Directed by J.J. Abrams starring, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong’o. Set nearly 32 years after the story of ‘The Return Of the Jedi’, ‘The Force Awakens’ continues the ongoing saga.
The original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy is one of the most iconic and famous series of films, it was arguably the most revolutionary for science-fiction cinema as it created one of the world’s biggest fan bases as well as changing the direction of the genre, it is much loved and is still cherished.
The next trilogy beginning with ‘Phantom Menace’ although containing many key aspects of the original star wars films, curiously somehow misunderstood what made ‘Star Wars’ so great. It nearly ruined the series for a lot of fans, so when it was announced that more would be made with J.J. Abrams at the helm as director of the next trilogy, a feeling of unease was quickly associated with the future of ‘Star Wars’.
For myself, my faith in Abrams ability was cemented with ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ although many disliked the film, for me it showed strong elements of ‘Star Wars’. I would argue ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ contains many themes and stylistic elements which go back to the original ‘Star Wars’ films.
‘The Force Awakens’ is exactly that, a mixture of installing a new generation and a set of new characters into a very familiar setting with even more familiar characters. There is so much nostalgia in this film that one could not help but feel tiny waves of excitement coursing through one’s body every time you saw something that was connected to the original trilogy. This was beautifully and very tactfully orchestrated by Abrams to be the ‘Stars wars’ that should absolutely restore the faith for fans who may have drifted while also cementing how important Star Wars is for new fans and new generations. Indeed, there are some truly majestic shots throughout the film.
The new characters are really well cast, the feminist within me cheered every time Daisy Ridley’s character ‘Rey’ appears on screen as she defends herself, throws off Finn’s hands constantly before having to drag him along herself. Without spoiling it, I cannot wait to see the journey she is going to undertake.
John Boyega’s ‘Fin’ is the comic relief, supported by Chewy and Han Solo, all three are really quite funny using situational comedy which means that the needed comic tone is not forced.
Adam Driver’s ‘Kylo Ren’ is one of my favourite villains, complicated and constantly developing. His use of the force is exactly what we wanted to see with the previous trilogy but were denied, and more importantly, the powers he uses are consistent.
Oscar Isaac’s character is more the catalyst for the story at this point in time, he could be seen as a new Han Solo type character and one I feel is being developed further for future films.
Domhnall Gleeson is surprisingly intense and dominant, I say this having only really seen him in roles with somewhat weaker phycological characters. General Hux is fearsome, but like all these characters we see just enough of them to be thoroughly intrigued and invested in them but not enough to feel we have fully understood any of them, this places them in a great place for the rest of the trilogy.
I would say more about other characters such as Carrie Fishers, Andy Serkis, and Lupita Nyong’o, but it would honestly spoil the narrative which in turn would ruin the film. I will absolutely not discuss Mark Hamill as his character is too pivotal to even vaguely elaborate upon.
What makes ‘Force Awakens’ so particularly good for me is the sense of ownership for my generation. In the original trilogy, the speculation was who was related to whom, who is Vader and why does he have such a connection to Skywalker. This is very much owned by that generation from the 70s, the prequels while in places were fun, held no reverence for me. We knew very early on who would be what character in the future, meaning there were no great twists nor surprises for us to unearth. ‘The Force Awakens’ very much instills that feeling back to us with speculation about names and who is related to whom. This is what makes it so compelling, in that we don’t know what is coming next, all we know so far is it is an absolutely amazing journey so far.
This review may be long, but it could be even longer as there is so much to discuss. I shan’t say another word for fear of accidently touching on a spoiler.
OVERALL ***** One of the best film I have seen in years, this is how ‘Star Wars’ should have been 15 years ago, or maybe not as I might have been too young to appreciate it. The perfect balance of new and old with a great deal of compelling content. J.J. Abrams has successfully achieved making a truly great ‘Star Wars’ film.
RECOMMENDATION- Go and watch the film, you will not regret it. I’m still feeling with overwhelming excitement from it even with very little sleep.