Star Wars: The Force Awakens review

Posted on December 17, 2015

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The Storyline

Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca Picture courtesy of Empire Magazine

Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
Picture courtesy of Empire Magazine


We start with a battle on a planet where rebels are hiding from the First Order. A pilot tries to fight his way out and orders his droid BB-8 to go without him and escape when all seems lost.

Stormtroopers are ordered to kill all civilians but one chooses not to and this becomes the crossroads in his life.
Meanwhile, on another planet a young woman named Rey makes her living scavenging parts of crashed ships so she can eat and soon her life is about to turn around when BB-8 comes into her life along with Finn, the young Stormtrooper and all three set off on an adventure of a lifetime that will have repercussions throughout the galaxy and change their lives forever…

The Review

A long time ago in a town far far away…

I was a small excitable five year old when Star Wars: A New Hope came out and I remember queuing up down a dirty side ally (still there but now a so-called pub run by a ruthless chain) with my Dad for what seemed like hours outside the cinema to go and see it. Once inside with my drink and sweets I stared up at the screen in rapturous awe as the rolling script and title theme tune burst on the screen in front of us. I had never been so excited in all my short five years on this mad spinning rock of ours.

And then it happened. I fell asleep halfway through the film and I was so very upset that I think I cried. My Dad said it was my own fault and half-heartedly berated me but eventually took me back to see it again and this time I stayed awake through the whole thing. This was the start of a love affair; not just for Star Wars, but for the whole magic of storytelling. I was hooked!

Cue thirty-eight years later and to the midnight showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I was that little five year old boy again and this time I would not fall asleep through it.

The music burst on the screen and the introduction scrolled away into the stars like the original. The magic was back and even more so as we were watching it in 3D…

From the opening scenes I was immediately drawn into the film, an easy thing being as it was three dimensional. I even tried grabbing the tie-fighters in the beginning like a right mumpty.

There were lots of nods and in-joke’s to the original film that mostly fans would get but this would not spoil it for newcomers to the Star Wars franchise although I would say if you have not seen any of them at all it is best to start from the beginning. Actually, it is unnecessary to see the three prequels unless you want to. Just stick with A New Hope, the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and then watch The Force Awakens. They all knit together seamlessly.

I have a few minor quips and one huge one but I think it best not to tell you them and for you to judge for yourself although I will say I was disappointed in one of the characters who was too weak in characterisation for me, behaving like a spoilt child instead of the character meant to be played but maybe they will develop in the next instalment due in two years time?

And one other slightly annoying thing not directly to do with the film as such. At the beginning people started to clap as the film started. Some of us shuffled uncomfortably in our seats. Please don’t do it. It is embarrassing and the actors on the screen cannot hear you. It’s just not the British way.

Seeing Harrison Ford return as Han Solo along with Chewbacca played by Peter Mayhew was brilliant. In fact all the old cast returned but you knew some of them would be replaced by the new cast soon enough. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega will go far and this film will ensure their futures for many years to come but I suspect Ridley will become something of a huge star in her own right like Emma Watson has after the Harry Potter series.

All in all it was a fantastic film that blew me away and is essentially a homage to the franchise and a fresh reboot for a new saga and a new age; so much so that I will be going again with whoever will join me, probably my little nephews who I am tempted to drag along but know will love it.

JJ Abrams, thank you and all involved for making me believe in the power of storytelling on screen once again. You made the five year old in me extremely happy indeed. I walked home at 0330 this morning and wrote this an hour later a happy bunny indeed.

Go see it. You will not be disappointed…

Cast

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Picture courtesy of Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Picture courtesy of Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios


Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley as Rey
John Boyega as Finn
Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma
Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron
Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, a pirate
Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke
Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka

Production

Directed by J. J. Abrams

Producers:

Kathleen Kennedy
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk

Writers:

Lawrence Kasdan
J. J. Abrams
Michael Arndt

Music – John Williams

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