What can I possibly say about “The Force Awakens” that hasn’t already been said? Probably nothing, which is why this is an attempt to comprehensively review this movie. However, “The Force Awakens” was my first real Star Wars experience, and so I figured it would be a good idea to talk about it from a standpoint of someone who knows next to nothing about this franchise.
What is my history with Star Wars, you ask? Well, around five years ago I went to a Blockbuster and rented (what a vintage sentence!) one of the original films, and never got around to actually watching it. Then, last year, I was working at Walt Disney World and decided that I needed to be the rebel spy (I don’t even know what that means!) at Star Tours at least once. Apparently the force isn’t strong with this one, as I was never picked (what’s up with that, Disney?). However, Star Tours ended up being one of my favorite attractions even though I didn’t actually know anything about the movies. Finally, around a month ago I started watching “A New Hope” on Netflix and was really enjoying it, but as it is routine with me, I stopped in the middle of the film and never went back to it. So, now you have some backstory and I can continue!
Even though I knew only the most popular Star Wars references out there, I found myself really looking forward to Episode VII. I think a big part of that is due to the new trio, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac. I spent most of last month seeing little snippets of their interviews and enjoying their excitement about the franchise, and I couldn’t help but be excited as well. They seemed genuinely happy to be a part of it, and if there’s one thing I’m a sucker for are people who can demonstrate real passion about stuff, especially in this movie business where things sometimes end up being really mechanical. Another reason why I was looking forward to this movie was seeing Oscar Isaac’s face for two hours, but more on that later.
I decided to watch the movie without having properly seen any of the other ones because I knew I would regret not seeing it in the movie theatre later, and boy was I right! Sitting down and seeing the logo on the big screen was, for lack of a better word, AWESOME, and I was instantly overwhelmed with thoughts of “I’m watching this in the movie theatre in 2016!” For the next two hours, I was so entertained and fascinated, and I couldn’t help but remembering all of the great Internet bits (like Hamilton Meets Star Wars, Evanescence meets Kylo Ren and Jean-Ralphio meets BB-8 – you will not regret watching these!) that came up this past month or so!
I’m not going to talk much about the actual story and character motivations because, honestly, you guys probably know way more about that than I do. One thing that really stuck with me was the nice female representation we got on Rey. I recently read an article that mentioned how great it was that Rey was able to just turn a corner and get her lightsaber, in a way that comes very easily to male characters. She didn’t have to go through any large sacrifices, heartbreaks or infertility traumas. Her power comes from her courage and from her actual participation in the narrative, and that’s a really important thing to see in a movie of this scale. I particularly enjoyed her dynamics with Finn, because even though there’s clearly some attempt at romantic tension there, she’s not merely a romantic interest, but an active participant in the events that are taking place. I can imagine being a young girl and having that kind of character in your life for who knows how long, how impactful it must be.
By the end of the movie, every single one of my expectations had been met. Even though I was a complete newbie in this universe, I was excited and teary-eyed at times, and really looking forward to the next one. Most of all, I was convinced of how the new trio can definitely carry the franchise and how I really, really need to get myself together and watch the rest of the films! That will be done before Episode VIII, I promise!
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