I think an important note to start on is making clear my appreciation and love for Star Wars, specifically Episodes IV, V and VI. I have strong opinions on the prequels and we don’t have to go there, because thankfully, Episode VII starts where Episode VI left off. The last time we saw Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the Droids was in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Incredibly, the original cast members all return to VII, making it pretty damn cool for fans that saw the films when they were first released in 1977 thru 1983. Episode VII however, gives us a whole new hero—a young woman named Rey. VII finally gives us a lady Jedi hero and three main characters that aren’t white men. The entire cast is pretty stacked, with Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie appearing in strong roles as Maz Kanata and Captian Phasma respectively.
The Force Awakens is the first movie to be produced since Lucasfilm sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2012. Disney spent all of the money to acquire Lucasfilm and Episode VII required a massive marketing campaign – the investment is starting to pay off however, as VII made $1 billion dollars in 12 days at the box office. VII is slightly different than many of the action films we are used to. Director J.J. Abrams actually built sets instead of relying completely on CGI. A fair amount of the scenes are obviously CGI though, it’s a space movie, but compared to Episodes I-III the CGI seems pretty chill.
The main and most important focus of the movie is on young Rey, a scavenger from the planet Jakku. I really don’t want to spoil any parts of the movie since I know a lot of folks will be waiting for it to be released on streaming services, but, Rey is a badass. It is RARE to see a lady with her level of badassery. Rey isn’t only great with a saber, but she flies the Millennium Falcon, mechanically fixes the Millennium Falcon all while repeatedly saving her own damn self.
One of my favorite lines from the whole film is Rey yelling at former Stormtrooper Finn to “stop taking my hand!” as she’s quite capable of fighting her own battle. Continuing on the badass lady trend, we’re reintroduced to former Princess Leia, now known as General Organa, Leader of the Resistance. I’ve always liked Leia because of her commanding presence and how she never took any shit from the guys – aespecially Han Solo, the cocky, rogue Millennium Falcon pilot. Carrie Fisher, the actress who plays Leia, is today a fierce mental health advocate and impressed the whole world when she, in her true snarky style, recently fought back against body shaming for having aged since the last Star Wars film.
Following the trend of most action movies lately, VII runs 135 minutes, however you’ll remain entertained and interested the entire time. If you haven’t seen ANY Star Wars movies, that’s OK – you won’t be totally lost as long as you’ve seen at least Episodes IV-VI. The prequel movies are not at all relevant to VII, as VII picks up 30 years ahead of where VI left off. Disney has already announced that Episodes VIII and IX will be produced and released in 2017 and 2019, because in the Galaxy Far Far Away, things happen in threes.
I’d absolutely recommend this movie. It even passes the Bechdel test. It’s refreshing to see better representation and both new heroes and heroes from the past. The Force was very much with the cast and crew of VII, because they nailed it.