Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Reviews Are In - Star Wars: The Force Awakens SWill Meet Fan Expectations
You get the sense that Abrams—like the characters in the film—feels the weight of Star Wars mythology on his shoulders. But the film doesn’t feel cynical or calculated. Abrams turns that burden into a dance partner, nimbly choreographing the audience’s collective nostalgia to land on surprising new beats. With the way that the fandom has multiplied exponentially since 1978, it’s not really accurate to say that Star Wars fans are waking up from a slumber. Nevertheless, The Force Awakens feels like a new dream, an imagining that should fulfill the hopes of millions.
But for all of his (many) strengths, Abrams still carries his weaknesses into The Force Awakens. He’s remarkable at putting together a cohesive cast and giving each of his characters their moment to shine (Oscar Isaac in particular does a lot with what he’s given), but the movie inevitably gets bogged down at times with egregious, over-expository plot dumps. On one hand, it’s to be expected — 30 years have passed since audiences have seen many of these characters, and people have got to get caught up somehow — but compared to how sleek most of the movie is, the moments stand out in stark relief.
The Hollywood Reporter (warning, full review contains spoilers)
As before, monumental battles enacted by enormous, obliteration-capable forces are paralleled by intimate mano-a-mano duels to the death; in this case, the climactic example of the latter is very effective and emotional, something every Star Wars fan of good standing will find entirely compelling. Beyond that, the very ending — more like a coda, really, which was filmed on the extraordinary Skellig Michael off the western coast of Ireland — is wonderful and sets things up perfectly for the next installment.
Like Ford, Fisher and Mark Hamill (original trilogy focal point Luke Skywalker) did decades ago, Boyega and Ridley shoulder this space-traversing adventure with dizzying charisma, a playful chemistry, and an enthusiasm so radiant it’s contagious. For his part, Driver leaps out of his loose-limbed hipster niche to play a Dark Sider whose physicality is less starched and more feral than Darth Vader’s, making Ren — with his towering height and tri-bladed saber — uniquely menacing. Oscar Isaac gives sexy swagger as rebel pilot Poe Dameron, while Gwendoline Christie brings a steely threat as the internet’s latest obsession, Captain Phasma the Chrome Trooper. Lupita Nyong’o pops in as a motion-capture creature so intriguing and expertly animated, you may well forget the cringe-inducing mess that was Jar Jar Binks. And BB-8 is even more adorable and emotive than his much-touted toys would lead you to expect. He’s a stealthy scene-stealer, that droid. Ford, Fisher and Hamill slide comfortably back into their most memorable roles
Collider (warning, some spoilers)
The Force Awakens is a success, although it falls short of greatness because it never fully embraces the new, exciting energy Abrams and his cast bring to the franchise. The movie is reactionary—a reaction to the prequels and a security blanket that wants to give fans what they already love. While no one expects Star Wars to disrupt cinema, the movie’s greatest weakness is in how it tries to look tall by standing on the shoulders of the giant original trilogy. Thankfully, more often than not, the sequel forges its own path with endearing new characters who will make you eager to see them on an adventure that leaves the safety of certain plot beats and signposts behind. ...The similarities between The Force Awakens and A New Hope (and to a lesser extent Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) are at times overwhelmingly distracting.
Bleeding Cool - 30+ additional review summaries