When I heard a young, inexperienced unknown was going to be playing the new lead, I was skeptical. It had worked in the OT, but didn’t fly as well in the PT. Would she have the acting chops? Boy, was I relieved in the theatre last December. Daisy Ridley does a great job as the new hero. She’s vulnerable, likeable and heroic all at the same time. Some fans think she is a bit TOO good at things at times, but so was Luke in A New Hope (for example, blowing up the Death Star with one shot). Plus, she’s a great role model for young girls and hopefully will bring more of the opposite sex than we have had before into Star Wars fandom. I think Daisy will continue to grow as an actress as these movies progress and we will see great stuff from her in Episode 8. Go Daisy!
2. KYLO REN
OK, this one is controversial. Many fans didn’t like the “emo Darth Vader wannabe.” I did. He worked for me. He was a badass and becomes even more badass when you nerd out and look into the film’s easter eggs (Remember the table of ashes in his interrogation room? Yeah, those are the ashes of his enemies, according to J.J. Abrams). He walks around with a commanding aura the entire film and his subordinates are arguably more afraid of him than the imperial officers were of Darth Vader. Then he takes off his helmet. What’s this? He’s just a young dorky- looking kid? To me, this was a powerful moment and a symbolic one because you never know what is truly going on internally with someone. It perfectly objectified the struggle between the light and dark sides within him. This was exactly how I wished Anakin was portrayed in the PT. This dichotomy and struggle is definitely going to be expanded in Episode 8, according to Adam Driver, and I cannot wait.
3. HAN SOLO
Harrison Ford falls right back into the role like he never missed a beat. You laugh, you cry, you cheer. It was arguably better than his Return of the Jedi appearance where he seems a little bored. Well done, sir and thank you for taking Star Wars seriously again. Let’s cross our fingers for some flashbacks of our old buddy in the next film.
4. SPECIAL EFFECTS AND RETRO/NOSTALGIA DESIGN
The effects and design were all accurate to the original trilogy and the use of practical effects really stood out. It looked like Star Wars and made me feel like I was watching the OT again – sometimes to a fault. They made it clear that this is what they were going for and they nailed it! There was literally not one shot in the film where I thought something looked fake. Well done, ILM. I know you always bring the heat and people take it for granted, but I sure do not!
5. THE MUSIC IN THE FINAL SCENE
This one is slightly mixed as I felt the film’s score was average for John Williams (although that means it’s still excellent for anyone else). While most of the score underwhelmed me, the final orchestral piece when Rey is climbing the steps and meeting Luke is epic. Like could-be-my-favourite-piece-of-Star Wars-music epic. Seriously, do yourself a flavor and just watch that scene one more time and tell me it isn’t the most powerful ending shot of any of the films. Go ahead!
Well, there you have it. These are my loves and gripes with The Force Awakens and how they relate to what I hope for in The Last Jedi. Overall, I think the film set the stage for more great things to come ahead. Personally, I cannot wait until December 15.
What do the rest of you fans think? Am I too critical? Too gushy? Which points do you agree/disagree with? Let me know in the comments below, and MTFBWY.
Written by RJ “the dentist” Davis, Randall Davis DMD, FICO