Film review: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

In fact, in numerous respects, this latest episode was clearly made with the Star Wars fan in mind. Unlike the unmitigated disaster that was most of the “prequel trilogy” (episodes I through III, released 1999–2005 under the direction of series creator George Lucas), Episode VII is cut from the same cloth as the original trilogy, and not just because it uses wipes to transition between scenes. The events may be set decades into the future, and our friends have become old, but this is still the same galaxy, and even the narrative took its blueprint from the first film, released in 1977 as Star Wars and subsequently titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

In the run-up to the release of this film, which may be the most anticipated film since Lucas’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in the summer of 1999, the trailers were dissected for information about the plot in an effort to construct the story sight unseen. The game is fun to play, but the final product has quite a few surprises up its sleeve, even though its logic adheres stringently to that of the rest of the series.

Despite pre-release rumors to the contrary and its mid-December release date, this film is highly unlikely to be in contention for any major Academy Awards come 2016. It is better than at least three (some might even say all four) of the episodes that Lucas directed, and it is a very robust work of entertainment, but newcomers might be a little nonplussed at all the fuss. It remains to be seen how the two subsequent episodes, directed by Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow and scheduled for release in 2017 and 2019, will develop the setup that culminates here in an unforgettable cliffhanger.

To read the full review, visit The Prague Post. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens goes on wide release in Bulgaria on December 18.

(Still of John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. © 2015 – Lucasfilm)