A Parent’s Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This review is purposefully vague, but if you’re not wanting to know anything at all before you step into the theater, you should probably skip this post!
Today’s post is a guest post by my husband, Jordan. He took our 12 and 9 year old’s to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this morning and is happy to share his thoughts with you all!
Like many of you, I have loved Star Wars from my early childhood on and have been eagerly awaiting the seventh addition to the Star Wars saga ever since it was first announced.
Let me first say that The Force Awakens is an AMAZING MOVIE!!! If you were disappointed in the prequels and longed for a return to the feel and emotion of the original trilogy, be excited! The Force Awakens brings back the spirit of the original movies. The human emotion, the lived-in environments, and the practical effects are all there, and there are many comparisons to the story and mood of A New Hope.
My goal in this post is not an exhaustive plot analysis but to provide a guide for parents considering if they should go with their children to the new movie, especially considering its PG-13 rating.
- The Force Awakens is full of (AWESOME) intense action. I would probably recommend not taking young children to see it in the theater, as well as older children who get scared easily. We choose not to take our younger two boys because one is too young (age 3) and the other (age 6) gets nightmares after watching scary action. After seeing it, we will let our younger two sons watch it at home once it comes out on video.
- There is no sexual innuendo or activity in the movies This was a little bit of a concern for Sarah and I when we saw that the movie was rated PG-13. Too often movies add sexuality or nudity but The Force Awakens is safely appropriate.
- The movie is full of relationship drama. Perhaps the best part of the movie is catching up with characters from the previous movies and meeting the new characters. Character development is more of a driving force to the plot than the action scenes. The movie wonderfully conveys the emotional challenges that can happen for people of all ages. Several of the issues the characters deal with are the same as the ones you and I and our children deal with on a regular basis and will provide teaching and discussion opportunities with your children.
- One character repeatedly shows self-sacrifice in order to help another character.
- One character helps another character “because it’s the right thing to do.”
- Two parents are rocked by the decisions of their child’s turn to the dark side.
- A father learns that it is important that HE reach out to his wayward child and implore him to return.
- A “prodigal” son struggles with his decision to turn from his parents.
- The characters are given a choice to act in their own self interest, and often choose to do what is better for others instead of the themselves.
- The good guys win…. mostly. In much the same way as A New Hope, The Force Awakens ends with the good guys victorious in battle. But one of the good guys looses his life in a pretty emotionally challenging way. This is another scene that will be too intense for many younger viewers.
- The dark side is NOT attractive. Whereas there have been times throughout the Star Wars movies where a dark side character is trying to attract a character to join them, The Force Awakens shows that the dark side is a mean, angry group of people. Many of the characters have personal conflict with each other and the primary bad guy struggles with his desire and ability to be a bad guy.
- There are a few “minor” curses in The Force Awakens, but for the most part there is not offensive language.
As Christians, there is great value in talking naturally with our kids about the action, the characters, and the worldview of any movie when appropriate. What does this movie say about the nature of man? About God? About how to be a good person? How does that compare with what the Bible says about man? Also, watch the reactions of your kids and use this as an opportunity to get a glimpse into their thoughts and hearts. Are they drawn to the bad characters? If so, what is it about the bad guys that is attractive to them? It’s good to teach our kids (and remind ourselves!) that even movies that are “just entertainment” are teaching us things about how the world works and how people should act whether we realize we’re being taught or not. Movies can be a great way to bring some of these lessons to life!
Julia Dec 18, 2015
Jenny Dec 18, 2015
Thanks for the review! I am a mum to five boys who have yet to watch any of the star wars saga. My husband has never seen them, and I have only seen the original 3 once many years ago so have little to no memory of them. With my second son bugging to watch them (he's 10), I was wondering what order you would suggest watching them in? Also, you have said that you will be letting your littler ones watch this latest one at home - have they seen the previous titles? Do you think they would be appropriate for ages 6,8,10 and 12? I will do some research as well, but would appreciate your perspective as parents to a range of boys! Thanks!
Sarah Dec 18, 2015
Our younger boys have watched the original three movies. A New Hope is the first of the original movies, and all the boys enjoy that one. The next is The Empire Strikes Back, and our 6 year old thinks it's scary. It is definitely more intense, more dark, and the bad guys "win" that one. We have watched it once, I think, with the little ones. Then the story is resolved in The Return of the Jedi, which they all like. The three newer movies (the "prequels") are really not very well done and we don't like them! Our oldest did not watch any Star Wars until age 7 or 8, and then our fourth son got his first exposure at age 2... Kind of how it goes sometimes in big families, which I'm sure you know! I would say that the first of the original movies would be appropriate for those ages, and then you can decide from there. It might be a good idea to preview it first to see how it would fit your family!
theke Jan 1, 2016
well I watched the complete saga with my mom recently and it was my first time watching it. we saw it in the order it was made, so like 4,5,6 and then 1,2,3. I think it's better this way since if they haven't seen the originals it's funner and more entertaining. I will probably rewatch 6 though before seeing the new one.
hadrian Apr 10, 2016
best order to watch: 4,5,2,3,6,7
who needs jar jar?
Stephanie Dec 18, 2015
My husband is out watching it right now and, while enjoying it for himself, he will be assessing the appropriateness of it for our 6 year old. I'm so thankful for this review to help us make the decision. Thanks for being clear and concise about issues that are definitely on my mind!
Johnny Rico Dec 20, 2015
Dad is smart. He is enjoying it by himself. LOL
Jenni Dec 19, 2015
Thank you for such a thoughtful review! We have kids in the 10-12 yr range and all we have been hearing about is "Star Wars this & Star Wars that" for months now. All our kids were disappointed when friends at school went to the midnight premier... while the "Big, Bad Parents" at their house are still contemplating whether or not it will be OK for them to see. Much to think about and I appreciate your insights!
PS. I love your site, so many great ideas (even my girls enjoy)!
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life Dec 19, 2015
Thank you for this! Our boys (5 & 3) have seen all the movies and are excited about the new one. But, like you said, I think we will wait until we can watch it together at home. I'm excited to go see it myself though!
Melodie Dec 19, 2015
Thank you so much for taking the time to reflect and write this review. We along with some friends have been hoping we can take our children and your review really helped as they will be comfortable and love it! We also will have lots of great opportunities for conversation as you mention. Kind regards, much appreciated and have a very Merry Christmas!
Amanda Dec 19, 2015
There is one seen that may distress some kids who are lovers of the original films when a much loved character dies. There is no blind but plenty of emotion, so maybe if you have an emotional child you may consider waiting for the video to watch yourself and maybe edit that out or explain what is going to happen and ask the child if they want to see it or not.. Just a thought.
Anne Dec 28, 2015
thank you for this!! My son is almost 7 but I am concerned about the level of violence in the movie, so we will wait.
Thanks so much for providing this review - it is appreciated!
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