Star Wars Top 5: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

This is the first movie of the new Star Wars era when Lucasfilm decided to make one movie each year. Rogue One is the standalone movie that follows this one so I decided that in a throwback kind of way I would review every Star Wars live action movie with a Top 5 favorite moments. I was nervous, excited and just plain anxious to see this movie come out, since we have been waiting for almost 10 years, hoping to get a new film. When they announced JJ Abrams as the director I knew that it would be at least good since I loved his reboot of Star Trek and his Mission Impossible III movie. And I know that there has been a lot of backlash few months after the movie saying it was too much like a New Hope, but it is one of my favorite movie in the franchise. The pacing in on part, the actors are perfectly cast and the visuals are spectacular.

1. Opening Sequence

As per usual, the movie starts with a small battle on a planet that will launch the story forward. And, in this case, it is done perfectly, because it gives the tone of the movie while introducing the story and the characters. We start by meeting Poe, our Resistance fighter, who will give the plans to find Luke to his best friend, a droid BB-8, setting in motion the story. Then we are introduce through a brutal action sequence our villain Kylo Ren and we see him using the Force and his lightsaber. Finally, we are introduce to our second protagonist Finn, a stormtrooper who will defect later on. He is fighting, but he seems confused, scared and he refuses to shoot innocent civilians. He is spotted by Kylo Ren. In on scene, all the cards are on the table. Finn is ready to defect, Poe is kidnapped, Kylo Ren is aware of both of them and the audience has been given all the necessary information. To me, this is the perfect introduction sequence and it’s in a battle sequence, so we don’t even notice the exposition too much.

2. Escaping Jakku

This action sequence is the perfect blend of modern special effects and old-fashion running away from explosions in location. When Finn and Rey are running away from the TIE fighters to get to the Millenium Falcon, it was a great idea to do it on location in the desert so it feels more real, more grounded. Of course, it all starts with the chemistry between the characters. It was a brilliant idea to have Rey fight Finn and get pull into this only because she met him and she had BB-8 with her. I also love the idea that Rey started to like Finn because he is the first because who gave her a hand when she needed help. And then we get to the Millenium Falcon chase itself and there is nothing like it, because of modern technology and CGI. It was use perfectly. The fact that they are zooming through Jakku adds to the tension.

3. Takodana

Maz Kanata’s castle is maybe a little, well, a lot like the cantina, but I still enjoy it a lot. The music they used was really cool and I loved that they go through the whole castle before landing on Maz herself. She is not what we are expecting, a small alien, but after few seconds she just gets everyone’s attention, including Han, Finn, Rey and Chewie. Also, at that castle, Rey discovers her first path towards becoming a Jedi. She finds Anakin and Luke’s old lightsaber and she has a vision in which we see the knights of Ren and Kylo Ren himself. It creates mystery around her character, making more questions than answering them which is good in a trilogy like Star Wars.

4. Rey vs Kylo Ren

This fight is interesting, because we know that there is more to the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren, but we are still not aware of it at the moment. We don’t really know who is Rey in this universe and how she relates to those characters. That being said, the fact that Kylo Ren is hurt makes this fight more believable since Rey isn’t trained yet. And I just love the moment when the lightsaber passes in front of Kylo Ren when he is summoning it and it lands directly in Rey’s hand. That brings even more questions: why is it answering to her? Also this is the moment, she believes and discovers the Force for the first time. Yes, she uses a quick mind trick on a stormtrooper, but against Kylo Ren when she is up against that ridge, she has to find it to beat him.

5. The Quest to find Luke

I like the connection between Luke and Kylo Ren, because it’s more than just master and apprentice. Ben Solo was the son of his sister and his best friend, so when he turned to the Dark Side, he didn’t just killed Luke’s hope of a Jedi Order, but Luke felt that he failed his family. As always, Star Wars is a Skywalker story and this is no different. Ben Solo is also the grandson of Darth Vader and he aspires to become him. Luke went into exile thinking it was better for the galaxy since he created and trained the monster that was Kylo Ren and he could not protect him from Rey. I love that we learn all of that before we meet him at the end of the movie. This way, when we see him, we already know that this is a broken man who has been living years in solitude. When Rey finds him at the end of the movie, it adds more questions, will he train her or turn her away? Does he recognize her?  Even if he is not in the movie, his part in the film, is greater than any other character.

So what do you think of Episode VII- The Force Awakens? I personally don’t mind the use of a “Death Star” once again or a similar plot, because we have new characters that are engaging, new questions that keeps us wondering what will happen in the next instalment and we are expending the universe based on maybe similar storyline. JJ Abrams created an action driven movie that introduce new characters yet gave enough space to the legend generation to keep us satisfied and that in itself is an exploit.

GRADE: A

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