Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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Film review of the seventh instalment in the Star Wars saga, starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

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Director: J.J. Abrams. Lucasfilm Ltd./Bad Robot/Truenorth Productions, 135 mins. (12a).

Science Fiction.

5stars-Excellent-genius-a-classic

 

Cast & credits

Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Kathleen Kennedy.
Writers: J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan.
Camera: Daniel Mindel.
Music: John Williams.
Sets: Rick Carter, Darren Gilford.

Harrison Ford, Mark HamillCarrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew.

Synopsis

Luke Skywalker (Hamill), the last Jedi, is missing. In his absence, a new evil named The First Order threatens the galaxy. The whereabouts of Skywalker’s location is hidden within a BB-8 Droid whom meets up with a rogue Stormtrooper named Finn (Boyega) and a scavenger named Rey (Ridley). The three team up with Skywalker’s friends Han Solo and Chewbacca (Ford and Mayhew) to get the droid and his information safely to The Resistance, all the while battling the sinister leader of The First Order; Kylo Ren (Driver).

Review

With our 3D glasses on, our Star Wars cups filled with fizzy drinks and our hopes high, my little brother and I sat patiently waiting for the familiar John Williams score to commence.

Just under two and a half hours later the film ended and the credits began to roll. I turned to my brother to ask him what he thought. He simply said that he was getting the DVD.

That’s how he gives his greatest compliment; if he wants to watch it again and again, he loves the film. So Jamie gives Star Wars VII his top marks, but what do I think?

Being an obvious fanboy himself, director Abrams has proudly achieved a film that awakens not only the force but also the love and sentiment of George Lucas’ original trilogy. The nostalgia is strong in this film which was so warmly welcomed by the audience. When Han and Chewy walk on to the screen with the line “Chewy, we’re home,” I can guarantee that everyone in the cinema was smiling.

Despite being thirty years older, the dynamic between the original characters has remained the same. Han and Chewie have the comedic “buddy cop” relationship, even Han and Leia (Fisher) have some touching moments. It’s a credit to Abrams that he’s made it as if we never left these beloved characters, as I’m sure there are plenty who would like to forget the prequel trilogy.

As well as the original characters, we are introduced to a plethora of exciting new characters. Firstly we have our two leads, Rey and Finn played by young British actors Ridley and Boyega. I ended up caring for both characters immensely given the short time knowing them. Finn’s journey is one I’ve wanted to see; a Stormtrooper who realises he’s on the wrong side. He sees the blood and the death. He also doesn’t want to be a hero, he wants to escape and hide from the war. All in all he makes for a relatable person.

Rey on the other hand is sure to become one our greatest and strongest female leads in film. One who can rival Ellen Ripley and The Bride. Ridley does exceptionally well at portraying our leading lady, and she is mesmerising to watch. The blossoming “frelationship” between her and Finn is also fun to observe. The new ‘meet cute’ of the Star Wars film. One that I’m hopeful will develop in the next installment.

A character that I wished got more screen time is that of pilot Poe Dameron (Isaac); a member of The Resistance who will save us all with his quick wit. His chemistry with Finn is brief but are some of the most enjoyable moments in the film. Fingers crossed he has more to do with the story in episode 8.

Of course we end with our new baddie Kylo Ren (Driver). Firstly we can all agree that no one will ever compare with the infamous Darth Vader, but Driver still gives a remarkable performance. Ren is vindictive and cruel, and can also be suddenly temperamental and childish in how he handles his frustrations. Also, this is no way an insult to the actor, but the man just looks evil!

This film is not without faults. By focusing too much on being similar to the original trilogy, the story seems very familiar. This unfortunately causes the film to lack a sense of shock appeal. Even at the film’s most emotional and surprising moments, I was never taken completely away in shock. Narratively wise it’s nothing new and exciting, but…..OMG C-3PO and R2D2 are there! At times the film can get a little predictable, but look, it’s Luke’s lightsaber!

So yes, nostalgia does allow me to overlook and forgive some of the film’s downfall. But at the end of the day, this film is a solid adventure and the perfect way to end 2015.

Now, we wait.

See the official trailer on Youtube.

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