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Yes I'm reviewing STAR WARS. Why? Cause it's STAR WARS. Nough said!
The new generation has the internet and I had Star Wars! The movies, the toys (so many adventures went down cause of them) and the countess hours playing “Wars pretend" in the back yard with my brother and pals. Shit, I still remember when my dad brought my brother and I to the Drive-In to see Star Wars, Empire and Jedi all back to back. We lost it back then! So you can imagine my disappointment when THE PHANTOM MENACE crash landed in 1999 to stink up the joint. Pod race, Ewan McGregor, end saber fight and Duel of the Fates ditty aside, the movie was pretty much a waste.
Now I wasn’t one of those that managed to fool himself into thinking that PHANTOM MENACE was the tits – I knew it sucked ass right off the bat and my opinion has yet to change about it to this day. And although ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH (the latter is my fav of Lucas’ CG overloaded prequels) wound up being good movies, you can say that my hope of getting a genuine Star Wars fix once again someday was lost. That’s until J.J. Abrams took a hold of the franchise and fan-serviced the shit out of me. Thank Crom Lucas stepped down! Can we have him do the same with Indiana Jones now? My gut tells me he’s to blame for that last “CG monkey madness” embarassment. But I digress...
Yes with THE FORCE AWAKENS, STAR WARS is back for REAL this time! The wam-bam that Abrams brought to his STAR TREK movies (which negated what Star Trek is all about IMO but that's for another article) fit like a rubber with the more adventure driven and less cerebral M.O. of this groovy series. Hence while clocking START WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS I was back to that aura that I loved so much while growing up. FORCE AWAKENS gunned out an endearing mix of nostalgia, obvious affection for the source material and an intelligent expansion of what was already established. The nods/winks to Lucas initial trilogy were frequent (much to my delight, I won’t spoil the surprises) and the hefty use of practical effects/miniature models over CGI was mucho appreciated by this jerk.
I was engaged on a story level as well. Some elements/turns felt very familiar (writers Abrams, Jedi/Empire scribe Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt stuck close to the trilogy) but I got stimulated by them none the less and the new ground that the film laid out proved to be incredibly promising when it came to the tales to come in future films. Visually J.J. Abrams stayed as faithful to the START WARS that I know as he could (by emulating similar camera tricks and scene transitions) while randomly displaying a more “verite” style and all kinds of awe inspiring shots of the varied settings (loved the snow scene). On that, even though the money was on the screen, it was the people that got me to TRULY care about what went down. The new cast hooked me in right away; lovely Daisy Ridley was ideal and mucho likeable as our new heroine, think Luke Skywalker-ish! John Boyega brought in some heart and comic relief to the proceeding as the fallen Storm Trooper. LOVED HIM! Oscar Isaac was ALMOST a new Han Solo as Poe... I said almost. I so dug his mix of healthy arrogance and honor. And Adam Driver nailed it as the Darth Vader groupie that was Kylo Ren. Inne rage, ambition and vulnerability all at once. The Dark Side is strong with him that's for sure!
When it came to the old dogs; Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill (who's in the movie for like a minute), Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and company came through but it was Harrison Ford that stole the show. His old cynical schtick didn’t really work for me when it came to being an elder Indiana Jones, but it was genius as an old Han Solo. Ford got the best scenes and lines here and I can't remember the last time he was this good. Add to all that plot twists that carried lots of weight (yes I cried), John Williams coming back to compose the heck out of this one, astounding costume/set designs (the Storm Troopers never looked this good), all kinds of Star Wars fanboy pleasing moments (the sound of a Tie Fighter flying alone brought a boner to my chinos) new characters that will warm your thumper (like BB-8 who is, let’s face it, the new R2D2) and as many laughs as there was drama and you get a STAR WARS film to remember!
Any peeves? A couple. I found that the flick relied on coincidences a little too much and the story was fairly predictable. But hey, maybe that’s just me. Moreover I was underwhelmed by the final spaceship battle. Don’t get wrong, nothing putrid here, but I expected more intricate and elaborate bits than what I got. And was I alone in thinking that Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) was a little too Lord of the Rings reject for his own good? A regular human being would have sufficed to fill in that role. Finally I was so pumped to see Gwendoline Christie tackle the role of Captain Phasma (the first female Storm Trooper in the franchise to my knowledge that is) and was bummed to see that her role was a throwaway. They better make amends for that SIN in the next one!
All in all though STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS hit all of my proper “Star Wars geek” buttons. I was wowed, I laughed, I cried, I was taken aback and I left the theatre one happy son of a Jawa! What else can you ask for? STAR WARS is back and it looks like it’s here to stay this time! I can't wait to see it again, now with my expectations out of the way! MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!