Review: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII- THE FORCE AWAKENS

poster

Vader helmet

Welcome back, friends. Please forgive my lack of productivity in this space through pretty much all of 2015, but I’ve had quite a bit going on out in the real world. On top of that, I’m much more interested in creating my own work than I am reacting to the work of others, which is what I do most of the time on this blog. That’s a result of simply wanting to get things off my chest, and over the past year I’ve become pretty good about being able to keep my mouth shut and my thoughts contained inside my head. This is my first full review since I analyzed Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April of 2014. Fuck, it has been awhile, hasn’t it?

Reviewing Star Wars movies has always been tough for me. And by “tough”, I mean “nearly impossible”. The original trilogy, collectively, occupies the #1 slot on my list of favorite movies of all time. When I watch those movies, I don’t see actors and cinematography and writing, I am watching a story unfold, nothing more. I’m not thinking at all about how it was made. That’s because I became passionate about Star Wars before I knew I was passionate about filmmaking. When it comes to the prequels, I don’t like talking about them because of how disappointing they are. I’ve never gone as far as most in saying they outright suck, but I freely admit they are a mess. I can still watch them and enjoy doing so, but they don’t feel like the original movies at all, and I’d have a very tough time watching all 6 in order, because the gap in style, both visually and in storytelling, between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope would be too big a jump to make in my mind. I’m also bitter that the way Anakin Skywalker was handled in the prequels makes original trilogy Darth Vader much less badass, which is a cinematic felony.

On to current events! Back when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and sent George Lucas packing, I posted my reaction to the news [HERE] and then did another piece reacting to the announcement of J.J. Abrams as Episode VII’s director [HERE]. I originally pegged Abrams’ selection at only a 2% chance of happening. In hindsight, that was foolish, but I based that doubt on the fact that I refused to believe that they’d hire the same guy who rebooted Star Trek to also revive Star Wars. I viewed that as some sort of celestial paradox. Minus the Star Trek factor, I approved of Abrams doing this, and I still approve now after we’ve all seen the finished product. Episode VII needed to be directed by a Star Wars fan, and Abrams has proven his worthiness in that regard. In many people’s views, his love for the original films is too evident in Force Awakens, but we’ll get to that.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into it. Needless to say, SPOILERS APLENTY AHEAD!

WHAT I LIKED & LOVED

-Most importantly up front: unlike the prequels, The Force Awakens feels like a Star Wars movie. That cannot be overstated. It’s dirty, fast-paced, energetic. The story doesn’t get bogged down by galactic senate politics and trade negotiations. It feels stupid to say this, but the movie looks and feels REAL. The galaxy feels lived in again. The filmmakers used real props, built real vehicles, built actual sets, put people in real creature costumes and makeup. Unlike the prequels, they didn’t shoot the entire fucking thing in a giant room walled in green screen, reality to be added later. Credit to J.J. Abrams, who insisted they build as much as they could for real, both for the look of the movie and for the actors’ ability to actually exist in their characters’ environments. That’s such a huge benefit. It shows in the performances, and it just looks better when CGI is used to enhance a real environment instead of having the entire scene created in the computer. This ought to be common sense, but it’s something people like George Lucas, James Cameron and other slaves to technology no longer understand, which is depressing.

dead Star DestroyerJ’adore this shot.

What J.J. Abrams brings to the table. The man understands spectacle, and spectacle is one of the best things about Star Wars. Or it should be, anyway. He knows where to put a camera in an action sequence, which is easier said than done. Whatever you feel his faults on Star Trek were, he’s always said Star Wars was his first love between the two. (And hate on his Trek for tone all you want, but the space battles were pretty badass.) Abrams does a great job with small details, the “Cool!” moments. He’s excellent with wide angle cinematography, he’s one of the few directors left who advocates shooting on film, and there are several individual shots here that are better than almost anything in the previous films (shoutout to cinematographer Dan Mindel for truly grade-A work throughout). Abrams also places great emphasis on sound design, which I appreciate. I love how they slightly modified some of the sounds of the weapons and ships from the older movies. The lightsabers and blasters sound slightly different, more powerful and resonant.

Abrams stormtroopers

As an aside, in the future I hope Abrams is able to find his own thing, instead of being the remake/reboot/sequel guy. He’s directed 5 movies now; a Mission: Impossible movie, 2 Star Trek movies, and a Steven Spielberg movie (Super 8) prior to Force Awakens. He’s too talented a filmmaker to be stuck playing in other people’s sandboxes all the time. I’d also like to see him do something other than sci-fi and action. I don’t wanna hear in a couple of months, “J.J. Abrams to direct Lost in Space reboot”.

