Dork Side Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens


First thing’s first – ZERO SPOILERS AHEAD.  Speaking on behalf of the FanSided Network and myself, it’s in no way my intention to divulge anything that may compromise your viewings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  And nor would I want to; remember that here on Dork Side we’re as much of a fan as you are, and I’d find it incredibly disrespectful to have the movie ruined by fellow nerds, so feel free to read my review with no fear of spoilers.

More from Dork Side of the Force

So, now onto the good stuff, in a galaxy far far away…

Hearing the music, seeing the titles and the crawl, it’s hard not to be instantly gratified.  That was enough for me!  I could’ve walked out happy having only just seen that, but then I’d be missing out on this new slice of sci-fi pie.  All the press junkets and new reviews will so far have you believe it’s a good movie, and I’m here to report to you that, above all else, they’re right!

Some very basic synopses can be found online, so it follows suit that I make mine as brief as possible without stirring the pot too much:  Droid on Jakku, Rey finds it, flies Falcon, meets Resistance.  How’s that for brief?!

There is a feeling of freshness with the style of the film.  Everything looks and feels new, with a sumptuous level of scenery and design in the various settings, and a galactic population that rivals the Mos Eisley Cantina.  All these little details seem meticulously pored over during production, and Abrams did state that was an element of the Original Trilogy, specifically Episode IV that he considered to be exciting and imaginative.  The whole crew have really thrown themselves into breathing life into the galaxy, no doubt from their own adoration for the Saga, and that is what makes this movie totally fresh and yet so familiar.

The old and new faces (watch out for some very familiar old faces!) push the story along enjoyably well.  The new characters are well written, with their own motives and feelings being explored with just enough steps forward so as to reveal a part of their character, yet still leaving us hungry to find out more about them in the future.  The script makes for some interesting plot points and revelatory admissions, and it manages to balance the classic Star Wars heavy dialogue with some genuine humour, mostly derived from our new favourite ball droid BB-8 and some adorably familiar banter between Han and Chewie.

Kylo Ren is an interesting new antagonist who doesn’t seem to mind using the Dark Side to get what he wants, and has a lot of redecorating ideas with his sketchy-looking Lightsaber.  Finn and Rey are fun to watch and easily likeable, and for me Poe Dameron could be a new favourite with his cool demeanour and bravery in his X-Wing.  The new CG characters Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke almost appear as the dominant Light and Dark Side presences, much like Master Yoda and Emperor Palpatine in the previous movies, and again they’re very multi-faceted in their intentions and future progressions.  There is so much more to be seen from all of these characters.

Pacing in the Original Trilogy was never an issue, and it follows suit that this movie still manages to captivate without losing track of itself.  The stunning action scenes are nicely balanced with plot-lines and dialogue, and the switching back and forth between the movements of the new heroes and the First Order harks back to the direction on Empire Strikes Back.  We never feel left out of the loop, and each new scene identifies the current progression of the movie and keeps it going without losing direction.

The sound and music provide some lovely interludes with John Williams’ score keeping us firmly rooted in the Star Wars galaxy, and there’s plenty of audio and visual Easter eggs that’ll make you chuckle out loud (keep your eyes and ears peeled!) but there seemed to be a lack of thematic presence in his scoring.  No real recurring motifs when certain characters appeared, only callbacks such as Leia’s Theme and the Force Theme; not that there’s anything wrong with those pieces, they’re glorious, but it would’ve been nice to hear something new.

Next: All the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reviews

It is a real treat, a wonderful move forward from the Original Trilogy and one that has offered so many avenues of exploration for Episodes VII and IX.  Exciting and cool-looking new characters, adorably cranky and still lovable classic characters, superb action scenes and a vast densely populated galaxy will make this an instantly enjoyable hit, and although I had my reservations about J.J. Abrams directing I now feel he did it with the best intentions at heart which helped him to create something entirely new for the Saga.  This is the new Star Wars film, and it’s good.  Trust me, it’s really really good!