featured image credits starwars.com and christiancinema.com.
There are two new movies out right now that I was able to see, actually within a span of a week of each other. They are Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens and Beyond the Mask. If your heart rate sped up at the first title, tempting you to close this window in an attempt to escape the spoilers, don’t fear! This is a spoiler free zone! 🙂 If you’re still not satisfied, come back and read this when you’ve seen The Force Awakens. Either way, I’m just sharing some of my thoughts on these movies without spoiling either of them. Here we go.
*cue Star Wars theme song*
image from starwars.com
So it’s out, and has been for about two weeks now. The Force Awakens. The name alone is enough to send chills down an infatuated Star Wars fan’s spine. I happen to be a Star Wars fan, though I’m not completely infatuated. 🙂
Before I move on, I want to clarify that I am not so much of a Star Wars fan that it’s unthinkable for someone to dislike or not have seen the movies. There’s absolutely no problem with that, as there are so many other good things in the world besides Star Wars! Though I like the movies, there’s no part of me that wants to force you to watch them. This post isn’t meant to leave you out or make you roll your eyes, but to share from one person to another what I thought of the movie.
Now, you’ve got to understand that I am a wee bit of a Star Wars nut, and a lot of that is due to the influences in my family, as my parents like the movies and have always allowed us to watch them. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know about Star Wars or its plot. My brothers are positively obsessed with these movies, and have checked every book out of the library on them, therefore developing this section of their brains that has every ship, every name, and every detail from Star Wars memorized. We own a LEGO TV series off of Star Wars called The Yoda Chronicles, and I’ve seen them so many times I know many of the lines by heart. Thus, when the seventh movie of a series that we thought was over came out, it was a given that some of my siblings, my parents, and I would try to see this movie ASAP.
We saw The Force Awakens three days after its release date, and I would say it far exceeded my expectations for it. I can’t say it did the same for my brothers and dad, because they may or may not have been expecting a near-perfect movie, but as for me, I was captivated. It might be my favorite of the Star Wars movies yet! The scenery and graphics were amazing, and I appreciated how realistic and similar to the other movies it was. Though the character development was lacking in several areas, I felt the actors/actresses chosen to play the leads were very talented. There was very minimal language, so little that some could miss it entirely, and though there are a lot of “intense” scenes, there’s not a lot of graphic violence.
To my disappointment, the plot of the movie was very fantastic, in the sense of unrealistic. Some of the things in it made me roll my eyes and go of course. In Star Wars, nothing is impossible, but that makes for a too-easy victory and plot line. However, there were facets to this movie that were surprising and even tragic. At times, I won’t deny that I may have teared up, because if you’ve seen all of these movies, you know the characters and get attached to them. (and I’m getting close to the boundary lines of not spoiling this for people!) That said, there were also moments in the movie where I laughed hard, as well as literally sat on the edge of my seat.
Morally, the movie was as good as the rest of the Star Wars saga. Good is valued more than evil, even if the victory of truth isn’t seen right away. The main characters are challenged as to which side they will choose, and they don’t always choose “the light side”, but those kinds of decisions lead to severe consequences. Love is triumphant, and self-sacrifice is a dominant theme. No matter how powerful “the dark side” becomes, there’s always, always good that will win out. These movies don’t have religious themes and aren’t real, but the morals of the unfolding story make for good analogies to real life.
Overall, will I watch this movie again? Definitely! Did I learn something from this movie? Yep, though I can’t tell you what it was! 😉 Do I recommend it? Yes, but you have to have seen the other six movies first. Sorry, but it’s just not as good if you haven’t. The Force Awakens was a super fun and exciting movie to watch, and I wait with anticipation to see episode VIII.
image from christiancinema.com
Now, for Beyond the Mask. In some ways, this was a similar movie to The Force Awakens, and in other ways, it’s completely opposite. Both movies are action movies, and they both have mysterious aspects. However, Beyond the Mask was nowhere near as exciting and understandable for me as The Force Awakens. On a scale of 1-5 stars, this movie would gain 3.5 on a good day, but I was not overly charmed with it. Don’t misunderstand me: it was a good movie that some may enjoy, but I personally didn’t love it.
Beyond the Mask is set around 1775, in Great Britain and America. You’ve probably already guessed that the theme of this movie is the Revolutionary War. The movie is a story of redemption: one man trying to redeem his past through his actions, rather than seeking God’s gift of redemption. I had expected this movie to be excessively conservative, because several leading conservative and homeschool companies have their name on the DVD, but I wasn’t struck by anything especially like that in the movie. If anything, this movie had more violence and intensity than I had expected!
Some highlights of the movie included a lead character that the viewer could relate to, historical characters involved, and good karate moves (my siblings’ input 😉 ). My family especially appreciated the true message that redemption and forgiveness cannot be earned, but they are a gift that must be asked for.
The plot of this movie had some flaws. While watching it, I had a very hard time following where things were going and catching any foreshadowing. I did like a couple of the main characters, but to be honest, there was a lot of killing and name-changing, making things even harder to grasp! To be honest, I felt this movie was more action and adventure than good storytelling. Some may prefer this, but being some form of a storyteller myself, I’m not a huge fan.
Will I watch this movie again? Maybe. Did I learn something from this movie? I suppose . . . but it was more of a reinforcing of what I already knew, rather than a new lesson learned. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you’re willing to give it a shot and bear with some flaws. Beyond the Mask was a good, clean movie that was educational and wholesome, with a true message. It’s worth seeing for those reasons. 🙂