Disney’s first venture with their four billion dollar investment was an astounding success and returns the franchise to its former glory.
“STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS” is finally here, a full length film to go with the toy, clothing and merchandise littering stores of all types around the globe. Even to say this was a massively hyped film would be an understatement. Since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, fans worldwide had revitalized hope of more solid films from the “Star Wars” world, ones that would be much more enjoyable than the prequels and continue the saga the world has been waiting for since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi”.
After seeing this film I can easily say the result, while not perfect, easily meets the massive hype machine that swarmed the project for years. The project was handed over to J.J. Abrams and despite the pressure of making something that would begin to recoup some of Disney’s investment, he did not falter. Abrams clearly showed he knew the source material, respected the characters, and truly wanted to make this seventh installment to the level of quality the originals were, more than the fans wanted him to.
The story-line pulls you in from the beginning and holds a very swift pace. There was never a moment that seemed wasted for simple filler and the plot is constantly evolving. There was a seamless weaving of emotional dynamics, character development, mind-blowing action, and doses of comical set-ups making the adventure a complete package. Unlike the cardboard, emotionless characters of the prequels, this film gives some meat to each of characters that can enables the viewer to connect with in a variety of ways. Which naturally builds intrigue and makes you want to see how their characters will play out in the end.
The returning cast members were perfectly used in my opinion and rather than simply being placed in the story to serve as cameos for face value, they are integral to the plot and written nicely into the script. Getting to see more of these famous characters creates a perfect continuation to their original story-arcs that help fill in the past thirty-years.
Newcomer’s Daisy Ridley and John Boyega had a lot of pressure on their young shoulders to bring some new life to the cast and they both delivered with shining performances. However it must be said that Ridley was the true star of this film, bringing its strongest performance. She was charismatic and pulled off the role with ease bringing all the range of emotions that will propel her to one of the franchises new heroes. You can see some vulnerability in her persona of Rey but the unrelenting determination to push her self forward instinctively makes you roof for her success.
Boyega was awesome as a conflicted stormtrooper for The First Order that follows his heart despite the risks and deserts the regime. Boyega and Ridley poured energy into their roles and showed great chemistry not only with one another but with the older cast members as well. It didn’t take long for Harrison Ford to build a strong rapport with Ridley and it made the passing of the torch from the old to young characters very effective.
Oscar Isaac came in as well a created a charming persona as a decorated X-Wing pilot. He gives off the natural feel of a likable hero and had he been given more screen-time he could have better created a persona similar to that of a younger Han Solo. Adam Driver can also not be forgotten in the role of the villain Kylo Ren. Filling the shoes of Darth Vader is no easy feat and with some great costume design and Driver’s range of dialogue delivery and physical acting he gave this film a legitimate antagonist.
Everyone expected a ton of CGI in this film but there was loads of practical effects that gave the entire feel of the movie a realistic look, and not the green-screen feel of the prequels. Like the original films you can see that many of the alien characters, robotics and set-pieces are all physical things that were made, not generated by computers. The sets were very large and very detailed with many characters moving about in them and it works well to pull you into the world as well as capture the massive scope of everything.
J.J. Abrams took a solid story-line and crafted it into a beautifully polished film by teaming up with Director of Photography Daniel Mindel. They have worked on some highly entertaining action blockbusters in the past and it is clear after seeing this one that both have a similar vision in creating a spectacular adventure with an artistic eye.
There was no moment in this film where you can not appreciate the detail taken into making it as visually splendid as possible. There are many wide, extended shots of the characters that allow you to take in the world around them and at the same time pulling the most out of the fantastic locations. The action-sequences were fantastic, fast-paced and charged with all the energy you could want from the “Star Wars” franchise. Added with the return of John Williams who once again composes a brilliant score to pull the most impact out of each moment throughout the adventure.
The dialogue was well written and made even better from the all around great cast performances. The subtle comical set-ups were also very clever and never felt forced serving a great tension break from the many dramatic moments. There was a great balance of action, plot development, subtle nostalgia to the past, and the result was a swift moving adventure that leaves you wanting more.
There were a couple things I would have liked to have seen that would have made the film a little better (in my opinion) but nothing that in any way hindered the high amount of enjoyment I got from watching. To avoid spoilers I will not delve into much detail but there were a couple sub-plots and characters that could have been developed more. Like I said, these are minor flaws and there is a good possibility some of these aspects I felt were glossed over, will be explored in future films. But it would have been nice to see just a couple aspects of this script fleshed out a little more to make the most impact from the delivery.
In the end, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is an astounding success and Abrams showed he knew what to do with the reigns of the franchise and delivered a winner in my opinion. Head to the theater, grab your popcorn, soda and 3-D glasses and enjoy the awesome “Star Wars” film the world has been waiting for since the early 80’s.
– Starring –
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Iko Uwais, Ken Leung
– Directed By –
Time: 135 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For science-fiction action violence)