Being a film geek and a huge fan of the STAR WARS franchise I could not wait to reach for my light sabre and find my local IMAX and immerse myself into that world once more – my first experience of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia was back in the early 80’s, I was too young for New Hope & Empire but watched them both on Video (many times) before eventually Jedi arrived, I was only a kid in ’83, my film education just beginning and watching these characters the maestro George Lucas had created on the big screen for the very first time was something I will always treasure, and like most scfi fans around my age I have watched the original trilogy and its 3 prequels many many times – so after a long wait J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens had arrived, a midnight screening, the packed cinema roared as the infamous opening credits began to rise…..
Having now had a few days to think about the movie, I have come up with some positive & negative feed back, this is my own personal views so please take it all with a pinch of salt – I will get the negatives out of the way early (and these views don’t necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy the movie, quite the opposite) firstly the writing by Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt is too predictable, the film itself copying many of the same trait’s as it’s predecessors almost retelling Lucas’s masterpiece A New Hope – Snoke the master & his apprentice Kylo Ren who is too much like Vader, even dresses in black with a mask but is weaker and less imposing, Rey the film’s lead is a young, untrained yet powerful in the force girl who leaves her planet Jakku to fight with the resistance yep I know all very similar to the path Luke Skywalker took in the original trilogy, The First Order is basically a new and updated Empire, they even have a new droid BB8 who’s just like R2D2 excepts it’s shape and it maneuvers slightly different and there are also a couple of big spoilers that I will not divulge here but also remind one of the original movies – secondly the casting of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is one of the worst in the whole of the Star Wars franchise, he just does not look the part and when he removes his helmet (mystery gone !! – and another big mistake by the writers) he looks so out of place, almost looking a like boy band member, his Anakin tantrums and getting his ass whooped by a novice is a sure way to make your new villain look almost laughable, this is a shame as Kylo Ren is such as badass name and deserves better….
Forgive my little rant on the negative of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens but as I mentioned above the film also has some positives – firstly the new characters Rey, Finn and Poe played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are all exceptional, their chemistry, energy and undoubted excitement over being in a Star Wars movie was there for all to see, they bring great hope & optimism for future movies in the franchise – it would also be rude of me not to mention another fine performance (ala Peter Cushing) by the wonderfully talented Domhnall Gleeson playing General Hux this Irish guy is one of the screen’s finest young actors so maybe his role could be beefed up a little bit more for Rian Johnson’s eighth movie in the series – secondly the quality of the action sequences, especially those involving the Millenium Falcon, that chase scene with Rey in the driver seat early in the movie made my hands all clammy and the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention – exciting was not the word – third and finally the biggest positive I could give The Force Awakens is all about sentiment, from the score by maestro John Williams to the return of some of the much loved characters from the old movies including Solo, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca (grrrwaaaaaarggggh), R2D2 and C3PO all of which have some screen time in this new movie, is what the Star Wars movies are all about – in fairness J.J does a fine job balancing the old characters with the new ones….
Yes the film has a lot of negatives and plenty of unanswered questions but overall as a big screen spectacle J.J Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a fabulously entertaining movie that fits well in the Star Wars universe – my advise is to see the film in 3D as the action scenes are incredible and the extra detail this brings to the movie is worth the admittance fee on it’s own – it’s a shame the writers and J.J took the easy route out in trying to replicate the old movies and not delivering something new and fresh to this world but when all is said and done the movie is a blast and one I look forward to watching again and again ★★★★