Saturday, December 19, 2015

Snow Screen: Star Wars The Force Awakens - Spoiler Free

Star Wars week erupted this past Thursday as marathons and 7:00 PM screenings ushered in a new era for the franchise and cultural movement. While sites for the El Capitan, Arclight, Fandango and among others crashed, I quietly bought seats at the Cinemark in Playa Vista to check out the flick on their XD system. Happy Hour preceded the film as usual, this time at Hop Doddy, a burger and brews joint. We and nearly everyone else were decked out in Star Wars shirts with one guy in a Chewbacca onesie. Cinemark has some groovy special 3D glasses and we grabbed them with BB-8 and Captain Phasma designs. Taking our seats, I took a deep breath and prepared for the next two and a half hours that I hoped would be good. I didn't have high or really any expectations going in as I like Star Wars but am far from a fanatic or expert. But my heart was literally pounding as it got closer to showtime and after the final theater advertisement, I started the applause to get us going. The claps kept coming for the Lucasfilm card as well as the opening Star Wars title and opening theme.

Bottom line? Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fun flick. It's big, exciting, visual, funny and uses 3D well. It feels very much like a Star Wars film, carrying on the look and tone of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with sandy locales, a used and beat up future, flying ships, light sabers, laser blasts, Storm Troopers, the Force, on and on. Leading lady Rey (Daisy Ridley) was excellent; smart and skilled, a pilot and a fighter. While new soccer ball with a head droid BB-8 nearly stole the show with it's beeps, reactions and gadgets. I had issues with John Boyega's Finn and Adam Driver's Kylo Ren being a bit weak as characters played by actors I have no interest in watching. Oscar Isaac shows up as the greatest pilot in the system Poe Dameron and brings a breezy, cool and supportive big brother vibe to his scenes with fidgety and nervous "little brother" Finn. Harrison Ford's returning Han Solo is used to a surprising degree while Carrie Fisher shows up late in the game as Princess turned General Morgana. I consider The Force Awakens a reboot/sequel as you're introducing the world and characters to a new generation but the story mirrors many points of 1978's A New Hope. With billions on the line, Force accomplishes it's job, bringing Star Wars back to the mainstream, breaking box office records and exciting audiences young and old.

If you want to get into the knitty gritty of how I really felt, read the next, spoiler filled post!

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