Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Issac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Lupita Nyong’o
Wow. Just wow. After all the waiting, after all that hype, after all the endless bombardment of merchandise and advertising, a new era of Star Wars has finally awakened. And boy, is the Force strong with this one.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens revives and rejuvenates the Star Wars film franchise for a new generation in a way that the George Lucas-directed prequels (episodes I-III) never did. Director JJ Abrams takes the spirit of the Original Trilogy (episodes IV-VI), ramps up the visual effects a few notches, and successfully expands the overall Star Wars universe, while still paying tribute to what has come before.
Fun, exciting, full of emotional moments and memorable characters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is everything the original trilogy was, and the prequels were not. In short, Abrams has managed to bring balance to the Force.
The story is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi. Although the Emperor is dead and the Death Star destroyed, the fight between the Light side and the Dark side rages on.
On the side of the good guys, are the Resistance, led by a familiar face – Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). On the Dark side, the Empire may be gone, but in its place is the First Order, led by the Emperor Palpatine-like Supreme Leader Snoke, and his apprentice, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
To reveal more than that would be to spoil the film for you, so trust us when we say that this is a Star Wars movie that is moving at light speed towards the future, but with one foot firmly planted in the past.
Yes, the legacy cast of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Fisher are back, and Abrams does pay homage to some of the classic and iconic scenes and lines from the original trilogy. However, much of the movie focuses on the new characters.
Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku with a talent for fixing things, is very much central to the plot; as well as Kylo Ren, whose seething rage and impressive crossguard lightsaber makes him a truly intimidating agent of the Dark Side.
The surprise package here, however, is John Boyega’s Finn – a Stormtrooper who decides on a career change despite being one of the few who can actually hit something with a blaster.
Raised and trained to do one thing and one thing only, Finn’s naïve cluelessness and wide-eyed innocence adds a new element to the ensemble, as well as most of the movie’s funniest moments.
In fact, if he had been a Stormtrooper in the Original Trilogy, he probably would have been that legendary Stormtrooper who bumped his head on a blast door in A New Hope.
Another standout is the adorable, roly-poly droid BB-8, who is like a cuddlier and more child-like version of R2-D2 and has more personality than a thousand Gungans.
The fact that he is an actual working puppet (i.e. not created using CGI) makes him an even better character. After watching this movie, you’d want a BB-8 of your own.
With Walt Disney Studios planning to release a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future, it was imperative that The Force Awakens got them out of the blocks running.
Abrams also had another equally important task – he needed to lay the foundation for a new era of Star Wars, while trying to appeal to the franchise’s fervent fan base at the same time.
The Force Awakens manages to do both impeccably, breathing new life to a franchise that has been trading on past glories for decades, while honouring its legacy at the same time.
Star Wars is back, and all is well in that galaxy far, far away.