From all the hype you already know Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill are back for “Star Wars: Episode 7 -The Force Awakens” opening Friday. What you don’t know is if the film is any good since J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) took it over under the Disney banner.
What follows is a completely spoiler free review, with absolutely no hints other than what you know from the original trailer. Completely generalized for those who want an opinion but no details.
The film takes place in the future with some of the original cast reprising their roles, as well as the introduction of several new, key characters. Han Solo (Ford),Princess Leia (Fisher), and Luke Skywalker (Hamill) are all in “Force Awakens.” Of the three, Harrison Ford turns in the best performance. Its been 32 years since he played Han Solo, but when you see him on the big screen you would think it was just recently. Everything you loved about Han Solo, you will love again. He’s still got that cocky swagger and that crooked smile that endeared him to fans in the original trilogy. This time out though, Han Solo has more challenges than ever, and Ford turns in his best version of Solo in this episode.
Carrie Fisher has been making the promotional rounds appearing on talk shows mostly avoiding specific questions about her role. Cracking jokes and avoiding spoilers at all costs, she’s been on TV just about everyday for the past few weeks it seems. Her sense of humor, outside of the film, is hilarious. Especially love her dog Gary. On screen in “Force Awakens,” she too is back in top form. She looks great, and she still has that ability to play nuance against Ford’s Solo just like it was “Empire Strikes Back” all over again. This version of course, is more grown up, and with that her character has a broader range and needs to convey some pretty heavy emotions in a small amount of screen time. Fisher nails it with a really solid performance.
Can’t say much about Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker because I don’t want to spoil it for you. However, he’s still got those blue eyes and that steely stare he developed in “Jedi.” I’ll also say that those spoilers you think you know about, are not true.
Of the next three main characters, which all come across in their own way as new versions of Luke, Han, and Leia are equally compelling. Daisy Ridley plays Rey. The casting of her is brilliant. She brings a lot of energy to the role, and you never feel like she’s not committed. A driving force to the new story is the character Finn played by John Boyega (Attack the Block). He’s dynamic and just like Ridley, his performance feels real. Lastly, is Oscar Isaac as “Poe Dameron,” He plays a hot shot x-wing pilot for the Rebellion. As Poe, he doesn’t get the same screen time as the other two, but with what he does, his acting is spot on just like his performance in Ex Machina. He’s also in the next X-Men movie “Apocalypse.”
Bottom Line: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a more than worthy sequel to what George Lucas originally created. JJ. Abrams takes everything fans loved about Star Wars: A New Hope, and Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and reverse engineers those qualities and manufactures them into a new story that fits inside of the original mythology. No easy task considering the multiple story lines out there to choose from and the zillions of books and comics that continued long after the films. Instead Abrams, along with co-writers Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) and Michael Arndt (Oblivion) write their own story. Picking aspects of what made “Star Wars” a science fiction icon in film history. Even though there are a lot of similarities in the first act of the film to “New Hope” that is forgiven when the story is allowed to unfold and to take flight along it’s own path. There is no reason anyone who loved the original films won’t love this one more. The action scenes are tight. The special effects look fantastic, and the story is solid. The acting flows, and you just don’t have those wooden characters Lucas employed in his versions. Abrams wisely keeps his own style while incorporating what we loved about the first ones.You really couldn’t ask for a better follow up to the original films.
<Film screened in regular format>
Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Written By: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
In Theaters: Dec 18, 2015 Wide
Runtime: 2 hr. 16 min.
Walt Disney Pictures – Official Site