After much waiting and anticipation, I saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (three times!) this weekend. TL;DR: it is very good.
It’s no secret that I love Star Wars. I was too young to have seen the original trilogy in the theaters, but I grew up with it on home video and I loved it. The consummate contemporary mythology of the epic struggle of good vs. evil, it called to me long before I could even understand much of what was happening on screen.
When I was in high school, the original trilogy was re-released in the theater, which was an amazing opportunity to see the movies in a way that I never had before. Funny story: my girlfriend at the time had never seen Star Wars, so I took her to see it in the theater. She didn’t like it. We broke up. (Not because of the Star Wars directly, but it was a clear litmus test that we weren’t a fit!)
The prequel trilogy came out while I was in college. I wanted to love it and for some time I convinced myself that I did, but eventually I came to realize that I did not – much as I did not love the additions in the “Special Edition” of the original trilogy. No matter, I still loved the greater Star Wars universe – so much so that I even gave a TEDx talk about it!
With all that in mind, you can imagine the mixed emotions I had leading up to Episode VII. I really, really, really wanted it to be good, but I had been burned by that before with the prequels. Accordingly, I tried to set my expectations low but, as much hype as there was leading up to the movie’s release, that proved impossible.
Opening day I took the day off from work and attended a Star Wars marathon at the theater: 24 hours of episodes I-VI. I actually skipped episodes I-III and got some sleep instead! 🙂 It was fantastic to see episodes IV-VI in the theater, though – for only the second time in my life. They were the Special Editions, but I just turned away during the objectionable parts. 🙂
Finally Thursday evening the big moment arrived. My primary hope was that Episode VII simply wouldn’t suck. If I dared to dream, though, I hoped it would be amazing. Long story short: it most definitely did not suck! It was very good, maybe even amazing – but I’m not sure about that yet, still processing.
The new characters were well developed, the acting and direction was excellent, the old characters provided good fan service, and the cinematography/action/special effects were all breathtaking. I have some beefs with the plot, but overall I was very satisfied. I’ll post a separate spoilery review, but the take away is that I thought it was so good that I saw it again Friday night . . . and then again Saturday night. It became better each time.
The Force is strong with this sequel.