Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Lupita N’yongo, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Peter Mayhew

Revisiting to a galaxy far, far away, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ reignites the love for the beloved franchise whilst maintaining the heart, laughs, wonderment and adventure that quintessentially mirrors the magic brought to our screens near forty years earlier. 

Thirty-eight years, six films, two trilogies and an extended universe, the culture and phenomenon we recognise as Star Wars has become a household name to many, the highly regarded centre point of nerd culture and the very foundation that birthed the blockbuster genre. And finally, three years since powerhouse studio bought Lucasfilm for mere pocket change of $4 billion, their return to the big screen has finally graced its presence at a full house screening at the brink of midnight. Thirty years after the destruction of the Empire, a young scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and misguided stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) are taken upon the adventure of a lifetime as a villainous organisation under the leadership of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) takes its hold within the galaxy, far, far away…

A cinematic experience unlike any other, a blockbuster sequel to a franchise that created the very first blockbuster title. A universe that expands well beyond any other, with a myriad of characters and quotable one-liners verbatim to the minds of its most devoted of fans. Well beyond the stench of its prequel trilogy, director J.J. Abrams had a lot to live up to, pioneering a sequel trilogy to what is regarded as one of the greatest trilogies ever put on screen. And while the film does present its problems, The Force Awakens overcomes its faults remaining a consistently exciting and enthralling adventure, one that not only will birth newfound fans but one that reignites the magic millions fell in love with in 1977. An adventure space opera fuelled by action, emotion and laughs that remains the heart and crux of the beloved Star Wars.

Kickstarting the franchise with a gorgeous and pulsating bang, from the opening crawl text and the bombastic proportions of John William’s classic and instantly hummable score remains near overwhelming for the most die hard of fans. A new vision under a new set of eyes, Abrams ignites the burnt out flame with gorgeous cinematography and a devotion to practical effects delivering an outstanding visual achievement in blockbuster entertainment. X-Wings and Tie fighters fly in visually bombastic fashion. Making the appropriate call backs to the original, from blasting the Millennium Falcon to the jump to light speed to the mentions the kessel run in less than twelve parsecs to the Cantina Bar-like music, The Force Awakens ensures the longest of Star Wars fans enjoy the little tidbits to enjoy throughout its 135 minute run time.

Contorting and visually stunning camera work, shots conceived in breathtaking fashions never before seen in a Star Wars epic. Stunningly choreographed lightsaber battles, Abrams delivers truly remarkable sequences not seen since the days of Empire Strikes Back. John Williams delivers yet another bombastic and thematic sound, echoing the legacy of its game-changing soundtrack. In recognising the core of its original trilogy, Abrams’ latest remains emotional and hard-hitting, a trait not seen since the days of Return of the Jedi and surprisingly perhaps, the funniest Star Wars title our vocal chords are unaccustomed to.

Scripted by Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt, Abrams himself and The Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan, the trio encapsulates the love and heart of Star Wars almost flawlessly. Abrams, a true fan himself, infuses the glory of what fans love about the franchise, calling back to the special easter eggs all the while pertaining to a consistently riveting adventure. Acting as the new Rebels and Galactic Empire, The Resistance and the First Order don as the new sides respectively, mirroring the duality between the two sides of the original trilogy. Plot twists and surprises remains intact and galore to gaping eyes, moments that linger on scene by scene. But perhaps most importantly, Abrams crafts a reason to continue the cinematic legacy of Star Wars in the narrative to beautiful effect, even a tale thirty years down the track.

A star shines bright in Daisy Ridley, an instantly loveable and relatable character in Rey, fuelled by pure-badassery all the while spawning a career for light years to come. Bold, emotional and absorbing, Ridley truly accentuates herself as a force to be reckoned with. John Boyega embodies the love of Star Wars throughout The Force Awakens as the troubled Finn, confused and terrified yet charismatic and daring, Finn works wonders alongside Rey, a dynamic duo that enthrals throughout the epic journey for the two debut set of characters. Oscar Isaac dons the near new Han Solo of the trilogy, cracking wise and simply being the best fighter pilot in the galaxy to scene stealing proportions. The film introduces the new droid BB-8, an adorable spherical droid that acts as a perfect addition to the Star Wars family.

Ferocious, mysterious and fuelled by the dark side, Adam Driver‘s Kylo Ren never attempts to replicate the legacy of Darth Vader but respects the villainous motives of the infamous antagonist. Terrifying under the Vader-ian helmet while yielding a cross guard lightsaber, fuelled by the dark side in a truly spine-chilling performance. However, with a cavalcade of new faces, General Hux as played by Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma serve little to the film’s narrative and often remain under utilised with little screen time.

The Force Awakens would not be Star Wars without its original players. Reintroduced to overwhelming excitement, Han Solo and Chewbacca spend a surprising large amount of screen time as one may expect, but revisiting the two beloved characters remain a true cornerstone through the latest epic. Leia returns to an amazing performance, offering the strong emotional punch alongside Han. C3-PO and R2-D2 return to little screen time, but seeing them return to the big screen will put smiles across the board. And Luke? See the film and we’ll talk more.

Often acting as a preamble to the trilogy to follow, The Force Awakens wants to introduce and bombard with fresh faces and new introduced entities and with a quick energetic pace, there is little room for the film to breathe, especially after emotionally powerful scenes sprinkled throughout the picture. Perhaps a concern for filmgoers going into the film, is the reliance of the franchise’s plot points. From the very familiar Starkiller Base to the original Death Star, the familiarity may be somewhat tiresome.

A film for the fans and the for the moviegoers, Star Wars: The Force Awakens delivers an action-packed adventure, a worthy predecessor to the Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens reminds its audience why we love Star Wars, the adventure, the laugh and the emotion remain strong consistently. Shepherding fresh faces with familiar friends, Abrams crafts a wholly new adventure amalgamating unabashed and riveting scenarios driven by love and nostalgia of its franchise brand.

And while having inconsistencies along the way, Abrams certifies that the love for Star Wars is as energetic as ever. Crafted with a profound sense of heart and passion, The Force Awakens reminds its audience why we love the movies, proving that the force is well and truly alive and strong once again. Breathe a sigh of relief, folks; Star Wars is back.

— Published originally on Blogspot

Tags: Star Wars, The Force AwakensJ.J. Abrams, film review