The minimal use of lens flares. J.J. is growing up, kids.

The new cast. And by this we mean Daisy Ridley as Rey Skywalker, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. Star Wars as a franchise has the luxury of not having to cast name actors in its lead roles. People show up to these movies because it’s called Star Wars, not because of who’s in it. As such, the filmmakers are free to discover new talent for key roles, which is rare on megabudget movies like this. Oscar Isaac has been on the ascent for a few years now (you should’ve seen him earlier in 2015 in Ex Machina), but they pulled Daisy Ridley off the London stage (this is her first American film), and Boyega had only been in a few really small movies, most notably the British alien invasion comedy Attack of the Block (which you probably didn’t see, but need to). Adam Driver was best known as Lea Dunham’s on-again, off-again boyfriend on HBO’s Girls (in which he is fantastic, by the way).At ages 23, 23 and 32 respectively, Ridley, Boyega and Driver should all have long, prosperous careers ahead them even after Star Wars. I believe (and certainly hope) none of them will be known only for Star Wars, as Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill sadly were post-original trilogy.

Ridley Boyega

Finn blasting

I do want to single out the magnificent Daisy Ridley for a moment. I think what she does in this movie, having almost zero experience on the big screen, is nothing short of superfantabulawesome. She gets to do drama, comedy, and action all in one performance. She’s got instant, explosive charisma and has MOVIE STAR written all over her. Star Wars isn’t known as being an actors’ showcase, but rarely does any actor get to do as much as Ridley does here. And she’s virtually flawless throughout. There’s no indication whatsoever that this is her first big movie. She’s great in the action scenes, completely convincing as a girl who’s had to teach herself how to survive. I love her facial expressions, I love her physicality, and of course being partial to British women I love her accent. I adore this girl and can’t wait to see her career develop. Count me among those who think it’s pretty cool that she’s essentially the main character of Force Awakens.

Surprisingly, the old cast. This will slightly contradict one of my points below, but I’m gonna say it anyway. When Disney first bought Lucasfilm and Episode VII was announced, my original hope was that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, et al would play little to no part in the new trilogy. With J.J. Abrams’ involvement, I assumed that dream would die, and I was right. However, I’m not stubborn enough to deny that when Han and Chewie first show up (a wonderfully timed moment), I was smiling like a 16-year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. It was great to see Harrison Ford actually put the effort in, unlike what he gave us in the most recent Indiana Jones movie that shall not be named. More than any of the original cast, Ford actually seemed to enjoy being back in the role, which was fun to see.

Carrie Fisher shows up and kinda goes through the motions, but it was good to see her back anyway. I’m blaming her meh performance more on what she was given to work with than with her acting ability or personal motivation. I’m not gonna rag on her appearance or her voice, either. There are plenty of places you can go for that. I’m more concerned about how her character was used. So we know she’s Luke’s sister and gave birth to a very powerful Force user, but we STILL haven’t seen Leia use The Force in any way except to feel from afar that Han has been killed. Not that I want to see her wielding a lightsaber going forward, but give us something other than “General Organa stands around, gives orders and reacts”.

I was not expecting Mark Hamill’s appearance to be merely a cameo, but I like that Luke Skywalker is essentially the MacGuffin of the movie, the place to which all roads in the story point. I’m excited to see how that scene from Force Awakens’ finale plays out, presumably at the very beginning of Episode VIII. And Luke needs to shave that beard pretty quick, because he looks 97 years old when we find him on that mountaintop.

They went out of their way to give Stormtroopers some life/personality. Typically the butt of most Star Wars jokes, these new First Order Stormtroopers actually seem like mildly competent soldiers. I love the idea of a Stormtrooper defecting, and that character becoming central to the story. And of course I like even better that they filled that role with a black actor. I love that all the Stormtroopers were actually human beings in costumes instead of Lucas’ CGI clone abominations. I love the TR-8R memes for the badass who battles Finn using that anti-lightsaber baton thingy. I love the two Stormtroopers who decide walking by the room where Kylo is throwing a tantrum was a bad idea (always generates one of the biggest laughs from audiences). And of course we all loved Daniel Craig’s cameo as the Stormtrooper who succumbs to Rey’s Jedi Mind Trick. Ironically, the only Stormtrooper who didn’t get enough screen time or memorable moments was Captain Phasma, the goddamn leader of the Stormtroopers. I’m betting this changes going forward, but wasting Game of ThronesGwendoline Christie in this first movie was a big disappointment.

