So I watched The Force Awakens…
I have to say I quite admire the secrecy and discretion that was used to market this film. It’s quite rare to go into a film – having watched all the trailers and a bunch of interviews with the cast – and have no idea what’s about to happen. I always strive to avoid spoilers in my review but I’ll be especially careful today, because the mystery of the film is one of its best features.
Okay, basic plot: You know, I think even just giving my usual synopsis of the film would be too much of a spoiler. Let’s just say that: a bunch of characters come together to take on a new evil in the galaxy, with the help of a few characters from the original trilogy. This film needs to be as shrouded in darkness as it can be until you see it.
The best thing about this film is that its filmmakers understands its purpose. They know that it’s a new Star Wars film, telling a new story and that it can’t get bogged down trying to rehash the past. The first encounters we have in the film are with completely new characters. We first see Rey (Daisy Ridley), Fin (John Boyega), Poe (Oscaar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver); and it’s firmly established that they will be the focus and the driving force of this story. We still see a host of our favourite characters from the original trilogy and we learn what has become of them in the thirty years after The Rebellion; but they’re very much in the periphery of the film and this allows the new stars to shine.
J.J. Abrams does a phenomenal job with this film. He’s a self-proclaimed fan of Star Wars and it’s abundantly clear that he understands the spirit of the saga. This film feels like an organic continuation of the story instead of a random piece stuck onto the end of the original trilogy. The look and the feel of this movie is amazing. Abrams leaned heavily towards the use of practical effects in this film and it not only matches the aesthetic style of the originals but also creates a deeper feeling of reality because everything feels tangible. Now obviously you can’t make a film like this nowadays without CGI and, the CGI that is present, is wonderfully rendered. There was a character or two that was lacking the life-like quality of the rest of the film but it’s a small oversight and won’t bother you too much.
Now, this film is in many ways a reboot and a problem that reboots often have is they don’t know how to properly pay homage to the original. Most reboots choose to do this by drudging up the pieces of dialogue we loved in the original and regurgitating them into the remake. This often doesn’t work because the lines just feel out of place and don’t have that same impact as they did the first time they were said. I loved what screenwriters – J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan (who worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi) and Michael Arndt – did to pay homage to the originals. They reference the events of the past but they never try to recreate dialogue or scenes in this film. The events of the original trilogy are seen as folklore so even when they pay homage to the original, it actually moves the story forward instead of pulling it back to the past.
The action in this movie is simply superb! It lifts you off your seat and will have you struggling to catch your breath. There’s also a variety of action in this film; from lightsaber battles to dogfights between aerial fighters. It’s high-pace and thrilling! As the trailers revealed, The Millennium Falcon makes a return in this film and seeing it fly up into air was the perfect mix of joyful nostalgia and new-found excitement. I think nostalgia is going to be the reason a lot of people come to watch this film but this film offers something new. If this is your first Star Wars film, you’re still going to enjoy it because (though it refers to the past) it’s a very self-contained adventure and sets up a whole new trilogy. Franchises are the order of the day but not many films set one up as well as The Force Awakens. If there were no other sequels to this film, it could stand alone on its own two feet. There would still be mysteries that need answering, sure, but this film provides you with enough entertainment and story that you’d be satisfied just watching it.
All the actors in the film do a really great job. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, in particular, shine as this film’s central characters. There’s great heart and humour in all the characters. They’re all a little bit complex and we don’t get to see every single facet of their character but what we do see is incredibly charming and you’ll find yourself falling in love with them before you know it. BB-8, the ‘new’ R2D2, won me over literally ten seconds after his introduction. I wasn’t expecting to like him but he’s kinda like a puppy that you just can’t help falling in love with. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is an incredibly fascinating character. There can never be another Darth Vader but Kylo Ren is something very special and a character I look forward to learning more about as this new trilogy unfolds. Speaking of Ren, I loved his abilities with the force and I feel like they’ve only scratched the surface of what he can do.
The only real problem I had with this movie is that it isn’t very original. There are aspects of the film that are stolen directly from the original trilogy. I won’t spoil anything but seeing things that are so familiar lowers the stakes and sense of danger. We’ve seen our heroes get through this exact same situation before so why would we fear their ability to do it now? Also a lot of the scenes aren’t properly lit and the film has a literal dark feel to it. But these are minor grievances and don’t get in the way of you enjoying this film.
Overall, The Force Awaken is FUCKING AMAZING! It lives up to the hype and will blow you away whether you’re a fan of the original trilogy or not. It’s well-paced, will have you on the edge of your seat and might even move you to tears in certain parts. There is no post-credits but you might want to take a moment to digest it all because this film will tear you apart. GO WATCH IT! 9/10