Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review (Spoiler-Free)
We’re going to share an initial, and hopefully spoiler-free, Star Wars: The Force Awakens review.
We are seeing the strongest part of Star Wars, the hero’s journey, as taught by Joseph Campbell in his book Hero With A Thousand Faces. It’s a must read for any fan of heroic fiction, and if you’re here, that means you. I cannot tell who the heroes are in the Force Awakens, but the film quickly latches onto them and stays there, although extra stories are hinted at that we never see.
There is plenty of nostalgia and we get the range of emotions here in this story. Early shocking reveals set the stage for later ones, and we’re left still with some mysteries that need solving, but it does leave one wanting more, and heavily hints that there is more to the stories of these characters. That becomes a weak point to this story, that it is a small segment of a larger story that needs to be told. In the future, that can be a strength, especially if the story is fleshed out not only in Episodes VIII and IX, but in the various spin-off films.
The 3D sometimes gets in the way and makes itself stand out, but when the story is at it’s strongest, it completely takes a back seat. When it really sticks out it can be distracting but in one instance, it actually works to give a sense of scale. That one shot makes going to see it in 3D completely worth it. Don’t worry, you’ll know the shot when you see it.
The practical effects make the CGI effects stand out horribly, and it’s a shame, because the practical effects are so good, that I hope that it means we’ll see more filmmakers going back into this toybox of costume and model makers.
Ultimately this film has to compared to the other Star Wars films, which has me compare it not to the prequels as many have done. That’s judging something by the worst examples, instead of the best that is offered. I place it firmly in the top three, better than Revenge of the Sith, the strongest of the prequels, but not quite as good as A New Hope, the original film that started all of this. It is by no means better than The Empire Strikes Back, but I doubt that those stars can align again to make a film that awesome.