Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – Film Review (SPOILER FREE)

Humourous new addition to the franchise

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We’ve been waiting a while but the seventh entry into the Star Wars film franchise has arrived courtesy of JJ Abrams among much pomp and ceremony.  I was one of the maniacs at one of the midnight screenings and thought about quickly writing up my initial reaction before thinking ‘who is reading a review at 3am?’  As ever I despise spoilers so prepare yourselves for one of the most carefully written reviews in film criticism history.  Indeed you will find some ambiguities, lack of precision etc and this is all deliberate.  So without further ado …

The basic set up of the film is that Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is on a mission on the planet of Jakku on behalf of the Resistance when he is interrupted by the First Order (the remnants of the old Empire).  He is separated from his droid BB-8 who ends up in the possession of scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley).  She in turn bumps into Finn (John Boyega), a man on the run, who team up with a familiar face to return BB-8 to the resistance.

So is it as good as the original trilogy?  No.  Is it better than the prequels?  Dear God yes and by some distance.  Here in my view is what you need to know.  It is very, very funny.  There are many laugh out loud moments often featuring our new round droid friend.  Rey is the new super heroine taking over from Katniss Everdeen (without the whining) who knows how to handle her weaponry and seems to be able to fix anything.  She sure as hell doesn’t need no man to hold her hand through this adventure.

You can expect plenty of spectacular explosions, dog fights and one or two revelations.  Fans of the original trilogy should keep their eyes open throughout as a variety of old characters and droids turn up.  The best of the new villains is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is being set up as the Darth Vader of his franchise as the puppet of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).  He is a more subtle character than Vader and is probably how Anakin Skywalker should have been played in the prequels.

The film is not without fault.  My main issue is with two of the characters namely General Hux (Domhnell Gleeson) and Snoke.  Gleeson seems to be doing a second rate impression of an uptight Englishman with a stick up his bottom.  It irritated me whenever he was onscreen which is unfortunate given the tension his rivalry with Hux should have given the film.  We all know that Andy Serkis is the king of motion capture but Snoke looks like something straight out of Middle Earth i.e. another type of film.  In a film that does as much as possible in-camera it is painfully obvious he is brought to life using CGI.  Will have to wait and see how his character/appearance develops.  Didn’t fit into a Star Wars film.

Well I can wipe my brow now as I don’t believe I have spoiled anything.  I think this film is a good starting point that future directors can build upon.  It comes highly recommended because it’s really entertaining and introduces some strong new characters in Rey and Finn.  This is a promising new start, my rating 4/5.

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