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Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Movies | 1 comment

‘STAR WAR: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ FILM REVIEW (NO SPOILERS)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Film Review)
Cinema of Change at its Best
by Robert Rippberger

There is no other film that has made more of an indelible mark on history and pop culture than Star Wars. In its most recent installment, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ the franchise succeeds stronger than ever in captivating now a third generation of moviegoers.

Captained by J. J. Abrams, the director responsible for rebooting the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise and ‘Star Trek’ franchise, the film does not disappoint the biggest of fans or first time viewers. Somehow Abrams managed to keep the integrity and to pay tribute to not only the first ‘Star Wars’ films, but the films of Kurosawa and David Lean that inspired the originals.

Landscape and shots, an homage to David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

Landscape and shots, an homage to David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

A frame reminiscent of the films of Akira Kurosawa, a major influence on George Lucas when making the original ‘Star Wars.’

A frame reminiscent of the films of Akira Kurosawa, a major influence on George Lucas when making the original ‘Star Wars.’

However, what is most commendable about the film is how progressive the storytelling is. I call it Cinema of Change at its best.

All of the ‘Star Wars’ films bottle Eastern philosophy, speak to the potential of good and evil within us all, and crystallize a path to not falling to the dark side. But Abrams takes things one step further in not only telling a story that champions good, but inverting racial and gender archetypes in major hollywood blockbusters.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ stars Rey and Finn.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ stars Rey and Finn.

Rey, played by Daisy Ridler, is the main character in the film and Finn, played by John Boyega, is supporting. While it has become more common to have female and black leads, in a passing era of primarily male white actors, the representation of each of them is quite progressive.

Rey, for example, is never portrayed as the damsel in distress. She is a strong, capable, and ingenious woman. In fact, it becomes a recurring joke as Finn continuously tries to help and save her, but Rey is always one step ahead of him and there to help Finn when he falls short.

Finn having his masculinity shaken as Rey is always one step ahead of him.

Finn having his masculinity shaken as Rey is always one step ahead of him.


While watching, I could not help but think if I had a daughter, I would want her very much to see this film. While crafting ‘Indiana Jones,’ George Lucas said he wanted to make a film with a hero young boys could look up to, to be inspired to seek adventure and science. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ embraces the fact that no matter where we come from (Finn is a runaway Stormtrooper), or who we are (male, female, trans, black, white, or in-between), we are all capable of greatness. We must only follow the force that connect us…

Robert Rippberger has studied under directing teacher Judith Weston, at UCLA Film School, and he received a B.A. in philosophy from UC, Berkeley where he was awarded the Eisner Prize. It is the ‘highest award for creativity given on the UC, Berkeley campus.’ Robert was the 2012 recipient of the Dan Eldon Activist Award. He writes periodically for the Huffington Post, published a novel in 2014 called “Escape To Anywhere Else,” with a foreword by Mariel Hemingway, and co-founded and is acting editor-in-chief of the magazine and podcast, Cinema of Change. This article is cross-posted from Cinema of Change.

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  • JSpencer

    Nice review Robert – and thanks. Looking forward to seeing it soon…

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