Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Gizmodo Review

We're home. Those are the words of Han Solo, early into the 136-minute run-time of The Force Awakens.

Those two words line up precisely with how we, as fans, feel about the long-awaited return of one of cinema's most-loved science fiction franchises, with a huge new story arc, new characters, and a more fleshed-out world. Now it's here, and we've seen it, and we have some feelings to share with you.

BEWARE: There are major spoilers inside! As well as our review of the movie itself, we wanted to share the thoughts of some of Gizmodo's other writers, staffers and friends who saw the movie at its premiere and at midnight screenings around the country. Read on for our comments, and please feel free to share your own experience or discussion in the comments section.

Campbell Simpson: Editor, Gizmodo

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh Star Wars film, and it has been a long time coming. Following the events of Return of the Jedi by around 30 years, it's a starkly different universe to the one that we all remember from the original trilogy. The Empire is still around in the form of the First Order, the Rebellion is now the Republic (but also the Resistance, depending on which side of the conflict you're on), and good versus evil continues in pretty much the same fashion as every other Star Wars movie or novel or TV show in existence.

The First Order is a military junta that is basically an offshoot of the Galactic Empire, formed in the wake of Darth Vader's and the Emperor's (apparent) death, engaged in ongoing battle with the Resistance. Both are searching for Luke Skywalker, long since disappeared, and central to finding him is a star map carried by lovable droid BB-8. Therein is The Force Awakens' over-arching plot, and along the way we meet the new guard who we'll be guided through the entire three-movie series with — stormtrooper turned Resistance fighter Finn, fighter pilot extraordinaire Poe, scavenger Rey.

The plot of Awakens closely mirrors A New Hope, and it's no surprise that it's half homage and half convenient setup for the next two movies. When events force Finn and Rae together on the desert scrap world of Jakku, and they are united by BB-8, there's a strong sense of the Han, Luke and R2-D2 of the original Star Wars. We re-meet the Millenium Falcon, and Han Solo, and Leia, and C-3PO and R2-D2 and a host of other familiar faces. I really think that the movie's main plot — the First Order's Starkiller Base, a star-sucking planetoid which can destroy entire solar systems, must be destroyed to preserve the fledgling Republic — pales in comparison to the character story of Rey and of Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren's character, I thought, was simultaneously the weakest and most interesting new addition to the universe. I couldn't help but compare him in my mind to Hayden Christensen's comically brooding Anakin Skywalker when he took off his mask, but his fits of dark, evil rage and his clearly played-out internal conflict between the light and dark sides of the Force, his back-story as the child of Han and Leia, trained by Luke and then seduced by the dark side and by shadowy Supreme Leader Snoke, was evocative and fascinating. I want to see him more and to learn more about what happened in the three decades since the last movie.

Han's death at the hands of his estranged son — the most gut-wrenching point in the movie — is going to polarise viewers. I still haven't decided whether it was the right thing to do for the movie, not for Harrison Ford nor viewers nor the plot of the series, but the fact remains that it happened. I'm going to miss Han; he was one of the most loveable and enduring characters of the original movies. I genuinely hope that Chewbacca gets more screen time in the as-yet-unnamed Episode VIII, to explore his emotions after his partner and friend's death.

Talking of new characters in the series — Rey was so good. She was such a well rounded character. She wasn't lame or fainting or forced, she didn't have plot armour, her back-story had just the right amount of explanation, she wasn't a damsel. I actually thought one of the (extremely minor) weaknesses with the film was that the movie didn't explain the roles of women in the First Order enough, though; in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Empire uses women in positions of power once it has to lower its (ridiculous misogynist) standards after constant warfare with the Republic. But clearly Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma was a badass — you just didn't get to see enough of it.

The element of comedy, of modern "you did what?" comedy, feels utterly appropriate in The Force Awakens. Scenes where Kylo Ren is raging and rank-and-file stormtroopers know to avoid him; scenes where Finn edges towards breaking the fourth wall; these made our viewing audience laugh but without it being the mocking laughter that accompanied Jar-Jar. This is just one way in that this movie feels like 1978's original flick brought forward 37 years.

The Force Awakens is absolutely a movie in the original Star Wars spirit, which I'm so happy about. It felt like a Star Wars movie; it looked and sounded utterly beautiful — the costuming was spot on, the sound effects were electrifying, the cinematic score was perfect. It's a progression in narrative from the original trilogy, but isn't bogged down in its history — it stood head and shoulders above the plot of Return of the Jedi and used it as a leg-up.

There are plot holes, and weaknesses in story, and deus ex machina that detracted slightly from my enjoyment as a Star Wars nerd. The Millenium Falcon jumping to lightspeed from within another ship? Improbable. Dropping from lightspeed within a planet's gravity well? Not possible. But these are small complaints, and they're forgotten in seconds around the rest of the movie and the canon and lore and joy of it all. The Force Awakens brought all those memories and feelings back to the surface, for one of the first times since I finished watching Return of the Jedi a long time ago.

(By the way: it's telling that The Force Awakens doesn't really reference any of the prequel trilogy — it's convenient that enough time has passed in the universe for the events not to matter, but it's also clear that director J.J. Abrams didn't want viewers to remember just how boring those movies ended up being. C'est la vie.)

Rae Johnston: Journalist, Gizmodo

(Hello my thoughts are going to be about Rey because woah. And yes, there are spoilers.)

It’s difficult to understate the importance of this film to me. The representation of women throughout the film was really good. They were everywhere, in all kinds of roles. In positions of authority. It made my heart sing. As someone who grew up having lightsaber battles (with sticks, but whatever) emulating what I saw the men in Star Wars do, Rey feels like she was created just for me. Her name is even pronounced the same. Do you understand what incredible soundbites I can get from this film?

