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Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]: A Pious Pilgrimage for Padawans

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Do. Or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

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For all intents and purposes this film should’ve been called Star Wars: History Repeats Itself. The reason being is that the plot to The Force Awakens offers more then just a passing resemblance to A New Hope, so much so that I damn near check marked the “I’ve seen this film before” option even though I hadn’t. It seems that in his never-ending quest to please the rabid Star Wars fan base, director J.J. Abrams felt the need to adhere to the Star Wars formula very closely, maybe even a little too closely.

I know that my opening paragraph makes it seem like I’m just pooh-poohing The Force Awakens please rest assured, these are not at all my intentions. I want to make the record clear that I LOVED a lot about this film. The reason being is because there’s simply lots to love about the film and not just for hardcore fans either, there’s plenty here for the uninitiated to enjoy as well.

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It’s clear that a lot of love was put into this movie by a man with a great affinity for the original trilogy. Abrams treats those original 3 films with the utmost respect while at the same time providing some subtle and some not so subtle winks for the audience to grasp onto. You can call it “fan service” all you want, I don’t care. I’m an unabashed Star Wars fans and I appreciated every single reference.

The true beauty of the film is not only is it true to the spirit of the originals but it also adds several key new ingredients to the franchise that ensures the film succeeds on its own merits. Among these new ingredients is BB-8 who’s sure to become the world’s most talked about and beloved robots over the next few weeks. Visions of WALL-E came to mind every time he was on screen which is about as high a compliment as I can possibly give him. Fin played by John Boyega is another key new element to the franchise and his stormtrooper gone AWOL character ark is certainly an intriguing one. His character also adds a lot of humor to the film. Most important of all is Daisy Ridley’s character Rey who provides the franchise the kind of strong female character that it was desperately lacking ( Princess Leia aside). Her character is a true blue heroine and seriously not one to be fucked with either. I look forward to seeing where her ark will take her in Episode 8 and beyond.

I would be remiss if I failed to pay any attention to Adam Driver and his character Kylo Ren. Ren is the film’s principle antagonist and, I must admit, his character is the single most pleasant surprise of the film. Heading into the film, I thought he was merely a Vader clone but the filmmakers actually succeed quite well at adding significant depth to his character. It certainly helps that he’s in the hands of such a gifted young actor.

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When all’s said and done, The Force Awakens pleased me in a lot of ways and disappointed me in others but I’m ultimately happy that it exists. It’s certainly a fine continuation to a storied franchise. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must start counting down the days until Episode 8. Only 523 more to go….

★★★★

Author: Jeremie Richards

Jeremie is a 27 year old film enthusiast from Moncton, New Brunswick Canada. His passion for cinema is matched only by his love for music and vinyl record collecting. He is neither vegan nor does he enjoy crossfit.

This review was first published on Letterboxd.

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