Sometimes being an adult sucks. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time it’s just like being a kid with a beard and a legit ID, but sometimes — and especially when you have children — it means not having the time to catch the latest Star Wars movie in theaters. That movie you’d been geeking out all over for several years? Yeah, maybe your kid will get sick, who will then get your wife sick, and your wife will then get you sick. Then it’s quite possible that, living in close quarters, the three of you will just continue to pass this sickness back and forth for months. That happens, you know. And because of this, I was unable to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens upon its theatrical release. So when I learned that yes, I would be receiving a copy of the Blu-ray release of the film to review, I was stoked. I have finally witnessed the first great new Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi. Yes, I am aware that people had complaints, but let’s be honest, when do they not? Just a couple of weeks ago, I witnessed one of the most epic, most true-to-the-source comic book movie I’ve ever seen, and people basically complained that it wasn’t like every other ho-hum comic book movie to hit the screen. In spite of the official internet position, I effing loved The Force Awakens. I’ve had the Blu-ray for approximately 5 days, and I have watched the movie as many times.
Some filmmakers just have an aesthetic about them. If press play on a Scorcese film, even if it’s not particularly the best of his career, the way it is presented creates the “look” of a movie. You just have to take it in, and say to yourself “Self, now this is a movie.” As soon as I started Star Wars: TFA up for the first time, it kind of took my breath away. I just gawked at the screen, and I thought to myself “This is a Star Wars movie.” This was a feeling that I haven’t had in quite some time. Yeah, I’m less of a fan of the prequels. I know some love them, but I was there on Day Zero, when all of us had pooped our pants to get our eyeballs in front of The Phantom Menace. Packed houses, sweaty nerds in costume, the police, the media, all were present for a movie which would totally shit the bed in the eyes of a lot of fans. It could have been saved, even if the story wasn’t all that great. Had Lucas focused on continuity — and not as much story-wise — and having a look and feel that would make an easy transition between the original trilogy, and this new one, it still would have stroked our nostalgia just the right amount to leave a pleasant taste in our mouths. From the moment you begin this new journey, you’re transported back in time, to a point in history when fantasy was fantastical, instead of ugly and cartoonish.
Some have complained that The Force Awakens borrows too heavily from the original Star Wars. And to that, I will say that there are quite a few similarities. But there are also similarities to the other two films in that series as well. When a person like JJ Abrams tackles a franchise like Star Wars, it should be expected that he’s going to pay fan service towards the originals. Fans of those first three movies is the audience he is trying to reach. And at no point does it lift entire scenes or story elements from the original, but it does pay enough homage to them so that you’ll nod and smile throughout most of the film. I thought it was a great balance between homage and totally new journey. I’m not saying that the complaint is invalid, I’m just saying that, much like they tell us that Fury Road is the best movie ever made, or that Deadpool is a fantastic and comics-accurate comic book movie, just because the internet says that this movie is a ripoff of A New Hope, doesn’t make it true.
On top of being treated to a return of our old favorites, such as Han Solo, Pricess Leia, Chebacca, R2D2, C3P0, and many more, we also have several new, and very interesting characters. For starters, John Boyega from the fantastic Attack the Block, plays a Storm Trooper with a conscious, who has decided to not only abandon his position, but assist the rebels in their fight against The First Order, which is the new flavor of The Empire, after the events of the first three films. This Storm Trooper, who later becomes identified as Finn, is quite possibly my favorite character in the movie. He has a dark past, but he’s so full of hope that you can’t help but feel that way yourself, at least a little. Daisy Riddley was phenomenal as Rey as well. These two new characters in particular are so likable, that it justifies the relaunch of this series with revenue from new merchandise sales alone. All of our favorite characters are awesome, in the movie. Some may have feared that after all of this time, this would come off as cheesy, phoned-in cameos, but that really isn’t the case. You feel like you’re in the same world created by the original Star Wars trilogy. And while we’ve been away from these characters for such a long time — and so many things have changed, since — it definitely feels more like catching up with an old friend than seeing their doppelganger at a mall in Fresno.
After so many of my friends told me that they were — at the very least — minimally disappointed with The Force Awakens, I have finally seen it for myself, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. No recently-celebrated movie has as much replay value as this new Star Wars film. My son — he’s five years old — is already a seasoned Star Wars veteran. We’ve watched the original trilogy, we’ve played the Lego games, we’ve watched the animated shows, so to take this new Star Wars journey together, for both of us to view a new, honest-to-goodness Star Wars movie with fresh eyes, is one of the greatest experiences of my life. And yes, I wish we could have shared this during its theatrical exhibition, but the two of us still sat here, silently, jaws on the floor, until the credits begin to roll. And then, we started it again. I don’t know how many times I’ll be watching this Blu-ray, but I’d say it has made it into our regular rotation for the foreseeable future.
Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, Digital, and whichever mind-beam device you happen to possess. It is also highly recommended.