Monday, December 21, 2015

Movie Review: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (2015) ~ No Spoilers!

More powerful than you can possibly imagine.

Gentle reader, the hype is real!  I had hardly let myself hope that this movie would be actually good.  I was only hoping that it (a) would not completely suck and that (b) it would be better than the Phantom Menace (but I repeat myself).  Still, after raking in $238 million over opening weekend in the US (and $517 million worldwide!) to smash all box office records, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will not only make you forget all about the horrible prequels but also do the seemingly miraculous: it makes the entire franchise fresh and exciting and - yes - fun once more.  The magic is back, that hard-to-describe and even harder-to-create kind of enthralling delight in a rip-roaring adventure tale that transports you straight out of the ordinary into a new world (or, for us here, a new world in touch with a beloved old familiar one).  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer, and you'll walk out of the theatre thinking about how soon you can go back to see this again.  These are the celluloids you're looking for!

I could go on (and on and on), but I dare not reveal spoilers, no matter how small, no matter how inadvertently.  I'm always cautious lest I spoil a movie, but I have it on good authority that if I spoil this one, my friends are going to throw me into a Sarlacc pit.  Let me say this, though: When the opening crawl began and I read absolutely nothing - zilch - nada - diddly squat about galactic trade federations and space taxes and planetary blockades, I knew things were going to be OK!  

I'll indulge in a few brief passing observations: Oscar Isaac, king of the arthouse film, is here as a dashing pilot, and I was happy to see him take on an action role.  Fresh faces John Boyega as Finn and Daisy Ridley as scavenger Rey bring new blood and great energy.  A new spherical droid named BB-8 is this year's Dancing Baby Groot in terms of sheer winsome appeal, and everyone I know wants his or her own.  Update: I can't resist pointing you to this tweet (or should we say "fightin' words"?) by geek lord Neil deGrasse Tyson:
It is now common knowledge that Harrison Ford returns as Han Solo, and I'll say that THIS is how you bring Ford back in an iconic role; THIS appearance is the utter polar opposite of the misfire that was the return of Indiana Jones in 2008.  One more thing: Star Wars Episode VII is a JJ Abrams project, so see if you can spot the now-traditional cameo inclusion of his old friend Greg Grunberg.

Mad Minerva gives Star Wars: The Force Awakens a grade of A+.  Abrams has made lightning strike twice: as he did with the Star Trek reboot of 2009, here he takes an iconic pop culture icon and made it new for a new generation even while remembering its initial past greatness.  Thank you, JJ, for the best Christmas present this year!

RottenTomatoes gives this flick the nearly unparalleled Fresh rating of 95%.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens runs for 135 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sci fi action and violence along with a few disturbing images.

Here is the trailer:  

UPDATE: The torch passes from Jurassic World to Star Wars: the Force Awakens, and this is too cute to ignore:

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