by Quintin Kovach ’16
This past weekend history was made as the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, was released. Directed by J. J. Abrams and filled with young talent the movie was a new hope for all Star Wars fans, young and old. Theaters were sold out two months in advance when preordering for tickets went up, and ticket sales sites went down due to the massive number of fans attempting to guarantee their seats. As the date drew closer rumors and fan theories filled the minds of all who were even remotely interested in Star Wars. On the release date itself lines began over an hour before the showing at every single IMAX screen in the United States.
When fans were finally allowed within the theaters seats were rapidly taken until there was not a single left. Anxious conversation persisted as nervous fans awaited the continuation of their precious childhood. When the Lucasfilm logo hit the screen fans erupted into cheers, only to do so again when in blue lettering read “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away,” and yet again when the opening crawl began. A hushed silence filled the room as the film began.
With every character introduction applause and cheers erupted from the crowds, whether it was for a new villain or an old hero. The dialogue only encourage this even more with many subtle references to the original trilogy and hilarious jokes interspersed throughout the film. Fans very quickly had new favorite characters and new lines to quote as the wonder and awe filled them for the second time in their lives. Many saw parallels from The Force Awakens to the previous movies and the now banished expanded universe whether it be in characters or in events.
From the opening crawl till when the end credits rolled, J.J. Abrams and John Williams had us on the edge of our seats with gripping music and gorgeous visuals. Some complain that the soundtrack was not up to par with the previous movies but upon a rewatch of the movie or listening to the soundtrack alone an intrepid Star Wars fan would find themselves filled with hope and whimsical dreams when they hear “Rey’s Theme” or dream when they are overcome with “Snoke.” More powerful than the music alone though was the times when there was no accompaniment at all, fans would subconsciously pick up on this and realize that something important was about to happen. John Williams really outdid himself with the scoring of this movie, he decided to make sure that this trilogy would have its own sound and he truly succeeded.
Some fans may remember the cringe-worthy prequel trilogy, others have completely blocked it from memory, when they dare to think of what fears they had for the new movie. They should not have had any fears at all. None of the horrendous dialogue or spoonfed descriptions from the prequels are to be found in the masterpiece. Lines that taken on their own could have invoked a feeling of disgust where masterfully delivered in a way that they seemed natural and profound. After the movie is over all of the viewers were left with a sense of wonder, wondering what would happen next and what happened to cause the events in the movie. It was deliberately crafted and designed in a way to leave questions that would be later filled with the next movie, novel, or comic book.
Modern day moviegoers may know the current trend to fill movies with CGI, they need not fear the use of it in The Force Awakens. The use of real props and backdrops is almost completely unnoticeable from those that were digitally inserted. One of the most iconic characters from this movie, the hilarious and soul filled droid BB-8, had three different models built to be used in the movie alongside the occasional CGI version of him. Filming techniques that were first created by George Lucas continued to be used in this film, including stop motion for some nostalgic effects. Overall the filming was absolutely stunning and left you feeling as if you were actually within the movie, from beginning to end.
The actors picked to play parts were chosen excellently. Each one fully fleshed out his or her role, whether it be angsty teenager or starstruck hopeful. They embodied the characters that they played, allowing you to truly see how they were supposed to be portrayed. Some very notable performances were made by Harrison Ford playing Han Solo, Daisy Ridley playing Rey, and Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver. Each of these actors or actresses became their character and made you believe that they were actually real. Even minor or supporting characters were masterfully chosen to have the best actor or actress to play them, whether it is just a stormtrooper or a rebel pilot each character was portrayed perfectly.
As blasphemous as this may sound I rate The Force Awakens as one of, if not the best, Star Wars films of all time. Fans were begging for a continuation of the saga and J.J. Abrams gave them one that was so good that it left them begging for more, so much more that it has made $247 million just on the opening weekend alone, half of what The Phantom Menace made in its entire thirty seven week run. This film is one that I would recommend fans to watch over and over again so that they could pick up on every little intricacy inside and truly appreciate it. Viewers will be just as awestruck as they were when they watched Star Wars for the first time. This movie will definitely break many more records and go down in the history books as the perfect continuation of an amazing saga. May the Force be with you!