I am a blog ambassador for Fandango Family. I have been compensated for this post and received free admission to this movie (and several others). My thoughts, words, and popcorn are all my own.
I have been waiting for Star Wars The Force Awakens to happen for some time. Truthfully, it is part of the reason why Jason and I created this blog. When tickets went on sale, I bought them the following morning on the Fandango Family app, and waited. And waited. And then the Force awoke, and I was not disappointed.
Originally, I had planned on taking my daughter (8) with me to see Star Wars The Force Awakens. However, she didn’t feel up to going and I had to give her ticket away. I had the opportunity to watch this movie with my “Movie Premiere Family” – a group of co-workers (including my blog partner in crime, Jason), and their kids, ranging in age from 16 to over 50. In total, there were 7 in our posse and it was amazing. Upon entering the theater, I saw kids as young as 4 or 5 in attendance.I never heard, or noticed, any disruption from those children as they where completely engaged with the movie once the first bars of the Star Wars theme hit the speakers.
UPDATE: I actually went to see Star Wars The Force Awakens a THIRD time – with my four year-old son. He had been saying for a few days that the new Star Wars movie was out and he wanted to see it. I didn’t think he would sit through the entire movie (it is over 2 hours in length), so we hit the early matinee (a 9:30 am start) in case he decided that he wanted to leave early. The other reason behind this was that I figured the theater would not be as full (it was not) and if he was a disruption it would be easy to extract him from the premises. Turns out a little popcorn and a reclining seat were all he needed. He stayed for the whole movie and enjoyed it so much that he talked about it once we got home. He loved BB8 and the lightsaber duels. It was a very proud moment for me.
Star Wars is my favorite movie, and my kids have seen all of the previous episodes – except Episode III. They know the characters and have at least a general idea of what is going on. Besides Star Wars, my kids have enjoyed Inside Out, Home, and Minions. My Movie Premiere Family enjoys the superhero/comic book genre. We usually make it out to all of the blockbusters.
A quick synopsis of Star Wars The Force Awakens – We find a galaxy 30 years after the fall of the second Death Star. Rising out of the ashes of the Empire is The First Order. As with any other Star Wars movie, you are thrust immediately into the action of the film which includes the shocking defection of a storm trooper which in turns kicks off a wild journey that introduces us to new heroes and villains while running into some familiar faces from the past. The film is equal parts nostalgia and reboot as a new generation of Star Wars fans inherits their version of this classic mythological saga.
As a parent, I enjoyed the fact that the film offered a link, a bond between my favorite story growing up, but also created a new tale to tell. While I like the fact that there are many moral implications in the movie, one of the great struggles of all the films is the fact that people aren’t simply good or bad – there are shades to both sides. Ultimately, it is the choices that you make that determine your character – not where you were born, or even the skills that you have. I also enjoyed that the action was not sensationalized – it had a purpose, but was not graphic. There is also a steady mix of humor to balance the mood. I also like that it doesn’t end in the theater. You leave with many questions and anticipation of the next film. I like that and think kids enjoy that as well.
Kids will love the characters, the scenery, the vehicles, and the magic of the action. They will also be able to pick up on most of the humor. Although there are many references that kids may not get (allusions to the old films) there are many more simple things that they will understand (physical comedy for example). It is not a hard plot for theme to understand, There are deeper elements for adults to example, but the story itself is easy enough for kids to grasp.
Parents should be aware that there is violence. For the most part it is not graphic. SPOILER ALERT:
There is one scene where a character is impaled by a lightsaber, but I think even that scene is tastefully done. There is another scene where blood is wiped on the helmet of another character, and another where it is strongly implied that a character is bleeding though we don’t see the actual wound, but I believe those are the most graphic of the whole movie.
In addition, there are a few intense scenes where characters are in distress, or in one case completely surprised. Depending on your kid’s temperament, there may be a few characters that they deem scary. There are a few dark scenes, and one dream sequence that I would characterize as more intense than any other scene.
I loved the movie. I actually went back and saw it a second time to make sure I wasn’t just missing Star Wars after 10 years.It was fun to see the familiar characters (like old friends), and the new characters are dynamic and engaging. This film has the feel of the original trilogy and the wide appeal for movie goers of any age and either gender. You can take a son or a daughter, a niece or a nephew, to this film and they can find a hero with whom they can identify. That’s a pretty rich experience.
There are many positive themes in this movie – the idea of doing what’s right, trusting your instincts, believing in yourself, giving others a second chance, being big enough to offer forgiveness, etc. I could probably write an entire post (or multiple ones) about all the positive themes that are embedded in this movie – which is to be expected with this genre.
I’m going to set the violence/scare factor at a 2. As I mentioned before, there evidence of blood in the movie though you never actually see the source of the blood. There is a short dream sequence that is kind of intense, and a couple other short scenes that are somewhat intense. And there is a villain that can be deemed as somewhat scary – though he is simply a hologram.
As far as the romance factor is concerned A few characters hug. I don’t remember any kissing. 1/5
I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t recall many bad words if any. I think there was a “He’s a helluva pilot.” and a “Damn” thrown in somewhere, but that would be the extent of it. 1/5
Bottom line? I saw this movie 3 times. I loved it. It is the perfect blend, in my opinion, of a retro remake and a bridge for the new generation of Star Wars fans – like my son. I highly recommend this one, and can’t wait for the next Star Wars movie to be released. Oh, and I was right….(don’t click on the following link unless you have seen the movie or don’t care about potential spoilers) from a certain point of view.
Be sure to also check out the Mom’s Minute Movie Review: