Film Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Review:
Courtesy of Disney

J. J. Abrams' hugely anticipated blockbuster brings welcome jolts of energy, warmth and excitement back to the biggest franchise in movie history.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: While every effort has been made to avoid spoilers, those seeking an untainted viewing experience are advised to avoid reviews, this one included, until after they’ve seen the movie.)

If the first “Star Wars” (1977) hadn’t already been rebranded “A New Hope,” that optimistic title might have applied just as well to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” by any measure a rousing, even restorative seventh chapter in the immortal space-opera saga established and now relinquished by George Lucas. Reinvigorating the franchise with a welcome surge of energy, warmth and excitement after the misbegotten cycle of prequels released between 1999 and 2005, incoming writer-director J.J. Abrams seems to have had the original three films firmly in mind when he embarked on this monumental new undertaking, structured as a series of clever if sometimes wobbly callbacks to a trilogy that captivated a global audience and helped cement Hollywood’s blockbuster paradigm. Still, the reassuring familiarity of Abrams’ approach has its limitations: Marvelous as it is to catch up with Han Solo, Leia and the rest of the gang, fan service takes priority here over a somewhat thin, derivative story that, despite the presence of two appealing new stars, doesn’t exactly fire the imagination anew.

Still, the film’s tilt toward nostalgia over novelty will hardly prove a commercial liability; indeed, nothing short of a global cataclysm (and even then, who knows) is likely to keep Disney’s hugely anticipated Dec. 18 release from becoming the year’s top-grossing movie and possibly the most successful movie of all time, at least until the forthcoming episodes directed by Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow arrive. And if Abrams and his co-writers Lawrence Kasdan (back for more after “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”) and Michael Arndt have shouldered a near-impossible burden of audience expectations here, it’s hard not to look favorably upon “The Force Awakens” simply for being a massive improvement on “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and all but a handful of moments in “Revenge of the Sith” — taken together, a stultifying experiment in brand extension gone awry, in which Lucas’ much-vaunted technical wizardry and visual imagination proved no match for the unholy torpor of his storytelling.

By contrast, “The Force Awakens” feels disarmingly swift and light on its feet, possessed of a comic sensibility that embraces contemporary wisecrackery and earnest humor in equal measure. Shot on 35mm film (plus some 65mm Imax footage), in a decisive refutation of Lucas’ all-digital aesthetic, Abrams’ movie has grit under its nails and blood in its veins, as we see in an early battle sequence in which an Imperial Stormtrooper’s white helmet is suddenly streaked with red. A conflicted young warrior-slave who goes by the name of Finn (John Boyega), this Stormtrooper has been brainwashed into serving the First Order — a new army of galactic terrorists that arose from the ashes of the evil Empire, about three decades after the Battle of Endor. Doing battle with the First Order are the good men and women behind a rebel movement called the Resistance.

If all this sounds familiar, the similarities only continue from there. An ace Resistance pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac, solid in a minor role) is captured by the First Order, but not before concealing a top-secret map inside a small droid, which he sends away to a desert planet. This time, the droid is not R2-D2 but an orange-colored, spherical-bodied model called BB-8; the desert planet is not Tatooine but Jakku; the human who adopts the droid is a tough young scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley); and the coveted information concerns the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi knights, who has mysteriously gone missing. Escaping the First Order with Poe’s help, the desperate but good-hearted Finn crash-lands on Jakku, where he ultimately partners with Rey — who makes it quite clear that she’s in no need of rescuing, thank you very much — to ensure that BB-8’s intel makes it back to the Resistance.

Staying barely one step ahead of the enemy TIE fighters on their tail, Rey and Finn manage to commandeer the dust-choked but ever-durable Millennium Falcon, leading to a wild loop-de-loop chase scene in which Rey turns out to be an exceptionally gifted pilot. Of course, where the Falcon is, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) cannot be too far behind, and after turning up to reclaim his old spaceship (“Chewie, we’re home”), he reluctantly joins forces with Rey, whose presence has begun setting off curious rumblings within the Force. For their part, Rey and Finn can’t believe they’re seeing Han Solo in the flesh, and it’s hard not to discern in the young actors’ expressions a completely unfeigned delight at sharing the screen with Ford in one of his most iconic roles.

“It’s true — the Force, the Jedi, all of it. It’s all true,” Han murmurs at one point, and he seems to be addressing not just his new friends but also the audience, and with the sort of soulful conviction capable of converting even the most jaded “Star Wars” skeptics into true believers once again. It’s that desire to transport the viewer — to return us to a wondrous, childlike state of moviegoing innocence — that effectively sets the pattern for almost every subsequent development in “The Force Awakens.” Much of this is fairly intuitive: It simply wouldn’t be vintage “Star Wars” if someone didn’t mutter “I have a bad feeling about this,” or if audiences didn’t get an update on their favorite gold-plated worrywart C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), his squat sidekick R2-D2, and that fish-faced fan favorite Admiral Ackbar (Tim Rose). But the film’s most indelibly moving scenes are reserved for Han and his estranged love, Leia (Carrie Fisher), no longer a princess but a Resistance general. Their banter is raspier and gentler than it was 30 years ago, less barbed and more bittersweet, and viewers can expect their hearts to swell to Mandallian proportions whenever the actors are on screen.

Abrams’ filmmaking has enough dynamism and sweep to zip us along for much of the fast-paced 135-minute running time, and for impressive stretches he achieves the action-packed buoyancy of the old Saturday morning serials that partly inspired “Star Wars” in the first place. At once polished and pleasingly rough-hewn, Dan Mindel’s lensing alternates between stately landscape compositions and nimble camera movements as the situation requires, while editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey prove as attentive to the coherence of the action sequences as to the rhythm of the overall narrative, while making adroit use of the signature side-swiping scene transitions. And even in a sequence heavy with CGI and/or creature effects — as when Finn and Rey are attacked by fearsome creatures with sharp teeth and tentacles — the visuals never lapse into overkill. The unobtrusive sophistication of the visual effects (supervised by Roger Guyett) is especially apparent in scenes featuring the uber-villainous Supreme Leader Snoke (motion-capture maven Andy Serkis, resembling a plus-sized, more articulate Gollum), in which it’s not even readily apparent that we’re watching a hologram.

Gone, happily, are the prequels’ ADD-inducing background shots of spaceships zipping across a sterile cityscape like goldfish trapped in a giant screen saver. The different worlds we see here, from the parched desert vistas of Jakku to the verdant forests of the planet Yavin, feel vividly textured and inhabited (Rick Carter and Darren Gilford are credited with the production design). But the most crucial component of the movie’s design is undoubtedly John Williams’ still-enveloping score, from that thrilling, trumpet-like first blast over the opening text scroll, to the majestic flurries of feeling the music generates as it accompanies the characters on their long and difficult journeys.

At a certain point, however, “The Force Awakens” feels so determined to fashion a contemporary echo of the original trilogy that it becomes almost too reverential — or riff-erential, given Abrams’ fondness for playing on recognizable tropes, themes and plot points in his film and TV work. The Death Star that was destroyed at the end of “Star Wars” is one-upped here by a much larger, even more destructive weaponized planet (we even get to see the contrasting blueprints in detail). The Mos Eisley cantina meets its match in a watering hole run by a wizened old proprietress, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o, in motion-capture drag), who has some crucial wisdom about the Force to pass on to Rey. And in the story’s least persuasive development, the famous Oedipal dynamic that defined Luke and Darth Vader’s bond re-emerges unexpectedly here in even more toxic form — a twist that simply feels too contrived to achieve the desired impact.

All in all, the script leans rather heavily on exposition to fill in the 30-year gap between the events of this film and those of “Return of the Jedi”; one longs to get up to speed, but in subtler, less long-winded terms. The movie’s multiple dark-side-of-the-Force types are also something of a mixed bag. Serkis is fine but not galvanizing as Snoke; Domhnall Gleeson has a few impressive snit fits as a petulant First Order general, with one public speech that’s shot to look very “Triumph of the Will”; and Gwendoline Christie is seen only in full armor as Finn’s ex-superior, Capt. Phasma, whose narrative function never really comes into focus. That leaves Adam Driver, cast very effectively against type as the silver-masked, dark-cloaked Kylo Ren, though it would be as unfair to say more about his role as it would be to disclose any particulars about when and where Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker turns up.

