From the moment that the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit the internet over a year ago, fans worldwide have been impatiently counting down the days, weeks and months ahead of its theatrical release. With J.J. Abrams at the helm, veteran screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and a host of returning characters and fresh new faces, The Force Awakens is an engrossing, energetic and an emotionally draining experience that will bring tears to the eyes of the franchise’s wide fan base.
From the moment the famous line, ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,’ appears on screen, the iconic theme and scroll floods you with a feeling of nostalgia, the excitement never lets up as J.J. Abrams keeps the camera panning and turning every way he can to make use of the fantastic cinematography and beautiful set designs. The use of practical effects makes the world feel real, and it adds a huge amount of charm to know that most of the creatures on show are die-hard Star Wars fans in costumes desperate for their slice of the action. The premise is familiar to a degree, with some plot elements and visual shots borrowed from A New Hope, but there is enough on show here that feels fresh and original that it doesn’t weigh too heavy on proceedings.
The cast are phenomenal, with Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver giving stand-out performances as Rey, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren respectively. Harrison Ford returns as the charismatic Han Solo and alongside Chewbecca, provides the film with some fantastic comedic moments as the pair bicker back and forth like an old married couple. BB-8 joins R2-D2 as one of the most endearing droids in the series, and Finn, played by John Boyega, is an interesting addition as the former Stormtrooper with a heart of gold. Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis, makes a few brief appearances but is given little to do except for a few lines of exposition, and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma will surely be put to better use in the upcoming sequels.
The action sequences are superbly shot, with an added intensity that is sure to excite even the most ardent critic. You can feel the weight of every turn of the Millenium Falcon, and whenever a lightsaber is drawn you can feel its fatal power. The lightsaber duels feel gritty and dirty, a far cry from the choreography of the prequel duels. The finale is a delight, and will leave fans frothing at the mouth for the next episode. The musical score is gorgeous, stunning and will reduce you to a blubbering wreck.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a brilliant reintroduction to the beloved galaxy saga that will delight children and adults alike. J.J. Abrams and his dedicated crew give their all to give fans the most emotionally engaging episode in the series since Return of the Jedi. I would say go and see it but, seeing as how it has already grossed one billion worldwide, you probably already have.
Words by Jake Constable