Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

December 26, 2015

In some ways, I’ve waited my entire life for Star Wars The Force Awakens.  Let’s face it, most of us can agree that the prequels were utter  failures for too many reasons to count. For me, this was this case  because of the way the films developed. Instead of leaning on the  characters to suggest relationships, histories, and backgrounds they  were all bagged up with a nice bow, explained for the masses to cover  the extensive backgrounds. The Force Awakens  finds itself on the complete and utter far side of the prequels in a  movie debate. From the very beginning without being out right told we  get to watch characters develop properly and unfold into our laps as a  feast for the eyes. The shear lack of exposition is a breath of fresh  air and brings these movies back to the heart of what they once were.  Despite the array of new cast, there is no trouble following who is  tapped into the force for good or the dark side. A wonderful and  surprising (as I didn’t read a single spoiler before watching the film)  charicter was First Order Stormtrooper FN-2187 a.k.a. Finn (John Boyega)  who rebels against the First Order to become his own person. There was  also Rey (Daisy Ridley) a desert planet Jakku scavenger, who I think we  all suspect has a much larger role to play in the grand scheme of  things. We can’t forget BB-8 who I fell head over heals with. There is a  beautiful scene where Rey is ridding a speeder across the vast  landscape of decaying ships from the past. There are also some  favorites, we see Carrie Fisher as Leia and of course Chewie and Han  Solo (Harrison Ford) are back in action as well. Now  let me attempt to side step my soapbox for a moment while I talk about  the women in this film. While I don’t always agree that Bechdel Test is  the best form of measurement when it comes to the integrity of gender  portrayal, but it is something that is a consistently used method for  film criticisms. That being said… The Force Awakens  passes the test where the most basic requirement is for two women to talk to each other about something other then a guy. Rey,  is this epic story’s heroine. I found myself pleasantly surprised when  Rey was in a fight with multiple male baddies trying to save BB-8 from  being taken. During this scene Finn starts to come to Rey’s rescue only  before he gets there he realizes that she doesn’t need saving at all.  Throughout the whole film Rey finds herself saving Finn. Never once is  Rey sexualised instead her character is strong, intelligent, independent  and able to save herself. The other  strong female is General Leia. This might be a rather clear attempt at  correcting the image of helpless slave bikini Leia from movies past.  Now, General Leia of the Resistance, she is independent, strong, and not  afraid to live her own kick ass life as she’s  even split from Han  Solo.  Maz (Lupito N'yongo) is an older,  wise woman, revered above many and very Yoda-esk. She was fantastic and  again not just there to chat about boys. While  I know there were others, the only other female to stand out to me was a  Chief Stormtrooper (Gwendoline Christie). I don’t recall in the past  ever seeing a Stormtooper clearly labeled as a girl. There is no  defining female body armor, which I appreciate, it’s armor after all and  doesn’t need to be sexual. In my personal opinion, I feel like for the first time the fandom spoke and the creators listened. The Force Awakens brings  back to screen the same magic that the original trilogy had, contains  strong females characters that weren’t simply sexual objects, and  developed in such a way that when you leave the theatre you’re begging  for more. I’ve been a Star Wars girl since I was five years old. It means the world to me that Episode VII was created so beautifully.
In some ways, I’ve waited my entire life for Star Wars The Force Awakens. Let’s face it, most of us can agree that the prequels were utter failures for too many reasons to count. For me, this was this case because of the way the films developed. Instead of leaning on the characters to suggest relationships, histories, and backgrounds they were all bagged up with a nice bow, explained for the masses to cover the extensive backgrounds.
The Force Awakens finds itself on the complete and utter far side of the prequels in a movie debate. From the very beginning without being out right told we get to watch characters develop properly and unfold into our laps as a feast for the eyes. The shear lack of exposition is a breath of fresh air and brings these movies back to the heart of what they once were. Despite the array of new cast, there is no trouble following who is tapped into the force for good or the dark side. A wonderful and surprising (as I didn’t read a single spoiler before watching the film) character was First Order Stormtrooper FN-2187 a.k.a. Finn (John Boyega) who rebels against the First Order to become his own person. There was also Rey (Daisy Ridley) a desert planet Jakku scavenger, who I think we all suspect has a much larger role to play in the grand scheme of things. We can’t forget BB-8 a droid who I fell head over heals with. There is a beautiful scene where Rey is ridding a speeder across the vast landscape of decaying ships from the past. There are also some favorites, we see Carrie Fisher as Leia and of course Chewie and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) are back in action as well.

Now let me attempt to side step my soapbox for a moment while I talk about the women in this film. While I don’t always agree that Bechdel Test is the best form of measurement when it comes to the integrity of gender portrayal, but it is something that is a consistently used method for film criticisms. That being said… The Force Awakens  passes the test where the most basic requirement is for two women to talk to each other about something other then a guy.

Rey, is this epic story’s heroine. I found myself pleasantly surprised when Rey was in a fight with multiple male baddies trying to save BB-8 from being taken. During this scene Finn starts to come to Rey’s rescue only before he gets there he realizes that she doesn’t need saving at all. Throughout the whole film Rey finds herself saving Finn. Never once is Rey sexualised instead her character is strong, intelligent, independent and able to save herself.

The other strong female is General Leia. This might be a rather clear attempt at correcting the image of helpless slave bikini Leia from movies past. Now, General Leia of the Resistance, she is independent, strong, and not afraid to live her own kick ass life as she’s  even split from Han Solo.

Maz (Lupito N’yongo) is an older, wise woman, revered above many and very Yoda-esk. She was fantastic and again not just there to chat about boys.

While I know there were others, the only other female to stand out to me was a Chief Stormtrooper (Gwendoline Christie). I don’t recall in the past ever seeing a Stormtooper clearly labeled as a girl. There is no defining female body armor, which I appreciate, it’s armor after all and doesn’t need to be sexual.

In my personal opinion, I feel like for the first time the fandom spoke and the creators listened. The Force Awakens brings back to screen the same magic that the original trilogy had, contains strong females characters that weren’t simply sexual objects, and developed in such a way that when you leave the theatre you’re begging for more.

I’ve been a Star Wars girl since I was five years old. It means the world to me that Episode VII was created so beautifully.

P.S.

I never even mentioned how wonderful Adam Driver was in this film! I love him in Girls as well as a few other small rolls he’s had. It was nice to see him here as Kylo Ren, the son of Liea and Han Solo.

The endless, and I truly mean endless number of cameos was fantastic: Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually and Maze Runner), Ewan McGregor, Mark Hamill, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Jessica Henwick, Bill Hader (as BB-8), Simon Pegg (as Unkar Plutt!), Greg Grunberg, Mark Stanley, Warwick Davis (who’s been in both Return of the Jedi & The Phantom Menace) Even Daniel Craig played a Stormtrooper!

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