For that matter, even by film’s end there remains a frustrating if intentional degree of mystery surrounding Finn and Rey, the two characters charged with carrying the series forward, and whose backstories presumably will be fleshed out more satisfyingly in subsequent films. Viewers inclined to pay attention to such things will have a field day analyzing the casting of a white female and a black male as co-leads in the year’s biggest blockbuster — an audacious and frankly long-overdue corrective to the status quo, quite apart from the fact that both actors are excellent. Boyega, so good in “Attack the Block,” brings sly wit to the role of a soldier grappling with a vaguely Jason Bourne-style crisis of conscience. And Ridley, in a doozy of a breakout role, is terrific as a young woman not yet sure what to make of the powerfully beckoning Force, or of the glorious and terrifying destiny that might await her. She may not yet have the heroic stature of a Katniss Everdeen, but future movies will surely tell.

In the end, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” suggests the work of a filmmaker who faced the exciting yet unenviable task of partially reassembling one of the most beloved ensembles in movie history, furthering their characters’ adventures in a meaningful fashion, and helping them pass the baton from one generation of action figures to the next — and emerged with a compromise solution that, even when it’s not firing on all cylinders, has been put across with sufficient style, momentum, love and care to prove irresistible to any who have ever considered themselves fans. Risking heresy, it’s worth noting that Abrams actually did smarter, more inventive work on his 2009 reboot of “Star Trek,” no doubt in part because he was working with a less heavily guarded enterprise. “Star Wars,” at once a cultural juggernaut and a sacrosanct institution, resists any attempt to reimagine its landscape too aggressively or imaginatively; that may be to the detriment of this diverting first effort, but Abrams has more than stoked our anticipation for what his successors may have up their sleeves.

Film Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Reviewed at Dolby Theater, Hollywood, Dec. 14, 2015. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 135 MIN.

Production

A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release of a Lucasfilm, Bad Robot production. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk. Executive producers, Tommy Harper, Jason McGatlin. Co-producers, Michelle Rejwan, Tommy Gormley, Ben Rosenblatt, John Swartz, Susan Towner, Pippa Anderson.

Crew

Directed by J.J. Abrams. Screenplay, Lawrence Kasdan, Abrams, Michael Arndt, based on characters created by George Lucas. Camera (Deluxe color, 35mm/65mm, Panavision widescreen), Dan Mindel; editors, Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey; music, John Williams; production designers, Rick Carter, Darren Gilford; supervising art director, Neil Lamont; art directors, James Clyne, Rob Cowper, Hayley Easton-Street, Mark Harris, Ashley Lamont, Andrew Palmer, Stuart Rose, James Collins, Peter Dorme, Jo Finkel, Kevin Jenkins, Mary Mackenzie, Oliver Roberts, Stephen Swain; set decorator, Lee Sandales; costume designer, Michael Kaplan; sound (Dolby Digital/Dolby Atmos), Stuart Wilson; supervising sound editors, Matthew Wood, David Acord; sound designers, Ben Burtt, Gary Rydstrom; re-recording mixers, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio; special effects, Chris Corbould; visual effects supervisor, Roger Guyett; visual effects producers, Janet Lewin, Luke O'Byrne; visual effects and animation, Industrial Light & Magic; special creature effects, Neal Scanlan; associate producer, Michael Arndt; assistant director, Tommy Gormley; second unit director, Roger Guyett; 3D conversion, Stereo D; casting, Nina Gold, April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg.

With

Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Ken Leung, Greg Grunberg.

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  1. I’m a Star Wars fan. I saw the originals in the theatre (movies) when they came out. The Force Awakens is a terrible movie. Nice to see the old gang but there was not much to it. The girl (Ridley) was very good but became a Jedi Master in a few hours. That’s ridiculous. Adam Driver is either the worst actor I’ve ever seen or poorly directed. Don’t waste your time on this nonsense. Totally forgettable and, frankly, ruins the franchise.

  2. Matt says:

    How are you people going to say that this was the worst movie of the entire saga? The first hour already makes the movie surpass those god awful prequels. This movie introduced new exciting characters, brought back fan favorites who both contributed their equal parts to the movie, and had jaw-dropping scenes with the Falcon along with satisfying lightsaber battles. I hate when half these comments saw that the fans expectations were not met when my expectations were exceeded and I know hundreds of people who said it was one of their favorite episodes in the saga. The movie theater I was in laughed hysterically at certain points of the movie and when it sadly come to an end we all cheered for an encore. Some of you are justifying your reasonings by saying that the death of Han Solo is why you think that it is the worst movie of the saga… that’s insane, how about you let the story move forward from the past and let new characters get their shots at being favorites. Many of you are also saying that Disney only bought the rights to rip off the universe, only to make money… if that were the case, they aren’t going to let Harrison Ford die in the first movie they make, he alone brings millions to any movie he’s in, why do you think he was in almost every single trailer released. They bought the rights for the fans because Disney actually cares about them and wanted to bring a movie that they would find funny, exciting, and something that they can look forward to in the future. I know I cannot wait for episode eight to be released, I’ll be sure to buy my Thursday night ticket the night I can.

    • “How are you people going to say that this was the worst movie of the entire saga?”
      Because it’s true. Glad you liked the movie though. To me it was totally forgettable and, frankly, ruined the franchise.

  3. Lukas says:

    I saw the movie two times. One with my best friend ( we are both great Star Wars fans) and one time with my girlfriend. In conclusion: the movie was the worst movie of the whole Saga until now. Story was cheap, NEW actors/actresses wasn´t brilliant or something you can say….good. And in the end you can say with that movie the director J.J. Abrams destroyed the whole live work of George Lucas and many other great directors, artists, writers of the novels from Star Wars in the last 20 years, who tried to built up a universe and go on with the myth of Star Wars, which was besides really great; the Star Wars animated series (Clone Wars and Rebels) and last but not least they destroyed the reliance of the fans. And for what in the end? Only to produce a political correct movie? I think that today most of the “ideas” in Hollywood aren´t fully worked out. Don´t get me wrong, I like the funny part of the movie, especially some comedy scenes with Mr. John Boyega and the little droid or the cool scenes with Mr. Harrison Ford, but Daisy Ridleys part? Not really? Even if my GIRLfriend has the opinion in the end of the movie that Daisy Ridleys character wasn´t convincing and totally overloaded because she rescue the rescuer, she can fly a spaceship without training, she can fight with the lightsaber and use the force without trainng, she can repair the spaceship and shove John in the scenes with the mechanical part. Sorry I agree. But the worst part was that Disney Corp. and the director destroyed the ideas, fantasy, work and expectations of so many fans with that movie only to proof something. What they want to proof, that they don´t understand the fans, and a whole generation of Star Wars visionarys.

  4. Bella says:

    Why,why,why? My boyfriend bought the Blue Ray. If I be honest I didn´t see the movies before. But before I saw the last movie of Star Wars, we started with first six movies in line, know that part one till three was the new ones. But the movies for me as no Star Wars fan was great entertainment, great movies, especially part four till six from the 80´s. Yesterday we saw the latest one. If I compared the movie with the other parts I have to say that part seven wasn´t really “new”, no innovation, no new story, as someone said before “only a copy of part four”. Besides the leading cast: Daisy Ridley was not so good as the actors (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill) and actresses (Carrie Fisher) in the part before. The movie was more comedy on the most of the scene; especially the evil guy wasn´t really an evil guy, more a Hothead or a brat. Think that Disney take a great responsibility on that. And the directing work of J.J. Abrams wasn´t as good as Irvin Kershner (part five) or Richard Marquand (part six).

  5. Jan24 says:

    The movie was a betray to every Star Wars fan. Abrams destroyed a great Saga of a real visionary (George Lucas). Sure the prequel of Star Wars from George Lucas wasn´t as good as the first triology, but part VII?…. Sorry Expectations of the fans failed. The new cast wasn´t convincing at all. The actors, especially the “actress” Daisy Ridley has no deepness, maybe because Disney and Abrams has taken her to much in the middle of all. In the past this kind of movies has had a cool balance between the main-protagonists. But today it seems Hollywood has a problem with gender in movies and for that reason they overdoing it in the most of the movies. I have not a problem with female leader in movies, I like Jen Lawrence in Tributes of Panem, Scarlett Johansson in Avengers or Alicia Vikander in Danish Girl, but in all the movies you have had some kinde of balance and not like in Star Wars VII a person who can do everything without help; fighting, use the force without teacher, flying, a mechanic and so on….. it´s boring. And for that reason I hope that the next 2 movies of Star Wars will come up quick, because it won´t become much better than episode VII.