I watched it last night, but I’m still teary thinking about how every word she said was perfect. She’s capable, intelligent, strong, resilient but without simply having her be a carbon copy of what a man in her role would be. She has depth. She is baffled by anyone thinking she should be lesser because she is a woman.

I cried from the moment she picked up the lightsaber in the forest until the credits rolled. There she was, the character from my mind I created for myself, but real this time. She wields the force like no one before her (without training, at least) AND pilots the Millennium Falcon. Above and beyond. I loved her interactions with Finn. We are supposed to believe that these two have formed the kind of friendship that would normally take years, and somehow they make it work. And just when I was worried their connection may be solely for love-interest purposes, it was cemented as being platonic.

The Force Awakens is the perfect vehicle for the 'passing of the guard', so to speak. Enough nostalgia to make you cheer out loud in the cinema, but a fantastic platform for the introduction of a new generation of heroes and villains.

Hayley Williams: Journalist, Gizmodo/Lifehacker/Kotaku

I'm a pretty big Star Wars fan, though I never got into the Expanded Universe in a huge way. I've dabbled, of course, but I can't say I have exhaustive knowledge of much past the original films. I grew up with the prequel trilogy, so I maybe have a bit of a soft spot for podracing and Padme's amazing outfits, but as an adult I know that nothing beats the original series.

The Force Awakens felt like a huge love letter to the original movies. The humour, the practical effects aliens, the way the movie was filmed, even the plot structure mirrored the original trilogy. There was space dogfighting, lightsaber battles and Force-sensitive kids being thrown in the deep end. There were familial ties and themes of lineage. There were also plenty of goofy throwbacks that attempted to cash in on the nostalgia of the originals — and some were far more successful than others.

While this movie seemed to lean pretty heavily on Han and Chewie, the new characters were pretty awesome, and they were given a good deal of the spotlight. Finn was by far my favourite, and the stormtrooper backstory is something we haven't seen at all in any of the films, or in any of the other related material that I've encountered. Humanising them in the way they did was one of the best decisions of this film. Poe was a fun, likeable character, and his dynamic with both Finn and BB8 made up some of my favourite character interactions in the film.

My unpopular opinion here was that I didn't really feel Rey's character. She seemed too serious, too competent at a number of different skills for reasons that were conveniently explained away by 'the Force'. She was a Padme in a world populated by Hans, Leias and Lukes. Her motivations throughout the entire film were really unclear, and I didn't feel like she had as much chemistry with the other characters as they did with each other.

Captain Phasma is the series' first movie canon female villain and I was incredibly excited to see her in the film — but in the end I feel like she might as well have not been there at all. Her role could have been done entirely by a nameless stormtrooper and it would have felt the same. Orange female Yoda, on the other hand, was amazing. It's nice to see someone other than a wise old man offering force-based wisdom.

As far as returning characters, the film really shoved Harrison Ford in your face. Considering it's going to be his only film in the trilogy, this might have been why. I would have liked to have seen more Leia and less Han — she's supposed to be a leader, but all we ever see her do is swap snark with her ex-boyfriend and talk about her son. That being said, I liked the fact that Han and Leia's relationship was a little bit broken. Their romance in the original trilogy ended like a fairytale, but you can tell that the intervening years have been hard.

I really liked Kylo Ren. He was the petulant teenaged Sith done well, and I can't say I didn't get a little bit of glee from watching his little temper tantrums. I feel like in the next movies his character could either become amazing or awful, so we'll have to wait and see. I wasn't a fan of Snoke. He looked like a Dr Who villain, or something from Prometheus. He seemed very CGI'd in a movie that intentionally went away from CGI in most places. He wasn't really set up as a threat — we don't know who or what he is and frankly they haven't made me want to know, either. He just doesn't feel like he fits into the film.

I guess I saw the major event of the movie coming. The rumour's been going round for ages that Harrison Ford has been asking to be killed off for a while, so it seemed like a good moment for it. Where they go from there will definitely be interesting, I think. The other characters' reactions made that moment work for me, with a throwback to Leia's Force sensitivity, and Chewie's angry rampage.

Some things in the plot didn't quite make sense. The First Order wasn't really established as to who they were, how much power they held and what they wanted. If the Republic was in power, why did there still need to be a resistance of good guys? Was the resistance the Republic? A lot of these points were quite unclear. There were also a lot of characters swinging lightsabers around with zero training and being really good at it. That being said, I really enjoyed the saber fighting in the film — it sat somewhere between the prequels' flashy choreography and the originals' slower, more character focussed fights.

I don't think anyone liked the stormtrooper with the electric saber thing, though — that entire scene seemed entirely unnecessary and almost spoiled the point of actually having lightsabers to begin with. The end scene also seemed weak. I feel like it could have ended a little earlier, and instead started the next film with finding Luke. I guess they want something to make sure everyone comes back, however.

I'll definitely be coming back, though. Hell, I'm even looking forward to seeing The Force Awakens again. I think the trilogy still has space to become either amazing or awful, but I feel like it's in good hands. While I've mentioned a lot of the things that didn't quite gel with me, my overall impression of the film was amazing. It managed to capture the originals' sense of humor while still modernising it, and introduced a number of characters that really worked in the world. I can't wait to see what they do with Episode 8.

Harry Tucker: Journalist, Business Insider

So, because I am still basically a child, my first Star Wars experience was actually my first cinema experience when The Phantom Menace came out. So I have an unusual love for the prequels, with Episode 3 possibly my favourite of all 6........ until now.

