It has been over 30 years since the last Star Wars movie (from the classic trilogy) was released. Instead of the excitement dying down over time, the fervor continues to grow and at rapid speeds. Star Wars fans span the globe, comprised of people from across the full gamut of ages, genders, nationalities, and backgrounds. The stories of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, 3-CPO, the force, and Darth Vader have been passed down through the generations as part of our pop culture heritage. With extreme anticipation building with each advance ticket purchase, how will Star Wars: The Force Awakens be received? I was able to attend an early press screening to find out for myself.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review — No Spoilers
Major Star Wars fans will completely flip. The overall tone of the The Force Awakens retains that of the old movies while giving enough of a fresh start to draw audiences in and have them pleading for more. It’s everything die hard enthusiants have been waiting for and more. Familiar faces are back, the light and dark sides of the force are again in conflict, and new heroes and villains are taking up the fight.
The iconic opening title marquee does a great job at getting the audience up to speed with what’s happening. Star Wars: The Force Awakens picks up where the Return of the Jedi ended, but a few decades in the future. Many things have changed and the peace of the universe is again threatened as the balance between good and evil has been thrown off.
Just a warning though – this film can be overwhelming. So much is going on to properly set the stage for an extended story arc that the pace is very quick. It will take some time to let things sink in and an additional viewing or two may even be needed. It’s not just about telling a story, it’s about reviving and then building upon a legacy. The film is PG-13 so parents will want to make sure their kids can handle the fighting and intensity that was also in the original three movies.
5 Tips for Non-Super Fans – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
However, among those who live and breathe light sabers and Yoda-inspired proverbs are also those who simply missed the boat on the whole Star Wars craze, me being included. Despite the seeming majority of those around me being fully immersed in the universe containing Tattoine, the Death Star, and the Ewoks Village, I just can’t seem to get into it. So how was Star Wars: The Force Awakens for me and how might others similar to me react? I’m sure it will be mixed bag but keeping these points in mind will help.
- Know the Basics
If viewers have NO clue about Star Wars and have ZERO idea of who Luke’s father was, though, they might be a little lost. You might want to at least fill in your fellow movie-goer on the basics of the Star Wars storyline. Don’t go too deep into detail or include any of the stuff about Anakin, the Counsel, the Sith, the Clone Wars, etc. because then you’ll just confuse them and turn them off.
- Discovery Through the Eyes of the Characters
The new main characters, Rey and Finn, are just learning about what happened before and how it ties into what they are currently experiencing. Let the non-super fans discover the Star Wars Universe alongside the characters as they come to understand the force and who they are up against and why.
- No Bathroom Breaks
From start to finish, the movie is packed with plot reveals and key character development. If viewers miss even one portion, it will be a challenge to follow what is going on. So limit the drinks and fill up on salty, liquid-retaining snacks or you’ll have a lot of extra explaining to do.
- A Lot of Talking
While the action is non-stop, there is still quite a bit of dialogue. Younger viewers may present an ongoing barrage of questions but if someone stops to explain things, they’ll miss out. Main points are touched on a few times in case people don’t “get it” the first time so any questions will likely be answered as the movie goes on. Just encourage everyone to stay quiet and to save their questions for later.
- Fandom Not Guaranteed
Don’t expect everyone who sees Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be blown away and standing in line at the next Comic Con for new leaks about episode eight. I was not shrieking with excitement or biting my nails out of suspense. I was not crying at crucial moments or gushing as certain characters interacted. However, I was getting the feeling that I needed to watch the original trilogy. That’s always a good start.
As a non-super fan I appreciate that, while catering to an existing fan base, they did not alienate those who might be less than thrilled about Star Wars or attack head-on as if saying, “You must love this movie, or else…” Instead, it piques the curiosity and gently introducing the world from broad angle. I get the feeling that this movie was not meant to be a standalone blockbuster but, rather, part of a much bigger adventure that I might want to keep following. So let the interest grow as the movies continue to be released.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fantastic addition to the Star Wars world (unlike the prequel trilogy that many prefer to deny the existence of). The creators really went above and beyond to stay true to the classic story that is so widely treasured. Yet, at the same time, they managed to breathe new life into it and begin a new saga many more will enjoy. That said, go see it on Friday!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18th, 2015!
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I was invited to a press screening of the movie for review purposes. All opinions are my own.