  6. Peg says:

    Boring,boring,boring. The movie was the worst of the whole saga. Reason are: bad directing; would say the worst of J J Abrams. bad acting: like someone said before, the actors/actress weren´t convincing. And the main point of reason: Disney. Disney ruined it in the first place, because they wanted to make Star Wars in the “Disney-style”. Think we can´t expect more on the next two chapters. Updated info: Star Wars- Rogue One, which will come in the end of the year in cinemas, will be new filmed/reclassify over 40%….. 40%, because DIsney and Kathleen Kenned said the movie are too dark and too much action…..hello…it IS a Star Wars movie. not a Disney animated movie. Sorry but George Lucas did a great mistake, as he sold the franchise to Disney, because Disney will destroy Star Wars franchise, because they don´t interest on the view of the fans.

  7. Joan says:

    The worst Star Wars movie ever. Disney and J J Abrams destroyed the expectation of most of the fans and the actress , especially Daisy Ridley wasn´t convincing in not one single scene. It was the opposite. Disney/Abrams overload the character of Ridley and had make her non-credible and not authentic. It was the pure Disney-style. Hopefully the next two chapters will come in no sec, that this tragedy will come to a fast end.

  8. The agony lies not in the prospect of what evil the colossal pseudo-Palpatine-Emperor Sith Master might be up to in the remainder of the trilogy. The true agony lies in not much caring. Luke Skywalker had to labor mightily to acquire his Jedi powers, but Rey simply wills herself to Jedi knighthood. Han Solo’s wicked son is a sort of emo version of Darth Vader, whose descent into Dark Side evil had elements of tragedy. We were stunned to discover that Darth was Luke’s father but we begin knowing that Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son. Sadly, the inescapable conclusion is that neither side of the Force is with The Force Awakens, apparently having departed the Star Wars Galaxy along with George Lucas.

  9. Pat88 says:

    A friend invited me last year to cinema and both of us (biggest Star Wars fans ever until THAT moment) saw the movie. But our expectations were destroyed by Disney, the bad actors ( in the first instance: Daisy Ridley) and boring dialogues and in the end by Mr. Abrams. In the last years Mr. Abrams has made great cinema with some of the appeared movies like Star Trek reboot or Cloverfield. But Star Wars VII……don´t know, can`t put the disappointment in words here. Only can say that Mr. Abrams and Disney destroyed a whole world for us. A world built up by the iconic George Lucas back at the beginning of the 80`s. In the past I was a fan from Disney, from the character and stories like Jungle Book, Aladin, etc. But now….. it´s all gone. Think that was the biggest mistake from George Lucas to sold the Franchise/Merchandise to Disney, who rip of the whole Star Wars universe, only for money, not for the fans sake. And Mr. Abrams compared himself to Steven Spielberg, who think about a great deal of J J Abrams? Sorry, but that was the worst work of Mr. Abrams I ever seen, and I think I will never see any movies in which he will be involved in the future anymore. He takes responsibility for that, it really doesn´t matter how GREAT the box-office of the movie was or will be with the solding of DVD or BR. Another comment here described the work of Mr. Abrams as “evidence of incapacity”. And I have to say; she/he is absolutly right in that description.

  10. Geri Cicero says:

    Very disappointing. Rey and Finn, uninteresting individuals. Weak and predictable. So happy I did not spend the big bucks to see it in a theater.

  11. Zac says:

    The worst movie ever. I first read the terrible comments to the movie and said by myself :”Will have a look, maybe it is all exaggerated.” Tell you what? NO it wasn´t exaggerated. More than that it was the opposite: the characters are boring; haven´t any comprehensible developments; the lead cast :Daisy Ridley – Rey character is completly shown as one GIRL Jedi, Mechanic, Pilot, all-rounder, I don´t know why the other 2 characters (Poe and Fynn) are in the movie. The so called bad guy is only a spoiled brat, destroy on any time he lost his temper some consols with his lightsaber and wanna be like Darth Vader? Yeah in his wildest dreams maybe. And than in the end the GREAT Sith can´t win against the NEW Jedi. Jedi in what? Training? Maybe if you call it a five minute training to manage the force part and the light saber fight, it didn´t take much more time for the Super-Jedi Rey to manage all the secret of the force and beat up a pseudo Jedi/Sith in the end. So what can we expect from the next two parts? Not really something new.
    In conclusion you can really say, that J J Abrams (called himself a “FAN” of Star wars) and Disney destroyed a great saga and a great universe. It´s the typical “Disney-style”. And than the unnecessary death of a great character in the end. Sorry but that was the worst SW movie I ever seen until now. Hopefully the next two movies will come around ASAP and that this Triology come to a FAST end.

  12. Bill Green says:

    This review is the product of a warped mind. The author is obviously not a fan of star wars because the breathe of fresh air is more like a stinking fart. The two main inductees of star wars alumni stank up the place as unbelievable attempts of the director and Disney to add to the diversity of the star wars fan base. Only achieving alienating anyone who has a brain. A treasure seaker with modest fight skills is supposed to be a hedi? A coward stormtrooper who has never hurt anyone is all a sudden a marksman and stone cold killer? Yeah and monkeys just flew out of my butt.

  13. quillerm says:

    May be the worst cast Star Wars movie ever. Harrison Ford and Wookie did their best to rescue this movie from Disney’s PC department but the chemistry just wasn’t there. For those of us who were around when the first Star Wars movies were produced, this one gets a D minus.

  14. Alex says:

    How can Justin Chang can be a Chief Film Critic is beyond my comprehension. Someone who was able to write such a review for this last Star Wars movie should never be allowed to have an opinion on anything. His review is the first result that Google provides related to this movie…disappointing.
    Justin Chang please change your career as this is clearly not good for you.

  15. caustinclark says:

    Before I begin writing about “Star Wars, The force Awakens”, I need to lay down my background and appreciation for cinema. It pleases me greatly to watch old cutting edge special effects movies. Ones that incorporate film layering, puppets, robotics, and first age computer graphics are always inspiring to witness. I can also appreciate the role of computer graphics in contemporary movie production. “The Chronicles of Riddick”, “Transformers”, as well as many of the Marvel films and series. The classics like the “Labyrinth”, “Conan”, “Gremlins”, “Indiana Jones”,”Highlander” and “Big Trouble in Little China” all have their place in my hall of greatness. These are just a few sci fi films with what I consider relative creative demand. The first three Star Wars, episodes 4, 5, and 6 also are all epic movies. Each one must be critiqued from a relative viewpoint. Technology, consumers and resources demanded each film outperform the next. The same can be said for episodes 1,2 and 3, which are also epic movies.
    You could say that I judge a movie by these 10 standards: 1. The era in which it was made, 2. Utilization of available technology, 3. Innovative use of artistic media in storytelling, 4. Photographic excellence, 5. Lighting and set design, 6. Tempo of the narrative 7. Acting and costume design, 8. Emotional stimulation, 9. Conciseness of Editing, and 10. The summation of meeting viewer expectations based on the budget and the hype. I also need to express to some that not all movies should be called films. Movies that are not shot on film are technically not films, they are digital productions/movies.
    Now I will focus on “The Force Awakens”. I am a big fan of Star Wars movies and the franchise in general. After first hearing that a new Star Wars was brewing in december of 2015 I was on edge.Then I watched the first teaser… I have to say I was sceptical after watching promo clips on YouTube and yet still anticipating the film. J.J. Abrams did an excellent job with Star Trek in 2009. The film made me appreciate the Star Trek narrative for the first time. The work on that film was paramount. Still I was very sceptical of Disney and Abrams handling a Star Wars production. Then the “The Force Awakens” was out… everyone was bragging on the Movie. I had to see it for myself. The most important part of every Star Wars film that I have ever watched is the first 30 seconds of the fist scene. I was gravely disappointed in the opening of “The Force Awakens”. There were no cutting edge blasts of space awesomeness…??? At that point I took a bite of popcorn and tried to remain optimistic. A little light flickering and some stormtrooper heads hardly gets my blood pumping for Star Wars. That is what I took away from the start of the film. It felt rushed right from the start. The escape showed similarities to “A New Hope” but it was pushed at me so fast that it seemed pointless. There I was with my popcorn, two kids, my sister, brother in law and my niece and her friend… wondering where the narrative was. The attack scene on the planet was weak yet overzealous. Throughout the whole film I never go the feeling that I could stop and be in one place except for the outland pub which did not last long at all. Compared to most movies this was a huge bust. In every other SW movie there is saturation in the settings and the viewer can feel connected to a city, spaceship, city, starship or starbase. Let me jump on to the bad guy… This is absolutely ridiculous and outrageous. The temper tantrums of Kylo Ren were stupid to say the least. It was idiotic and no master of the force would ever act so asinine. Those scenes were pointless and showed a lack of creative planning and improvisation. Kylo’s outbursts were even more annoying than country pop lyrics that say the same word three times in a row over and over again. The reason they do that is because THEY CANNOT SING and KYLO, AKA ADAM DRIVER CANNOT ACT.
    A little narrative is at play… Let’s find Luke before the first order!! “The Force Awakens” played out like a gumball machine. I pay a small attention fee and a character drops out of nowhere. It is fun for the first minute then the gum looses its flavor and the whole thing gets boring. At the end I wind up with a mouthful of tasteless goop and the need to spit. Rey’s acquisition of her powers was lame. Those stages of the film were predictable. One of the biggest shortfalls of the film was providing only one real narrative goal and spitting it out to the viewer in the beginning. Every other film had multiple narrative goals and very grounded settings. No single actor in the film did an exceptional job except for John Boyega, aka Fin and his performance was not paramount. I believe all of the acting shortfall was due to the screenwriting and directing. THIS IS THE WORST STAR WARS MOVIE EVER MADE. The ending blander than stale white bread… Ok we found Luke! by by now… Let me get on with my rubric and rate this film so that I can stop wasting my time writing about this atrocious movie failure.
    1. The era in which the movie was made. 3 out of 10. (I did not see anything spectacular.)
    2. Utilization of available technology. 1 out of 10 (Nothing was groundbreaking…NOTHING)
    3. Innovative use of artistic media in storytelling. 0 out of 10. (Rushed, dull, cheeky, and bland)
    4. Photographic excellence. 1 out of 10. (It looked like an art institutes promo)
    5. Lighting and set design. 6 out of 10. (The environment was solid enough for production)
    6. Tempo of the narrative. 0 out of 10 (WHAT!!!) (YEAH!!!) (OK)(Was everyone on adderall?)
    7. Acting and costume design. 4 out of 10 (John Boyega & Michael Kaplan saved your butts!!) (Big Deal)
    8. Emotional Stimulation. 0 out of 10. (Han dies… yeah that was definitely gonna happen.) (0)(0)(0) – – –
    9. Conciseness of Editing. 0 out of 10. (Did fruit ninja cut this movie?)
    10. The summation of meeting viewer expectations based on the budget and the hype. -10 out of 10
    Total score 15/100

