Laconic Mnemonic’s Fashionably Late Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yo, this movie was SO GOOD. In fact, if you’re reading this and you somehow still haven’t seen it, then I have to advise you to turn off your computer or lock your phone, take the day or night off work and go see this damn film. And then, after the credits have rolled, the applause has subsided, and you have managed to peel yourself out of your seat, march your happy little galactic ass right back to the box office to buy another ticket for the next showing and experience it all over again. If you want to see it a third time and a fourth or fifth time after that, go right ahead. We’ll wait. When you finally decide that it’s time to bring yourself back to reality, come back and read the rest of this review. It’ll be a grand old time.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac

Rating: Paul George (PG-13)

Release Date: December 18th, 2015

Kyle: So this movie was a fucking masterpiece, from start to finish. Don’t you agree?

Colten: Oh, without a doubt. I’m not the world’s biggest Star Wars fan. I’ve only seen the original trilogy and The Phantom Menace, but I absolutely loved The Force Awakens. I felt like it was a good starting point to bring the new generation into the epic world that George Lucas created.

K: You really should have stopped with the original trilogy. Now you’ll have to finish out the prequel trilogy and you’ll be sad. Anyway, it was an amazing culmination of the previous movies, capitalizing on the movies I grew up with and returning the franchise to its original glory. We’ll kind of go with a few sections for this, but I want to start out by talking about the newcomers to the Star Wars franchise. (Boyega, Ridley, Driver, Issac) What did you think of the new faces, Colten? Do you have a favorite performance from them?

C: Man, I think each of them really gave some strong performances here, especially when you consider that most of them were fairly unknown prior to being cast for TFA. I loved Boyega and Ridley’s portrayals of Finn and Rey. Oscar Isaac was great as the master pilot Poe Dameron. When Finn woke up after the tie fighter crash in the beginning, I was almost legitimately worried that we wouldn’t be seeing Poe again. But Finn never found his body so that gave me some hope and obviously…if you’ve seen the movie, you know what happened. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and buy a fucking ticket. Anyway, the one thing that really struck me as odd at first was Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. For the majority of the movie, the casting choice really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference because he is behind a mask and his voice is distorted a la Darth Vader. But when he took off his mask for Rey, I just found myself kind of surprised at his appearance. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. No, I hadn’t done any research before hand. I didn’t even know who Adam Driver was, much less what he looked like or that he was playing the part of Kylo Ren. That’s not to say that Adam Driver is a bad looking dude. He just didn’t look like the image of evil that I suppose I was expecting. I warmed up to it though. And he still did a hell of a job playing the part. Although Kylo Ren did do one supremely bad thing. So fuck him for that.

K: I think Adam Driver was my favorite performance from the bunch. Yes, he may not look like your typical “villain” (like Darth Maul, Dooku, Grievous), but I think that’s what they were going for with him. MASSIVE SPOILER: He’s the son of Leia and Han, so he’s gonna look normal. Plus, in this crazy world, anyone can be evil. But, going back to the performance, Adam Driver showed the conflict that his character Kylo Ren/Ben Solo was going through. He showed raw emotion that we had never seen from the Dark Side(at least well done).

Moving on from the newbies, did you enjoy the integration of the characters from the original trilogy? Was their role well written/acted?

C: Dude, when Han Solo and Chewie first showed up and set foot on the Millennium Falcon, I was expecting the audience at the theater to stand and applaud. Or at least applaud. But alas, they were all lame and there wasn’t any kind of cool response like that. Then again, maybe I’m the lame one because I didn’t start it… But yeah, I really enjoyed it. That’s part of the reason that this movie is going to (and has been doing) so well with the older crowd. Not only is it bringing back nostalgic feelings with an actual good story, but it’s also bringing back some of the best known and loved characters from the original trilogy. Random side note, did they always pronounce Millenium Falcon as “Fall-con”? Because that bothered me throughout the entire film. Maybe it’s just me. There were times when Harrison Ford’s performance felt a little strange to me. There were quite a few attempts at humor in the movie, a lot of them coming from Han Solo. I don’t remember any specifics, but I remember that some were good and some felt pretty forced. Seeing Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford reunite as Han Solo and Princess (General) Leia (Organa) was quite fun as well. Mark Hamill isn’t in it much, but when he is…Let’s just say it is a GIGANTIC MOMENT. So that was cool. The old stars are part of what made this movie great, and they have also set themselves up fantastically to be able to carry on without them because people will really enjoy the new characters.

K: Mark Hamill’s time on the screen was my favorite scene in the movie. Quite possibly the best ending shot for any movie, in my personal opinion. This movie has me anxiously awaiting December 2017 so that we can continue that scene.

C: Well, let’s not get carried away here. It was cool as hell, sure. But the shot was a little weird. It went from a major close up on Luke to Rey and then just a really quick circular flyover type shot of the island. Kinda made me a bit dizzy. Just the sheer magnitude of the shot and what it meant though…Yeah, that was awesome.

One thing that I’ve been seeing a lot of in the days following the movie’s release is a bunch of people commenting on all of the parallels between TFA and A New Hope. What do you think about all of that?

K: I mean, there are always going to be parallels to be drawn between Star Wars films. Especially when all of the important characters in the galaxy seem to be from like 4 families. One thing I was moderately disappointed with was the lack of acknowledgement of the prequel trilogies. While they weren’t particularly good films, they’re still a major part of the canon that is Star Wars. Yes, there were quite a few jokes related to the original trilogies, and lines can be drawn connecting Luke and Rey (aside from potential lineage), but the lack of references to Jar Jar and friends is disturbing.