TR-8R 1

TR-8R 2

TR-8R danceOhhhh yeahhhh.

-The introduction of a new Force power, the Force Freeze. Kylo Ren freezing people in place, and especially freezing Poe’s blaster shot at the beginning of the film, was fucking cool as hell. Now, I’m gonna assume this power had been previously mentioned in one of the myriad Star Wars novels or comic books, but it’s new to the movies so it’s new to me. We’d also never really seen a Force user try to extract someone’s thoughts as Ren does multiple times.

BB-8. I was surprised at how much I liked the little fucker. I’m just a huge fan of his design and execution. He started out as a J.J. Abrams napkin scribble and eventually they built several versions of the real thing on set. They did a fantastic job on his sound design, and it was cool to see his various abilities (most notably using cables to grab onto the walls of the Millennium Falcon). I typically don’t like characters that exist purely to be cute and generate giggles, but BB-8 is certainly an exception.

BB-8 R2

Despite many people’s fears, there is no evidence within the film of “the Disneyfication of Star Wars”. The only annoying thing Disney has done is to oversaturate planet Earth with a previously unimaginable deluge of merchandise and tie-ins. There is no store in this country you can go into right now that doesn’t have some form of Star Wars merch on its shelves. I recently bought the Jakku Desert scent at Yankee Candle and some prescription Maz Kanata magnifying split bifocals at LensCrafters. I’m fairly certain you can buy Star Wars tampons at this point. I’m lookin at you, ladies 😉

Chewbacca grunting “I don’t know”. It’s the closest we’ve gotten to him speaking English, and it was a hilarious moment worthy of mentioning.

-Another small detail. I love that in this film, people can get injured by lightsabers. In the other movies, a lightsaber strike meant you got your arm cut off or you evaporated into thin air Obi-Wan style. In other words, in the past, the fight was over once you got hit. It’s the little things, folks.

The appearance of The Raid’s Iku Uwais & Yayan Ruhian. This was a fun little geek moment for Raid worshipers like me. I only wish we’d seen more of them.

saber forest artCool artwork of maybe my favorite moment in the film.

SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE

John Williams’ score. This is a tough one. Make no mistake, I like the score, own the score, and I’m glad Williams was able to do it. However, there is a serious lack of new themes in Force Awakens. Almost all of the great musical cues in this film use Williams’ previously existing Star Wars themes. There’s no real new theme for the First Order, and Kylo Ren only kinda sorta has a motif. And the cue used for Snoke’s appearances sounds exactly like what we’d hear when Emperor Palpatine appeared in the older movies. The only person who really gets their own theme on the soundtrack is Rey, and I hate to say this, but I have to be honest…her theme sounds much more like Williams’ Harry Potter music than it does something out of Star Wars. Not that that’s a big thing necessarily, but it is a thing. In a way, you’re glad they went with what worked, but I’d have been much more interested in hearing more new cues in the pivotal moments than reusing the stuff we already know and love. Again, to be clear, I think it’s a great score. I simply wish it had been more original.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE – RANDOM NITPICKS – QUESTIONS

What J.J. Abrams brings to the table. Yes, there is a dark side to Abrams’ involvement as well. His proclivity for nostalgia and fan service, which annoyed me in both Star Trek movies (particularly his use of Khan in Into Darkness) is present again here, as I feared it would be. Yes, there are many similarities between A New Hope and Force Awakens, but I think it’s absurd to call this one a “remake”, as many have. That’s braindead oversimplification. As much as I enjoyed seeing the old characters (more than I thought I would), I said at the outset of this project  that I was hoping this new trilogy would not use the Skywalker family as its core, and that appears to be exactly what we’re headed for…again. And because Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have written it this way to start our new story, there’s really no going back in the upcoming films. One of the strongest aspects of the Star Wars universe is that it presents infinite possibilities for new and interesting characters, but once again it’s going to be Luke Skywalker, his sister and their children (or at least one child in Kylo Ren) who shape the fate of the galaxy. Creatively, that was the obvious and boring way to go, and it kinda pisses me off.

