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!