“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)

Yes, I know this movie came out in December, and has been thoroughly reviewed by every Tom, Dick and Harry not to mention every other movie reviewer out there. So why write this now? I dunno.. I figured it had aged enough I guess. Also the blu-ray/DVD release date is quickly approaching (5 APR 2016) and I am greatly looking forward to seeing it again. I only made it out to the theater once for this, and I really think I missed a few things with the complete and total awesomeness that was on the screen that day.

First, I’ll say that SW:TFA has a PG-13 rating. Therefore, please be advised that it’s not “for kids”. My personal recommendation is 8 and up. Yes, someone important gets stabbed in the midsection. I was very angry about this (pretty sure I still am), and I’m 40. Doubtful that little kids will have the same grasp of the history of the characters as I do, but this and other action scenes still could be kinda scary to little kids. (Don’t throw tomatoes for the almost-spoiler there, it’s March now and I’m pretty sure everyone who really cares about ‘no spoilers for Star Wars’ has already seen it.) Btw, kudos to the internet for keeping the spoilers to themselves with this movie. Every review I read when it first released to theaters did not give out the major plot points. I’m sure spoilers were out there, but they had to be hunted for and searched out, the mainstream media and most reviewers did not spoil it. I’m proud of you, internet!

For the kids that are going to see it, do them a favor and make them sit and really watch ALL the previous SW movies. I don’t think it would be as good without having seen the originals and the prequels. (I don’t care if you didn’t like the prequels, make them watch them anyway. Nobody likes to eat their vegetables, but they’re important so suck it up, buttercup.) This story is one of the most transcendent and epic of our time. Watch it all from the beginning.

I’m of the age where I got to watch the originals as a kid, the prequels as a young adult, and now I get to share the sequels with my own kids as a middle-ager. We’re the oldest that have really grown up with this series, playing with the same characters as toys as a kid that we get to buy for our own kids. I love it. I damn near cried when the opening bars played, and I don’t cry at movies.

Episode VII felt like a Star Wars movie. So much more so than any of the prequels. I won’t bash the prequels (like many like to) but they just didn’t have the same “feel”. Abrams captured it. I hate what Abrams did to Star Trek, but I think he nailed Star Wars. Very well. I think he did a good job of incorporating the old characters, while introducing the new with just enough nostalgia to be awesome but not so much that it was overdone and sappy. Like I said, we do lose a much beloved character… but I think I’ve come to terms with it, and I suppose it’s better to go out on the writer/directors’ terms than have the actor die or something and have to come up with some excuse as to why he died off-scene or (god forbid) have someone else try to play him.

The introduction of the new “bad guy”, Kylo Ren (son of Han and Leia), felt kind of weird with the mask he had. Vader had the mask and suit because of Anakin’s injuries sustained on Mustafar. He needs that suit and mask as a “portable iron lung”, of sorts, to be able to breathe. Kylo doesn’t need such a getup. So why wear it? To be a bad guy? To impress the girls? It seems a bit weird. And kinda pathetic. I think Disney meant for Kylo to become a ‘favorite’ character, but it seems he’s pretty much been panned as an emo wussy boy. I wasn’t smitten with his character. Tons of Kylo Ren merchandise out there in the stores though… do you have any idea how hard it was to buy a Rey doll?! (Finally found one at Fry’s Electronics, thanks Fry’s!) Maybe the later movies will make me care more.

We’re all set up for the next movie to see what happens with the re-introduction of Skywalker and the mystery of who is Rey, who are her parents and why was she abandoned on Jakku. In that way it felt a bit prequel-ish, in that it left obvious open story lines… but we all know there’s going to be more SW movies.

So, we meet some new characters, we see some old friends, have some adventures, a bit of nostalgia and a lot of action. What’s not to love. Now I’m all excited about getting the blu-ray in just over a month! Can’t wait to see it again!

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