Star Wars: The Force Awakens review

Just go watch the movie. Nothing anyone says was going to change your mind anyway.

5 stars, three ewoks, and a red lightsaber with a cross-guard out of a George Lucas.

What do you mean I can’t submit a three-sentence review? Barry Ronge does it for the Sunday Times all the time!

No, I guess I’m not Barry Ronge. Back to the keyboard I go.

Fans awaken

Reviewing a Star Wars film without spoiling anything is trickier than I thought it would be.

(This is a self-imposed requirement. Disney only asked journalists not to spoil things which obviously shouldn’t be spoiled.)

To not spoil anything, I can’t even confirm or deny whether the movie begins with the iconic Star Wars opening crawl, since JJ Abrams could very well have decided to mix things up this time.

And I can’t tell you whether The Force Awakens repeats the same pattern of an epic mythological saga, as was seen in the previous two Star Wars trilogies.

Certainly, I won’t be referring to any of the actors by name. If someone hasn’t seen the trailers, even mentioning the appearances of an old name could spoil something for them.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

However, I can say that performances across the board were solid, the action sequences were excellent (and frequent), and the special effects mesmerizing.

Though this is only the opening chapter of the new trilogy, the plot already took a few twists and turns.

Without saying too much, even Star Wars fans who are familiar with the Expanded Universe are in for a few surprises.

There were a few weird plot decisions, and one hopes the sequels give a decent explanation for apparent inconsistencies that shouldn’t be hand-waved away.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens contains a lot of fan service, which elicited much cheering during the South African premiere.

A consequence of this is that the film may not be that friendly to newcomers. If you haven’t seen the original trilogy (episodes 4 to 6), there are a number of references you probably won’t understand.

That doesn’t mean the film won’t entertain you. For both newcomers and Star Wars veterans, The Force Awakens is sure to entertain.

However, the best movies, especially those part of an epic, make me want to go right back to the box office and buy another ticket to rewatch it immediately.

The Force Awakens was not one of those movies, but it did leave me wanting more.

A humble plea from the author: Please keep the comments and forum thread free of spoilers. Thanks!

Review disclosure: Telkom provided tickets to last night’s South African premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens review