A long time ago Star Wars was released to critical and commercial acclaim. Years went by and five more films were made to… let’s say mixed feelings from the public, but now the Force has well and truly awoken. Star Wars VII is a masterpiece of storytelling, technical achievement and film making.
Firstly, NO SPOILERS WILL BE IN THIS REVIEW. A spoiler filled review will be here in the coming days for people to comment on the thing that happened in the thing because of the thing.
Let’s start with the crawl which until yesterday I had never really considered it’s importance but with the first four words being LUKE SKYWALKER IS MISSING I was on edge from the get go.
The Force Awakens follows Finn, a former Stormtrooper of The First Order as he arrives on Jakku and runs into Rey, a scavenger with an interesting past. They try to leave and find the resistance (Rebellion) and many things happen. There we go, Star Wars in a nutshell. There are so many things I can’t say about the story but all of the above information you already knew from the three magnificent trailers which use footage from the first 30-40 minutes so there’s another 2 hours of stuff you’ve never seen and when you see it you will have your mind blown. The story is delivered so well and clearly it can be shown to everyone, especially people who haven’t seen any of the previous films.
Every character is fantastically written and performed. Newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) are great archetypal heroes whereas Poe Dameron (Oscar Isacc) is the dictionary definition of likeable. On the dark side Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is darkness and evil personified, worshiping below a shrine to Darth Vader will do that. On a side note, his lightsaber is amazing. It shows that he’s taking the Sith ways and implementing changes to make himself and his fighting style more imposing and deadly. I can’t remember the last time someone was shown demonstrating just how much control of the force they have since Master Yoda than Kylo Ren. The return of Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia (now General Organa instead of Princess) are handled maturely, with respect and is not just fan service for the hell of it.
It’s also funny, really really funny.
Visually, the film is a delight. The practical aspect pushed so hard in promotion is front and centre and only uses CG when absolutely necessary, flying ships, massive alien beasts etc. and how can we forget about BB-8. This droid in 5 minutes of screen time won more fans over than the vast majority of any part of the prequels. And for all the JJ Abrams fans don’t worry, you’re gonna get some lens flares but just the right amount this time.
If I was a nitpicker and had to say something bad about the film, Daisy Ridley is not as good in the film as John Boyega or Oscar Isaac. Some people and critics have claimed she is bad full stop but I see it as acting choices based on the character’s difficult upbringing and being thrust into new surroundings. Also the music is not as noteworthy as previous installments, I couldn’t sing a new theme right now. While the score is very good and compliments the film perfectly it’s surprising because the music from Star Wars is universally known for it’s thematic prowess and even the prequels had splashes of real symphonic brilliance but with The Force Awakens the best moments of the score is when it references existing themes, The Force, Princess Leia and the iconic opening titles.
And now we finish on the most important aspect for me. The soul was there, it was a blissful few minutes in the middle where everything aligned to cement the feeling that this film was not just a great continuation of the franchise this was in the realm of Blade Runner and 2001 to be one of the greatest Science-Fiction films of all time.
I laughed, I cried, I had one of the best nights of my life with one of the best films of the year.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets my first perfect score.