Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler-Free Review
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
No spoilers here – just some very good news…
You’d have had to be held captive by a Wampa in a cave on Hoth to have avoided the hype surrounding this, the film that looks set to be the biggest of all time. It’s fitting to reference that ice planet, too, as The Force Awakens is nothing less than the best Star Wars movie since 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back – widely considered the highpoint of the franchise. Taking the creative reins from George Lucas, director J.J. Abrams – the man whose Midas touch rejuvenated the Mission Impossible and Star Trek movies – has made exactly the film multiple generations of fans want to see, uniting the original trilogy’s characters, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, with a new generation of heroes – including a scavenger in search of something more named Rey (Daisy Ridley), and dashing superstar pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
So, just how do you rekindle the magic of the original films? By giving The Force Awakens a decidedly old-school feel – conjuring a tangible universe of blood, sweat and very real tears (for the characters and the audience) rather than desensitising the audience with an overabundance of CGI – one of the many criticisms of the maligned prequel trilogy. There’s not just surface detail, either; it’s imbued with surprising depth, too. Yes, the light and dark sides are as prominent as ever, but the lines between them aren’t as clear-cut as before – represented by disillusioned Stormtrooper Finn, played by John Boyega (a fizzing ball of charisma), and petulant DIY dark lord Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver (an exercise in brooding intensity), who happens to be the most fascinating and multidimensional Star Wars villain to date – yes, including Darth Vader!
There are other benefits. The Force Awakens is the funniest Star Wars film, which is largely thanks to the fact it’s brilliantly written – a compliment not even gifted to the original trilogy, on which star Harrison Ford famously told George Lucas, “You can type this shit, but you can’t say it!” Unlike many of today’s blockbusters, this feels like more than an obligatory tee-up for a sequel. Instead, the story possesses the a drive like the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, while taking some surprising narrative gambles, which we won’t be mentioning here as we wouldn’t want to rob you of one of the most satisfying cinema-going experiences in this or any other galaxy. Rest assured: the Force is very strong with this one!
Words: James Hickie
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