People would’ve shown up to this movie regardless of who the protagonists were, so you can’t make the argument to me that without the Skywalkers, Han Solo, Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 that there’d be significantly less interest in Star Wars. The point is Abrams and the other writers could’ve had ANY group of characters imaginable driving this story, and with their vivid imaginations, what they came up with was, Yeah, let’s have the Skywalkers and the people closest to them determine the future of this massive universe. Again.

dogfight

The Starkiller Base. Oh god, WHY?! I’ll choose to ignore the science issues inherent in the concept of sucking a star’s energy into a planet and then re-routing it at hyperspeed as a weapon. Fine. I don’t even wanna know the degree to which that is an impossibility, even in fantasy. Let’s break this logic down, just for fun. You’re telling me that this First Order, after rising from the ashes of an Empire that was undone after trying TWICE to use a Death Star as the center of its power, decided, “You know a concept that needs to make a comeback? The Death Star! Third time’s a charm! Only ours will be much bigger and excavated into a planet!” And of course, as it turns out, the whole thing can be undone (again) by knocking out a shield generator. And because J.J. Abrams, the critical areas of the thing have trenches that the enemy starships have to fly through! Yay! Remember that from the other movies? I swear to you, if any planet-killing machine appears in Episode IX, I will boycott that movie. No more Death Stars! How about a military strategy other than BLOW THEM ALL UP! Fuckin Derpmongers, all of them.

Also, can it even be calculated how long it would take to build something like that? They’d have to have started building it before the events of Phantom Menace! Ugh. Starkiller Base may be the most absurd concept in the history of Star Wars. Even more absurd than midichlorians.

Oddly enough, the only star Starkiller Base comes close to killing is the star from which it draws its power. Awkward!

Also, how many times were you planning on using this thing? At some point, you end up destroying the star you’re using as ammunition, right? If that’s the case, I’m fairly certain there are major consequences to any planet once the star it orbits ceases to exist. Something to do with gravity. Do stars regenerate their energy? Wouldn’t sucking that much of a star’s energy into a planet critically destabilize said planet? This review is not being written by an astrophysicist, so I can only ask the questions. If you’re only gonna use it a few times or for last resort displays of power, was it really worth the effort to build it? Couldn’t you have been building a massive military and fleet of spaceships instead? I better stop before my brain implodes.

-From what I’ve seen so far, The First Order in general. Talk about a lack of creativity. Holy shit. These guys literally thought, Let’s do everything exactly the way The Empire did it. Because that worked. The design of the spacecraft, the uniforms of their personnel, the architecture inside their ships and bases- ALL of it within 10% of the Empire’s designs. And they use the same kind of troops with clunky, impractical white armor as their army. Mr. Snoke and his boys clearly put minimal effort into scheming up their new empire. Of course, I know this is actually the fault of the film’s writers, but it works better to mock them as if they’re a real organization.

Finally, I think The First Order is too well established at the start of this movie. I think it would’ve been much more interesting to see a very small First Order rising to power during the movie, as opposed to an organization that feels like it’s been around for 10 years already. The way it is here essentially makes the victories won by the heroes of Return of the Jedi temporary, if not utterly meaningless.

General Hux. For one thing, I feel like Domhnall Gleeson was in every movie I saw in 2015 (really it was only 4, but still…) and I’m kinda over him already. But more than that, I think he’s too young to be the First Order’s highest ranking military commander. Much like Phasma, this is a character that needs some serious fleshing out in Episode VIII. He’s no Grand Moff Tarkin. He isn’t even as strong a presence as General Veers from Empire Strikes Back. Hux doesn’t come across as particularly effective as a general or a leader. From what we’ve seen, he’d be much more effective as the Joseph Goebbels to someone else’s Rommel. He’s more of a politician and propaganda man than a leader. Or at least that’s how it comes across in Force Awakens. I also wanna know how a guy in his early 30’s rose to such prominence.

Maz Kanata. I loved having a cantina-like scene in her little bar and seeing all the cool creatures within, and I like the inspired casting of Lupita Nyong’o in the role, but I wasn’t all that impressed with the character herself. I don’t think Force Awakens needed a Yoda-like presence, and that’s pretty much exactly what she is. And yeah, how the hell did she get that lightsaber?

Kylo’s lightsaber hissy fits were a bit much. Really, this guy is that unhinged, yet he’s the leader of “The Knights of Ren” (whoever they are) and has operational command of all First Order away missions? Mr. Snoke needs an actual military leader for this function. I understand that he’s meant to be struggling with good vs. evil, and I like that, but the fact that he’s also an emotional wreck makes his struggle a bit too literal. No wonder Emo Kylo Ren is such a smash hit on Twitter.

WHAT GIRL

-Given the ultra loud THUD that occurs both times Ren takes off his helmet, I have to wonder how much that friggin thing weighs. If it’s as heavy as it sounds, how the hell does he wear it for more than 30 seconds without injuring his neck? These are the questions that pop into your head after you’ve seen a movie 3 times.

