Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Parent Review

Yes, it's very good. Artistic priorities do not get in the way of delivering the sentimental moments that fans want.

Overall B+

A long, long time ago (about 1977), in a galaxy far away (actually Hollywood), the Star Wars Franchise was born. Now a new chapter introduces a resistance fighter (Oscar Isaac), a Storm Trooper defector (John Boyega), a young scavenger (Daisy Ridley), and a Darth Vader inspired villain (Adam Driver).

Violence C-
Sexual Content A
Profanity B+
Substance Use A-

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

Movie Review

Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens is set on course to break box office records. But does it really deserve the buzz it’s receiving? Before I respond to that question, take a look the crew piloting this film. There’s J.J. Abrams, a man that may very well be the most bankable director the film industry has ever seen. He’s resurrected Mission Impossible and Star Trek to great acclaim, and now he’s been handed the next episode of one of the most recognizable brands in Hollywood. Abrams, who not only directs this film but also has a producer credit, has placed legacy Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan on his right hand and Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt on his left. (If I dare say, George Lucas might benefited from having this trio by his side during Star Wars Episodes I, II and III). It’s a great deal of power and shows a lot of of trust from the franchise’s new owner, Disney.

The director wastes no time setting the scene. Over the past decades the First Order has replaced the fallen Galactic Empire. While the name has changed, the song remains the same. Legions of Nazi-like Storm Troopers wait in formation for commands from their leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Wearing a mask indicative of having trained at the Darth Vader School of Galactic Troublemakers, Ren takes his orders from Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis)—a deity that only appears as an enlarged hologram. The mission these warlords are pursuing is to find the last remaining Jedi, and yes, their most-wanted man is none other than Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

The winding plot introduces us to resistance fighter Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Storm Trooper defector Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young woman who makes a living scavenging space junk on the desert planet Jakku. We also meet BB-8, a rolling droid that will be destined to become this generation’s R2-D2. Yet the main enjoyment of this film are the many surprises that are unveiled along its path, and keeping these under wraps necessitates a brief plot summary.

Parents should expect violent confrontations, with brief blood effects, similar to what was presented in Star Wars Episode III—Revenge of the Sith. Characters are sliced and diced with light sabers, countless others are shot with fantastical guns, and one individual is impaled with a light beam and sent to a harrowing death. Viewers should also be prepared to feel some emotional distress… and I’ll leave it at that. Bottom line: This is a movie that’s best suited for adults and teens.

Walking in the door after my screening, my kids and their friends had one question. “Is it good?” Yes, it’s very good. Being the first installment of the next trio (Episode VIII and Episode IX are scheduled for 2017 and 2019 respectively), this movie is as much about introductions as it is about story. However, Abrams is careful not to let his own artistic priorities get in the way of delivering those somewhat sentimental moments fans want to experience. Like long lost relatives showing up one-by-one at a family reunion, the director gives us a chance to have a warm embrace with each character prior to them getting back in the game. And if you were a teenager back in 1977 when A New Hope first came to movie screens, be warned! You’ll be feeling your age by the time you leave this new adventure.

Directed by J.J. Abrams . Starring Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill. Running time: 135 minutes. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens here.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Parents Guide

The Star Wars saga was created by George Lucas. He sold the franchise to Disney (as part of Lucasfilm), as announced in October 2012.

The new film Star Was Episode VII, which is slated to be the first of the next trilogy, has been assigned a creative team that will feature J.J. Abrams, who has also worked on the re-boot of the Star Trek franchise: Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness.

John Williams, composer of the soundtrack of the last six movies, will score this film as well.

The production will also reunite past cast members, including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Bakerset.

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