Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh film in the Star Wars prequels, the first in 10 years, after Revenge of the Sith, and the first sequel to the original films that were first released in 1977. It is directed by J J Abrams and stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver as Finn (FN-2817), Rey, Po Dameron and Kylo Ren respectively. It also features returning cast members Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess/General Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).
This film is a return to form of the Star Wars franchise, quite literally. Despite it being heavily criticised for being too similar to the originals, the StarKiller base being a prime example of this, this is what the Star Wars franchise actually needed.
With the prequels being widely regarded as bad by the majority of the Star Wars fanbase, J J Abrams took the same formula from the original franchise, made a few subtle tweaks and put it out to the public. And it was brilliant.
The new actors bring a whole new level to the film. John Boyega’s Finn seems like someone who shouldn’t even be in a Star Wars movie with his level of disbelief at most of the events. Oscar Isaacs steals every scene he’s in with his witty dialogue and charm. And Daisy Ridley as Rey puts in a performance worthy of an Oscar as she outperforms her fellow actors and delivers a strong female lead that everyone can look up to. Even the old actors put in some great performances. Harrison Ford brings his all once again as Han Solo, really channeling his great acting ability that we haven’t seen in a long time, we all forget about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The big bad in this movie is Kylo Ren and the First Order, intent on taking out the new Republic and its democracy in order to restore the Galactic Empire. These villains truly add something new to the franchise, they’re more powerful and more violent than any of the previous enemies, which is clearly shown within the first 15 minutes when a squad of troopers destroy a whole village and completely massacre the locals without hesitation.
The look of this film is also amazing. Abrams brings the Star Wars universe back to its gritty real-set roots and wipes away any lingering memories of horrible CGI. The sets of the Millenium Falcon, the resistance base and the StarKiller base all looks amazing and feel as if they could be real locations that exist in the real world.
Also, the cinematography is beautiful. One shot that stood out for myself in particular was the one long take where we watch Po Dameron fly through the sky taking out TIE Fighters attacking the people below whilst Finn yells out ‘that’s one hell of a pilot!’. Of course we’ve only heard of great pilots before (Anakin and Luke) but we’ve never really seen them in action.
One negative however, is the score. John Williams returned to compose the original soundtrack for this next installment and he didn’t really bring anything new. The original theme and closing credit tracks are both amazing, but mainly because they are the same as they were in the previous films. Reys, the resistance and the First Order themes were all quite disappointing in my eyes. That’s not to say this is the worst score of all the Star Wars soundtracks, but it most definitely isn’t the top.
To conclude, Star Wars is a brilliant film. It returns to the formula the old ones followed and, despite some not-so-subtle nods towards the original trilogy, revives the franchise ready for its next steps into the movie world: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: 4.5/5