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Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Took my time with this one... saw it at the cinema but now I got the DVD I've been able to finish it properly.


Might be a few spoilers hints in this, but nothing that can totally ruin the film if you haven't seen it yet.




Review #249, Movie #320




Year Of Release
2015


Director/s
J.J. Abrams


Producer/s
Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk


Writer/s
Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
George Lucas


Music
John Williams


Cast
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis


With Max von Sydow


And Mark Hamill




Synopsis:


Around 30 years after Return Of The Jedi, Luke Skywalker has vanished. He had been rebuilding the Jedi Order but tragedy struck and Luke disappeared. In his absence, the remnants of The Empire has rebuilt itself into The New Order and they are searching for Skywalker as they know if he were to return to power, it could spell the end of them.


Standing in The New Order’s way though is the remnants of The Rebellion, now known as The Resistance, led by General Leia and under the support of the New Republic.


In the meantime also, a young and foolhardy Stormtrooper called FN-2187 has renounced The New Order and makes his escape, hoping to find a quieter and violence free life, and in the process he rescues a captive Resistance Fighter called Poe Dameron… and together they make their way to the desert planet Jakku.


But FN-2187, now dubbed as “Finn”, finds himself thrown back into the midst of the action… with a young girl called Rey by his side.


Review:


There’s been a lot of bad press on this movie, but there’s been a huge amount of good press too.


I’m one of the good ones


TFA, gives old fans a taste of the magic that the original gave them all those years ago, and almost washes the bitter aftertaste of the prequels away with ease.


The movie contains lashings of recognisable elements of the originals, from the effects, obviously the characters and some of the settings with an even-more-gianter-big-Death-Star thing going on (ala-ROTJ) and a planet that resembles Tattooine, a buddy-story between Finn and Poe, and a small funny looking creature that resembles a Yoda style character.


There’s even a few scenes that are similar, for instance when Poe hands BB-8 something… it resembles Leia in A New Hope with R2-D2.


These aren’t a bad thing though. The movie is acting like a bridge for the new generation. Giving tastes of the original trilogy, with the fact that it’s a modern movie, and the backup of modern effects (both CG and practical) and combines it all with the fact that being a bridge is not all the film is about.


There are new elements to the story and new plots and subplots going on.


For instance Luke’s exile, and the past story of why he disappeared… the story of Kylo Ren, and his history and future… and the hints of where Rey is going to end up. Rey also has a backstory which is yet to be revealed and it makes her character even more exiting in terms of the Star Wars Universe.


There’s also that incident toward the end of the film that cements Kylo Ren as a villain to really despise and get the audience’s attention.


Many people also barked about the ending too. I say, well, it’s simply a great ending. It makes you want to see Episode 8. It puts you on the edge of your seat, willing time to pass so you can see what happens next, especially after the tragedies that befall our heroes in the third act.


There hasn’t been a sci-fi movie with so much emotional pull, combined with such an ending as this since The Empire Strikes Back.


The movie also has tons of mystery to it too. Some characters and some backstories are never fully explained and it makes you want to see more to find these things out.




The new cast are also on form.


I’ll start with Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron… he felt a little underused. Isaac is a floppy haired, good looking good guy, who kicks ass, has charisma in bucketloads and has the dashing charm that has been missing from Star Wars since 1983. I seriously hope he appears more in Episode 8.


Adam Driver is our villainous Kylo Ren. Kylo is a wannabe Vader, basically, and Driver portrays a guy who is tormented and mentally unstable perfectly. Driver also gives us an emotional villain, in that he knows he isn’t strong enough for certain things, and he shows a fear within himself that pushes him to rage. If anything, Lucas should have cast him as Anakin Skywalker in Episodes 2 and 3, he’d have been great in the role.


Now, Boyega as Finn… I have to say… he’s great stuff. Boyega plays the naďve, almost undereducated but full-hearted and caring hero. Boyega captures a brilliant humour within the character too, totally out of place, doing what he can to help his friends and do what’s right in the situation. His humour sometimes borders slapstick, but not too much, and it’s a lovely breath of fresh air to the SW Universe.


Daisy Ridley as Rey though… I think I’m in love. She too has a naivety to her, but overall she’s headstrong, streetwise, she’s beautiful, athletic and carries massive charisma into every scene. At times Ridley has a wide-eyed wonder to her, which is great for the character of someone who has lived her whole life in a ruined AT-AT Walker in the middle of a desert, who finds herself thrown into a situation she’s unfamiliar with. Daisy Ridley nails this role.


The older cast are back to their standard in this film too… although as real people they have matured, as too have the characters. They’re recognisable, but also slightly different and it adds a nice touch to the film to see our beloved characters portrayed in such a fashion.


Ford as Solo with Mayhew as Chewbacca and Carrie Fisher as Leia… it’s all brilliant to see and witness these characters, albeit older and maybe a bit wiser, together on screen again.


The rest of the cast, from Serkis as Snoke, to Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, all give 100% to make a movie filled with memorable characters.


Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux in particular is good as a bitter and ruthless Commander. He borders slimy too at times and definitely one to watch for in later Episodes.




The effects and action… awesome. Simply awesome.


Practical effects used wherever and whenever possible. No blankets of greenscreens and the CGI is perfectly rendered alongside the practical stuff. Actual sets, actual locations… and the budget wasn’t spared one bit when emulating the weird and wonderful looking creatures and puppets we loved from the original trilogy.


The action itself is also “Star Wars”. This movie was lacking the triple action set-up that was often used in the other movies. We had 2 major battles at the end of this film instead of 3… but the choreography, mixed with the way the movie gets you to care, or hate, the characters involved makes the movie stand strong next to the other movies that came before it.


Gladly also, John Williams is back with his unforgettable musical talent, making his unmistakable mark on the movie.




All in all, a great follow-up to Episode 6.


Exciting, funny in places, definitely tragic, nostalgic to an extent. Great characters, great storyline (if a little close in some areas to the other movies), and it looks fantastic.


Far better than the prequel trilogy (although I do sorta like them)… and is on-par with the original movies.


Star Wars is back! Finally! Star Wars is back! Bring on Episode 8!


My Rating: 98%