Star Wars: The Force Awakens
My (non-spoilery) opinion of the new Star Wars movie
The short version: I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to see it again (and again, and again...).
But, like every other Star Wars movie, it has issues...
Visually, the movie is perfect. It looks and feels like a modern Star Wars movie should: Gritty, real, with a solid combination of digital and practical effects that don't feel overproduced and cartoonish like the prequels did. Some of the scenes are absolutely incredible (The scene showing Poe in action made my inner child scream gleefully). If Lucas had done things right when he re-released the original trilogy - and done the prequels as well - those movies should have looked exactly like this movie. In fact, I think this movie looks like what the original trilogy could be if someone had simply done a remake of the originals.
Which brings me to what's bugging me...
The Force Awakens feels far too much like J.J.'s attempt at a remake, without actually doing a remake...which left me a little disappointed. The story wasn't bad, but it didn't feel original, either. Nor do I feel like it added anything to the Star Wars Universe - I give Lucas some credit that, despite the prequels being horrible on many levels, he was actually trying to add something to the universe from a story perspective. I didn't get any of that sense from this movie (in fact I feel like the Star Wars Universe shrunk a bit with this movie - without going any farther lest I spoil the movie, I had some issues with the universe in which this movie is living). I could also see the big plot point at the end of the movie coming from a mile away, it was that predictable. Or, maybe I've just been into Star Wars for so long that I couldn't help but see it. In either case I wasn't surprised by it at all, which bothered me.
I also feel like this movie doesn't stand completely on it's own: It seems that only after Episodes VIII and IX are released will we get a better picture of the story and be able to judge it appropriately which is kind of bothersome. The movie doesn't really end, as such, which left me kinda depressed (I guess that's what happens when you have the writer of The Empire Strikes Back involved...).
Mind you these are relatively minor gripes. This movie is still really good. Great effects. Great acting all around (from both old and new casts) and characters that I want to see more of. I can't wait to see where they takes this, which is exactly what a Star Wars movie should be doing: Leaving me wanting more.
At least J.J. got that part right...