    If I could, I would direct the whole move again from start to finish. I would just need a time machine. I am deeply saddened that such a legacy was brought to ashes by this film. It is going to take the stuff of legend to summon the phoenix from this burnout production. At least they have the money to get the next one right.

    Justin Chang says: “it’s hard not to look favorably upon “The Force Awakens” simply for being a massive improvement on “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and all but a handful of moments in “Revenge of the Sith” — taken together, a stultifying experiment in brand extension gone awry, in which Lucas’ much-vaunted technical wizardry and visual imagination proved no match for the unholy torpor of his storytelling.” Aside from pointless pomobabble, the only message I get is that “The Force Awakens” improved massively on the first three episode films. I argue dramatically that the graceless invisible multistage rocket film “The Force Awakens” crumbles at the magnificence of the six prior movies.
    Chang also says; “Abrams’ movie has grit under its nails and blood in its veins, as we see in an early battle sequence in which an Imperial Stormtrooper’s white helmet is suddenly streaked with red.” Number one… stormtrooper helmets are cheesy, even if you love Star Wars. And number two… if a little blood in a film implies grit under nails then there is an infinite list of 12 year old director’s full of grit. The other films do not show blood like this, but that is a good quality. DISNEY?? let’s just hide a falice in some cartoons! and we will definitely smear blood all over Star Wars. They might as well of handed out toilet paper rolls with the ticket stubs.

    C. Clark

    • K alexander says:

      I agree 100%. It’s 2015+ for heaven’s sake. I won’t go on and on about how the new movie has technologically (and imaginatively) gone back in time, but George Lucas is a genius in regard to expounding on the vast and amazing universe that he created. I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve watched the first six episodes numerous times, not really choosing to do so. There was just so much newness and imagination involved. Thank you George Lucas for expounding as new movie making technologies became available. With the cartoon series’, I realize that he could go on and on and I wait with baited breath for more new and exciting and innovative. All six movies are entertaining each time I watch. If it’s in front of me, I can’t help, but watch. With the force awakens, once has been more than enough. Not a classic or even an extension of a classic. It was like going back in time technologically as well as creatively. I feel sorry for the young generation that missed the movie making revolutions and this is what they get. I would like to add also that I respect George Lucas for giving us his stories and not being influenced what the public wants. A true artist. Jj abrams, grow a pair and create a story, something new and innovative. Stop being a politician. It’s clear that that is what influenced the creativity in this movie. The muppets you used in the movie were disappointing. The settings equally so.

    • Jen says:

      Great comment, and I´m absolutly with you. In the past, after showing Episode 1 till 3, many people denunciated George Lucas for the prequel. For me George Lucas is a visionary. Back in the end of the 70`s, beginning of the 80´s he created a wonderful and fascinating universe with Star Wars. Sure the technical effects wasn´t so perfect, but in that time the story was more than extraordinary and simple at the same time. You have it all; a princess, a daredevil, a wise old man and a country lad, like in a fairy tale. Leap in time to 2005: Third movie “Revenge of the Sith” shown in cinemas. After the first two parts of the prequel, in which you can follow the story step by step, it comes to the final part. Great characters and cast. Great performance from the main cast, especially Hayden Christensen, who played in my view a remarkable character as Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker too. His embodiment of the villian was outstanding. He combined the light and the dark side in a way, I could not imagine. If you saw in his eyes, the face and see the facial expression he was absolutly great and phenomenal. The special effects; fights in the Starships, the creation of the planets (City planet Coruscant or Mustafar) in the variety of the colours; or better in the way of dark and light, the costumes of every single character were really a masterpiece of artwork. The deployment of the character of Anakin Skywalker was gradually. You could see the conflict between the dark and the light side in which the character moved and the reason of all the changing he has live through. Also you have saw a great performance from Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, and how he pulled the strings for his own advantage. And at least the light saber duell between Kenobi and Anakin. Great choreography. Sure, some parts/steps of the fight seemed like overdoing, but that hasn´t derogate the scence in the end. George Lucas has done a GREAT job.

      Leap in time: December 2015. High expectation for the next SW movie; part Vii. The previous doubftful expectation of the fans should be confirmed. Story: only a remake from the first triology (part iV till Vi). More than that, the story is illogical. In the end of part Vi the empire was beaten all over the Galaxy. And now, after 30 years, the empire…sorry the “First Order” build up a Third Deathstar…sorry the Starkiller base. The movie has shown the difference of the Death Star and the Starkiller Base; it´s NOT the same. Starkiller base is bigger (and easier to destroy as you can see in the end). The characters and the cast: in the end Abrams combined here also three characters from the first triology to only one person, girl named Rey, née mechanic, née pilot, née Jedi, because she know evertyhing about the force without training. But also shown two sidekicks of the girl; Poe, who only are in the movie for the first 10 minutes and than in the end with one little appearance and Finn……the good Storm Tropper, after only ONE fight for the Empire….sorry First Order, he diecided to be a good one. The bad guy, like you said, the so named NEW SITHLORD, is more a distraughted little child with fit of rage, in which he decides to cut down with his great, super lightsaber, some computer consoles. (Disney-like). And in the end of the movie, the evil guy, what a great suprise, beaten up by the girl, Rey, who hasn´t any experience with light saber technics. What can the fan be expect from the next 2 movies, when in the first movie of the triology the hero already beaten the bad guy? In fact not so much, because the director J J Abrams will still get functional as executive producer and thank Goodness, not as director. But unfortunately Disney and J J Abrams still will be with Star Wars. In the end you can come to the fact, that the movie was literarily a failure. No new ideas only the old one in new dresses. The acting performance of Daisy Ridley is wooden. No real emotions are visible. And the sentence in the movie …” you will never be like Darth Vader”…. to Kylo Ren was maybe more to herself and the performance/acting of Hayden Christensen. Equilibrate all the main part to a female lead character is overdo. And for what reason? Only to show a female lead character in a SciFi movie. That could not be the reason, because in the past this kind of magnificent performance already shown by Sigourney Weaver or in the earlier past Noomi Rapace. Or if you stay in fantasy genre, Jennifer Lawrence. These actresses were make a great performance.

