Star Wars: The Force Awakens(2015)
- RatedPG /GenreAction, Adventure, Fantasy
“This will begin to make things right,” said a character at the start of the film.
Indeed it will.
With JJ Abrams at the helm, ‘The Force Awakens’ revives the nostalgia from the first trilogy, and at the same time gives new hope to ‘Star Wars’ fans.
Here, finally, is the ‘Star Wars’ movie we’ve been looking for since 1985, not a clunky trio of prequels about trade federations and blockades that laid out a story where the ending was expected.
With a screenplay by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (‘Little Miss Sunshine’), Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, the latter the co-writer of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ decades ago, this seventh entry fondly recalls the sci-fi B-movies and Western shoot-em-ups that inspired George Lucas.
The movie continues the epic tale of the fight for freedom in a galaxy far, far away by telling the stories of a group of people who get caught up in something larger than themselves, just as Luke Skywalker did.
Taking the story forward – picking up some 30 years after ‘Return Of The Jedi’ – was the only way.
This allowed Abrams and his team to introduce a host of new characters whose stories are as engaging as the ones we’ve come to love.
‘The Force Awakens’ assembles an amazing lineup of indie talent; from Oscar Isaac (hotshot pilot Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (a sinister Kylo Ren), Domhnall Gleeson (the menacing General Hux), John Boyega (Finn), Lupita Nyong’o and Andy Serkis (both in mo-cap performances as pirate Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke), and Daisy Ridley as Rey.
Rounding out the cast are 'Star Wars' alumni Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill who return for encore performances.
Daisy Ridley is excellent as plucky scavenger Rey, embuing the same blend of fearlessness, compassion and vulnerability that audiences saw and love in Mark Hamill’s young Skywalker.
Together with fellow franchise rookie John Boyega as former Stormtrooper Finn, they are a tough double act to follow, stealing every scene with confidence and wide-eyed enthusiasm – the entire movie could have just been about them.
Harrison Ford returning as Han Solo received some of the best lines in the movie and his scenes with Boyega’s Finn are some of the funniest in the movie.
What struck most about ‘The Force Awakens’ is how self-referential it is. It is as if the new players – both heroes and villains – are ‘Star Wars’ fans themselves, whispering of the myths and legends from a different time to each other; while the returning players are there to pass on their legacy.
The movie is, of course, not without its flaws. While the movie is prepared to take off in a new direction, it is still too anchored to the past. This is great for the devoted but the emphasis on nostalgia almost makes the film a lot like a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation.
But watching the TIE Fighter and X-Wing dogfights, the Millenium Falcon blasting into hyperspace again, the colourful aliens and the lightsaber battles, set to John Williams’ goose-bump raising score – the way it should be done – is just too good to be true.
‘The Force Awakens’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since Empire Strikes back’.
When the movie ultimately ends, you can’t help but feel a touch of poignant sentimentality simply because you just cannot wait to get the next chapter of the story.
So now we wait.
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opens in cinemas 17 December 2015