“There has been an awakening… Have you felt it?” In short, yes, yes I damn well have. Star Wars is finally back and for the past year or so, it has been nearly impossible to not get swept up in the fanfare. No matter where you are in the world, Star Wars fever will have taken you, or someone you know, in a firm (force) chokehold.
Original Trilogy fans can fear not, The Force Awakens has definitely been made with your best interests at heart, there is no doubt that this is a film for the fans. Not a Midi-chlorian or a Gungan to be seen, it seems writer/ director J.J. Abrams was just as keen to forget about the Prequel Trilogy as most of us were.
If you are reading this review in the hope of finding any of the delicious plot points or ‘spoilers’ you so desperately crave, you have come to the wrong place. If you were wondering why Luke Skywalker is famously absent from the poster or what the deal with the hugely mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke is all about, you can go to literally any cinema and find out for yourself. Everything mentioned from this point on will have either been shown in the trailers or a plot synopsis.
I will begin by throwing copious amounts of praise towards the new cast. In a move similar to the casting sessions of the original Star Wars, a relative unknown was cast as the film’s hero. Daisy Ridley is an absolute delight as the abandoned scavenger Rey, surviving on the planet Jakku. Having only appeared in a handful of British TV shows, it seemed like an extreme gamble to place her front and centre in arguably the biggest film of all time, however, critics across the world have been silenced as she delivers one hell of a knockout performance. Most likely inspired by the success of The Hunger Games, The Force Awakens is continuing to show a still male-centric Hollywood that just because the hero is a woman, she doesn’t need to do it all in high heels to show she’s strong (looking at you Jurassic World) it just happens to be that the hero is a woman (and everyone’s new favourite character).
Another perfect casting belongs to Adam Driver’s ‘Kylo Ren’; the new force wielding Dark Lord of the galaxy. Essentially a Darth Vader fan boy, he’ll do everything in his power to ‘finish what he started’. Fuelled by dark secrets and prone to an occasional temper tantrum, he is exactly the villain you were waiting for. The way Driver brings him to life is enormous amounts of fun; you can tell he had the best time playing the villain.
Seeing this film in the cinema had to be one of the best movie-going experiences of my life, without sounding horribly cliché, you could feel the anticipation and buzz around the room, it was electric. As those timeless words graced the screen, and the opening crawl began, the audience was in a frenzy, cheering as if the stars of the film had just walked into the room. It set the following 135 minutes up perfectly, the energy of the film perfectly synchronized to the audience without ever letting up. Whenever I’d find myself grinning idiotically at any of the numerous nostalgic throwbacks, a quick glance around the room let me know that I was not alone. This film really does mean alot to so many people.
Unlike many modern blockbusters, The Force Awakens doesn’t feel the need to be too ‘dark’. While some of the things the First Order does are completely terrifying and evil (and have numerous parallels to the Nazis), this is very much a family film and stays very faithful to the originals in terms of tone and comedy. Sorry Mad Max, but I have a new favourite film of 2015.
5 / 5
Dir: J.J. Abrams
Scr: JJ. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Max Von Sydow
Prd: JJ. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Kathleen Kennedy
DOP: Daniel Mindel
Music: John Williams
Run time: 145 mins
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in UK cinemas now… in case you didn’t know.