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Just In: Capt. Sage's Review of the Film:
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

The latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise clearly carries on more of the spirit of the originals than the prequels. It’s full of excitement, adventure, and humor, and while it still has an epic feel, it still has human drama as well. Perhaps its main strength and weakness is that it hews so closely to the original movies, to the point that it almost feels like a retelling of the first Star Wars movie released, “A New Hope”. That said, the plot is well-executed, so one doesn’t mind “seeing it all over for the first time”, as it were.

The original cast members who appear do their job well and don’t feel forced or as though they’re superhuman. The new cast members also do a good job, providing interesting and often sympathetic performances. Although some dialogue felt odd, it may be helpful for viewers unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe, and most of the dialogue was excellent. Minor characters also tended to get good lines and identifying characteristics that enriched the film and fantasy world it was building, without being distracting.

Although the movie did have many excellent visual effects, they generally did not appear overdone or obvious. Instead, it generally did feel as though we were somewhere real, interacting with real aliens and people.

Overall, this is an excellent movie for those who are returning to the series, or who are coming to it fresh. It lays an excellent foundation for the movies which are planned to follow it.

SPOILERS

The main villain’s motivations and backstory was somewhat confused, as though a multitude of villain origin stories has been combined. Nevertheless, I did feel threatened by the villain, and in a way different from the threat Darth Vader conveyed. Where Darth Vader exhibited domination and relentlessness, Kylo Ren exhibits talent with lack of control and an unfeeling attitude towards others. I think that both kinds of fear and displays of problems in human nature are effective.