-Speaking of Supreme Leader Snoke (voiced by Mr. Andy Serkis)…I’m very curious to learn how this guy came to power. Not only that, but he seems pretty old, so where the hell was he practicing evil while the Empire was in control of the galaxy?

Serkis rig

Is Rey too powerful too fast? This has become the cinematic question of the year. I know the internet’s professional feminists don’t want to hear this, but put me on the side of the people who say yes, she is. To reiterate, I love Rey. I love Daisy Ridley’s performance. I love the character. However, at the age of 23 (if we assume the character is the same age as the actress), she’s a professional scavenger, master mechanic, multilingual, skilled with a staff weapon, can pilot a damaged vessel she’s never stepped in before just as well as its original pilot, she’s a skilled blaster markswoman, and little did she know- powerful Force user and a natural with a lightsaber. By the end of the movie, there’s literally nothing Rey tries that she can’t do exceptionally well.

O HAI DaisyO, HAI DAISY.

Oddly enough, unlike many of her critics, it’s not the Force stuff I found most egregious. It was her first-time piloting skills on the Millennium Falcon that raised my eyebrows the most. If you’d have told me when the trailers were coming out that it was Rey piloting the Falcon in those scenes flying through the Star Destroyer graveyard, I’d have laughed you out of the room. I don’t know how you explain that a girl who’s supposedly been trapped on this planet her whole life (or the vast majority of it) is pretty much just as good a pilot as Poe Dameron. Imagine if they’d put her in an X-Wing at the end of the movie! Combine her piloting skill with her snap-and-it’s-there Force abilities, and she could’ve destroyed Starkiller Base all by herself!

Rey bypassed the compressorOf course you did.

I do think she’s attuned to The Force a little too quickly as well. For instance, as great as the scene is, how does she even know what the Jedi Mind Trick is to try and use it in that moment on the Stormtrooper? She’s not even sure The Force exists when the movie begins, but when we cut to the end credits, she’s basically become a Jedi without any official training. I love the drama of her lightsaber duel in the snow, but it’s crazy to me that she was one random planet-imploding, earthquake-induced chasm of convenience away from killing Kylo Ren, who IS a semi-trained Force user and lightsaber wielder.

And no, I’m not questioning her abilities because she’s a girl. (Have you read the 592 articles about this subject by every female blog writer and male feminist on the internet? It’s so fresh, I tell you. Each take better than the last. I never would’ve guessed this would become an issue for these people.) And the silly memes saying Luke was the same way in the original trilogy are utter bullshit. Force Awakens Rey would’ve fucked A New Hope Luke UP. She’d have fucked up Empire Strikes Back Luke. For the sake of good storytelling, I simply want Rey to struggle more in the upcoming films.

Finally with Rey, if they try to do a surprise “Luke is Rey’s father” reveal at any point in an upcoming movie, it will be the least surprising surprise in the history of surprises. The filmmakers need to understand everyone is already assuming Rey is a Skywalker and treat the reveal that way if in fact it comes to that. If she’s Luke’s daughter (which is the most popular theory out there), who in the fuck is her mother?

-Why does Leia walk right past Chewie when they come back after Han’s death? Instead of consoling the dude she’s known for decades, she ignores Chewie to go embrace the girl she’s meeting literally for the first time. Does this mean Rey is Leia & Han’s daughter? It’s enough to make you go cross-eyed.

By the way, does anyone else find it strange/amusing/interesting that pretty much all of the central drama of Star Wars revolves around who’s related to who? With most movies and TV shows, it’s all about “Who’s gonna die?!” But with Star Wars, it’s “I wonder who her parents are!” But seriously, if she is Luke’s daughter, WHO’S THE MOTHER?!?!

-It’s pretty dumb (and character-weakening) that Captain Phasma doesn’t somehow at least TRY to sabotage Han & Finn’s plan when they take her hostage. I think she’s meant to be the most loyal Stormtrooper in the galaxy, but you put a gun to her chromey head and she’ll betray the trust of thousands of her comrades? I don’t buy it.

-Obviously, even though Finn is out of commission at the end of Force Awakens, he’ll surely be a big part of the upcoming films. That said, I’ll be thrilled to learn how he survived a lightsaber slash to the spine.

