Review: The Force Awakens


Sita Ahlen, Senior Reporter

The following article contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Force Awakens was officially released on December 18, 2015, ten years after Revenge of The Sith was released. It has already raked in over 1.5 billion dollars in the box office, it has surpassed Titanic in earnings.

On Thursday December 17, the Star Wars fans who couldn’t wait for opening day gathered to watch the movie. Some stood in line for hours, others literally camped outside of the theater in the blizzardy weather conditions.

When the time for the movie had come near, the theater was loud, and an air of excitement was building up. As soon as the opening credits rolled the entire theater broke out into applause. This continued throughout the movie.

When The Millennium Falcon came on set, people applauded, as did they when Han Solo, Chewbacca, General (formerly Princess) Leia, C3PO, R2D2, and other recognizable characters were shown.

Admiral Ackbar, known mostly for a famous phrase in Return of the Jedi, popped on screen for a few scenes, and a man stood up and yelled “It’s a trap!!!”

The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams, has made progress towards representing a diverse cast and has broken down tropes left and right. Not only has Princess Leia gone from posing in a shiny gold bikini to being the General of the Resistance, but also the main character of the movie, Rey, is a woman. The original films were male-dominated, not even passing the Bechdel Test. The Force Awakens does pass this test.

The default in the original Star Wars movies was white. 69% of roles were saved for white actors, and only 8.5% were open to actors of any other race. The Force Awakens had been deemed anti-white before it had officially come out, people even began to boycott it. Finn, one of the main characters, is black. Poe, the daring resistance pilot, is from Guatemala.

Abrams seems to have a distinct love for lens flares. Pick any scene on the planet Jakku, and in various other settings in the movie, there will be a sun flare. Fight scene? Gotta add a sun flare. Explosions on the screen? More sun flares.

While I have a fondness for JJ Abrams films, he lacks total creativity. It is clear many scenes in TFA are similar to those in the previous movies. Maz Kanatas place was a spitting image of the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine.  The Star Killer Base was simply a larger version of the Death Star.

The movie has frequent amusing qualities. Poe Dameron, who is played by Oscar Isaac, is able to laugh in the face of danger. Finn, played by John Boyega, and Dameron are a dynamic duo. Spitting funny phrases or elements wherever the movie takes them.

I could watch this movie every day for the rest of my life. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. 

The Empire has made a comeback in the form of The First Order. One led by Snoke, the new Supreme Leader, who trains Kylo Ren, a man who wishes to harness the power of darth Vader and also suffers from fiery tantrums with his intricately designed lightsaber. In an interesting turn of events, we discover that he is the son of Leia and Han, and the reason for their broken relationship.

Luke Skywalker runs into exile after the training of Kylo Ren turns him to the dark side. The resistance and his sister, in need of his expertise, try to find him.

Poe Dameron, an experienced pilot in the resistance, is given a map leading to Luke Skywalker, he places the map into his astromech droid, BB8, as the dreaded First Order attacks a village.

As ex-stormtrooper, Finn, runs from the First Order with Poe Dameron, the movie kicks into overdrive. The stormtrooper helps Poe to escape in a TIE fighter from the Star Destroyer, where they crash land on Jakku and are separated. 

Rey, a strong willed scrap-metal scavenger who is now in possession of the BB8 works along with Finn, they manage to leave Jakku and come face to face with Han Solo and Chewbacca. After a fight scene and a quick getaway, the team of two becomes a team of four. When the four travel to Tokadana, where Maz Kanata, a yoda-esque character voiced by Lupita N’yongo, lends the team a hand.

When The First Order finds out the location of the BB8, they attack Kanata’s place to the point of rubble. The Resistance comes to the rescue and Kylo Ren pulls back his forces, kidnapping Rey and taking her back to the Starkiller Base (a hybrid Death Star).

On the Starkiller Base, Rey figures out she can use the force.

Han, Chewie, and Finn rescue Rey and aid the Resistance in destroying the Starkiller Base. This pivotal moment ends in heartbreak when Kylo Ren and his father, Han Solo, engage in conversation and Han is killed by Ren. 

If you have seen the movie consider this: in this scene, which broke every Star Wars fan’s heart, did Han press the button?

Rey and Finn end up in the snowy forests of the planet and battle Kylo Ren, but Rey is unable to kill him when the base begins to deteriorate. Kylo Ren is still alive, leaving room for a reappearance in the next movie.

 In the last scene, Rey is given the map to find the location of Luke Skywalker, and travels to him.

The movie ends in definite promises for another. Episode 8 will be released in May of 2017.