Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence)
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few decades, there’s a good chance that you have heard of Star Wars. The intergalactic saga filled with dark wizards, space battles and a rag-tag group of heroes instantly captured the imagination of cinema-goers when it debuted in 1977. From the famous opening text crawl to the blaring trumpets triumphantly introducing John Williams’ amazing score, the world went Star Wars crazy.
It’s been years since we’ve had a good Star Wars film but the passion that was ignited by the Original Trilogy so many years ago hasn’t subsided, and fans have been waiting with bated breath to see if Star Wars: The Force Awakens can fill that void.
Well, let me put you out of your misery. Director J.J Abrams has managed to rise to the occasion and deliver a movie that mixes a bit of old with a bit of new, creating an experience that encapsulates everything that made the Original Trilogy great while bringing the franchise into the modern era.
Gone is the reliance on computer generated effects that made the prequel trilogy so pristine and sterile. In their place we get practical sets, models and creature effects that add an extra level of realism to the epic set-pieces, giving weight to the characters as they feed off their surroundings, making a world that is lived in, scratches, dents and all.
Speaking of characters, audiences are introduced to Rey (Daisy Ridley), an orphan scavenging to make ends meet on the lonely planet of Jakku; Fin (John Boyega), a stormtrooper who finds himself questioning his ideals and Po Dameron (Oscar Isaac), one of the best pilots for the resistance. The three actors step up to the plate admirably, giving great performances, striking a balance between drama, action and humour. The chemistry between the leads is excellent, their banter bouncing off one another in natural manner that creates a genuine rapport with the audience. However the best new character has to be BB-8. This little droid is instantly lovable, the beeps and boops easily eliciting laughs.
Returning to the cast from the Original Trilogy is Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the lovable smuggler who still hasn’t lost his charm or trademark smirk; General Leia (Carrie Fisher), abandoning her royal trappings and firmly taking her place in the war room and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who… well you can find that out yourself. Whenever these characters came onscreen, cheers and applause erupted from the audience, and deservedly so. It’s about time we saw them again.
Force Awakens gives the fans what they have been clamouring for. There are incredible action sequences, light sabres blazing and x-wings and tie-fighters battling in the skies. There are scenes that will fill audiences with exhilaration and others that will bring tears to your eyes. The film will bring a whole new generation into the Star Wars fold, but packs a nostalgic punch to those of us who grew up with the Original Trilogy. The one drawback is that the story itself does not bring anything new to the table, serving as a more refined version of A New Hope, but it does the job of relaunching the franchise, bringing it back to its former glory and acts as a platform to launch future films from.
With great acting, beautiful cinematography and a musical score by John Williams that will frequently tug at your emotional core, it makes me incredibly happy to see Star Wars return to form. I’ve already bought tickets for my second viewing and I don’t think it’ll be my last.
I give The Force Awakens 8.5 out of 10.