All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is ©2015 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The most anticipated film of the last 10 years if not this century. (Sorry, Jurassic, Trek, Potter, Avengers, Twilight and Mr. Gray! Let’s be honest here). Episode VII picks up 40 years after Return Of The Jedi (technically 30 after the defeat of the Empire) with some things changed and some things the same. The Empire and its Sith Lord have been replaced by the First Order and a Ren, a droid gets a secret, a Stormtrooper has a change of heart, a scavenger waits, a scoundrel returns, and all help a sibling search. More or less.
Screenplay by Lawrence (“Empire/ROTJ”) Kasdan & J.J. “Star Trek” Abrams and Michael Arndt from characters by George “American Graffiti” Lucas. Directed by J.J. “because one major sci-fi franchise is not enough” Abrams.
- Where do I start? Visuals are awesome, but how could they not be? Ships, planets, creatures, weapons…you name it, they did it well. Characters are cool, fun, serious, hilarious, vile, sad, silly, beautiful, hideous, scary, heroic, and so on. Everything you’d expect in the SW universe. (Note the new “satellite dish” on the Millennium Falcon.)
- Tons of action! Wanted to see it in DFX so I had to see it in 3D and it didn’t disappoint. Granted, not a ton of the effect like in Avatar or anything, but it reminded you at several points that it was there, and cool. Several iconic shots to match the original trilogy. Even reprised the Imperial Destroyer flying overhead, but made it even more massive. Another shot blocked out a moon.
- The creatures! Plenty of old-school makeup/animatronics and non-computer effects mixed in with the digital stuff to appease both “classic” fans and kids raised on CG. Even a bar scene. Loved the BB-8 droid…I see a cartoon show coming!
- Top-notch on the acting. Of course Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are their usual awesomeness, as are Chewie and all the droids, but props to the new younger generation too. Daisy Riddley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and especially John Boyega as Finn (he was great). Special treat was the too-short cameo by Max von Sydow at the beginning.
- All the elements that made the original trilogy awesome, especially A New Hope and Return Of The Jedi.
- None of the lovey-dovey romance crap from the “Anakin in love” prequels. Well, there’s a reunion of loved ones, but no one actually says, “I love you.” Parent-child stuff, friend-buddy-pal stuff, but nothing sappy. It all made sense with the situations. (Though I was surprised not to hear “I love you” from a certain couple.)
- Really pulled you in and rarely let go. Some dizzying twists and turns and other camera moves, zoom ins, matte paintings, all kinds of stuff.
- Plot made sense; not really any gaping holes (from what I could remember). Backstory and exposition as needed, but you may have to pay attention because some of it is shouted during action scenes.
- Old friends/faces return, although the screen time is hardly equal. (See below.) Some aged better than others, but come on, it’s 30-40 years later, so what do you expect? No slave Leia outfits (thank goodness) or actors made up to look like kids. Again, makes sense.
- Plenty left for the next film.
- With so many cool characters returning, they can’t get equal time. But it’s pretty blatant. Be prepared for a lot of somebody and next-to-nothing of someone else. (Can you say, “sequel”?)
- Some bad spoilers. That’s all I’ll say. Again, you probably expect something bad will happen, but you hope for different. I’m a romantic.
- No hot slave chicks or bar dancers like in ROTJ.
- The First Order Hitler speech. Yikes!
- Some fans, and especially the critic types, will no doubt snark and gripe about the plot similarities to Episodes IV and/or VI. But think of it as almost a remake rather than something completely new—remember they tried that with Episodes I-III, and how well did that go? What matters is that it’s entertaining.
- Kylo Ren is basically Darth Vader Lite. You can’t wear all black, a cloak, a face mask and a modified German WW II helmet without being compared to the Sith Lord. While this dude has all of his predator’s…err, professor’s… (MIKE: he means “predecessor’s”) power, and a cool modified deep voice, he doesn’t have the original’s statue of gravity…um, gravy? (MIKE: he means “stature or gravitas”). Umm, yeah. Plus, the mask looks like a cross between the grille of a 1970 Plymouth GTX, a gas mask and a tapir.
- Some pretty violent and grim scenes. No real gore, though. But no punches pulled; the First Order is definitely nasty!
- Not technically a cliff-hanger ending, but not as much of an ending as say, A New Hope was. They could have ended it earlier and had one like that, but they kind of have to add a bit more to set up the next one. (Which can’t come fast enough fer me.)
- Because of that setup, there’s no button after the credits.
BUY IT! SEE IT NOW!
Not like my review matters one butt hair, right? You were going to see it anyway. I didn’t want to get my hopes up but I couldn’t help being excited, especially since I watched the Original Trilogy the week before going. (Now Pascale won’t let me over his house again for several months, though. Hopefully he tells his wife I’m sorry for the stains.) This is everything a sequel/jump-start should be, and feels much more like part of the original story than the three prequel movies did. I gotta give it to ‘em; despite the rehashes, it lived up to the hype. I wanna see it again and get a Force Awakens drink cup!
P.S.: Want a cool new STAR WARS piece of original art? You MISSED IT! Christmas, yes, but NOT the end of the year! LAST CHANCE to get your original art request for a nice new Pascale piece of art BEFORE THE PRICES GO UP NEXT MONTH. Mention this review and get FREE SHIPPING. Just tell Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, George Lucas, Jedi Knights, Sith Lords, droids, Stormtroopers, holographic emperors or residents of Tatooine. Hard to believe that Pascale and Lawrence Kasdan once worked at the same Detroit ad agency, but not at the same time, or else I’d be in the new Star Wars flick! (I’d make a great bar owner/droid dealer/pimp. Or maybe a bounty hunter: BruBru Hett!