Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series' former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.

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Movie Info

The Star Wars saga continues with this seventh entry -- the first under the Walt Disney Co. umbrella. The film will act as the start of a new trilogy set after the events of Return of the Jedi. J.J. Abrams directs from a script by Michael Arndt. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Cast

Adam Driver
as Kylo Ren
Harrison Ford
as Han Solo
Mark Hamill
as Luke Skywalker
Gwendoline Christie
as Captain Phasma
Oscar Isaac
as Poe Dameron
Andy Serkis
as Supreme Leader Snoke
Max von Sydow
as Lor San Tekka
Lupita Nyong'o
as Maz Kanata
Tim Rose
as Admiral Ackbar
Jessica Henwick
as Jess Testor
Mark Stanley (VI)
as Knight of Ren
Joonas Suotamo
as Chewbacca Double
Dixie Arnold
as Resistance Soldier
Mike Quinn
as Nien Nunb
D.C. Barns
as Bar Patron
Pip Andersen
as Lead Stormtrooper
Simon Pegg
as Unkar Plutt
Sasha Frost
as Jakku Villager
Pip Torrens
as Colonel Kaplan
Andrew Jack
as Major Ematt
Rocky Marshall
as Colonel Datoo
Greg Grunberg
as Snap Wexley
Yahan Ruhian
as Tasu Leech
Sebastian Armesto
as Lieutenant Mitaka
Warwick Davis
as Wollivan
Cailey Fleming
as Young Rey
Ken Leung
as Admiral Statura
Anna Brewster
as Bazine Netal
Harriet Walter
as Dr. Kalonia
Erik Bauersfeld
as Admiral Ackbar
Kipsang Rotich
as Nien Nunb
Victor McGuire
as Bar Patron
Miltos Yerolemou
as Bar Patron
Billie Lourd
as Lieutenant Connix
Leanne Best
as Min Sakul
Matt Johnson
as Bar Patron
Crystal Clarke
as Ensign Goode
Claudia Sermbezis
as Lema Eelyak
Gerald W. Abrams
as Captain Cypress
Jim McGrath
as Vice Admiral Resdox
Morgan Dameron
as Commodore Meta
Tosin Cole
as Lieutenant Bastian
Stefan Grube
as Yolo Ziff
Hannah John-Kamen
as First Order Officer
Tom Edden
as First Order Officer
Kate Fleetwood
as First Order Officer
Richard Riddell
as First Order Officer
Jefferson Hall
as First Order Officer
Thomas Sangster
as First Order Officer
Jack Laskey
as First Order Officer
Brian Herring
as BB-8 Performed by
Dave Chapman
as BB-8 Performed By
Bill Hader
as BB-8, BB-8 Voice Consultant
Ben Schwartz
as BB-8 Voice Consultant
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News & Interviews for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Critic Reviews for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

All Critics (377) | Top Critics (53)

Despite the copious servings of tragic threats and good feelings, the production sinks under the weight of its emotional calculation.

January 4, 2016 | Full Review…

The new movie, as an act of pure storytelling, streams by with fluency and zip.

December 21, 2015 | Full Review…

That's what's so impressive about the tricky balancing act Abrams has pulled off with The Force Awakens: He's made a movie that's simultaneously gripping and a huge release. We are in good hands, at last.

December 20, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

With The Force Awakens, Abrams has begun one of the most important reclamation projects of our time: the complete erasure from cultural memory of The Phantom Menace and its sequels.

December 19, 2015 | Full Review…

I bet you'll have fun - I did, mostly. But it's the fun of seeing something fairly successfully redone, with the promise of more of the same to come.

December 17, 2015 | Full Review…

It's everything the kid in us goes to the movies for -- marvelous adventure that leaves us surprised, scared and euphoric.