I think that about covers it. I don’t think these flaws are fatal, but they do prevent this film from matching or surpassing any of the original movies. I love Force Awakens, and I’m excited for what’s to come, even if it isn’t as creatively compelling as it might have been. I can’t fathom how much pressure J.J. Abrams must have felt resurrecting this franchise from where it was at the turn of the decade, so I’m willing to forgive a lack of originality as long as it turns out the quality is there. I want Star Wars to be great again, and I honestly believe we’re on a road to getting back there.

Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens – PG-13 – 136 minutes

Ren walking Ren saber strike Ren saber ReyI’m surprised Rey didn’t just bite into the lightsaber here and rip it from his grasp.

IMDb rating:  8/10

Recommendation:  I’d say go see it in theaters, but the movie is breaking every box office record known to man, so you’ve already seen it. I’ve seen it thrice at the time of this writing. I have not seen it in IMAX because I hate 3D, and I don’t feel the urge to make an exception, even for Star Wars (though I hear the 3D is pretty good despite being post-converted). By the way, we need to have a serious discussion with Hollywood and the theater chains about how bullshit it is that your only choice for IMAX on most big movies is 3D. I love IMAX and hate 3D, and there’s no compromise for people like me (of which there are many).

Biggies Consideration:  Best Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Film Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Original Score, Stuntwork, Visual Effects, Sound, Sound Editing

Where does Force Awakens rank in the Star Wars saga? Easy. It’s better than all the prequels, and not as good as any of the originals. Disagree? Fight me.

LOOKING AHEAD

In case you don’t follow the daily behind-the-scenes goings-on of Hollywood, here’s what the immediate future holds for Star Wars on the big screen:

-The next Star Wars movie we’ll see is one of the spinoffs. It’s called Rogue One, it’s directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards (wohoo!), and it arrives a year after Force Awakens, this December 16. We don’t know much about it plot-wise other than that it focuses on the group that stole the plans for the original Death Star. It takes place prior to the events of A New Hope.

I love the idea of Star Wars spinoff movies, but I think they’re mishandling the concept. All this going back in time stuff is going to confuse audiences, especially the massive new audience being introduced to this universe through Force Awakens. Were I in charge of Lucasfilm, I would take a cue from Disney’s own success with the Marvel movies and have each Star Wars spinoff take place concurrently to the events of Episode VII. It keeps the timeline streamlined and allows for exciting crossovers. But no, they want to give us more of the same characters with the goddamn Han Solo origins movie (which is the second spinoff we’ll get, in 2018).

BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! The direct sequel to Force Awakens, the as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII, arrives May 26, 2017, not even a year and a half from now. That monster will be directed by Rian Johnson (director of the criminally underseen Brick and Looper), and I could not approve more of that choice. I have so much confidence in this guy that I think Episode VIII could be the Empire Strikes Back to The Force Awakens, provided that Disney doesn’t interfere too much with the script (which Johnson is apparently writing himself, at least for the moment).

In case I confused you, here’s the Star Wars cinematic timeline, as is currently announced:

December 16, 2016:  Rogue One (takes place pre-A New Hope)

May 26, 2017:  Star Wars: Episode VIII (the one we all want the most right now)

May 25, 2018:  Untitled Young Han Solo movie (to be directed by LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street franchise directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)

2019:  Star Wars: Episode IX (to be directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow)

Basically, Disney has said they want to put out one Star Wars movie a year from now until the end of time. So long as they don’t fuck it up, I am totally fine with that.

FURTHER READING:

-I will provide no further reading. Predictably, this movie has been analyzed and thought-pieced to death. I’ve had more than enough of it and refuse to read any more. I could link 50 articles here covering every aspect of the movie and its impact. If you’re interested in checking some of that out, Google is your friend. Some of it is interesting reading, most of it is clickbait.

Nicolas Cage posterI need to see the all-Nicolas Cage version.

first stormtrooper

Rey miss Universe

Kylo dog meme

FureyosaFu-REY-osa!

TR-8R discoDJ TR-8R!

TR-8R social network

TRAITOR! crawl

My next post will be this year’s Biggie nominations. I’m still in the process of watching and re-watching a bunch of 2015 movies, and then comes the process of writing what usually ends up being an 8,000-10,000 word post. 2015 was a very strange year at the movies, so it’s gonna be even tougher than usual to cut my way through this jungle. In other words, see you again in a month or so!

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1 Response to “Review: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII- THE FORCE AWAKENS”


  1. 1 68383 January 13, 2016 at 9:43 PM

    A very thorough write up. A couple of thoughts-

    We didn’t actually see Han die on screen, and for me, seeing is believing.

    Rey seems like she has potential to pack a whallop. She needs to turn to the dark side.


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