Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac
Release: December 18 2015
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 4.5/5 glasses of the finest brandy
When news broke of Disney acquiring the movie rights to Star Wars I was genuinely glad that George Lucas was no longer involved in the franchise. I won’t harp on about the prequels because it’s nearly universally agreed that they are terrible films but my issue with Lucas is how poor his vision became. It’s one thing to make some pretty awful Star Wars films but to start messing with the lore that the originals set in place was flat-out offensive. Lucas’s vision is his own and that’s the only person it caters too, he has shown fans of this franchise zero respect in the last 20 years.
I’ll admit that even when the first trailer dropped for Star Wars in 2014 I really wasn’t fazed as I’d felt the damage had been done and no reboot could reignite that spark in me. Slowly though as the release date came closer and closer and with the release of the second trailer my tune started to change and my optimism for the film rose.
I have seen The Force Awakens twice now in the cinema and I can honestly say that it’s a fantastic film. J.J. Abrams has truly made a true love letter to the fans and a brilliant film. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first Star Trek film and liked its sequel Into Darkness I feel bad for fans of Star Trek as the films clearly catered more to Star Wars fans than Trekkies, and now they’ve had to endure the bastardization of their franchise that Star Wars fans had to embrace during the prequels.
The aesthetics of the film are spot on when compared to the originals from the set designs, interiors of the space ships to the costumes so much of it is instantly familiar. However it’s the sound design that blew me away from blasters to tie fighter and of course that humming noise from the lightsabers, it’s enough to make a grown man cry (which I did). The Force Awakens finds the perfect blend between old and new paying tribute to the originals but setting up a new story with new heroes.
The cast in the film is exceptional, new comers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac all own their respective roles and instantly draw you to their characters. The friendship that Finn and Poe develop in four minutes is more believable than any of the relationships Lucas tried to build over the three prequels. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is definitely a controversial figure among fans with many disappointed that he doesn’t compare to Darth Vader, which kind of misses the point. Ren is a conflicted villain and a character, where Darth Vader was at first a true villain and the physical embodiment of the dark side. I was relieved that the original cast weren’t just there as cameos and figures of nostalgia, but actually well-developed and seasoned since we’ve last seen them 30 years ago.
The highest point of The Force Awakens for me is that it returned that sense of wonder and adventure from the originals; I was enthralled in my seat at every moment of it like I was a child again, and to me to reinvigorate that childlike wonder is a truly beautiful thing and another reason why I love films. There’s a scene in this film where all hell is breaking loose with a firefight between our heroes, Stormtroopers, X-wings and Tie Fighters that had me fighting back tears, It wasn’t a particularly emotionally driven scene but it was exactly what I had been wanting from a Star Wars film for years.
The film isn’t without its flaws as logic is usually thrown out the window to keep the plot moving and many elements of the original films are rehashed. Some are saying that the film is a rehash of A New Hope, and while I’d agree certain scenes are far too familiar, yet it didn’t bother me as many felt like great call backs and the overall quality of the film meant that this franchise is back on track and I can’t wait to see where the sequels go from here.