Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Our Writers Weigh In With Their Opinions

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been in theatres for almost a fortnight now (and has staggeringly already passed the $1B mark), and all of our writers here at Flickreel have now had a chance to see the movie. So without further ado, here is a roundup of all of our opinions on the movie:

Five Stars

Of all the movies that came out in 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t just the one that entertained me the most, but the one that hit me the hardest on an emotional level. Even as someone who grew up adoring the original Star Wars trilogy, I was amazed by how much The Force Awakens connected with me. Aside from being an effective nostalgic trip that masterfully continues one of cinema’s greatest legacies, The Force Awakens also works as a superb standalone film with exhilarating action, unforgettable characters, and powerful drama. In my eyes, no 2015 moviegoing experience better defines the magic of film and what the medium was made for. Like the rest of the world, I’ve already seen The Force Awakens multiple times and you can bet I’ll be back for more.

Nick Spake

The Force Awakens doesn’t work because of its practical effects-driven world-building, or its beautifully choreographed set pieces; nor does it succeed because of the incredible level of detail to be found in every pore. The latest Star Wars movie triumphs because, on its most basic level, it works as a hugely absorbing tale of good versus evil, the light against the dark, barrelling along at hyper light-speed and brimming with incredible new characters. In other words, it’s the ideal continuation of the Forever Franchise; the biggest compliment I can give it is that I can’t wait for Episode VIII.

Gary Green

Four Stars

One of the hardest challenges for J.J. Abrams, taking over the helm of the Star Wars franchise, was to infuse nostalgia and maintain the spirit and essence of this universe, and yet remain a contemporary endeavour which is unique and creative in its own right. So it is safe to say he has pulled it out of the bag. The reintroduction of our favourite characters and one-liners, gadgets and spaceships, is implemented with a huge degree of affection, vitally, and with a minimum contrivance: each element serving a narrative purpose.

That said, it is the new characters who inject the life into this production, as both Daisy Ridley and John Boyega shine in their respective roles of Rey and Finn. Meanwhile, Adam Driver delivers a nuanced turn, and BB-8 is thankfully no Jar Jar. This is a playful, adventurous picture that has a dark edge running through it, though on a negative note, there are a couple of expendable sequences and plot holes, but they’re relatively easy to overcome when immersed so fervently in this world we know so well and adore so passionately.

Stefan Pape

For me, it’s a four-star movie. It really is great, but does borrow too heavily from previous entries in the franchise to stand alone as a true classic. Still, I’m left hungry for more, so it has achieved its aim – particularly as a bridging movie for the franchise as a whole.

Downers were a slightly wooden performance from Daisy Ridley as Rey (sorry, but she is still very fresh and will surely improve); a generic portrayal of General Hux from the usually excellent Domhnall Gleeson – perhaps he just didn’t have enough to work with, but should have worked harder to develop more depth to the character; Supreme Leader Snoke’s appearance also didn’t sit right with me – looking too much like a cross between Gollum and the humanoid aliens from Prometheus, when the character might have felt more in-place if sharing his appearance with The Emperor (or at least, more along those lines); also, another planet destroyer: seriously? I just hope that they can think of something new plot-wise for the sequels.

And the upside? All of the rest – particularly Harrison Ford’s performance as Han Solo, one of his very finest portrayals of the character; John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron (both of whom add contemporary humour to the picture); the stellar action sequences; the musical score, which uses the main theme conservatively and adds more in always subtle ways, the world-building, and the clever development of characters and their relationships with one-another and the Star Wars universe as a whole.

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It will surely go on to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time – even when taking inflation into account – so it is a well done from me to all of those involved in making the film such a success.

Theo Pape

It’s a triumph of a movie. It’s everything you want from a Star Wars film and is the closest thing going to the franchise’s first and best original trilogy. Blending the old characters with the new works extremely well. The new individuals on display… Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are all well-constructed characters and expertly cast. There is great chemistry between the new protagonists and that will certainly help to take the franchise forward.

There’s not much to dislike about The Force Awakens as J.J. Abrams has stuck to the basics, retaining the core of what made the original Star Wars films so strong. However that does also go against the film and is what stops me from awarding it with 5 stars. There’s no doubt Abrams has done a terrific job for his first directorial outing in a galaxy far, far away but you could argue that he has maybe played it slightly too safe, as it borrows almost too much from the original films. It would be nice to see them branch out from this a bit with the next episode. But still, what a way to win back the minds and hearts of Star Wars fans after the last disappointing trilogy. The Force Awakens boasts a sharp witty script with gripping action sequences and heartfelt moments, all these qualities add up to a film that feels like Star Wars at its very purest.

Danny Pape

After a year of overwhelming advertising and hype, The Force Awakens brought us back to a distant galaxy held dear by many generations. Older folks were captivated by Lucas’ original trilogy decades ago, twenty-somethings now hold the iffy prequels close to their nostalgic hearts. This led to the planet brimming with excitement that culminated in a collective cheer and applause with the long-awaited return of everyone’s favorite space opera. The Force Awakens brings the adventure and wonder back to Star Wars. From the hot desert lands and decrepit starships of Jakku, to the X-Wing assault on the Starkiller Base, Star Wars hasn’t felt this exciting since the 70s.

It’s the deep, seemingly endless amount of world-building. As soon as you hear the triumphant score and see the Millennium Falcon roaring through the skies, it’s just a matter of time before a huge, childish grin washes over your face.

The Force Awakens is a triumph. A unique, once in a lifetime movie-going experience. Iconic heroes like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia are back to hand the reigns over to a new cast of characters, allowing younger audiences to have heroes of their own. Abrams borrowed a great deal from the beloved original trilogy, especially A New Hope, but he made it his own through an equally compelling vision, a bold script, and fresh, talented young actors (especially Adam Driver, he’s excellent as the tragic Kylo Ren). Star Wars is not going anywhere, and it’s clear the force is as strong as it’s ever been.

Nicholas Olsen

Three Stars

Not loving the new Star Wars film is a crime punishable by death. You’re probably better off shouting out spoilers for the film than telling people you had problems with it. Being swept up in the epic scale of it all is understandable, but taking a step back and watching it as something of a neutral, the flaws are evident.

Playing up the nostalgia factor is a great move, but echoing beats from all the previous films is a huge mistake. Subtlety is not something J.J. Abrams is known for, and he falls back on getting knowing nods from the audience rather than genuine creativity.

Other problems – and remember we are treading around spoilers – include a villain who is slapped down early on in the film making him seem like a petulant teen with no real power.

Most of the performances are great though, especially from the younger newcomers. If only the filmmakers had the courage to make the film entirely about them and keep the old-timers to cameos. Wherever the series goes next, it has to forget everything from the earlier films and forge its own path.

Cassam Looch

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