      George Lucas had make a big mistake as he sold the Franchise of Star Wars to Disney, because Disney only want to leave ones mark on the products and only think about money,money,money and doesn´t take responsibility for the fans. In an interview one year ago or so, Kathleen Kennedy, Leader of Lucasfilm, said, that she all will take responsibility for the universe and characters George Lucas invented and will go on with that rootage of the original…..and than in the Part Vii the first thing J J Abrams and Disney were doing is to kill one of the original heros of Star Wars. What a betray to the fans.

      Most of the people think that cause of the box-office-taking, Part Vii was the big hit. But the result would be the same, if i.e. the story would be another, like some of the fans hoping for, new Luke Skywalker, Han Solo etc. cast, same way what J J Abrams has done with Star Trek back in 2009, which was also a great movie, and that the story will go on after the Imperor with the rebuilding of the Jedi Order or if maybe they used the original ideas from George Lucas from the next Triology. And why? Because the fans were so excited, because the movie was THE movie after episode Vi, after 30 years, back in the 80`s. All these things would be better as the level they reached now.

      Disney and J J Abrams did make a evidence of incapacity with the Star Wars Franchise and movies. And for the unlucky fans, they will go on with it. An unimaginative director with no ideas of one`s on and a would-be understanding company.

  16. sally94 says:

    I saw the movie 2-times, and at least I can say, it was 2-times too much. After I saw the first 6 movies, yeah saw the First Episode too :) I can say, that Part VII is the worst of them. Yes, more than Part I. Reason: Like someone already said: it´s nothing new. Abrams got Part iV till Vi, put them into a mixer, press the start button, and than, voila, Part VII was born. The new heros are so foreseeable. I mean, specially the part with Daisy Ridley, Rey. I mean I AM a girl, but that was exaggerated;her character already knows everything about flying the Falcon, Light saber fighting, mechanism and machine heads, the force….sorry, but she could stand without the two other main characters ;Finn and Poe. And than she is frustrated, that someone make the compliment that she looks like one of the famous and popular actresses: Keira Kneightly? I mean that was her first role as actress in a movie and she are already compared with Keira Kneightly, what a Diva.

  17. Linda Lorimor says:

    This movie skimmed over the top. It is an old story which never becomes old–the hero’s journey. Thousands of times but always compelling. Each of us see ourselves in this journey. I didn’t see the characters in this journey so I did not identify. Yep, I am an old lady but want to love this but I do not.

  18. Steve Eden says:

    What movie where you watching? Another Death Star? Finn with a lightsaber? By the way, his character took away from getting “lost in the movie”. Rey knowing the intricacies of the Force two hours after hearing the word? There were so many things wrong. I was highly disappointed and too ashamed to let friends and family know. The ultimate let down. The paused scene between Kylo Ren and Han Solo took thirty seconds longer than it should. The audience knew what was going to happen while awaiting the staredown. I’m not going to let myself get as hyped up for the next one.

  19. Tejas joshi says:

    Class movie I love watching star wars series movies as always.

  20. veno says:

    I have to admit that the movie was just a lot of bits and pieces of the old star wars movies, and I’ve always hated the way older Anakin skywalkers acting was, and now the son of han solo is an even worse actor. Why look for Luke at all if he couldn’t even train a kid to not be like vader, even though vader realized his mistake and became good before he died.

    How do the girl become so powerful and she just found out she has the force with absolutely no training whatsoever, and if she is that powerful, she doesn’t need Luke apparently she’s a natural and somehow I believe she’s his daughter. Remember the saber called reached out to her and it always stayed in the family. By the way, another death star just bigger? really

    I can go on and on, but it’s not worth, but it’s just the way they make movies nowadays, just awful.

  21. Kristian Rojek says:

    I just watched the movie again and it was worse than the first time I saw it. After the first viewing I left the theater extremely disappointed. Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith are both as good if not better and neither of those movies was very good. How does everyone think it’s so good? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I am real big Star Wars fan and I was expecting a great movie, but JJ Abrams blew it. He and the movie are a joke. A ten year old could have done a better job. I’ve read every book and love The Clone Wars and Rebels. This movie not as good as any of them.
    The story is so unoriginal it’s ridiculous. If it was just that the movie would still not have been that good, but it wasn’t. The casting of Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren was awful. They are all so bad. Carrie Fisher appears to have no acting ability at all. The dialogue is so rough as well.
    1- Rey’s character is so unbelievable it’s absurd. She is great at everything right away. She flies the Falcon like a pro the first time she has ever flown a ship off the ground. While dodging fire from a trained tie fighter pilot, she is able to position the ship well enough to get the tie fighter in the sites of the jammed gun moments after first flying. Never shot a gun. Who cares? She shoots better than trained stormtroopers on her second shot. The force? Just heard about it, but I can learn the skills in one day. When she first meets Kylo Ren, he is able to block her blaster shots, freeze her, read her mind and she faints. A short time later while under duress in a torture chair she is able to block his mind reading ability and then read his mind. She has no idea what powers the force gives her, but she is able to use a jedi mind trick to have the 1 and only stormtrooper in site to set her free. On top of all that, she is able to defeat Kylo Ren in a light saber battle a day or two later. The guy trained with the jedi, killed the other jedi trainees and then has been trained by the sith. I got to assume he’s been training for at least 20 years. The guy was able to stop and freeze a blaster shot from Poe without even looking at him, but he can’t beat someone who just heard about the force? She was also so skilled in the force that she was able to pull the light saber in the snow to her when Kylo Ren was also trying to pull it to him. Luke struggled pulling his light saber out of the snow in Empire and no one was pulling against him and he had been working on his force skills for awhile at that point
    2- Finn should have no chance fighting against Kylo Ren, but holds his own for a bit and even wounds him with the light saber. The guy could take 20 Finn’s on at the same time. Did I mention Finn doesn’t even have the force and just picked up a light saber the other day. Finn says that he worked in sanitation. Why would he have been on Jakku with the guys who work as soldiers? Shouldn’t he be taking the trash out somewhere. Also if he was assigned to sanitation, I have to assume he wasn’t a very good warrior, but watching him in the movie you would think he has the skills of Chuck Norris.
    3- The Falcon hasn’t flown in years. Why would the ramp be down and the ship not locked? Spring cleaning? Also the ship starts right up and then flies like it did 30 years ago. It makes no sense
    4- Finn frees Poe. Poe knows him for 10 minutes and tells him that the map to find Luke Skywalker is in the droid and they are going to get it. Couldn’t the guy be a spy? A bit too trusting with a secret everyone seems to be looking for
    5- How does Rey understand everything BB8 says? She seems to be fluent in beeps and bops. She even understood the name of the system where the base was located. By the way, no one understands wookies and she can understand Chewbacca right away.
    6- They take off in the Falcon from Jakku, take out a couple of tie fighters and get away with no additional pursuit. There is a star destroyer in orbit over the planet. They can’t catch a 50 year old ship that hasn’t been used in years? Also Finn and Rey are celebrating in the hallway of the ship while Jakku is still in plain site. Also Finn whispering to BB8 that he’s not part of the resistance and to just tell them where the base was is just plain awful dialogue. Such an awful scene.
    7- Han and Chewbacca get on the Falcon as leisurely as can be. Wouldn’t they come on in combat mode ready to fight the pirates or smugglers who are flying the ship? No worries, I’m going to check a couple of switches first.
    8- The rathars that they are transporting kill everyone in seconds, but Finn gets dragged around until rescue can come. Unbelievable
    9- One of the smuggler/pirates who survived the rathars calls into the first order to let them know that the droid and two fugitives are on the Falcon with Han Solo. I really believe he would do that out of the goodness of his heart. Of course he wouldn’t. He would have wanted to get paid for any information he gave to them. The guy is out 50,000 credits that Han stole from him plus he just lost a bunch of guys and weapons.
    10- Why is it called the resistance? Wouldn’t they just be part of the New Republic military?
    11- Why is the awful hologram of Snooke so big? If he’s so powerful, it’s kind of pathetic that he needs to portray himself as a giant and if he’s giant, that’s just more stupid
    12- 2 of the greatest heroes in the galaxy, Luke and Han, both decide to give up following Kylo Ren’s killing of the other jedi trainees and going to the dark side. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to stop him immediately instead of waiting for him to get more powerful?
    13- Why would Luke leave such a cryptic message of broken maps to be figured out at an unspecified time?
    14- R2D2 is a droid. They should have been able to access the information in him at anytime. They have slicers and techs that could have accessed the information in a short time. If everyone wanted to find Luke so bad, why wouldn’t they just do that? Instead they decide to just let him sit in the corner full of important information. Come on
    15- Another easily destroyed, round, planet annihilating base. Great idea JJ! Moron. How do they shoot a continuous beam from the base all the way to the planets in another system? By the way once in system the beam splits 5 ways to destroy all the planets. Also in order to power the weapon they take energy from the sun and then the sun is destroyed. We see them destroy two suns that both look real close to the base. Is the planet able to fly? Is it in a system with unlimited suns? If you destroyed a sun that close to your planet wouldn’t it cause all kinds of problems besides the fact that planet would quickly turn into sold ice with no heat. Great idea using the trench again JJ.
    16- Han and Leia’s scenes together were painful and awkward
    17- The needless and stupid scene when the nurse is working on Chewbacca at the base. That’s 20 seconds of my life I’ll never get back
    18- Kylo Ren senses Han Solo landing on the planet, but can’t sense that he is 20 feet behind him on the base?
    19- Han Solo’s last scene was not that good. It should have made me feel way more emotion than it did. Fair at best
    20- Captain Phasma was a worthless character. She is the head of the stormtroopers and suppose to be a badass, but she lowers the shield on the base without any fight leading to the destruction of a good portion of the first order. The trash compactor jokes were also awful
    21- How does the resistance know how long it takes for the Starkiller base to charge? They saw it in action once and weren’t ready for it. I can’t imagine they have much intel at this point, but they know exactly how much time they have left before it charges. The mention the time remaining 3 times.
    22- The planet splitting between Rey and Kylo is just lazy
    23- How do they find Kylo in the middle of the woods before the planet blows up and for that matter how does Chewbacca find Rey and Finn in the middle of the woods?
    24- Leia has known Chewbacca for more than 30 years. He gave her a big hug when they first see her again. He has a life debt to Han and is his best friend. Han dies. They return to the base. Chewbacca walks right by Leia. She doesn’t even look at him. Instead she is staring at Rey and gives her a hug. This is a girl she just met the other day and someone who knew Han for a week.
    25- R2 finally wakes up and they decide it’s a great idea to put the map up in a room full of hundreds of people. Don’t worry the first order couldn’t possible have had a spy infiltrate the resistance.
    26- They decide to send Rey and Chewbacca to find Luke in a 50 year old ship that has not been repaired from smashing through the woods and into the planet and probably barely worked on at all for at least the last bunch of years. Oh yeah Rey and Chewbacca are brand new to the resistance. Wouldn’t they send a bunch of ships or better ships to look for him? Also the map seemed to be a map of star systems not a map of the planet. It could have taken them years to find the right island or continent he was on. Lucky for them they found him on the first island they checked.
    If I would have reviewed the script prior to shooting i would have made all the same notes and the script would have been fixed before shooting. Did they just write it and never read it again? If this wasn’t Star Wars everyone would think it’s horrible.