I genuinely loved The Force Awakens, and while it certainly had a slightly different feel to it than all the older movies, the way the story was told, the characters and the romance of adventure that the originals featured was right through it.

The new characters were perfect too. Rey was strong and had a great sense of adventure in her, while still having insecurities about loneliness. Finn was surprisingly really funny, but just I wanted to see a tiny bit more about his background as a Storm Trooper.

Kylo Ren, or Ben Solo (UH OH, SPOILER), was also one of — if not the most — complex villain of the franchise ever. He was clearly battling something internally and the new evil big boss dude was taking advantage of his confusion and using that to control him. Poe was super fun too. But still, nothing made me grin like seeing Chewy and Han come on screen when they boarded the Millennium Falcon.

It was a complete play on nostalgia and one of the things that made the movie great. The whole movie is full of nostalgia inducing aspects, whether it be lines that reference previous movies or the glorious soundtrack - but it never goes over the top. It’s all done just right. When Han was killed by his son, Kylo Ren though, shit my heart broke. Even more when you saw Chewy react to it and you could tell he was absolutely destroyed.

The plot as a whole was solid, follow similar plot ideas to A New Hope. I think the Dark Side and The First Order as a group could do with some work, and perhaps their motivations could be explained more in the next one. Also why do the bad guys keep hiring engineers that leave vulnerabilities in their huge space stations?!

But bring on Episode VIII. I want to know what made Ben turn to the dark side, I want to know who Rey's parents are and what the hell is going on with Luke?

Tiffany Roma: Office Manager, Allure Media

I've never been interested in Star Wars, never understood the hype. When I was younger, I attempted to watch all 6 films but fell asleep halfway through all of them! I've always been exposed to it, my brother would watch it all the time so the films and the animated series were always kind of just on in the background. However my boyfriend is a major Star Wars fan and made me watch episode 4, 5 and 6 in the week leading up to the episode 7 release. I actually stayed awake for these three films though and loved them!

As a Star Wars newbie I enjoyed having new characters to get to know with everyone else. I love love love Fin's story and the fact that they explored the humanity in the storm troopers. I think his character was well developed throughout the film and his strength was shown in his courage and desperation to do the right thing- especially when he saves Paul and goes back for Rey. However, I liked how his weakness was shown in the way that he was totally incompetent at most things he tried and in the way he walked away from Rey when he had the opportunity. That internal struggle- so relatable!

I love BB-8 he was so cute! I hated when R2 just conveniently came to life though. It was so cathartic to see the original characters, although I feel like they are just being used as a bridge to make way for the new generation of characters. It was a respectful way to transition into the new generation- at least in the next films, the plot and characters won't seem so drastic.

I have a love/hate relationship with the cheesiness of the film though and all the puns on light. Overall, I liked it, I thought it was much funnier than the previous films! I loved that they had a female lead who was actually competent. I love that a storm trooper was humanised, and shown to be imperfect. I think you'd be able to break open so many thematic concerns within the film too.


Comments

    Just got back from seeing it. I'm just going to put to out there. Episode 7 is basically a reboot of episode 4.

      JJ style is to take the same script and replace characters and situations with their negatives to achieve an equivalent result. Worked better with Star Trek.
      No one should read this stuff!

      Last edited 17/12/15 3:02 pm

      And a poor one at that.

        I enjoyed watching it, it had some top moments, but the more I think about it the more Fury Road comes out as the best movie of 2015.

          I really want Star Wars to be better than Fury Road, because Fury Road was fucking EPIC!

      The force awakens is a bad movie. Sorry. The force awakens is an absurd movie. The starkiller base is an absurd concept. The movie is big, big, big mistake. An the razzie is for the force awakens. Most overrated movie. Ever.

    Ooooh, you shouldnt be talking about it, some people might not have seen it yet...

    Okay, this review was done by someone who was a fan. Of course he was going to like it. Der.What about a review from someone who didn't like the originals, someone who can review it as a movie like any other movie out there. Is it worth watching or is it just for the rabid fans ? I hated all the star wars films so is this any better or should I give it a miss and just wait for the new star trek movie to be released ?

      I would have though a fan of the series would make the harshest critic!?

      As long as Jar Jar Binks and the Ewocks are in it I'll be happy :-)

        i'll take the ewoks any day over that floppy eared pain in the neck.

      Ive always found your rants questionable but believed that each person is allowed their own opinion. BUT. I have 2 questions (maybe three). If you dont like Star Wars, why are you here? Why ask what they are like for a non fan, will you only enjoyy this movie if its like no other SW flick before it? And finally WTF is wrong with you? Seriously, why so bitter? I hear the darkside calling for you mate.

        A good film is a good film. I like a film when it's good and I don't care about the subject if you kind of know what I mean. If it's really a good film and not just some hash for the fans then I'd most probably watch it.

          It's Star Wars. Just like the Star Wars before it. If you don't like Star Wars, don't go see it. It's a good movie, but you don't like Star Wars. That cancels out the good movie in it (only for you though)

      But this article isn't 'a review by a fan' it's like... five reviews by fans and non-fans. c.c

      My girlfriend didn't like the originals either and loved this one. That's the only non-fan opinion I can give you. I think if you like the jj Star Trek reboots you would probably like this one as well.

        I'll most probably download it to have a look. I'll just have to look away at the jar jar binks and ewocks parts. They shit me to tears.

          Lol yeah there are no gungans or ewoks in this movie. Or boring senate scenes detailing the intricacies of galactic trade law.

