Normally on Fridays I review this weeks new comic books but as we all know this is no normal week. Between the upcoming holidays and the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weeks new comic book review will be posted on Monday.
This will be a spoiler free zone so if you have not seen the film yet I will only cover things seen in the trailers and without any major plot points.
I say impressions instead of a review for a few reasons. First I do not want to spoil anything for anyone and instead of a review format I want to express my feelings about the film.
I was 12 years old when Star Wars was released and was at the perfect age to have the film have a huge impression on my future movie experiences. When The Empire Strikes Back would not be showing in the small town in Ohio that I grew up in, my dad drove all of the way to Columbus Ohio to take me to see the film before any of my friends and to say that they were jealous was an understatement. Return of the Jedi was the first film that I ever camped out for and my parents let me take the day off of school to go and see the film. So my relationship with Star Wars is very special.
The three prequel films the less said the better. As far as I’m concerned they need not be ever watched by me again. They are all truly terrible films, and set the bar exceptionally low for any future films.
With the release of The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have went back to the basics that made the original films work so well. While I did like the film quite a lot there is no way that you can capture that lighting in the bottle like the original ones. One of the main issues that I have with the new film is that there are too many times that it mirrors Star Wars. The basic structure is nearly identical. While this is not entirely fatal it’s a bit disappointing and had hoped for a bit more originality. I will give Abrams credit for doing a great casting job with the new characters in the film. They are quite good and bring a lot of energy to the film. It was also nice to see the original cast back and they all look quite well considering the extra 33 year from the last film Return of the Jedi.
It was visually very well done with a lot of physical effects with large sets that really brought this film back from the bloated prequel films that had way too many visual effects that drowned the films and the actors. It was nice to see a good amount of physical make up effects that brought the creatures to life and added immensely to the look and feel of the film.
We saw the film in full size IMAX 3-D (not the faux IMAX converted theaters) which was a bit unfortunate for two reasons. First the movie was shot on film and not in 3-D. It was a shame that nearly all of the real IMAX theaters were offered a choice of digital 3-D or 70mm film and sadly they nearly all chose 3-D so they could charge more for tickets. The film looked pretty decent for a 3-D conversion but overall the film doesn’t really benefit from it and I would recommend not seeing it in 3-D
There is only one sequence that was filmed in full IMAX that is the battle scene with Rey and Finn on the desert planet. I had hoped that Abrams was going to film more considering how he praised the format. After Christopher Nolan threw down the gauntlet with Interstellar’s over one hour of footage shot in the full IMAX film Star Wars The Force Awakens is very disappointing. I do hope that Disney does an IMAX film release of it in the near future to see the film the way it was intended to be seen.
In the end I do think that Abrams got more right than wrong with the film. He definitely brought the franchise back from the dead and has set up a good start to the next stories. I just wish that the film had been a bit more bold with the story instead of playing a lot of it safe and a little too familiar.
Is it worth your time and money? I am a huge advocate of IMAX and while it was great to see it on a full size IMAX screen there is not much IMAX footage in the film to justify the cost compared to a regular theater. I would also skip the 3-D being that it’s a conversion and doesn’t really add anything to the viewing experience except taking money from your wallet. Overall the film is good but not the slice bread of the universe but still worth seeing.