Andrew Baron-Vartian


Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens returns us back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Familiarity, is the key word here, it both services and disservices the film at the same time. Helmed by J.J. Abrams The Force Awakens is the first entry in the Star Wars film universe since 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Bringing back old characters with a bunch of new faces, I was very excited upon sitting in my seat opening night. Walking away, I was in complete Star Wars bliss, (please note: my bar for this film was “be significantly better than the prequels”). The cinematography is amazing, we have never seen Star Wars look so incredible. All the performances (except Carrie Fisher’s) were spot on, there was a sense of excitement brewing around these characters while watching all these actors play off each other. The sound mix, the score and the effects are truly outstanding, when we see our first dogfight it genuinely feels like an X-Wing fighter is right in front of you, rip-roaring through the sky.

That being said, I do have a few issues with this film. First off, many of the characters are stagnant, they really don’t arc, and it’s unfortunate that we are left wanting more substance. And while J.J. does a plenty of great things within this film, he tends to let the story/plot slip and slide around these mystery boxes for which we never get any answers. However, the biggest feat J.J. was able to nail down was the tone, “old with new”. It’s a tricky balancing act to do, just ask George Lucas how the prequel trilogy went. All in all, I had a truly wonderful time revisiting my childhood, it was a blast to be reintroduced to this world with its new and old faces. You can rest easily knowing The Force Awakens is drastically better than the prequels and, in my book, slightly bests Return of the Jedi.

Writing: 5/10
Direction: 7/10
Cinematography: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Editing: 8/10
Sound: 10/10
Score/Soundtrack: 9/10
Production Design: 8/10
Casting: 8/10
Effects: 10/10

Overall Score: 8.2/10

Ranking Order:
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 9.7/10
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – 9.3/10
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – 9.0/10
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 8.2/10
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – 8.2/10
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 7.8/10
Solo: A Star Wars Story – 7.4/10
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – 4.5/10
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – 4.4/10
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – 3.2/10