The reviews are out for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and the critics are raving. You can see a spoiler-free roundup and find out what happened this time around, that’s made this seventh movie in the legendary franchise such a wonder.
We’ve seen movies hyped up before. We’ve seen the devotion of fans before. We’ve seen disappointments and we’ve seen expectations exceeded. In the case of this seventh movie in the iconic ‘Star Wars’ franchise, and the very first one since George Lucas sold it to Disney, the expectations are beyond exceeded. Yes, and all for this much hoped for redemptive Episode VII with its extensive cast of both original trilogy veterans — Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher — and newcomers including Daisy Ridley and John Boyega (picture above) as well as Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver.
It’s not every day that a movie of any kind gets such rave reviews, let alone a big-budget blockbuster. We can safely say that as advanced ticket sales exceed $100 million, extraordinary in and of itself.
It’s also extraordinary that the movie itself has not leaked, and even the plot details are still a secret. Quite amazing in this day and age in which social media and the Internet. The extensive control has been quite a wonder in and of itself. Case in point, these reviews which were embargoed. Any publication with a movie critic had a review all ready and waiting for the appropriate time and at that time, we had the proverbial floodgates open.
And the reviews themselves have become part of the unfolding story. They’re so positive! Critics can be discerning, after all, and not always swayed by the pop cultural urgency or the hopes and dreams of fandom. But no, we have countless reviews that are full of superlatives, with very few exceptions.
Find out what the critics say. Yes, they are spoiler-free, but that said if you don’t want to know anything about Episode VII except that it’s “critically acclaimed” then stop right here! Otherwise, proceed!
“The big news about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is — spoiler alert — that it’s good! Despite the prerelease hype, it won’t save the world, not even Hollywood, but it seamlessly balances cozy favorites — Harrison Ford, ladies and gentlemen — and new kinetic wows along with some of the niceties that went missing as the series grew into a phenomenon, most crucially a scale and a sensibility that is rooted in the human. It has the usual toy-store-ready gizmos and critters, but it also has appealingly imperfect men and women whose blunders and victories, decency and goofiness remind you that a pop mythology like “Star Wars” needs more than old gods to sustain it.” — New York Times
“If the first Star Wars (1977) hadn’t already been rebranded A New Hope, that optimistic title might have applied just as well to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by any measure a rousing, even restorative seventh chapter in the immortal space-opera saga established and now relinquished by George Lucas… Marvelous as it is to catch up with Han Solo, Leia and the rest of the gang, fan service takes priority here over a somewhat thin, derivative story that, despite the presence of two appealing new stars, doesn’t exactly fire the imagination anew.” – Variety
“J.J. Abrams has taken George Lucas’ baby and reinvented it for true fans of the early films. [He and his team] captured the heart, soul, wit, adventure and wonder of what it is that makes Star Wars such a phenomenon in movie history… [Abrams] brought back what was great and merged it with compelling and likable new characters who can carry it forward.” — Deadline
“I’ll confess to crying three times during the film: once during Rey and Finn’s escape from Jakku, when I realised that Star Wars was in safe hands, again during one particular Kylo Ren scene which I’ve gone out of my way not to describe, and also during the climactic lightsaber duel, framed by frozen trees and illuminated by flares of red and blue electricity – which I suspect, on an initial watch, might be the most thrilling battle of its kind to date.” –The Telegraph
“Perhaps inevitably, this, the most hotly anticipated motion picture since “Gone With the Wind,” has an erratic, haphazard quality to it. Though a definite improvement on the last three abortive “Star Wars” prequels directed by series creator George Lucas, “The Force Awakens” is only at its best in fits and starts, its success dependent on who of its mix of franchise veterans and first-timers is on the screen..” L.A. Times
It’s a very good movie, I’d say, and should entertain audiences both deeply and casually invested in the ongoing saga of the Skywalker family. Made with a profound sense of passion and respect by an entire generation of filmmakers and performers who were influenced by the original films, this is a deeply affectionate film, and that affection, that honestly felt love, is what is going to make all the difference for viewers.” –HitFix
“J.J. Abrams has adopted the relatively cautious strategy of essentially remaking the original Star Wars, which allows him to delight fans by bringing back the original players while at the same time laying down the groundwork of the new good guys and bad guys that we’ll get to know over the course of the next several sequels… Abrams and company bring enough verve to the proceedings to create some wonderfully exciting moments alongside the reunions and the revelations. There are some slower bits, and an ending designed to leave you wanting more, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a tingle in my neck at the familiar opening of Williams’ score.” – The Wrap
“Snazzily directed by J.J. Abrams with vibrant effects and a busy plot that sets the whole franchise in motion all over again, The Force Awakens delivers on expectations with a fun, polished space odyssey that embraces the appeal of the originals. The hype is strong with this one, but brace yourself: The Force Awakens does have flaws. It’s a little hokey in parts and at times distractingly self-referential, but that itself speaks to the nature of the material.” – Indiewire
“”Not only expert homage for the fans but a first-rate, energised piece of mega-Hollywood adventure, the hugely anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens stirs more to life than just the Force. The rollicking, space-opera spirit of George Lucas’s original trilogy (you can safely forget the second trio of cynical, tricked-up prequels) emanates from every frame of JJ Abrams’s euphoric sequel. It’s also got an infusion of modern-day humour that sometimes steers the movie this close to self-parody – but never sarcastically, nor at the expense of a terrific time.” — Time Out
“The Force Awakens delivers exactly what you want it to: rollicking adventure wrapped in epic mythology, a perfect amount of fan service that fires your geekiest synapses, and a just-right cliffhanger ending that paves the way for future installments… When The Force Awakens ends, it feels bittersweet simply because you so badly want to get to the next chapter. So, yes, the wait is over. But now a new waiting game begins…” (B+) — Entertainment Weekly
“The Force is back. Big time. As the best Star Wars anything — film, TV show, video game, spinoff, what-have-you — in at least 32 years, Star Wars: The Force Awakens pumps new energy and life into a hallowed franchise in a way that both resurrects old pleasures and points in promising new directions… The franchise is indeed reawakened.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Yes, this is a blockbuster, for certain. In the days after it opens in the theaters we’ll all be marveling at the staggering numbers. It seems a sure bet that some cinematic history is about to be made, and it all started with a reboot of a familiar franchise that began nearly 40 years ago. You can see the official trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ below!
Pictures: PR Photos