I did it. After months of anticipation and years of waiting, I finally saw an advanced screening of the latest film in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I finally have an answer to the question that's on every single Star Wars fans' mind – is this the exact movie I expected it to be?
This reviewer is happy to report that somehow, miraculously, it is. The Force Awakens, from just a gigantic budget, a respected and talented director, and a franchise with an incredibly large and devoted built-in audience, delivers a Star Wars movie that looks and feels exactly like we knew a Star Wars movie should look and feel since 1977.
When popular character Luke Skywalker appeared on screen, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. This is Star Wars! Imagine my joy when fellow popular characters Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca joined him in a delightful retelling of the classic hero's journey, only with today's popular and bankable actors.
In what I imagine took months of writing and rewriting, all the old characters have callbacks to some of their successful lines and jokes from previous movies. The entire film was carefully plotted to allow for the most amount of callbacks, answering old questions like, “will Han Solo say “I've got a bad feeling about this... again?” and raising new ones like, will Leia say “I know” like Han Solo said to her back in Empire in the next movie, or the movie after that?” You can really see they were really determined not to completely and utterly fail to pry the money from fans' wide open, sweaty palms.
I was amazed to see the iconic X Wings and TIE Fighters that fans have spent literally millions of dollars on in various commercialized representations take flight before my very eyes. It's just what I wanted to see and nothing more or less! In the same way these ships soar miles above the planets we loved in other Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens takes the art of film-making to perfectly competent heights.
Special attention must be paid to the lasers that these spaceships fire. In an awe-inspiring display of doing what the other movies did, the lasers are both red and green, depending on whether they are from good guy spaceships or bad guy spaceships. And all the while, the John Williams score that they would be absolutely fucking stupid not to use triumphantly plays in the background. That “cha-ching!” you hear isn't part of the movie, it's the cash machine!
Before we go any further, we need to address an important concern: were there lightsabers? While this reviewer has a strict “no spoilers” policy, I will say that yes, there were lightsabers, and yes, people did fight with them in classic Star Wars fashion. In a brilliant piece of filmaking, the lightsabers make that little “pheummmmm” noise when they turn on, and that “creesh” sound when they collide with one another. I can't imagine possessing the kind of artistic vision required to remember to do all that, and then go back and make sure they did all that with the two tiny lightsabers they added to the bottom of that one lightsaber.
If you came in expecting a movie with a stupid title, a brave look at a life of an 18th century whaling captain, or a thing that doesn't explode at some point in the beginning, middle, or end, this isn't the movie for you. But if you wanted the Star Wars sequel that you imagined in your head when you were twelve, it's more or less that.