First, let me start by saying this will be spoiler-free. I will remind that everyone has their own definition of what a spoiler is as well. I promised not to reveal anything in the movie that has not already been released in a trailer or the basic description of the movie. If you have seen that and/or know the basic story line, then this is the review you were looking for. If you are considering bringing small children to this movie, be sure to read the last section.
I saw Star Wars when I was 5, in the theater with my dad. It was the most amazing adventure I had ever been on, and the role playing began shortly afterwards – like as soon as we left the theater. We ran up and down the parking lot pretending to escape the “bad guys” and get away in our “ship.” That role playing did not end until after Return of the Jedi. It was the kind of play that you want for your children: imaginative, fun, adventurous. Waiting for the new movies seemed a lifetime away.
When Episodes 1-3 finally arrived, I had children of my own. I followed the course with my son, seeing Episode 1, owning the toys, Lego sets, VHS tape. Then, Episode 2 rolled around and the level of violence was just too much. There is no need to discuss Episode 3. We reverted back to Episodes 4-6 and lived there. Until now.
I will admit, as I sat in the theater, waiting for this to start, I was nervous. I said a silent prayer as the lights dimmed, “Please don’t be 1-3. Please don’t be 1-3.” I may have been teary-eyed at the sight of “Lucasfilm” and most certainly at the beginning of the crawl. But that quickly faded away as I read the crawl and was ready to be immersed in this new chapter.
So let’s chat about the good…
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a good movie. The new cast is definitely one you will connect with. I love the seemless way the new characters blend in with the returning cast. It’s as if they have been a part of the story all along. It was heartwarming to see the returning cast and how they have changed (or not – can I say that Harrison Ford makes 73 look like the new 50?)
Daisy Ridley (Rey) is phenomenal. She is a smart, no nonsense girl who can be afraid, but still be brave enough to do what is needed. John Boyega (Finn) shows us that you should follow your heart. These two have tough decisions to make, and the realistic way they handle them will have you rooting for them. They truly carry this movie and I am excited to see what they bring to Episodes 8-9.
Carrie Fisher (Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo). Oh. My. Heart. You know they are together at one point from the trailer, so no spoiler there (see 1:56 on the trailer). General Organa is no longer a princess, but a strong, respected leader. Her motherly, take-command role is wonderful. Han Solo is, and always will be, a scruffy nerfherder.
Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 also play well with the new cast. Let’s not forget BB-8. I will admit I was not as connected to BB-8 as I should have been, but maybe I just need to see the film again.
The cinematography is amazing. The look and feel of the magic from the original trilogy (4-6) is very present. I did not feel like I was in a coloring book of a magical forest. I felt that I was in space, or in the desert. The magic of what George Lucas started was very dominant in this film. Holding true to the originals, the movie lacks colorful language and heavy romantic interest, which only enhances the actual story line.
But with the good, comes the not-so-good…
I would love to say that Episode 7 is everything I wanted, but somehow, I felt a bit let down. I will tell you that while I completely appreciated that the movie had the feel of Episodes 4-6, it also had a LOT of parallels. Because of this, there is a high level of predictability in this movie. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of wondering and a few intended parallels. The violence is cranked up a notch, with a slight Hitler-esque feel to it. See my parent warning about this.
Luckily, there really isn’t so much that isn’t good about this movie. I WILL see this movie again, just not right now. I need to digest a lot of it. I need to get over a few things. But more importantly, there are roughly 17 months until Episode 8 is out (May 26, 2017)! I have waaay too many questions that need answering!
PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN:
As a mom of a young child (8 year old girl), as much as I want her to see this movie, I will hold off for a while. This movie is rated PG-13, and for a reason. I felt that the violence level has been raised a notch or two. I wish I could say that I remember how violent Episode 3 was, but I’m sure that has something to do with blocking bad memories or something. Unfortunately, there are some things that children just cannot un-see.
One thing I admired about Star Wars was the lack of realistic violence. When stormtroopers were shot, they just fell over and were “magically” dead. I do not ever recall seeing blood. When Luke’s hand was cut off in Episode 5, there was no blood. Just a hand flying. Luke’s face wasn’t even bloody. Just bruised. (Don’t believe me? Check out this photo at geek.com) It was a magical, make-believe violence that really wasn’t scary. While super violence is not necessarily predominant in this movie, it is there. The First Order is a scary, new group of evil, with a slight hint of a Hitler regime. If your child is any bit squeamish or sensitive, you may want to wait to bring this movie home to watch on a smaller scale. I do not want to give away anything, but I will admit to being taken aback at a few of the sights. I guess I was still hoping for magical violence.
My personal recommendation is use your best judgement. If your child has seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, your child should be fine seeing this movie. If you have any doubt, you may want to see this movie without your child first. That would also give you the perfect excuse to see this movie again. Because you know you will 🙂
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
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- Genre: Action-Adventure
- Rating: PG-13
- U.S. Release date: December 18, 2015
- Running time: 136 min
Disclosure: I was invited to a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was provided. My opinions are my own.