    • Rob McKain says:

      Well and concisely said, you’ve taken the words out of my mouth. While watching the film I couldn’t help but be pulled out of the story when each of the plot hole points you listed occurred. I know Abrams has taken Spielberg’s throne as the current hot blockbuster director, but, I really think he and the other writers got lazy and sloppy. I still generally enjoyed the film, but as with Lucas’ prequel trilogy, I won’t pay to see it again and I seriously doubt that I’ll add it to my movie library as though it stirred up some nostalgia for me, I feel it was a big missed opportunity to truly thrill Star Wars fans with a new, well written storyline.

      • Mag70 says:

        I think this movie was meant to be directed much like a magicians stage act, alot slight of hand and misdirection. If you do not think or are under 15 yrs old the movie works. Like most big budget films these days flash over substance or coherence. A rice cake world that equals $$$…apparently the true litmus test for a good movie now a days.
        Books are better imagination thrillers.

    • Liston Pennington says:

      finally someone whose head is not stuck up disney’s ass. THE FARCE RETURNS is a big disappointment to ant fan who knows the Star Wars galaxy through the first six movies and a total failure to those us who have read the many books that make up the fabric of space that the Stars Wars galaxy occupies. Never mind that everything that happens in the books that follow Return of the Jedi, such as Luke’s children,Han’s and Leia’s multiple children, other great charters and new tech. The movie is just bad, it is just little snips of what hopefully is a better story pasted to gather to make one long spoiler commercial of a movie never made. As long as disney is making STAR WARS movies, if I see them it will be on a borrowed video.

  22. SK says:

    Watched the movie last night and I loved it! I’ve watched all the episodes and I really appreciated the film. I guess it’s important to have watched the previous episodes to really know what’s going on. Well done to all the actors. They were all great.

  23. Sandra says:

    I just saw the movie and I’m a big Star Wars fan, I have to say this was one of the worse I have seen, it was all rehashed from the previous Star Wars movie what a joke: the only difference is that they put in new characters.

    I totally agree with George Lucas and what he said about Disney, they are destroying the franchise, any bets that the next one is going to be rehashed as well?!!

  24. I thoroughly enjoyed the original series of Star Wars. Force Awakens was nothing more than another spoof/parody. Perhaps if Abrams presented this as a parody…I would have enjoyed it more. The humor was stupid and inappropriately applied. I couldn’t take the movie seriously at all. There was no continuity from the last movie to this one. Examples: Kylo Ren was nothing more than a child with a slightly out of control temper that no one feared. I didn’t see Princess Leia. I saw a recovered drug addict playing the princess. #disappointing #neednewdentures Abrams, excellent job!! NOT REALLY.

  25. UrbanHillbilly says:

    I loved Star Wars, back in 1977, and grew weary of it as the later films looked more and more like feature length toy commercials. I can’t saddle this Disney production with that particular criticism.

    This film is much worse. It is a complete waste of time. JarJar Abrams did exactly what he did with the Star Trek films: He took pieces of the plots of the earlier films and strung them together in a rather forced manner, only connecting necessary characters by coincidence. The plot is a mess. It wasn’t visually interesting, and the sound track was utterly worthless.

    By going back and rehashing old plots, Abrams has doomed the franchise to complete stagnation.

    When I said, “The plot is a mess,” I really understated it.

  26. Simon Barradell says:

    Simon 6/1/16 UK – I totally agree with what Frank has said on 5/1/16. I watched the film last night after watching all the first 6 films in order again. This film is garbage and has destroyed the Star Wars franchise, it made no sense, I wish I had not wasted my money. Yes I agree that George Lucas’s prequels the cgi was not good and it was good to see less of that in the new film but please where is the story and morals of what Star Wars is all about… Terrible, JJ Abrahams admits the story is crap, that’s an under statement. Others that haven’t seen it do not watch, let the magic of the first 6 along with top acting stay in your memory, don’t shatter it..

  27. Frank says:

    I thought Star Wars – The Force Awakens was terrible. They ruined the star wars franchise. Actors and acting was just atrocious. Story and plot was boring and not believable at all. I really don’t like how it took Luke Skywalker three movies (including training by Yoda) before he could use/handle the force and defeat Darth Vader, but it takes this girl 14 seconds (with no training) to figure out and master all the nuances of the force and defeat the dark side/Kylo Ren. She went from scavenger/nobody to the ultimate jedi warrior in 14 seconds with no training. Just ridiculous and stupid. She is not believable as a hero/jedi saving the galaxy and Kylo Ren is not believable as the bad guy (new Darth Vader) – he’s a wuss. I’m surprised they did not have him break down and cry and surrender to the girl. Terrible job as a villain. I won’t bother going to see any more Star Wars movies now that Disney is doing them.

  28. Adam says:

    I’m a fan of Star Wars in many of it’s incarnations, somewhere between hardcore and casual. I thought TFA was a good roller coaster, but not a good movie. I haven’t read any of the books and couldn’t care less about Disney not using any of the expanded material. My issues with the film were it’s lack of detail and disregard for the audiences’ intelligence.

    The movie breaks it’s own established rules which is bad storytelling 101. Mainly it treads on the rules established by the originals. You could make the argument that TFA is making it’s own new rules, so it supersedes the old ones. I would whole heartedly agree with that, if it weren’t for the fact that TFA is not being treated as a new take (read: reboot), but rather as an extension on an existing universe.

    The same characters, tone, and aesthetic have been gloriously revamped. It’s a perfect recreation of what Lucas did 40 years ago. In a purely superficial way. And that’s the problem. All the connective tissue is completely gone. There’s so little care to making sense of the circumstances of the film. The republic is the reigning force in the galaxy, so why are they called the resistance? How does Starkiller move between suns? Kylo Ren’s force powers inconsistency. Rey figuring out the mind control trick with no training. The multiple deus-ex-machinas. The plot holes have been documented expertly elsewhere, so I won’t go in to them any more here.

    Besides being lazy storytelling, many of the plot holes simply couldn’t happen in the bounds of what the original trilogy set forth. TFA should have made much more effort to work within the existing creative limitations. That would have payed true homage to the originals. I would’ve been much happier with TFA had it created an extended world on top of what already exists, rather than ham-handedly juggling the old and the new and not quite doing full justice to either.

    All that complaining aside, I did enjoy TFA for it’s spectacle. I don’t consider JJ Abrams a good storyteller, but he knows how to make a fun-to-watch movie. He’s a great image maker. My problem is all those little inconsistencies and logic jumps pull me out of my suspension of disbelief. I think the frustrating part to a lot of dismayed fans is that the general public seems to be giving TFA much more leeway in being a severely flawed movie than other films of it’s ilk. It almost feels like people watched it with “rose colored glasses” just because Star Wars is such a cultural juggernaut.

  29. LanaLorenzen says:

    Agree. Just saw Star Wars, The Force Awakens. People complained about Carrie Fisher’s appearance?! Really!!?? That movie was so full of plot holes, bad writing and embarrassing acting that Fisher’s aging should be the last thing people notice! I don’t know where that $200 million budget went but it certainly didn’t go into writing, editing, and casting. First The Good. I’ve never seen better special effects in 40 years of movies and Domhnall Gleeson is superb as the General. Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 are amazingly good in their roles–and about the best things in the movie. The Bad. The British actors speak as if they all graduated from Cambridge and took a short break from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to do the movie (except for the painful brogue of the Scotsman? Irishman? who threatens Han.
    Everytime Daisey Ridley spoke I thought I was listening to Keira Knightly–Actually, Knightly would have been an amazing Rey in contrast to the cardboard cutout, Ridley. John Boyega was awful as Finn: the actor has zero charisma, zero charm, or no discernable intelligence. Ditto for Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. Neither Boyega or Daisey Ridley have the star power to ignite a romantic spark with a torch. And speaking of torches, the Storm Troopers use flamethrowers in the age of Light Sabers and travel at the speed of light?! Adam Driver was semi-competent. The movie was so short he, along with the other characters, never had time to develop. The Ugly. The dialogue was flat, humorless, and in some places, anachronistic (Boyega’s character actually uses the word, “bro”). The acting and dialogue were just so subpar even I could have a done better job of casting and writing. And, last but not least, Why wasn’t the film just made by a British production company? It might as well have been. In short, this film has Disney written all over it–and not in a good way.

  30. J.Isermann says:

    Disney should apologize!
    Best review here.
    Full of unacceptable logical mistakes, a poor boring copy of what have been done 30 years ago.
    Up to the band in a bar playing same music style?
    Emotionless, uninspired.
    It never touched me.
    If you want to eat 30 year old food slightly warmed up…I can tell you:”It’s not tasty!”
    They turned diamonds into stones.
    The worst thing is that they already made so much money with something not worth it.
    Please don’t pay to make them believe they did something good. They didn’t!

  31. Cecil B. Devine says:

    I liked Anakin, Buzzy, and Dark Helmet but Fuzzy and Charlie the Tuna Can were phoning it in.

  32. Michael Henry says:

    Nothing has awakened here.
    A lame rehash of the same old characters and themes – battle scene, death star, wooky and a princess with enough plastic and makeup to sink a star cruiser. Reported to have made a lot of money for Disney and Harrison Ford and that is the films only dubious achievement.

    • Lou says:

      Mike, Good review. The dialogue is for 13-15 year olds, the plot is a series of subroutines from previous movies, the story was lame, and ALL the actors were terrible. This film is beneath JJ Abrams.

  33. Joshua King says:

    Who ever wrote the new star wars movie has never read any of the books I have read every book written and this movie is so far from the books the writers of this movie are morons Han and Leias children’s names are Jacen and Jaina, and their youngest son is Anakin and Han Solo doesn’t die I thought disney was the right company to keep the star wars franchise going but all disney did was ruin my childhood

  34. NikGZ says:

    Best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back and, while I understand Empire’s grand surprise is unsurpassed, overall I enjoyed The Force Awakens more. The Force Awakens is inspired and Daisy Ridley is a magnificent find!

  35. It was not about what the war was about. Disney focused on feelings which was totally weeny like. Miss the old Star Wars. Very disappointed and will not go out of my way to see the next. What will they do in that one have both sides hug and become friends? Disney, no one wants to see politically correct in Star Wars you are ruining the franchise!

  36. Burstibeard says:

    I don’t think Abrams did us justice. The writing was uninspiring and parallel ep4 far to closely. The dialogue felt less stilted and more natural though (which was one of my complaints with the prequels), and there were no wok/Jar Jar moments (yeah).

    I liked the new players. Rae was a bit naive given her life but I could see that as a possible psychology for her. Finn seemed confused as much as scared which makes sense given that he is fighting 15+ years of brain washing. I liked them both but given their handling in the movie I didn’t become emotionally invested in the characters until the very end (in case your wondering Mr. Abrams – that’s not good). There didn’t seem to be a romantic interest between the two of them, which to be honest is good. There was a growing deep friendship developing which I applaud. This will mean that if love blooms it will be from something besides the hormones of the moment. If it doesn’t bloom then that’s alright as well. I don’t think that element is always necessary or the right thing for each story.

    All the problems with the Anakin character (ep2 &3) as the annoying whiny brat were magnified 10 fold in the character of Kylo Ren. Vader was a good screen villain, Maul was a good screen villain, and Dooku was a good screen villain. Kylo Ren was just pathetic and annoying. And the scene between him and Han was so cliche and predictable. I don’t know anyone that didn’t see it coming at least 10 min before it did.

    Why another dooms day weapon. Were the creative juices of the writing team just not flowing. Oh I can hear the discussion now.
    Let’s take the Death Star (the size of a small moon) and make it a planet capable of firing through hyperspace with a mirv payload. Wow, that would take a lot of energy. So, we’ll say they need to drain a star every time it needs to be fired. Won’t that make it very dark on that planet (trees don’t grow with no star)? Sure but no one will notice that we already fired the weapon once (having already drained our star to do it) so they won’t question that we need to wipe out the star a second time.
    The cheese factor on this alone went to 11.

    The Maz character was a highlight for me. The sad part is that I cared more about her in her first 10 seconds of screen time that about the main characters in their first hour.

    I could go on about what I did or didn’t like about the movie. It wasn’t a total write off. I give a solid C+ (7.5). Part of the problem when you over hype a movie is that it raises expectations. Expectations were already high for TFA (perhaps unreasonably so). I had mixed feelings when Disney acquired SW, but given that I liked what they did with the Marvel franchise I was hopeful. Now, I’m no longer certain that was prudent (especially given how they’ve handled the franchise regarding the expanded universe – Darth Disney anyone). Even as disappointed as I was, I will see the next installment, hoping for better things to come.

    FYI – I was 9 when A New Hope came out in 1977. I remember standing in lines around the block in downtown Seattle. Together with various family members I watched it 39 times that year. I’ve only read a few of the novels and read a few of the comics. I’ve seen all of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebals eps. I’m a fan (but not a rabid one). I’m not willing to accept mediocre work and pretend it’s gold.

  37. rod says:

    Not surprising since Star Wars is now part of the McDonald’s of entertainment family (Disney) over-hyped and with no substance. The franchise should have packed it all in 5 episodes ago.

  38. jim says:

    i was very disappointed. the movie was just a repeat of the first movie with different characters. it was all most boring.

  39. I see positive reviews for this, but it is by far the worst Star Wars movie in my opinion. Phoning it in and remaking IV just because you can’t come up with a single original idea between your entire creative team isn’t the way to continue the Star Wars franchise. The Canon Disney threw out is filled with story lines from a vast number of different writers. If Disney couldn’t find someone to come up with something for this movie it is simply because they don’t care and know they can skate by with no effort and make money because of the Star Wars title.

  40. Jeff Linnane says:

    I am SHOCKED this movie has received this much hype!! Very mediocre from start to finish!! What surprised me the most is the lack of a new direction for these movies. I mean it’s the same crap formulaic Hollywood BS!! We are really supposed to believe Rhea learns the “force” all by herself? Ugh.

