‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Review


Full Cast of The Force Awakens Premier

Full Cast of The Force Awakens Premier

This review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is intentionally guarded to avoid spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

I attended a screening of “The Force Awakens” in San Diego, December 15, hosted by Disney. I’m one lucky blogger!

In 1977 I was 17 years old. That’s when I saw “Stars Wars” (nope, not calling it “New Hope”), and going to the movies was never the same again.

Sure, I watched the trilogy and then those awful prequels, but nothing reached the grandeur of the original galaxy far, far away.

That changed after I watched “The Force Awakens.” J.J. Abrams recaptured the force of the original Star Wars nostalgia, and injected it with today’s movie-making vigor.   As a fan, I walked out of this film feeling very satisfied and with new hope for the rebirth of this franchise.

As you might imagine, I was every bit as anxious and excited to see this new film. The anticipation of another Star Wars film awoke the old, and claimed a whole new generation of fans with just the hype leading up to opening day.

I must admit, I was afraid of my own expectations and tried to suppress them.


J.J. Abrams Director of "The Force Awakens." Photo by Disney

J.J. Abrams Director of “The Force Awakens.” Photo by Disney

But, fear not! The Force is alive and well in J.J. Abrams’ salute to the old guard and in his brilliant introduction of new players.

“The Force Awakens”(TFA) starts with the well-known scrolling lines telling us what has happened and where we are, so pay attention. After that, the film feels very familiar, yet when you think you know what will happen next it takes a turn.

Some scenes are almost identical to the old “Star Wars” films; the sights, sounds, fight sequences, and even the unfailing quips and jabs that marked the cheeky rapport between the characters, makes this film feel as if it’s only been a few years, not four decades, since we were first introduced to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Harrison Ford The Force Awakens

Harrison Ford at the premier of The Force Awakens. Photo by Disney.

Mark Hamill The Force Awakens

Mark Hamill at the premier of The Force Awakens. Photo by Disney.

“We’re home, Chewie,” is a line Han Solo used in the past, and he utters it again in TFA as we’ve seen in the trailer. Many famous lines make a repeat appearance, but they are used in an entirely different context.

And just for a little fun, notice Harrison Ford’s ever-changing hair styles during this movie. I think I counted 3!

The fantastic animatronics are also back, and though technology is available to make them bigger and better (which some are), these creatures never take attention away from the central characters. Even the space ships seem like they’ve been parked in a galactic garage and merely brought out for a new spin.

The Force Awakens

The new heroine in this film is Rey (Daisy Ridley). There’s a definite disturbance in the hierarchy because girl-force is pretty dominant in this film. Sign of the times? You bet!

Watching the previous six films is not really necessary to enjoy TFA, but if you did you will be able to catch all the phrases and other inside jokes and nods to the precursors.

I won’t spoil anything for you here except to tell you that for a 49 year old, who was 10 years old when the phenomenon known as Star Wars hit theaters, Abrams grasped what most of us wanted to see. He stayed true to the story line, and yet, started a new one.

“This will begin to make things right” is the very first sentence of dialogue in “The Force Awakens.”

This sounds about right.

From the real sets and models used to give this new film that old-school feeling without looking cheesy, to the punchy humor, emotion, and nostalgia embedded in the script of  this familiar story, Abrams delivers on all counts.

Though there was a bit of sentimental longing for characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda to somehow be brought back to life, they are not. However, most of the beloved characters, like the original space cowboys Hamill, Ford and Fisher along with R2-D2 and C-3PO, blend with the new ones: Rey, Fin (John Boyega) and the darling BB-8, to help propel the story in Episode VII.

This film marks the beginning of a new era in Star Wars films that may well take us to newer and farther galaxies that only a mastermind like Abrams’ imagination can conceive.

“Let the force flow through you.”

I think the vast majority of movie-goers will feel the force awaken in them this week, too.

Opens December 18, 2015

Rated PG-13

Runtime 135 minutes


  1. thank you so much for all the info but no spoilers! my son and I are reading together and getting excited!!

  2. Sola says:

    I can’t believe it’s already here, I bought my tickets a good month ago! I’ve been rewatching all week so I’m super excited to see it on Friday. Thanks for all the info and no spoilers.

  3. Aliza B says:

    My husband and I are excited to see the movie on Tuesday wit his work who rented a theater. We have tickets for our kids, but after finding out it was PG-13 I am hesitant to take them. Would you say it’s on the level of the original trilogy for violence or more like Episode 3?

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Hi Aliza, depending on your kids ages, say if they are younger than 8, the action and battle sequences might be too strong for them. If they are older than 8, then I think they can handle the film — especially if they’ve seen the original Star Wars. Hope this helps you. You can always walk out if it’s too uncomfortable for them, but I know this might ruin the excitement for you :/

  4. Melissa says:

    Ahhhhh! I am so excited to see this! I know I will NOT have the force with me if I try to take a toddler lol. SO Im dying as I wait for a night to open up we can get a babysitter… dying! Well I am so glad you posted this and I am so jealous you got to attend you lucky lady! 🙂

  5. Bree Hogan says:

    I’m off to see this on Sunday with the Hubby who is a major Star Wars fan. Thanks for the info!


  1. […] “The Force Awakens” was released last year, I couldn’t imagine it could be toped. However, Lucas’ signature […]

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