It was hellaciously long but the 3-D and other other computer effects, as well as the costume and creature design, were amazingly effective, inventive, and convincing. He took a set piece out of one of the original trilogies, and most of the movie consisted of a labyrinthine and epic elaboration of that original scene sequence. The writing/plot device he used was That in the original movies, the main characters had received a mind-wipe immediately after that scene via Jedi/Sith powers.. I liked that writing device, but Star Trek fans who hate that Abrams has given himself permission to go an entire alt-universe route with the new Sar Trek movies will probably hate it, and dislike Abrams' Star Wars.
Abrams has kept creatures, aliens and uniforms from the original series, but recast an unrecognisable Han, Luke and Leia amongst the other new leads. Liam Neeson gets to make a cameo come-back as Quai-Gon. A dead Quai-Gon of course. While the special effects are elaborate, Abrams has actually got himself at least 20,000 extras in wildly diverse make-up/costumes, as we get to see all of them in one of the really long one-shot sequences.
He/the studio/a writer has also developed a completely new viral marketing device that I think will be hellaciously successful. It's such a clever idea, but relies on audience secrecy as important as not giving away the ending in "The Crying Game". I won't even Spoiler Button the idea. Since it was such a fun and rewarding idea for me, and completely harmless although a bit time-heavy, and I had the time for it, I agreed to participate in the viral marketing right away. This review here, of course, isn't part of it. Oh, they didn't CALL it viral-marketing during the Pre-Screen, but that's the effect it'll have.
Scores I gave it: Deep and Meaningful 4/10 (It explores themes of what you would do to survive in a doomed place where most of the people won't survive)
Artistic Merit 2/10
Entertainment value 8/10
Originality 10/10 (mostly for the viral marketing device)
Adherence to the Star Wars Universe (6/10)
I won't go into "My favourite Character/why" questions, since it was a new character anyway, and spoilerish.
At the end of the movie I actually came out completely wrung out by the overwhelmingness of the whole experience. So many people hate Abrams, but I get totally sucked in by his HUGE graphics on the big screen, all those elaborate ships, explosions, implosions, space-and-matter-vaccuum-sucks, and all the running around/jumping/falling/flying the characters do. Putting it all in 3-D just made it all 10 times more impactful on me. I was exhausted, so
I was completely pissed off when I woke up from the dream and realised I had been Lucid Dreaming enough to influence the outcome of a 4 hour long planetary/space-station-scale disaster with a cast of tens of thousands and massively elaborate events, but not quite Lucid enough to realise I was dreaming while it was all going on. BAH. Sorry if you actually read this post, I just wanted to vent.