Short answer for my thoughts on the film: I LOVED IT!!!! I now put it up as my favorite Star Wars film of all time just right above Empire. It brought the feeling of Star Wars and soul which for as much as I appreciate the Prequel Trilogy (especially Revenge of the Sith) seriously lacked.

The film is about the First Order trying to find Luke Skywalker who’s been in hiding for years by this point to finally destroy the last of the Jedi. The First Order is led by a very powerful bean named Snoke (who I still think is Darth Plagueis reincarnated) and his apprentice Kylo Ren. The First Order comes across the planet of Jakku where the droid’s owner Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac) gets a piece of a map from an old named Lor San Tekka (played by Max Von Sydow) that’ll lead to Skywalker.

But then the First Order arrives on the planet along with Kylo Ren killing the villagers and taking Poe prisoner to interrogate and torture him for the information (via some mind reading process). A stormtrooper however helps Poe escape and takes the name Finn (stormtroopers are apparently given numbers as opposed to names and recruited as infants). Later we meet a scavenger named Rey who comes across BB-8 and meets up with Finn going on the run from the Empire.

Like I said this film brings back soul and charisma back to Star Wars after some serious lackluster with the Prequels. Han and Chewbacca coming back is one of my favorite things about the film and it feels real. It’s not just Harrison Ford coming back to play Han Solo like it was him as Indy in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it is Han Solo once again. It is Chewie again. The humor is also genuineĀ and full of lifeĀ unlike the Prequels where it was dry and stale a lot of times.

Going into the film, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the new cast. Well I can say they blow everyone’s expectations especially Daisy Ridley as Rey. This is truly her breakout role in the Hollywood mainstream. I mean Rey is such a great and loveable character. Ridley hadn’t done much acting before this so this is very impressive how well she did. John Boyega was also great as Finn. He was previously in a fairly popular British horror film called Attack of the Block and nothing else so again not much material prior.

Then there’s Kylo Ren. People have said he’s the new Darth Vader. While there’s some similarities, he’s not Vader. He’s different in a good way. Whereas Vader was calm and methodical, Kylo isn’t so much. Whenever an officer failed Vader, he’d just kill him off and move on like nothing happened. Kylo however just goes about tearing up shit and equipment with his lightsaber. He’s constantly drifting back and forth with the light which prompts to consult Vader’s melted mask to assure himself. He’s a huge Vader fanatic obviously (and SPOILER sort of; Vader’s his grandfather) and wants to complete what he started. Adam Driver does a great job portraying the character. In fact all the casting is spot on.

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron is also a joy to watch. He’s new Han Solo of this trilogy, but he’s also different enough that it isn’t repetition. Carrie Fisher coming back as now General Leia Organa is great to see. Fisher’s a little stilted as she hasn’t been acting for a quite a while, but other than that I’ve got no issues with her performance.

Supreme Leader Snoke whenever he came on screen was just so menacing to look at and listen to. A great performance as usual from Andy Serkis. Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma was also good too. Overall I just had a blast with the film.

What are your thoughts on The Force Awakens? Please let me know in the comments section below. Have a great day and may the Force be with you.

SPOILERS SECTION: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET PLEASE SKIP THIS; YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

Here’s the first big bombshell: Han Solo dies. When I first saw that, my heart sunk. Han Solo was my all time favorite as a little kid and it was just depressing and sad he had to go. Though it wasn’t surprising since Harrison Ford and Lawrence Kasdan the writer for TFA (as well as TESB & ROTJ) have wanted an excuse for years to kill him off. And there’ve been rumors for awhile that he would die in the film (though it doesn’t happen the way some thought it would). So yeah, no shocker when you think about it. Plus Ford is 73 years old now so he can’t go on playing Han Solo forever (though he looks terrific for his age so he could’ve continued in the role through Episode VIII). The scene itself was so great and well played out as well as sad to see him go at the hands of his own son Kylo Ren or Ben Solo going by his original name (yeah another big spoiler there).

Another to talk more in detail is Supreme Leader Snoke and Maz Kanata which are done via motion capture. Actually I wanna bring up motion capture and Star Wars as a sidenote. Regardless what you think about The Phantom Menace, it was a huge influence on the technological field of filmmaking for CGI much like the Original Trilogy was a huge pusher in the field of practical effects in puppetry, stop motion and amnitronics. Granted a good chunk of the effects today look dated, but at the time they were very groundbreaking especially Jar Jar Binks.

Yes I know he’s considered the most annoying character in all history of cinema, but it was him that paved the way for groundbreaking motion capture technology that’d later be utilized for others character like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as King Kong, the reboot/prequel Planet of the Apes franchise and James Cameron’s Avatar. So if nothing else, the character of Jar Jar’s mere existence paved the way for CG motion capture technology that’s created such beloved characters. Ironically, many of those roles such as Gollum was played by Andy Serkis who now is part of the Star Wars family.

Alright then, now back on topic. I loved Supreme Leader Snoke. He was incredibly menacing and had similar aura to Darth Sidious in the previous two Star Wars trilogies though feeling different and new at the same time. I also thought Maz Kanata was good and enjoyable to watch even though she looked somewhat obviously CG. I’ve for awhile like many others thought Snoke was gonna be Darth Plagueis. While Snoke doesn’t look like a muun as what Plagueis is suppose to be, it doesn’t kill the theory. In fact I’m still very solidly sure that he is Darth Plagueis who was Sidious’ Sith teacher. He could’ve easily taken over another body after almost being killed by his apprentice (or maybe they’re entirely retconning his being a muun which I hope isn’t the case). I’ve even heard theories that that isn’t his appearance and he’s misleading the First Order on his true identity. Regardless, the Plagueis theory is at the very least still in play.

Now the issue of Luke Skywalker. Throughout the last year, he hasn’t been seen in any advertising of the film albeit one shot in the second teaser where you see his artificial hand touch R2. There’s a reason for that as he’s only in the last 30 seconds of the film with no dialogue. But we’ll see a lot more of him in Episode VIII & IX methinks. Besides in his very short screen time, it reaches your emotional core when you see him and Rey just look at one another without any dialogue with John Williams great score.

And yes there’s kinda a third proto-death star, but I thought it was fine personally as it’s done well. It destroys the capital of the Republic which by appearance looks like Coruscant, but actually is a new planetary system called the Hosnian System. According to Wookiepedia, the New Republic always shuffled and changed capital worlds with every election.

On a last note, I loved BB-8. He was very funny and had just the right amount of screen time. And it’s amazing how Disney and Lucasfilm developed a real practical droid like that. Bottom line, if you haven’t seen the film go see it. If you have already, go see it again.

UPDATED: After some extra thought, The Force Awakens has been bumped down to my 2nd favorite Star Wars film after Empire now. Here’s my updated ranking:

  1. V – The Empire Strikes Back 10/10
  2. VII – The Force Awakens 9.80/10
  3. VI – Return of the Jedi 9.45/10
  4. IV – A New Hope 9.40/10
  5. III – Revenge of the Sith 8.80/10
  6. I – The Phantom Menace 6.65/10
  7. II – Attack of the Clones 5/10