My friends are going to be pleasantly surprised when they read this review. It’s not often that I don’t have any issues with a film. This was the case with JJ Abram’s first foray into the Star Wars universe, and one which I’m glad to say is a resounding success.
Firstly, confession: as the credit crawl began to roll I was immediately flooded with a rush of nostalgia. This nostalgia lead to excitement and this excitement lead to tears.
Yes I cried. Before the credit crawl was over, I had shed a tear of excitement.
Upon reading the synopsis for this seventh episode in the decade-spanning franchise, I could already feel the Abrams-force within the film. I began to get nervous for half a second; JJ Abrams is known for injecting his own formula into beloved franchises and while I do love his version of the Star Trek universe, many Trekkies would see his head on an Romulan pike for what he did to their favourite franchise and frankly this made me a little bit nervous
So you folks are aware of the basic synopsis right? Cool I’m not going to dwell on it too much. To those that know anything about the plot – good on you.
It’s been thirty years since Han Solo and his rebel allies defeated the Empire but they face a fresh face in oppression and all things Sith in the form of a reimagined Empire, this time called “The First Order”, and a brand new red lightsaber-wielding Sith Lord by the name of Kylo Ren.
Abrams wastes no time establishing newfound pace and pushes the stakes to an all-time-high from the very first scene. The opening sequence sets the tone for the film, and a tone which smacks you in the forehead and let’s you know that you’re in for one hell of a kessel run.
One thing’s for certain from the get-go: the Stormtroopers and The First Order seem to be way more formidable than their fallen brothers of the Empire.
I can’t give away too much about the plot but when we’re first introduced to one of new heroes – this one being Rey – we’re treated to some of the best shots I’ve seen in both the Star Wars universe and film in general.
The new locale of planet Jakku, which could easily be mistaken for Tatooine, is a graveyard of sorts with its desert being littered with the colossal remains of Star Destroyers and many other Empire spacecraft. Abrams really presents an entirely new feeling of scale and despite these elements being CGI in nature, you really can’t help but in awe of just how big everything is.
Huge set-pieces and scene spanning-shots are the name of the game here. While you can definitely see Abrams’ style has been introduced into the Star Wars realm, it really only adds to the wonder and epic scale of this beautiful and dangerous galaxy.
Abrams’ decision to introduce new characters and young fresh faces to play them was a great move. John Boyega, who plays Finn, might not be that unknown to the more nerdy crowd (he played the lead in the UK alien invasion flick Attack The Block), but to the unwashed masses he will be received as a great new actor with amazing comedic timing.
The next newcomer introduced is Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, a scavenger who lives by herself on Jakku and is completely badass and independent. Oscar Isaac plays Po Dameron a resistance X- Wing pilot and although Isaacs is hardly a newcomer, he’s definitely a thespian of the highest calibre and one to follow as he gains more popularity with each role he owns.
The feeling of nostalgia increases exponentially as they reintroduce all our beloved characters from the superior original trilogy. When Chewbacca and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo appear on screen for the first time, I had Cheshire cat sized grin on my face. The same goes for every other character from the original trilogy: Carrie Fisher is back as General Organa (yep she’s no longer a Princess), those lovable droids C-3PO and R2D2 are back and we’re also introduced to quite possibly the cutest addition to the droid family – BB8 – a cute new droid who will steal your heart within the first twenty minutes of the film.
JJ Abrams, with all his efforts to avoid the pitfalls of the prequel trilogy that began in 1999, has crafted a shiny new beginning to a whole new trilogy and expanded the universe, while still capturing the heart and soul of the original trilogy. He’s also managed to add a new found charm to his film. The humour he has crafted between all the characters – new and old – and is a welcome to change to the sometimes stark feel of the original films. He has, in a nutshell, provided us with a new chapter in the galaxy we loved as kids and reinvigorated a franchise that many thought was not possible.
Every single scene in The Force Awakens, whether it be an amazing dogfight between Imperial TIE fighters and X-Wings or a laugh generated by either Han Solo or Finn, the same thought popped into my head: “I can’t wait to see this again”. The film left me in tears (again) and the final act left me in complete awe. I look forward to seeing what else Abrams and Disney has to offer us for the next chapters to come in this galaxy far, far away…