Episodic Order Reviews #7: The Force Awakens

Hi Star Wars fans! I hope everybody had a good couple of days as I assume most of you have seen The Force Awakens. I’ve seen TFA twice already (once in 3D and once in 2D), so I think I’m ready to give a little bit of a review. I had seen all the other Star Wars films so many more times than I had seen this one, so there really isn’t a fair comparison. That in mind, let’s begin. There will be spoilers in what follows, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen the film. See you after the jump:



Still here? It was pretty great. Hard to imagine how it could be better and still do the film in the typical amount of time. One things for sure, a lot of theories were wrong. That is, since they opted for a very minimal exposition on a number of points, our theories were often way more complex than what was actually presented. There were many things that were very different than I expected, probably because I expected a little more explanation and backstory. As typical with Star Wars (and Abrams for that matter), we get only a minimal story with promise of more detail to come in the sequel.

The bad

If anything, I can come up with two things that bothered me a bit on my first viewing. First, I felt it was very fast paced, and for me at least the first viewing, that was a big jarring. This style very much reminded me of the Star Trek film. Let me be clear, this isn’t terrible, it just caught me off guard in my first viewing. In fact, once I get more used to the film, this could be welcome. The second thing is that it was definitely not Lucas, and many parts of the cinematography were very non-Lucasian. Again, this isn’t unexpected and isn’t terrible, but on the first viewing kind of caught me a bit off guard.

One thing was that it felt like there were a lot of cut scenes. Perhaps it was this feeling of missing scenes that both made it feel very fast paced and non-Lucasian on the first viewing. For example, I felt like there was a missing shot between when Finn and Poe’s TIE fighter got shot, and when Finn woke up. Maybe it seems like Lucas would have had a seen with the two in the TIE after the shot, saying that they needed to strap in for a crash landing or something. That said, after letting everything sink in, it isn’t so different from a lot of previous films.

I do wish that there were more familiar aliens. It felt like almost every alien, with the exception of Akbar, Nien Nunb, and Chewie of course, was a new species. I expected to see an Ithorian or a Muftak mixed with the new aliens, but it really felt like nothing but new aliens. That said, there could be many familiar aliens that I missed.

The StarKiller base’s Achilles heel seemed a bit rushed. An “oscillator”. Well, I thought there could have been a little more complexity to it.

Not sure if this is bad or good, but many of the aliens and robots were only on screen for like less than a second. I know that fans will still buy books (like I did with the visual dictionary) to learn more about these obscure characters. I wouldn’t have minded seeing just a bit more. Perhaps that’s the idea! I’ll go back a couple more times just to get a better glimpse of Babajo and “Buford”.

The good


He was pretty cool. Very different from what I expected. I don’t know what to expect for him, because every shot was a hologram. We don’t know how tall he really is, but the best reports say 7 feet tall or a little taller. It will be interesting to see how the CGI technology improves over the next couple of years before we see him in person.


I LOVED FINN! He is great. The personality is HUGE. I was quite frankly amazed at how different Boyega’s Finn was compared to Moses from Attack the Block. I think this speaks well for his future as an actor if he is this good an completely pulling a 180 in terms of character. Was Finn a Jedi? We still don’t seem to know. He definitely took to that lightsaber pretty strongly and used it pretty well. Definitely possible that this is similar enough to the riot baton training that Storm Troopers probably get (like the one that fought Finn), so maybe that’s it. Finn doesn’t seem to use the Force in ways that are obvious like Rey’s use of the Force. It’s possible that we will see more of Finn’s Jedi potential in Episode VIII, but at this point it is a bit of a mystery.

Lor San Tekka:

So, it does appear that Lor San Tekka is not a former Imperial officer as many had predicted, but actually nothing in the film completely rules this out. Since we don’t know how he came to the Church o the Force, we don’t really know if this wasn’t the case. We are, however, presented with an idea that Lor San Tekka had the instructions on how to get to Luke. This raises the question of why?

In the film, we are told that the map was found during his “travels”, but this doesn’t really say anything. One has to assume that this is a pretty big secret if even Han and Leia don’t know where Luke is. Is there any coincidence that LST and Rey are both on the same backwater planet? Some have speculated that LST is there to watch over Rey, much like Obi Wan watched over Luke. Many have speculated if he could be an older Kanan using a pseudonym. I wouldn’t object to any of this. Maybe we’ll see LST in Rebels? Definitely seemed like an underused character, so hopefully they’ll do more with him in other media. At any rate, it would be interesting if LST is there to watch over Rey, possibly sent there by Luke.


Rey was pretty good! Her humility just kind of broke my heart. To see her so lonely, and so humble. The way she held that saber up to Luke at the end, the anticipation and uncertainty in her eyes, not knowing what he would say. She was certainly lovable. I speculated that she was a Jedi already. I’m kind of still thinking that she is. I think the subtext was that after the killing of the Jedi Padawan by the Knights of Ren, Rey was a padawan that survived and was taken to Jakku to hide from them. There is even a hint in the flashback that Kylo Ren let her live. That is how I read the flashback scene. I could be wrong, but that is at least what I got out of it. Why would Luke take her to Unkar Plutt of all people? I don’t know. Maybe he had no choice, and maybe he knew that this was the only way she would be safe there from a greater threat.

Kylo Ren:

I must say that Adam Driver’s performance was pretty awesome. I think the character is an asshole, but I think Driver performed the character excellently. I can’t imagine how anything could have been better.

Other things

I loved it when BB-8 squeaks out a “really?” or what sounded like it when Rey said he could go with her.

I loved it when Rey used the Force to pick up the saber. Goosebumps moment. Also the ending when she holds out the saber to Luke was just so moving. I said this before, her humility is just amazing.

Rey’s fighting style reminded me of Sidious. The way she kind of went stabbing inwards with an angry face. Just an observation.

Unkar Plutt was a timeless performance. Props to Simon Pegg.

I have to say something about Han. That was pretty sad for sure. I kind of expected that he would go, but I did think for a brief moment that Ren was sincere when he handed Han his saber. I don’t know why, but I guess I just wanted to believe it at that moment.

I loved seeing Rey hand Kylo’s ass to him. There were some moments of that fight that were pure badassery. The way she ran up those rocks and then split that fallen tree to block Kylo’s path. Nice.

All things considered, this was a pretty good film. I think it was probably better than Revenge of the Sith. I’m not ready to say better than Empire or A New Hope, but pretty darn good.

4 out of 5 stars. Excellent!


Check back next week for @mazlow01’s review!

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