in with the new cast, and let me tell you, the new cast is absolutely amazing. We have Rey ( Daisy Ridley) who is a scavenger on a desert planet and is waiting for the return of her parents. We also have Finn (John Boyega) who is a stormtrooper defector, and my personal favorite character, Poe, (Oscar Isaac) who is the best pilot of the “Resistance.” These three are absolutely stellar actors and were probably the best actors of any of the “Star Wars” films. However, we also had one of the best “Star Wars” villains of all time with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren.

Not only was the acting tremendous, the effects were stellar as well. While the “prequels” were chock full of bad CGI, so bad that it made anything by Michael Bay look extremely lifelike. This movie was just as full as the practical effects that the franchise started with. The practical effects, from BB-8 to most of the sets and characters, were all extremely lifelike and felt real as opposed to the greenscreen and CGI of the prequels. Of course, being released in a time where computers practically control our entire lives, there was a bit of CGI, but it looked great. All of the space battles were beautifully shot and even the two CGI characters (Mas Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke) blended in very well with their interactions with the characters that were there, not like poor Liam Neeson putting up with a racially stereotyped bumbling group of pixels (Jar Jar again.)

This wasn’t a perfect movie; most of the plot was recycled from the original “Star Wars” (No, I will not be calling it “A New Hope.”) But there is enough new stuff to make it feel like a fresh new movie. I give this film a 9.5/10 and it is very easily my favorite movie of 2015 and my 2nd favorite of the whole “Star Wars” series (behind “Empire Strikes Back”).
What was your favorite movie of 2015? I’d love to hear from my readers.  Here’s to a great 2016 and may the force be with you.

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