REEL BRIEF’s “Film of the Year”

There are very few movies this year that I’ve wanted to immediately make a 180-degree turn and go back inside the theater to see again. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is one of them. – Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Chewbacca and Han Solo in a still from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilms

Some movie reviewers will shy away from selecting “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as a Top 10 entry for 2015.  Larger numbers of voters will be even more reluctant to pull the trigger and name this 7th installation of the sci-fi classic as its “Movie of the Year”. Why?  Pressure.  Excuses of a “simplistic plot” that’s been “seen before” (38 years ago!) will get thrown around to explain a columnist’s safer movie choice.  But playing things safe, or making the easy call, is not doing the right thing or giving credit to others when credit is due.

Success can be tied to taking risks, being open-minded and listening to your internal Spidey senses (such as a person’s inside voice, feeling or hunch).  Think back to how you felt before, during and after seeing “The Force Awakens”.

☆☆

“The Force Awakens” made “Star Wars” cool once again.  There, I said it.  That’s the bottom line.

The reason kids and adults are flocking to see this film is because it’s fun, exciting and a great time. There are very few movies this year that I’ve wanted to immediately make a 180-degree turn and go back inside the theater to see again.  “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is one of them.

No director in the last 10 to 15 years has had more pressure placed upon his visionary shoulders than J.J. Abrams. In a time of re-boots and films based upon true stories or best-sellers, movies have found it difficult (to say the least) meeting growing expectations of movie-goers from sequels and prequels. Make the re-boot about one of the most successful and iconic movies in film history, and the pressure on Abrams was elevated by tenfold. And we’re not talking about just loyal fans…like from the Marvel collection. We’re talking about the most rabid fan followers in the galaxy–and Abrams has now very successfully satisfied the appetites of two massive fan bases–“Star Trek” and “Star Wars”.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be the largest grossing film of all-time (sorry “Avatar” fans). It is the biggest film opening not only of 2015, but in recent memory–shattering “Jurassic World” and its impressive summer numbers. “Harry Potter”? Destroyed. “Titanic”?  Sunk, again.  After its first 10 days, it broke the record for the best first and second weekends at the box office.

This exciting, funny and action-packed movie can be enjoyed by audience members of various ages–young to old–both appreciating either an intro to the sci-fi classic or rekindling that feeling from the original in 1977.

Overwhelmingly, movie-goers have approved of “The Force Awakens”. In fact, many are going back again and again to watch this saga “for the record books” unfold for a second, third or fourth viewing.

As the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, “The Force Awakens” perfectly blends a new dynamic and energetic cast with the original’s legendary stars. With three generations of Star Wars lineage covered in this movie, Abrams masterfully juggles the exciting new actors in with the older characters and droids—all of them vital to the exhilarating story. Make no mistake…there are no token cameo appearances by these Galactic veterans…from Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker to General Leia. Each and every one play a significant role in the immediate action or to the overall narrative.

Likewise, Abrams takes deliberate care to mold the new franchise faces into compelling, and funny, action-driven space warriors…a feat that most re-boots or sequels can never handle gracefully…let alone master.

Non-stop adventure permeates throughout this galactic hit. “The Force Awakens” operates at one action speed–and one speed only–full-throttle!  With the best composer in the business (John Williams), fans not only see and hear the Force, but can feel it reverberate throughout the theater.

This film’s overwhelming success is due to Abrams’ willingness to take risks and yet remain faithful to the Star Wars’ product DNA. By not playing it safe, moviegoers are never sure which direction events or characters will break in the end.  The same should be expected from film critics and awards voters.

The Force is back…big time! And stronger than ever! And if you don’t believe me, check out the box office numbers.

☆☆☆

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office".   - Judy O.

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