Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoiler Free Review)
The Force is strong with this movie; J.J. Abrams created one of the most visually stunning movies of all time. This is not just another Star Wars film, but a film that can stand on its own.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson & Mark Hamill.
Run Time: 135 min.
US Release: 17 December 2015
UK Release: 17 December 2015
German Release: 17 December 2015
This is it! The movie I was looking for the most this year is finally out and it is great! Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not just a good Star Wars movie, it is also a good cinematic piece of work and I am not just saying it because I am a fan of the franchise. This is one of the most beautiful looking movies hands-down and everybody working on it, be it the actors, writers, directors, extras or the creators of costumes and puppets, are giving their very best to bring life to that world.
I need to confess, even though I trusted J.J. to create a good Star Wars flick, I was still worried that it may rely more on paying tribute to the original trilogy than being its own film in the franchise. But after watching this movie it was like a heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders. After the credits rolled I couldn't help but notice that I had tears in my eyes and a longing for more, all fears were blown away and I can honestly say that this is one of my favourite Star Wars movies.
This sci-fi blockbuster revolves around the character of Rey (Ridley), a scavenger of the planet of Jakku and she eventually runs into the little droid BB-8 and former stormtrooper Finn (Boyega). Finn, who was born and raised to follow orders without questioning, left the First Order because he couldn’t shake the feeling that what he did was plain wrong. This starts their adventure that leads them to the Resistance and thus they meet Han Solo (Ford). This is all I am going to say about the plot.
Episode VII is not a perfect movie though, not that something like that exists, yet it is as good of a Star Wars sequel to the originals as it can come. The flaws that I picked up while watching it in the theatre are just minor issues but, due to the majority of the film being good, those nuisances did stand out.
This is a fast-paced movie that jumps from one incident to the next, but it is done right and therefore benefits the plot, only halting for moments of emotional importance. Old and new characters are set up extremely well and the audience can care about what happens to them since it is through these figures that the plot progresses. The story contains a lot of love for the material, understands the franchise and therefore has a soul. The narrative advances by showing us what is happening, rather than depending on explanatory dialogues and contains great humour that spawns naturally from the characters and fits the events, so it does not feel forced.
So what are my issues with the Force Awakens? For one, I thought that, although Kylo Ren is a remarkable enemy, his motivation to join the First Order and as thus the dark side of the force, is not explained fully. I, therefore, lacked to fully comprehend him as a person, as his character isn’t sufficiently developed. My second issue is that Starkiller base is nothing that feels truly menacing, especially when comparing it to the Death Star in the original trilogy. Its purpose is simply to give the Republic a reason to engage the First Order head-on.
Daisy Ridley and John Boyega were fantastic casting choices. Boyega oozes with energy and the viewer can clearly notice how excited he is to be in this film, while Ridley is simply perfect as the female lead! She steals every scene she is in and can profit from the benefit that she is completely new to the business; this actress will have an amazing career in front of her! It is due to that motivation and excitement that the audience cares about the relationship of the respective characters of Rey and Finn. They have amazing chemistry and I simply want to see more of them on screen! Another great relationship, which is gradually built up in the story is that of Rey and BB-8. The ball-shaped droid is great, not too cute and with the right amount of attitude.
On a side note, I just want to include that the figure of Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, is the coolest pilot (not counting Luke as he is a Jedi first) in the history of Star Wars pilots.
Harrison Ford is amazing! He once again incorporates the role of Han Solo and also has great chemistry with the new cast. Most important, though, it is made clear that the character has grown over the past 30 years, just as his relationship with his best friend and co-pilot Chewie has grown as well. It is a treat to see both of them on-screen and they give the movie quite a bit of humour, with the ongoing banter between each other.
Finally, I would like to talk about the character of Leia. I was really worried about how Carrie Fisher would portray her and how the chemistry between her and Ford would feel on screen. But my doubts were blown away once again. She is great and in the few scenes her character shares with Solo, a strong connection and attraction between the two figures still linger in the atmosphere, yet this time it includes a tragic and remorseful note.
Episode VII has jaw-dropping beautiful cinematography, with long wide shots. It also makes use of actual practical effects and real locations. The different designs for the alien races looked real because nearly all were hand-made puppets and costumes that people had worked on. Sadly I also think that due to the movie using practical effects in 90% of the scenes, the CGI figures sometimes look out of place. They are still developed well and are gorgeously looking, and at times they seem to fit into the scene.
Verdict: Episode VII is everything I hoped for and more. It ranks high on my list of favourite Star Wars films right after A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It not only has beautiful effects and great camera work but newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega did a fantastic acting job. Its great script; engaging story and fantastic dialogues are further proof of this film’s superiority and I will, therefore, give it a 9.5 out of 10.
Did you see The Force Awakens yet? If you are a fan of the original trilogy and you did not go see this one in cinemas yet, I urge you to go and experience this great blockbuster as soon as possible. If you did go see it, let me know what you thought of it in the comment section below.
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