December 17, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

"That is not dead which can eternal lie" - the immortal line from H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, which has increasingly become the mantra of Hollywood executives. The seemingly endless wave of remakes, reboots, re-imaginings and redundant sequels was bound to hit the Star Wars franchise sooner or later. It took less than ten years after Revenge of the Sith brought the ghastly prequel saga to a sorry conclusion for the powers-to-be (in this case Disney) to decide that audiences would be ready for another instalment or three. Disney's acquisition of Star Wars from George Lucas, coupled with the involvement of J. J. Abrams, gave the sci-fi community and the film-going public reason to have positive expectations about this series again. Having already convinced themselves, like long-suffering Highlander fans, that things at least couldn't get any worse, the hype steadily grew as the old cast members returned and more and more details were affectionately teased. It seemed as though everyone was pinning their hopes on this film working, as though it was the last great hope that Star Wars could one day be good again. Sadly, that last great hope has ended up as just another version of A New Hope, leaving us dazzled by the modern visuals but otherwise disappointed. It's true that I was initially dismissive of Disney's decision to buy Star Wars, back in the days when I regularly wrote for WhatCulture!. It's also true that I have never been the biggest fan of Abrams, branding him "the master of hype" and "our generation's Wizard of Oz", who is capable of making flashy, tempting trailers but less capable at telling original stories. But as someone who looks upon the originals fondly - or at least acknowledges their deserved place in cinema history - I still count myself among those wanting this to be good, rather than hoping that it would fail outright. The single biggest problem with The Force Awakens is how desperately and despairingly unoriginal it is. It's positively flabbergasting how a film like this can be hailed as a masterpiece when it feels for all the world like watching a bunch of children dressing up and re-enacting their version of A New Hope. The toys may be faster, and the Death Star-that's-not-but-actually-is might be bigger, but it's still essentially A New Hope with modern-day editing. Whether you look at A New Hope as a Star Wars film or as a love letter to adventure stories, it still holds up well enough (for all its problems) to make this feel immediately superfluous. I will give Abrams some credit, in that it is one of his better behaved efforts in terms of the camerawork. There is less of the irritating lens flare that there was on Star Trek or Super 8, and the action sequences don't look like they were assembled purely for the basis of making the trailer look exciting. But that being said, it's clear that the two 'Trek films he made were essentially just practice for this. The lightspeed sequences here are almost identical to the hyperspace sequences from Star Trek Into Darkness. The presence of the older cast warrants a further comparison with 'Trek. There's a conscious effort here to bring back the original actors to give the project their blessing and pass the torch, just as in Star Trek Generations or certain episodes of The Next Generation TV series. There are some lovely moments here: the chats between Han Solo and Leia are the film's most human and emotional parts, and Mark Hamill's appearance, like an exiled King Arthur having Excalibur returned, is a nice touch. But their presence only serves to remind us how good the originals were, and adds doubt as to whether the new blood are good enough to hold things up on their own. The Force Awakens is massively derivative from the outset, both in the general movements of its plot and its specific details. Jakku is just Tatooine by any other name, BB8 is R2-D2, the plans for Luke's home are the plans for the Death Star - even the early deaths are a straight lift from Anakin's vengeful slaughter in Attack of the Clones. It scores out over that film by at least pretending to break from the mould, rather than insulting our intelligence by trying to argue that everything fits in with the existing canon. But it's ironic that a film which claims to break with the Star Wars Extended Universe has ended up borrowing so nakedly from its forebears. Not only are we in overly familiar territory, but The Force Awakens has moments where it is very unsure of itself. There are at least two occasions in the script where a dramatic situation is defused by the characters stopping to take the piss out of themselves, and both times it feels forced and underwhelming. You can't build up something as serious or significant, then slip into Spaceballs, and then back again as if nothing happened. It undercuts the stakes of the drama in a very jarring manner. Then there is the plot to consider. On top of its overt resemblance to (and invocation of) A New Hope, The Force Awakens has several moments of narrative carelessness. The biggest one is the scene with Darth Vader's helmet; we don't get any explanation as to how Kylo Ren got it, or how it survived being incinerated at the end of Return of the Jedi, it's just foisted upon us because it's a dramatic image. Additionally, the film makes us feel like Poe is dead less than 30 minutes in, and then provides no explanation for his survival when he turns up again. The original trilogy had plot problems too, but at least the big stuff was explained away sufficiently to maintain our suspension of disbelief. This lack of complete care translates into the character construction as well. Rey as a character is a welcome addition to the franchise; Daisy Ridley makes the character fun and appealing, her interplay with Finn is amusing and well-written, and she is undisputedly the lead for two thirds of her screentime. But having started on so strong a footing, the filmmakers chicken out about halfway through and turn her into a damsel in distress whom Finn has to rescue. It's all well and good that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan wanted to make Star Wars more diverse and equal ops, but surely the more interesting angle would be for Rey to use the Force to rescue Finn? The character disappointment also seeps through into the villains, which range from good to bafflingly timid. At the good end, we have General Hux; Domhnall Gleeson gives a committed and ambitious performance, believably conveying someone who is power mad and intimidating. In the middle is Snoke, realised by Andy Serkis; it's fine, though at this stage it's little more than Palpatine's appearance in The Empire Strikes Back with snazzier graphics. And then, at the bad end, we have Kylo Ren, who is little short of pitiful as a villain. As much as the trailers tried to make him threatening, he's ultimately just Darth Helmet, trying to be all big and terrifying but coming across as anything but. As Sylvester Stallone found out in Judge Dredd, walking around with a bucket on your head stops being scary if you're just going to keep taking it off. In the climactic lightsaber duel in the snow, his long hair and gormless expression may him look like a wetter, less capable version of Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia, and the film's attempts to set up daddy issues with Luke feel very half-baked. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is a disappointing and derivative start to the new Star Wars trilogy. It cuts the mustard as two hours of empty popcorn fun, and it is slightly better written than Revenge of the Sith, but after all the hype and promise it needed to be a whole lot better. The involvement of Looper director Rian Johnson in the upcoming Episode VIII does leave some cause for hope, just as The Empire Strikes Back managed to improve by having a different director. But putting that and Rogue One out of our minds for a moment, this film remains staggeringly mediocre.

Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

Watched under protest. I'm really not a fan of these movies. It's big budget and fans will love it, but I was bored.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

5 star

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

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