    Good:

    * Harrison Ford stole every scene he was in, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
    * Action scenes that actually let me see what the fuck is going on. Outstanding!
    * Made-for-screenshots scenes of striking contrast and juxtaposition.
    I was worried when the very first shot was a muddied dark spaceship shape moving across some slightly different darkness after eclipsing a moon; worried that they wouldn't capture the clarity of striking shots that peppered (if not defined) the original trilogy... but within minutes after that false start, Ep7 sprinkles the eye-candy liberally.
    * Once the character interplay finally got underway, it was fantastic and believable. Tiny human touches all over the place. The cited example of storm troopers knowing to back the fuck away: outstanding. The fact that Ren is actually in touch with the dark side and letting his passions have sway by thrashing out in that anger that he's so in touch with? I don't know why this took so long to put on screen.

    Bad:

    Most of the bad can be lumped under the one broad category of too much conversing with the audience instead of showing us as an audience.

    It's like the movie knows it is a movie and it is showing us things because we are an audience and it is telling us that it is showing us these things.
    It's not subtle. It's glaring, clumsy, and jarring. It knows that we know it's referencing things.
    Too much forced and ham-fisted bits in general. Like Finn screaming about how that's 'such a great pilot!' That Poe bromance, "DID YOU SEE THAT?" felt like it was the eightyieth take and someone said, "Enh, fuckit it'll do." And like every other performance, it toned down and felt more natural in the final third of the film.

    And J.J. might as well have just grabbed the viewers by the head and smooshed our faces into the camera while screaming at us, "HEY LOOK, REY AND HAN HAVE COMMONALITIES AND REY IS TOTALLY CAPABLE, ON PAR WITH YOUR FAVOURITE HERO!" Fuck's sake, we got it from the first cute moment of mutual respect - that was funny and believable and felt really good, we didn't need another half-dozen anvils dropped on our heads. Like when you have a genuine moment of spontaneous connection with someone then they force circumstances to try and repeat it because they liked how it felt the first time.

    Han's repeated appreciation of his friend's favoured weapon - the bowcaster - for the first time in over thirty years of travels and adventures... is there some kind of internet argument that went on about the bowcaster that JJ was making a reference to, here? Because that felt forced as hell.

    Oh, the villain is lying prone for the hero to finish them? T-minus ten, nine, eight, seven, etc until confrontation-postponing deus ex machina. Ahh, there we go.

    And I groaned out loud when Finn tried to tell Rey how he felt about her. Really? We're going this trite this fast? You guys just fucking met. This felt like less of an exploration on what it's like to be a purpose-bred killing-machine who suddenly discovers funny tingling feelings in the pants and mistakes it for fate, and a lot more like someone in the studio said, "Oh FUCK we're halfway through the movie and forgot to start developing romantic tension (or ANY reason for these characters to be friends beyond their initial get-out-of-danger convenience)! Quick, shoehorn something in here! But don't commit to anything, leave it vague until we've had a chance to review the post-release reactions to see if that pairing has legs."

    I guess it makes a 'kind of' sense, a mind-wiped blank slate brainwashing victim falling for an audience self-insertion blank canvas whose only defining personality trait seems to be generic honour and independence. Yeah, the weakest link in the movie is Rey.

    Rey is obviously the Luke Skywalker replacement which is fine, if not for her seeming to have spent the first third of the movie mimicking the godawful performance of Luke and Anakin in her role as their replacement. Those were not magnificent performances to be emulated. Stilted, wooden, bland... might as well have just been reading lines.

    Rey starts coming into her own later for sure, but instead of being defined by any meaningful experiences and relationships she might've formed in ten years of scavenging parts on an obvious hub of varied cultures that led to her being able to understand so many languages, the only personality she seems to develop in the last half the film is born from the first half of the bloody film.

    Quick method for evaluating a character:
    What are Han's character flaws?
    OK, great. Good job. Yeah, that's why he's such a great character.
    What are Rey's character flaws?
    No, it's OK, I understand you might need a little more time to think if you've only seen it once. Hm. Still can't think of any? That's why she's not a 'character' so much as 'wish fulfilment'.
    (Even Luke, who was an awful character, had character flaws like 'whiny', 'impatient', and 'ignorant hick'. The worst we see of Rey is 'not letting go of tragic past'. Oh, such depth.)

    The character interplay started to feel more natural toward the end of the film when they weren't establishing themselves, but damn it was painful getting there.

      Damn, you gotta write a book of your descriptions of movies. I'd buy that straight away. Brilliant. Think I'll give the movie a miss judging by your description. I'll leave it for the fans. ;)

      I'm glad someone agrees with me on Rey! I'm outnumbered in the office but really I just expected more from the main character. Imagine if she actually had a struggle with the dark side? That'd be cool!

      And yeah the Rey and Finn thing seemed forced and felt like we were being herded into YA territory.

        same, I'm expecting more light to be shed on Rey in the following films. I'd like to see a better back story or even a distant connection to the Skywalker bloodline. Like, what happened to Han/Leia's other children? But I guess we can't have two young Skywalkers.

        Imagine if she actually had a struggle with the dark side? That'd be cool!

        It's only movie #1 give her time.

      Dude you forgot one of the most important bits - Carrie Fisher is absolutely babein' for her age.

      Rey is the most powerful person in that Galaxy, from the start. She is like Luke and Han combined. She doesn't need the rest of the Galaxy unless it (Finn) entertains her in some way.

      She doesn't even need training or a co-pilot, it's all included as a birth right, you are either born with everything, or you're nothing.

      The Dark Side won.

      I agree, Rey seemed like a huge Mary Sue. She's han solo and Luke in one character and the only real depth is she that tiny thing about her family? Blargh. On the other hand I liked Finns back story a lot and his character development which did actually happen in the movie a lot.