  41. Chris R says:

    Please save your money. It’s more or less a remake of the 1st star wars. They had a death star WE GOT A BIGGER ONE. Their R2 rolled on legs, OURS IS A BALL. Obi Won dies in the 1st, HANS DIES NOW. And that absolute worst is the casting for Darth 2, He takes off the helmet and there is no reason other than “I wanna be like Granddad’. He doesn’t even look menacing. The effects are better, but it’s star wars 2.0. I only wish you could sue to get your money back, but it’s my fault when I seen JJ his only contribution was a ball R2. “we got toys to sell”. apparently the universe is controlled by 1 or 2 families. We had the villain dad and the 2 kids heroes now their kids are the villains?? How original. I also think it was sad that the old cast was so OLD they had nothing for them to do without worrying about them breaking a hip. And that ending, 20 minutes for the girl to hand off a lightsabor, What?!. Then when you think about it, each person trains the evil jedi then steps back and lets them go. What?!

  42. Elan Holdorf says:

    Excellent review, aside from one gripe. You say matter of factly that Force Awakens is an improvement on Phantom Menace. I would say, rather, that all three Lucas Prequels are interesting films, remarkable enjoyable and finely made in some ways. Force Awakens is a more classically made Hollywood movie, equally as well crafted in different ways than Phantom Menace. Please do not regard your opinions about the Lucas Prequels as fact, when there are fans of each director. Otherwise, very nicely said.

  43. Jens says:

    I grew up with the Star Wars movies (Original part 4 till 6) and than the Prequel ten years ago. George Lucas created a fantastic, extraordinary universe and a great SciFi Saga. I loved it. And I already know that JJ Abrams and Disney would destroy that great universe. After I saw the movie I got assurance. JJ Abrams destroyed the magic world of Star Wars. After so many people convicted George Lucas for makingthe prequel of the Original Trilogy ( I don´t count to this one) I can say more than any worse as Part VII it WILL be come with the next 2 movies. The movies was unimaginative, no fantasy, lacked vision. An evidence of incapacity from JJ Abrams.

    • Sanity Unrequited says:

      I agree with every word. I adore the Prequel Trilogy as well. Lucas set out to both continue telling his story, while also crafting films that were completely different than the OT. The world building he accomplishes in the Prequels is astonishing. And I love the style, feel, characters & pacing of the Prequels. From discovery & inceptive Star Wars battles to procedural mystery leading into an all out war and finishing with the carefully planned & executed abolishment of The Republic & Rise of The Empire. I am as big a fan of The Prequels as I am of the OT. And when you factor in SW; The Clone Wars & Rebels animated shows, my preference leans towards the world created by The Prequels.

      Still, for all its derivative elements and far more typical Hollywood feel, tone & style, I do love The Force Awakens. I also hold out hope that the next installments won’t have us revisiting any other Star Wars film seen in this Galaxy very close to home, instead offering us something new & never before seen or been to, while telling us a new Star Wars tale that flies into unexplored, exciting territory.

  44. Jeff says:

    A lot of people did not like the prequels George Lucas did, but for me they were great story telling adventures. This new instalment of Star wars the Force awakens is a far cry from the Story telling and direction of George Lucas. Abrams has ruined the Star Wars franchise for me. If he Comes back and does episode 8 I will not go see the picture. If Disney continue to make movies like this The Star Wars Universe will collapse on it self.

  45. Disneypideperdon says:

    JJA? No it is a ZAZ parody of original film. One hundred chimps could make a better script for this nonsense. The fact is Disney’s force is too much stronger than critic’s light, sold to Disney Corp.
    One of the worst films I,ve ever seen

  46. bobbyvalentine says:

    I grew up on the original trilogy (to young to have seen SW in the theater but Empire & Return on opening day). My children saw the prequels and simply love them. Some of us original fans react to the prequels like Red Forman did to Vader himself. There some is NO bad Star Wars film. Some not as great as the others but not one is bad.

    That said my family waited for 2 yrs for this movie then hours in line. To say we were excited is an understatement. When the movie was over dad and teenage daughters debated the movie till 3 am. The best it got was a 7 out of 10 rating. There were incredibly exciting moments. Finn and Rey both were stellar. Seeing Han and Chewie awesome. But …

    For being set 30 years in the future we were all incredibly disappointed that the movie was a literal rip off of A New Hope. To quote my 20 yr old daughter, who is every bit a SW geek, “there was not an original idea in the movie!” Mirroring is ok and good narrative technique. Abrams is not mirroring it is simply a “reboot.” Better than Fantastic Four reboot fo shizzle but still a shameless reboot. To quote my 17 year old daughter, “Kylo is the worst Sith in the universe.”
    I liked the movie. For those who, like the above reviewer, claiming it is magnitudes better than the prequels will have to argue with my teens. The good stuff in this movie is there not because of Abrams rather it is there because he ripped off George Lucas. Just the opinion of a family of four who will see this again Christmas day and buy it on Blu-ray :-)

  47. Alex says:

    STAR WARS: The Force Awakens

    Please note this review was written by a rank amateur who has never written a film review before. I was and avid admirer of the original film when it was released many decades ago and had high hopes for this new release. But after seeing the 2D version a few days ago and taking a while to digest the new spectacle, my overall feelings of disappointment and having being let down upon leaving the theater, have not subsided.

    A more apt subtitle for the film would have been: “Dark Force DejaVu”. This “new version” of the original scifi thriller has not expanded on any of the new and interesting technological ideas and concepts brought to life in the original version. The sleek levitating vehicle in the original film is now, forty years later, depicted as looking like the front end of a 1930’s Farmall tractor minus the wheels. The local bar room scene from the original film is again shown populated with different outlandish looking creatures, typical of many copycat scenes throughout the film. The plot still revolves around the struggle between the Dark Side evil force and the Good Side force. As in the original film, a member of a heroic family again has been corrupted and goes over to the Dark Side. Nothing new here so far, and the plot stays that way for the rest of the film. Even after forty years of supposed technological advancement, the rebel Star Fighter aircraft appear virtually the same (X-shaped), and the evil force fighters still look like two waffles held together by a toothpick (H-shaped). The original Death Star is now a orb equipped with some sort of a force cannon powered not by the old plasma energy technology, but by a nearby sun. Same old plot: The new “Darth Vader” character and his evil master seek to destroy all the rebel Forces of the Good Side by blowing all their planetary strongholds.

    Fighters in both films, on both sides, still use phasers and lasers to annihilate each other, the bad guys are still are dressed in the same old uniforms and the final battle between good and bad family members is again waged using laser sabers – apparently weapons development during the four-decade period in between was zilch, along with any interesting plot updates.

    As in the old version, rebel forces are again required to fly through a dangerously narrow channel to attack a vulnerable spot on the new “Death Star,” and to no ones surprise, they succeed. By now, I think you get my point – virtually no new scifi technology, and very little in the way of a new plot twists. Perhaps the saddest of all, we have to endure the aging images of our original heroes in their waning years with virtually frozen faces, unable to provide little to the illusion of vitality and action of a mediocre film.

    In short, this new film is more of a remake of the original film than the hoped-for sequel depicting forty years of scifi technological “advances” and interesting plot-line innovations. Hollywood has failed to deliver what could easily have been a major advance in scifi drama and technological filmmaking, through a lack of imagination and poor script craftsmanship. If the new generation of Star Wars fans accepts this poorly done sequel as a substitute for the real capabilities and creativeness of modern filmmakers, then the best days of creative filmmaking are behind us and merchandising profits will have become the new benchmark of filmdom’s success.

  48. Albert Speer says:

    Star Wars: The Force Recycled. This movie makes me wish humanity would come to an end. Die screaming.

  49. Mace says:

    You naysayers are too funny. I wasn’t looking for a heavy duty plot or in depth character development. I was looking for an entertaining addition to the saga that ties in old characters and I got that and loved it! Would see it again and again.

    • chogyam says:

      Thankyou….finally someone with some brains. It was a Star Wars film. A very well done bridge between the old and the current, towards the 2 films to come in the trilogy. And way over a billion in tickets…thats a lot of people in the audience, for a “worst Star Wars movie of all time.” People are so critical on the web.

  50. Jeremy says:

    SPOILER ALERT!

    Easily the worst Star Wars movie of all time. This coming from a die-hard fan. Obviously the dumb ass director has never read any of the Star Wars books written with Lucas Arts on the cover. Nothing is right, first of all Luke’s son is Ben, not Han.
    Next your trying to tell me a storm trooper could actually fight a Sith and score a hit on “Darth Tantrum”…come on…
    And finally you couldnt come up with an original plot, I mean really this was A New Hope with a change of gender roles.

    Movie was a fail…Disney needs to apologize to all Star Wars fans and George Lucas.

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