Star Wars Returns! For The First Time In Over 20 Years!
By Ranny Levy – Founder/President of KidsFirst!
The wait is over! Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens this weekend and, the word is that you will NOT be disappointed! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “People have been waiting for a good Star Wars story ever since Episode VI came out 32 years ago. Fellow Star Wars fans, I am pleased to tell you, it has come.” The secrecy surrounding this release has been extraordinary. Even our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics who were scheduled to attend press screenings had to pledge to secrecy the time and location and weren’t allowed to even tell anyone they were going to it. You should know that the pace of this film is very fast and the action, quite intense. The original film’s iconic characters played by Harrison Ford, Mark Hammill and Carrie Fisher, are back, older and even more incredible than ever. But, the new team, played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, definitely strike out on their own and command attention. The film is long at 135 minutes but then, so were the first ones – Episode IV (121 minutes); Episode VI (131 min.); Episode I (136 min.). Nathaniel B. (KIDS FIRST! Film Critic) adds, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a wonderful film that many people will love. Today’s technology really makes the fantasy of Star Wars seem like reality.” See our youth reporters’ full reviews below.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
By Gerry O, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13
It is surprising that only 10 to 12 hours of films created the giant franchise we know as Star Wars. People have been waiting for a good Star Wars story ever since Episode 6 came out 32 years ago. Fellow Star Wars fans, I am pleased to tell you, it has come.
Everyone knows Star Wars is a sci-fi, action franchise, but this film is very unique for the fact that it goes much deeper. With Evil getting more and more powerful, there is drama and fighting between the characters, but that doesn’t stop romance from sneaking in with a little bit of comedy. Granted, I was worried it would turn into a kid’s comedy, but quite a few times I found my self thinking that not only are the jokes perfect, they are also not over used!
Alright, let’s get to the part everyone wants to read, the plot of the most hyped, but hidden film of the decade. The events start out 20 years after what took place in Episode 6, (spoiler alert for people who didn’t see episode 6). The Empire has fallen, yes, but a new Evil has risen, known as The First Order. The rebellion needs new Jedi now more than ever, but Luke (Mark Hamill) is missing and they need to find (wait for it) a new hope!
Is the film worth the wait? Ever since almost a year ago, people have been talking about new Star Wars episode, and it is SO worth it. Famous directors have taken on some great challenges before, including Spielberg finishing Kubrick’s AI. But J.J. Abrams took on something completely out of the ball field trying to continue Star Wars. The cinematography is spectacular, the ending shot (no spoiler) is one of the greatest endings I have ever seen in a film, and the whole story itself is unexpected and very enjoyable. Although there are many aspects that are not in the original Star Wars films, I think it is actually very nice to see Star Wars not get ruined, but go through its own evolving evolution.
As for the acting, of course, the original A-Team – Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and more – are phenomenal and I think it was the perfect idea to bring these characters back for the pure enjoyment of long standing fans. However, it is really Daisy Ridley who steals the show. Her character, Rey, is so fresh and unique, full of emotion, and this character (still no spoilers, sorry) goes through so much drama in the film. It must have been a very hard role to play. Daisy gives it 110%. I predict she will be win an Oscar nomination for this role.
The special effects obviously got better since the last Star Wars film in the early 2000s, and I still want to mention how breathtaking they are. Even for 2015, with all the CGI aliens, ships and spectacular space scenes, it is quite literally “eye candy.” My only criticism of the film is that it is a bit too long. However, not one single scene is out of place or feels unneeded.
One of my favorite scenes is when we are reunited with Hollywood’s favorite space ship. Rey and Finn (John Boyega) are trying to escape The First Order. They have two options for space flight, a “piece of junk” or another space ship. Well, the space ship gets blown up and it turns out the “piece of junk” is the millennium falcon! Of course, everyone cheers, claps and whistles in the audience once the camera shows the breathtaking ship. It is not only enjoyable, and a bit funny, but the camera technique is perfect. If you want to know the rest of the story, go get your tickets and watch the film!
This film is actually pretty mature. It isn’t as kind as episodes 1, 2 and 3. It has its violence, so I recommend it for ages ten to eighteen. And, adults who saw previous Star Wars films and appreciate them will enjoy this film as well. I give it five out of five stars, because, even if it is a little bit boring in the middle, (it is 2 hours and 10 minutes long) J.J. Abrams, the cast and crew achieved the impossible and created a new masterpiece that can be proudly added to the Star Wars franchise. I am also glad to say that, for the first time in over 20 years, Star Wars returns! You can see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters starting December 18th!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
By Nathanial B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a wonderful film that many people will love. Today’s technology really makes the fantasy of Star Wars seem like reality. The scenery is great from the beginning to the end. The forests are vast and really fit the movie wonderfully. The beautiful stars, planets and, even the spaceships, are amazingly real looking.
The storyline It tells what happens after peace was established in the galaxy at the end of Episode 6, but now it’s more than 30 years later and there is no longer peace.
The actors lured me into believing everything is really happening. Daisy Ridley as Rey shows emotion and strength. John Boyega portrays Finn as a man who starts out being afraid but must overcome his fears. And Adam Driver is excellent playing Kylo Ren, the new bad guy who tries to live up to the evil of Darth Vader and does many foolish things in the process. Each characters enliven the new story. Also, Star Wars fans of all ages will love reconnecting with characters from the original films.
The costumes are great and fit the characters in many ways. Rey’s costume, a rugged suit for the desert planet Jakku, shows that she is resourceful and can take care of herself. The unusual and cool costumes fit in well with the previous films in the series.
Many strange creatures add the element of being on other worlds. I really enjoyed seeing all the extra characters in each scene like pirates, gangs and a variety of aliens. A fun new sidekick is BB-8, a feisty round astromech droid that belongs to the rebellion.
The buildings look real and at the same time like they belong in Star Wars. The props, such as blasters and space ships, are also realistic. They are grungy and look like they have seen some use. The only things I didn’t like were the Stormtrooper’s blasters and armor which looked plastic and fake.
The special effects are wonderful from lightsabers to explosions and lasers from the guns. They are a huge part in the film and bring the movie to life.
I do love this film but some parts of it are not quite the way I expected. There are not many breaks from battles and there’s so much action that it feels intense and rushed.
This film is best for ages 7 to 18 because of the intensity of the action. I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. It will definitely awaken the Star Wars fan in everyone. Reviewed by Nathaniel B. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9