      I totally agree! Top me the whole film felt like a rushed, half-baked rehash of episode IV, throw in a few action scenes that echo scenes from some of the other films and you have 90% of this movie.

      Granted everything from Han Solo’s death onwards, especially the light sabre fight was great, but it was painful getting there and I found everything before that point in the film very ham fisted and clumsy. Was the plot about star killer base and its threat to the resistance, finding Luke, Rey discovering the force, the origins and internal struggles of Kylo Ren (who was awesome until he took off the mask) or something to do with the sith and their quest to destroy the last of the jedi? The movie tried to cover all of these as plots and really struggled in achieving any of them fully. I go to a movie for the story and as stories go, this didn’t hit the mark for me. They would have been better off reducing the number of core themes they wanted to cover and better developed the core characters of the story (Did we need both Finn and Rey?), I also felt that there were too many characters that felt like pointless cameos. It was slightly better than the prequels, it looked like star wars but didn’t feel like star wars...

      Sadly the poor story development really left me feeling that it was a good excuse for amazing visual effects, action sequences fan boy gushing and then some head scratching thanks to poor plot and (with maybe two exceptions) poor character development.

      Although many would disagree, I feel that JJ Abrhams has rebooted two of the most iconic sci-fi franchises and in doing so failed to capture the essence of what made either of them special to their fans, taking out their soul and replacing it with lens flare, shaky camera and pointless action sequences that look great but don’t add to the story.

      Last edited 21/12/15 4:59 pm

    Saw it last night and loved it. The film is a more personal than I expected, peopled by characters with relatable, flawed dimensions. Ironically, my favourite character, Maz, was not human but displayed the humanity the prequels lacked, as did Finn who was a surprisingly fun character. The movie gives a lot of fan service but provided enough new material to suggests the next film will be more interesting and subtle. Well worth the price of admission.

      Great review - not a scene by scene dissection. Every film has flaws and weak spots. This is entertaining from start to finish. You remember the joy this series used to have when you spot a reference or character from previous movies.

      You leave smiling knowing this is a return to form.

      Forget Ep 1-3. This had heart and soul. And way more humour than I expected.

        was there an ep 1-3 just kidding i have forgotten about those tragedies.

    @campbellsimpson
    As a Star Wars fan of almost 40 years now, I can honestly say that The Force Awakens is the WORST Star Wars movie EVER made! You thought The Phantom Menace was bad, wait until you choke on this. From poor character development to lacklustre action scenes to cheesy dialogue from characters that aren't known for it. BB8 is just f**king lame, even more so than C3-P0. Harrison Ford was lucky to have Han killed off, at least he didn't have to put up with the rest of the movie. I was really looking forward to see how Kylo Ren would be portrayed, he started out really well in the beginning of the movie but unfortunately turned into what can only be described as a wet leaf after taking off his mask. They gave away too much, too early, too cheaply when it came to Kylo and who he was. The fight scene between Kylo and Rey was just a complete letdown. I found Rey to be an even bigger disappointment than Kylo, I just found her to be an unbelievable character. Kylo and Rey were the main reasons for wanting to watch the movie, to meet these new characters, to become invested in them, to feel a connection to them. Finn just sucked. I'm torn between who was a crappier character, Jar Jar, Finn or BB8.

      So clearly you didn't actually see the movie. You just put your head up your original trilogy arse and went into the cinema already screaming about how it's shit it's going to be because "character development" Like Rey learning her force powers, Kylo revealing his internal battle, Finn trying to fight against what he believes to be an unbeatable opponent <-- That's character development.
      Action scenes like planets blowing up? Dogfights? Lightsaber duels? Blaster Battles? Thugs getting eaten up by weird predatory aliens? Yeah...lacklustre if you're blind and deaf.
      Cheesy lines from characters that aren't known for it? You mean characters that aren't really known yet? Or do you mean you just don't like comedy?
      Why is BB8 lame? Explain your reason why. Cause I can make the same call about R2-D2...but without a reason why, it's a hollow accusation.
      RIP Solo...my heart shattered in that scene, despite me seeing it coming...rarely does a movie make me feel it.
      Kylo wasn't meant to be a straight up bad guy...he's meant to be shown as an emotional wreck, being torn between good and evil (I'll admit I wished they tell us more about why he wants to be on the Dark Side). The fight scene between Rey and Kylo was kinda confusing...I suppose Rey did show her ability to hold her own so that straightens up why she was alright with the lightsaber, but I'm more curious about the meditating force channeling thing she did when they were locked sabers. The backstory on her was left wide open, which I'm ok with because I'm sure they intend on filling it in next Star Wars, that sort of makes her character a wild card. You don't know what skills she has or what she could potentially do, especially with her seriously powerful connection to the force.
      Once again, reason behind accusation, as most of the people here lack the capability to do when they write a review, why did Finn suck? To me he was a little out of place, he didn't really want to be a resistance fighter, but he didn't really do anything else. He didn't have force powers as far as I'm aware, but I guess his training with the First Order taught him a thing or two about wielding a sword. I just don't know what kind of character mold he fits into just yet...once again, open for the next film.

        I went into that movie with high hopes, having waited 30 years for it! Not like most of you who weren't old enough to see Revenge of the Sith, or had to get your parents to take you.
        Finn sucked because, like Jar Jar, his character lacked depth, he lacked credibility. If your character is going say something poignant then you as an actor need to back that up with body and facial expression to bring that character alive, to make them believable otherwise the audience won't accept the character.
        Kylo had been trained by Luke and Snoke for a decade and got beaten in a lightsabre duel by someone who had only just picked one up. No scene was ever set that gave you the impression that Rey would be able to handle herself in that sort of situation - like they do in most action movies with the hero, they set the scene that this person can handle themselves giving them the ability to beat the bad guys at the end. This isn't the same as Luke fighting Darth Vader in Empire Strikes back, where Vader is largely a cripple being kept alive in a life support suit.
        I wanted to be teased with Kylo, there was no need to out him as Han's kid so early, they needed to build up to that, give him some mystery, give the audience a reason to want to know more about him. Killing his father served no purpose except to end the character. It was unbefitting of the Han character, Han is more of a fighter than that, remember HAN SHOT FIRST because THAT is the type of person he is. That arrogance is what drew Leia to him, it's why she loved him.
        The comedy between Chewy and Han just didn't work, they have never been that way, it doesn't fit their characters, it always felt like they were forcing that humour that it never came naturally.
        They had many chances with BB8 to make him an integral character like they had with R2-D2 but the never took the opportunities presented.
        This movie felt like it was trying to be a semi reboot of A New Hope for kids who never grew up with the series as a whole.
        Absolutely loved Kylo's lightsabre, that was freaking awesome, it was good to see Anakin's lightsabre again too, after being lost in cloud city - I wonder if Luke's hand was still attached.

        I still want to see how things will play out in the next movies, like the Phantom Menace, the following movies were great and I'm hoping Disney will build a good trilogy after realising some of the poor choices that they took with this one. I hope they make Kylo into a great villain and Rey into a strong hero. Can Kylo shake off the light side, can Rey step up and make the choices necessary to stop him.

        Which one did you watch? Kylo clearly struggles with nothing, emotionally manipulating Han into a vulnerable position before killing him.

        Inb4 rey gets bastila's battle meditation cause she's not yet OP enough

        Last edited 18/12/15 6:19 pm

        "Action scenes like planets blowing up? Dogfights? Lightsaber duels? Blaster Battles? Thugs getting eaten up by weird predatory aliens?" None of which meant anything. The most horrendous thing that happened in the film, the destruction of 5 inhabited planets that must have killed tens of billions of people, got one sad look from Leia and nothing else. That should have been the focus of the story - the unspeakable horror of destroying entire worlds, five at a time. It should have sent any character of substance into either an unstoppable rage or deep depression, yet it barely caused a surface ripple. But when one person they have only just met who is actually a bit of a prat, gets taken prisoner, they all go berserk to get her back. And the climactic light sabre fight didn't mean anything. The result had already been determined and would not have changed if Kylo had won. It was largely pointless.

        "Why is BB8 lame? Explain your reason why." Simple. Why would they build a droid with a cutesy personality but not give it the ability to speak a recognisable language? It simply doesn't make sense, especially given that it is a military robot designed for battle in an X-Wing fighter. Had it been a child's companion, then maybe you could forgive it it's tweeness but it wasn't, so you can't. And you are right, R2D2 is just as bad.

        "Kylo wasn't meant to be a straight up bad guy...he's meant to be shown as an emotional wreck, being torn between good and evil". If that's true, they did a really bad job of it. What I got out of that scene was that he was putting it on to lull his father into a false sense of security so he could deliver the coup de grace. There was no other time when he seemed to be at odds with his role. Quite the opposite, he seemed always to revel in his badness. The conflict was only mentioned by other characters, never demonstrated by him.

        "... why did Finn suck?" Again, easy. He wet his pants the first time he got into a fight, despite having been raised by an evil empire for exactly that purpose. They would have spotted that problem years earlier and corrected it. In fact, if the First Order were as bad as we were led to believe, he would doubtless have seen dozens of his friends die in training. And where did he learn to use a light sabre well enough to mix it with a Sith Lord? Stupid, the whole lot of it.

          Why would they build a droid with a cutesy personality but not give it the ability to speak a recognisable language?

          Apparently BB8 originally had a human voice, but test audiences found it creepy.

          He obviously speaks a recognisable language, since Rey and Po could both understand him.

            Don't get me started on the utter stupidity of that. Seriously, imagine if Apple had decided that Siri would only speak it's own language and anyone who wanted to use would have to learn that language? How long would that product last in the marketplace?

      Did you actually watch the prequels.... this was 10x better than that 6 year old crud.

      BB-8 had soul... jar jar was a douche.
      Rey/Finn were aweosme.... Annakin was a bitch who turned into vader.
      It was Han's time to go.... It was fitting.
      Kylo Ren, also good and believable... struggling with his decision after being seduced by the dark side.

      Dunno what more you could have expected, either way if you hated this then I'm happy you didn't get what you wanted.

    Wow, am I the only one that feels like it has too much of the IV? Also a bit of Harry Potter's wands into lough sabers.

    It's three AM and I just got back from seeing this after our staff Christmas party, which was five hours of drinking before the movie. Full disclosure, I'm still drunk. But I really, really enjoyed it! Reminded me of going to see A New Hope for the first time at the cinema as a kid, when they got re-issued. I have no idea how the Empire managed to build yet another Death Star, and there were certainly a few things that ticked the Star Wars nerd in me off (WHY DIDN'T THEY PUT HIM IN BACTA?!?), but overall I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the Blu-Ray.

    Last edited 18/12/15 4:34 pm

      Edit your spoiler man.

      Also yes, it was exactly like New Hope. I hated it.

        Not sure why spoiler tags are necessary when it says "Beware! Major spoilers inside!" before you even open the article, but there you go.

    x-post; saw it and was really unimpressed. Characters continually forget what they're capable of, Bland Solo's get-out-of-sequels-free card, "But I thought Luke Skywalker was just a myth!" You thought he was a myth despite knowing the Falcon, Chewie and Han. But Skywalker was a myth. DESPITE being one of the biggest components of the Rebels' victories time after time. DESPITE flyingi n the Falcon with Han and Chewie. Can pilot the falcon and immediately know where all compartments are, and what all the tools and instruments are.. jesus. *Another* death star? Worse still, combined with tech from EU? Yeah, pick what you want from the corpse of what you killed, eh. All the terrible Pixar humor. ugh.

