Was there ever any doubt?
Well, sure, OK, a little. We didn’t know for certain that JJ Abrams was going to deliver an extraordinary and beautiful cinematic experience. We thought he would. We hoped.
[insert Poe Dameron whoop of SHEER UNSTOPPABLE JOY]
… JJ gave us the Star Wars movie we wanted and needed. The Star Wars movie we dreamed of. The Star Wars movie that we deserved.
Yeah, JJ nailed it.
From the glistening Lucasfilm logo, to that gorgeous blue “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” to the BLAST of John Williams’ iconic theme as the crawl begins… JJ nailed it and then some.
Along with writers Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) and Lawrence Kasdan (the grand master behind The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi), Abrams has crafted something wonderful and exhilarating, moving and hilarious, devastating and thrilling, all in equal measure.
This will be spoiler free, but it’s not spoiling anything to let you know that BB-8 is a more-than-worthy addition to the droid-you’re-looking-for crew. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is an extraordinary bad guy, full of resonance, hurt and rage. John Boyega’s Finn is a joy to watch and the source of much of the movie’s off-kilter but brilliant humor. And, in Daisy Ridley’s Rey, we have one of the greatest characters in the Star Wars universe.
Ridley, who only had a handful of TV screen credits prior to this, plays Rey with heart and nuance, giving us loss, hope, bad-assery, ass-kicking, wise-cracking… and many more things we can’t share with you (spoilers!). Ridley’s story mirrors Rey’s in a lot of ways, and Ridley uses her natural energy to really bring Rey to crackling life.
Adam Driver, so volatile and uncontrollable on HBO’s Girls, dials that up even more here. He’s the only person who could have played Ren, and he brings a tremendous energy to it all. Boyega, who was SO GOOD in Attack The Block, kills it as Finn — he’s hilarious and heartbreaking — while Oscar Isaac is in the ZONE as the chilled-out greatest pilot in the galaxy. Bodega and Isaac make you root for them immediately, as does Ridley.
And that’s what’s at the heart of this extraordinary journey — you are invested emotionally from the very beginning, and even more intensely as the movie goes on. The story is powerful, and the movie is shot beautifully, unafraid to linger on stunning vistas and bustling scenes of alien life. But it never feels slow. This thing reaches hyperspace right out of the gate, and drops out of it only at the dizzying, thrilling end.
Throughout, this is great storytelling, with wonderful, fully-realized characters, shot in a gritty, intense way, that gives you the feels. All of them. All the feels. #feels
It’s exhilarating, mind-blowing, full of danger and threat, and, gloriously, joyously, wonderfully… it just feels like Star Wars.
Because, also: John Williams.
We have new John Williams Star Wars music on a Star Wars movie. And it gives you chills to hear it. As the story flows, so does his music.
The story ends where it needs to, and opens up the door to the next two movies. The blend of the old and the new is seamless, naturalistic, and provides the perfect hand-off to what is to come. We get all our Original Trilogy feels, and plenty of new trilogy feels alongside.
In short, The Force Awakens is nothing less than the reawakening of something powerful, a new force in the universe. It’s everything you want it to be.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE JEDI MIND TRICKS
- HOW CUTE IS BB-8 THOUGH???!!!
- The sound of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber is basically the most bad-ass thing in cinema history
- Han and Leia’s theme will MAKE YOU CRY SON
- Captain Phasma is cool
- “Chewie, we’re home…”
- When the credits roll, this is how you’re going to feel: