I was lucky enough to be invited by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Walt Disney Pictures to a press screening for Star Wars The Force Awakens in Austin, Tx on December 15th, 2015. This was definitely an interesting experience as it was my first press screening for a film ever. I of course was going to the screening to cover it for Jedi News, Fangirls Going Rogue, Disney Vault Talk Rebel Yell, Star Wars Bookworms and Fangirl Next Door, but I was also there as a fan. This made the screening all in all a very interesting event. Before I go any further there will be no spoilers in this review. I am simply going to be talking about my feelings and overall general reactions with as little reference to actual film events as possible. Look for a spoiler filled review to come. If you do not want to read anything so as not to cloud your view of the film come back later.
This was definitely not the experience a true fan wants to have when it comes to seeing a film this big for the first time. As neat as it was to be invited to the screening I missed out on the energy from a packed theater full of fans. Also being alone and not knowing anyone was kind of a bummer and I really missed my friends and family. All that being said it was cool to see all the film critics with their little notepads sitting near the front of the theater which I did not understand because everyone knows you sit in the middle row and in the middle of that row! I actually silently wondered will they really be taking their eyes off the screen to write notes during the movie? WHO WOULD DO THAT? That must have been the fan in me wondering that. The male to female ratio was like 2:1 or maybe even 3:1 which I found disturbing as well.
So getting back on target to the film. One of the cool things I did was I wore a heart rate monitor I thought this would be a neat way to track my body’s physical reaction to the film.
I tend to have a high resting heart rate it usually sits somewhere between 75-80 bpm. So to give you a breakdown the film started at 11:00am, at 10:18am my heart rate was sitting at 83 bpm. Right at 11am my heart rate skyrocketed to 121 bpm. This tells me my anxiousness had grown and I was ready for the film to start. I was also nervous, excited, scared and just overall in a strange place emotionally. There was a piece of me that was legitimately afraid that the movie was going to be bad kind of like in Kyle Newman’s Fanboys. Over the course of the film it stayed in the high 80’s to mid 90’s it did have a few spikes to 107 bpm towards the end of the film which makes me wonder what exactly I was watching at those points. Luckily I will be seeing it quite a few times that I can continue tracking and see if I can pinpoint the scenes in the film.
As we already know this movie is about Rey from Jakku and it highlights some of our film favorites and introduces a whole slew of new characters. The journey in this film felt amazing and it really truly felt like Star Wars. There were periods of time where I felt fear, sadness, excitement and true joy. There are some great comedic moments and for anyone worried about BB-8 just go see the film he is a great character. I cried multiple times and the tears at times were happy, scared and sad. I had laugh out loud moments, giggle moments, fangirl flail moments and so much more. The music was stunning and you didn’t even have to try to notice it. It was the soul of the film just like all the previous Star Wars films. I have a hard time catching themes sometimes so I can not wait for the soundtrack so that I can listen to it more clearly. The casting was dead on. I know most of us by now are excited for this cast but I am really excited to see them develop more. The acting felt solid and not forced.
Overall I can say that I am pleased with the film. I think that it is a great continuation of the story and we are going places that is for sure. Who am I kidding I LOVED it. I am still trying to decide where this goes in my list of favorites. I might even put it before Return of the Jedi which is my favorite Star Wars film. I am not sure yet I will see it a few more times before I decide but I can not wait to go and see it with my friends and family on Thursday night, December 17th.
I truly think the movie will appeal to the uber fans, the casual fans and the new generation. I heard one of the film critics say he doesn’t think this film will be that generational film that Star Wars A New Hope was back in 1977. It took all I had in me to not turn around and say “do you even know anything about Star Wars?”. While not everyone loves the Prequel Trilogy those films were my childhood the way that the Original Trilogy was for the first generation of Star Wars fans. The prequels were my Star Wars and to this day The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith still bring about all the feels and they awaken my Star Wars fandom. Return of the Jedi is still the movie that brightens any day for me no matter how gloomy. So to assume that The Force Awakens will not have that power for kids today is ridiculous. A whole new generation of Star Wars fans will emerge on December 18th, 2015.
I can not wait to see what my friends and family think about the movie so until then May the Force Be With You. There has been an awakening…have you felt it?
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