    No doubt it's better than sequels as far as dialogue, acting and script goes, but abrams doesn't deserve to be endlessly fellated for this. it's very mediocre and derivative to the point of almost being scene for scene New Hope.

    The only thing I enjoyed about Han's death was a) it's suddenness, and b) flipping chewie's death from the Vong war on its head.

    Last edited 18/12/15 8:37 am

      Can pilot the falcon and immediately know where all compartments are, and what all the tools and instruments are.. jesus.
      Rey explains how she know all this...you just have to listen.

      Agree with everything. It's a good film (I think), it's just not a Star Wars film. It's a film that's similar to Star Wars. So many of the plot holes were unnecessary and just the result of lazy writing. And it's plot is exactly the same as Episode IV.

    The people who wrote it should be ashamed of themselves, they must've had writers block because the bulk of the story is essentially A New Hope, you can even see the setup at the end for the next movie to be an Empire Strikes Back clone.

    I enjoyed it for all of the reasons I enjoyed Star Wars, although I would've preferred something more original.

      Yeah I should clarify - I did enjoy my 2 hours and 19 minutes, honestly; I was just very disappointed in it as a Star Wars movie.

    all these people saying its like a new hope, i get it, but in terms of the core storey with Jedi vs Sith its how a lot of stories to do with the Force go. its a struggle that dwindles back and forth through out time.

    having watched all the other movies and being fond of them. i think JJ did a decent job at bringing new generations of people into the star wars universe in a fun and meaningful way.

    7 very much felt like a star wars movie in regards to the cinematography too which really warmed me up about it.

    i loved Rey as a character, i loved chewies comedic timing and the droids and all the others in between.

    the problem these days is that people go in to movies thinking they are pro critics and want to pull movies apart to their cores. but i went in with no expectations other then that i wanted to have fun with this movie and enjoy it.
    and it did exactly that, there was emotion, struggle, action, comedy and eye candy visuals.

    i recommend people go see it without trying to pull it to pieces, take each scene as it comes and let it transport you away from reality and let it draw you in emotionally.

    i wouldnt say im a starwars nerd or enthusiast even though i liked the previous movies, but its definitely one to watch in my opinion whether you've seen the old movies or not.

      A builtin fan base exists that won't even read this thread till they see the movie, so not to worry (I was one of them). The movie makes money by default, which is what makes the expectations so high.

      Last edited 18/12/15 11:31 pm

    I really enjoyed the movie though it had a few flaws. Agree with a lot of what has been posted.

    I didn't mind Rey but thought she was actually Hermione Granger. Didn't help that she sounded exactly like her either.

    Finn: Just a little overacted. When Han told him to dial it back I said 'yep'

    They destroyed an entire system (at random) and no one blinked an eye. I thought someone would show some sort of pained response.

    The resistance know that they are the next target. Pack up and leave the planet? No. Send in a team to hopefully destroy the weapon that will be ready to fire in a few hours....in another solar system.....

    What happened when the weapon used up the star in it's system. Did they move the planet closer to another star?

    I'm thinking Rey is Luke's daughter though it would make more sense if she was Han & Leia's. I don't see why Han & Leia wouldn't talk about their daughter while talking about their son turned evil.

    Supreme Leader Snoke. Would not be surprised if he is actually Emperor Palpatine due to the disfigurement/melting of his face. Will see.

    Visuals and production was magnificent, but it did have a good sized budget and there were some issues.

    The best way to describe is for mine is that it's a star wars movie, not THE star wars movie. Now that's it out of the way, time to move on to develop some kind of original story. Force awakens is a reunion of sorts in the same process as seen previously (trips to desert planet, forest planet, snow planet - blow up space station, end)

    Biggest issues I had were:
    - No context given into how the Republic exists and why there is a separate entity called the resistance (and why are they called the resistance if the First Orders enemy is the Republic)
    - No main characters aged between 30-60 years.
    - Carrie Fisher acting like a cardboard cutout.
    - Most entertaining character in movie is killed off.
    - Idiotic bad guys who either: can't defend a base (red head), has no relevance to story (chrome storm trooper), or can't defeat a girl who had never touched a light saber before. (ren)
    - No consious effort to explain the universe or decisions made (whats the name of the planets they went to apart from Jakku, why do the First Order care about Skywalker, whats the points of blowing up planets using limited resources, how did the rebel alliance crumble in 30 years?)

    Last edited 18/12/15 3:14 pm

      you might want to put some of that in spoiler tabs in there. for courtesy sake.

      The original trilogy's Resistance, aka Alliance to Restore the Republic reformed the republic which was destroyed by the Death Star 3 I guess the Resistance just kept the name as the military wing of the Republic and fought whoever was carrying the legacy of the old empire, The New Order.

    are we forgetting that Maz has the hots for Chewbacca?? I loved the little moments like the scene where chewie has his blaster wound mended by that swooning nurse. Or BB8 giving a thumbs-up

    Last edited 18/12/15 2:31 pm

      that thumbs up was amazing. almost like in big hero six with baymax doing the fist bump.
      big laugh out loud from me in the cinema.

        How old are you, 12? That was probably the cheesiest moment in the whole film, it made me cringe in my seat.

    Stop over thinking the whole thing. The movie was great. Rey was fantastic and loved the nostalgia. Comedy, action, tragedy and heroism, it has it all. Loved it.

