I just got back from watching Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. But do not worry this post is spoiler free.
Sixteen years ago the entire world was excited in anticipation for a new Star Wars movie and as we all know when it came out, it sucked balls. Two more films then followed the path of sucking balls. It has been analyzed inside and out by fans, all trying to wonder why it sucked so hard. Many feared the new trilogy would follow suit and I am happy to say that is not the case.
I’ll try not to spend too much time on the prequels, but it’s worth comparing why The Force Awakens is such a huge step up. There were many problems prequel but fundamentally there were three. Direction, CGI, and acting. You can’t quite fault them too much for CGI, it was a new and exciting technology and they did impressive things with it. Unfortunate filmmakers haven’t yet learned how to properly use it, there was a lot of trial and error and in the prequels case, more error. The acting is tied with the directing, so many times Lucas had the chance on every take to do another, but every time he approved it as is. During the original trilogy, Harrison Ford was quoted as saying “you can type this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it.” When I heard this I immediately thought “That makes sense”. There were so many brilliant actors in those films: Liam Neeson, Christoper Lee, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor(perfect casting), and Samuel L. mother fuckin’ Jackson! So why is it they all give such wooden performance devoid of personality? It’s because Lucas had too much unchecked power. In the original trilogy he had to collaborate with others which helped push the material to greatness. In the prequels he did only what he wanted, not what the audience deserved.
Luckily for all of us J.J. Abrams has a great eye for special effects and acting. Episode 7 is exactly what a modern Star Wars movie should be. The use of new filming techniques, modern special effects, and acting. The ascetics of the film was perfect, unlike the prequels it actually looked like a Star Wars film. You can tell a lot of care went into the design and creating an extension to this established universe. The acting is tremendous I was afraid I may not like the new characters, that I would just want to see the original cast but man these actors did a great job. Each one had a personality, they were funny, entertaining, and showed a great range of emotions. This is probably the biggest step up from the prequels and what this franchise desperately needed the most.
The Lightsaber battles, my god the Lightsaber battle. In the prequels they were all flash and no substance. Just an overly choreograph dance with an absence of emotion and peril. Force Awakens has the best sword fighting in the series. Emotionally charged, with life and death hanging in the balance, and real. As real as a sword fight with lasers can be. This is what a modern Star Wars looks like.
The story is great, at times a little too familiar, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. There were a few twists I wasn’t happy about, but really that’s a nitpick because it was so tremendously well told. And when the film ended I had one thought. I can’t wait for Episode 8.
Star Wars is back and it’s better than ever.