We’re currently listening to the soundtrack for the film, which brings me to my next point. How fucking badass is John Williams?

C: Oh, I think there’s a pretty decent chance we’ll be hearing a lot more about Jar Jar in the next two films… Also, that’s an extremely valid point about all of the important characters being from just a few different families.

The Star Wars soundtracks have always been amazing, to my knowledge. Again, I don’t really know much about the prequel trilogy, but I can only assume that the soundtracks stood out as bright spots in an otherwise dim collection. John Williams is most assuredly a gentleman and a scholar for bestowing such amazing music upon us to accompany each film.

We talked about the sightings of old beloved characters like Han Solo, Leia, Luke, and Chewie. There were some other old friends in the film too: C3PO and R2D2. They played relatively small parts, but it was still neat to see them there to welcome in a new addition to the Star Wars droid brotherhood: BB-8. I love that little guy. I even saw a video of a miniature remote controlled BB-8 that looked soooo cool. It was probably pretty damn pricey though. BB-8 had an important role to play in the movie and other than the fact that he looked like a metallic soccer ball with a small dome mounted on top (the galaxy’s cutest metallic soccer ball with a small dome on top, mind you), every second that he was on the screen was a fun one for me. What did you think of BB-8, and how do you think he ranks in the pantheon of Star Wars droids?

IMG_6112

K: I think BB-8 is a close second among the Star Wars droids. R2 is my personal favorite. Loved him in the prequel trilogy (he was probably the best part), and he’s just as important as BB-8. (Another parallel between A New Hope and TFA) He was cute as hell, and made some of the more dull parts of the movie hilarious. It should be noted that he was cute and funny, but nowhere near as obnoxious as Snoke- I mean Jar Jar was in the prequel trilogy.

Star Wars is known for its fighting sequences. How did the fighting in TFA stack up with the other movies?

C: I see what you did there. I enjoyed the fight sequences in TFA. The aerial battle sections were phenomenal and the actual on ground portions were cool too. You had your typical storm troopers shooting wildly and barely hitting much of anything. The light saber fight between Kylo Ren and Rey was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Part of me was really hoping she would be able to finish him off before the ground split open, but they still have two films to finish, he can’t die yet! The same can’t be said for someone else…Which brings me to an odd and random point. As far as I know, it’s only happened with the death of Darth Maul, but for some reason I really get the feeling that the creators of Star Wars get some kind of enjoyment out of having characters fall from great heights as they die. As soon as someone steps out onto a bridge that crosses such a huge chasm that you can’t even see the bottom…I mean, there’s only one possible outcome, right? Someone is going to die. That’s just how I felt when I watched Han Solo step out onto that bridge, anyway. This is as good a time as any to get this out of my system.

*sigh* *deep breath*

HE’S DEAD! HAN SOLO IS FUCKING DEAD! OH GOD, WHY? FUCK YOU DISNEY, FUCK YOU!

That had the potential to be such a touching scene and they just ruined it. This is where you fucked up, Adam Driver. It had to happen though, for the sake of the story. I wasn’t expecting Han Solo to die, but you know what? Once his relation to Kylo Ren was revealed, it made sense. …Where the hell was I?

 

K: The death of Han Solo was an extremely heart wrenching moment. One that was spoiled for me before I got to see the film. Which brings me to my final point before we close this shit out.

DO NOT SPOIL MOVIES FOR PEOPLE DURING OPENING WEEKEND. YOU ARE SCUM OF THE EARTH AND I HOPE YOU WERE ON THE FIRST DEATH STAR IN YOUR PAST LIFE.

Anyway, time to close this out with some ratings. Colten, what was your final verdict on the movie?

C: I second that to the highest possible degree. I sincerely hope that we didn’t spoil the movie for anyone who happened to read this without taking the generous advice in the introduction. But seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, then what the hell are you even doing? There is no valid excuse. Fight me.

Anyway, as a casual Star Wars fan, I would totally give The Force Awakens four stars out of four. It relies a bit heavily on its roots in being so close to the story of A New Hope, but fuck it. It’s a great movie. The acting is great, the characters are great, the visuals are breathtaking, and I’m really sad that JJ Abrams isn’t directing Episodes 8 and 9.

K: If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then you are the police. (Shout out to Shea Serrano.)

Rather than give this a star rating, I’m going to put it in the order of (in my opinion) worst to best Star Wars movies.

I

II

III

VI

IV

V

VII

That’s right, kids. This movie relies heavily on its roots, like Colten said, but that’s a great thing. This movie is the groundwork for some amazing things to come, and even looking at it as a stand alone picture with no 8th or 9th movie, it is very solid.

With that, I think we’re going to wrap this thing up. Any last thoughts?

C: As I’ve said, you’re a much bigger Star Wars fan than I am. Once the lights at the theater went out, the John Williams score hit, and the iconic opening crawl began to roll, I looked over and saw you put your hand to your mouth like you were in some sort of nerdy state of awe. Not to get all sappy and shit, but that’s beautiful, man. I’m sure a lot of people all across the world had similar reactions. That alone makes this film a success, nevermind the fact that it’s bound to be the highest grossing film of all time.

K: Word. We’ll see you guys next time.

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