    Just got back from seeing it...Wow, that was fun!!!!
    I grew up watching the original trilogy on VHS, saw the "special editions" at the cinema, skipped class to watch the prequels at the cinema.
    I think they found a great balance between those like my self who grew up on the films, and the next generation who haven't really got into that old film set there parents keep talking about..
    I'm looking forward the next episode...

    When I saw Star Wars in 1977, i was 7 years old. I loved it, and I pestered my Mum to take me again and again. I saw it 3 times in the cinema, and i did the same for episode 5 and 6. I love Star Wars. I’m 45 now , but tonight I felt 7 again. It wasn’t perfect, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Here’s my review in the form of 5 things i did and didn’t like about The Force Awakens ( TFA )

    What i liked…

    1. let’s face it, the prequels tarnished the brand. TFA restored the shine to the franchise, and it really felt like a Star Wars movie. A nod to the past, and a baton to the future.

    2. The new characters were great and in particular Rey was brilliant. BB8 was genius too.

    3. The old characters were great, and in just the right amount ( although R2 sulking in the corner seemed a bit out of character ). Abrams did well to make Carrie Fisher presentable and Luke’s beard seemed fitting for an ageing Jedi. Harrison Ford was always the best actor from the original trilogy, so it seemed logical to feature him.

    4. Whilst some main plot lines were predictable, there were some really nice surprises throughout, and the effects were great. I loved the daytime dogfights and the Millennium Falcon was awesome in all it’s battles.

    5. The comedy moments were great, just the right amount and delivered well. I loved the Stormtroopers reaction to Kylo’s rage, and Han’s witty banter with Chewy was classic. Even a subtle moment of Chewy handing Han a jacket was super cute ( after his comment about the cold ).

    What i didn’t like…

    1. It felt it a bit rushed from planet to planet, and scene to scene. Some of the emotional moments weren’t as powerful as they could have been. The raptor scene could have been shortened, to allow space for a bit more light and shade.

    2. I missed the signature ‘fade swipe’ transitions that George Lucas used, but I’m glad the light leaks weren’t overdone ( like the Abrams Star Trek movies )

    3. Kylo Ren… aside from not looking anything like his parents or really needing a mask, the light sabre fight with Finn made him look like a pretty average villain ( considering Finn was neither a Jedi, nor a fighter, he still managed to strike Kylo ).

    4. Snoke didn’t really work for me. just big and ugly. meh.

    5. The ending was nice and predictable… but i would have liked to have seen 1 of 2 things happen right at the end…
    either…
    Luke uses the force to make his light sabre fly to his hand, and he ignites it, roll credits
    or…
    Rey, simply says 2 words to Luke… ‘teach me’ … roll credits

    I’ll go see it again in the cinema, and can’t wait for more episodes :-) . Glad the wait is over and the story continues.

    Last edited 20/12/15 9:31 am

    It was not a remakes as some have said. They have done a lot of fan service and included similar scenes.

    It was obvious before the movie started that kylo is related to Luke.
    I saw hans death coming as soon as he saw kylo. However I don't think he was manipulating Han like some have said. He could of killed him straight away or tprtured him if he wanted but he was actually torn between the dark and light and struggling on what to do. It's good to have a villain that is not one dimensional.
    Rey dos show she can handle herself when she was attacked on jakku. She is a scavenger which means she would of been in fights before to defend herself and the things she has found to get food.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this again and episode 8. Let's hope it doesn't suffee like STID

      I thought it was very good as well. The whingers on IMDB are taking nit picking to a whole new level though.

      It's completely a remake. The plot is EXACTLY the same (with some very minor variations).

      a droid with stolen plans; being hunted by a black-clad evil character; droid crashes on a desert planet; and is found by a main character; evil soldiers attack; they escape in the Millenium Falcon; enemy has a space laser that they use to blow up a planet; good guys infiltrate the enemy weapon and disable it; which allows the good guys to target the single point of failure of the space weapon; light sabre battle; end.

      So, yeah, it's completely a remake. J J Abrams is either creatively bankrupt or just Disney's b*tch. I don't know which is worse. Remember Return of the Jedi? I guess the Jedi didn't really return. Oh, there's some lazy writing about some Jedi academy that was destroyed that we didn't see which sounds surprisingly like what happened in Revenge of the Sith.

      Last edited 21/12/15 1:38 pm

    I have a theory on Rei's past.

    She was a youngling/padawan of Luke and he stashed her away on Jakku after Kylo's massacre to keep her safe. Would explain her force use to an extent and her familiarity with the Falcon. Though dumping a small child on some random planet with an alien scavenger straight out of oliver twist seems like a bit of a dick move.

    Loved the film even though the plot is basically a rip off from ep4 I can imagine my daughter wanting clothes like Rei for her dress up box haha

    Last edited 20/12/15 11:24 am

    I loved the film. I went on to IMDB and read heaps of whinging by Yanks who are nit picking the film apart and attacking Disney for making a woman and black dude the main heroes.How sad that gets brought up as an issue This film was a step above the trashy cartoonist prequels which I disliked immensely. I thought Kylo Ren was a great new sith like character and it was good to see too new different heroes. Cant wait until the next two. All the whingers can go ans stick it and dont bother going to see the nex two.

    I was just amazed JJ ABRAMS managed 2+ hrs and not a single lens flare!! Hat off to you sir, it must of been hard haha. But i loved the movie. Im Not a hardcore fan but i like the franchise and i didnt think it was a waste of a movie ticket at all. I just hope the new star trek is going to be good without jj as director.. at least he's producer i guess... Justin lin better do a good job!

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