Review: The Force Awakens (Spoiler free first impressions)


 

blog-0049-picture-1

Note: This article is completely SPOILER FREE, as it should be.

Having spent the last couple of weeks successfully avoiding spoilers from all directions and having to regularly put my fingers in my ears to chant La-La-La-La-La-La-La, my wife and I have just returned from seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time.

Were we worried about how good this might be? No. How could we be? After all, this franchise that had once sat atop a childhood enhanced pedestal, had long since had the iconic status sucked from it by an interfering Lucas who had forgotten that less is more and who failed to listen to the advice of all of those around him.

And now, having seen countless interviews and articles about Lucas’ original film (A New Hope), it seems that the more I learn about his masterpiece the more I conclude that he had little to do with it. There seems to have been so many ideas that were replaced by other peoples’ better ideas and, let’s face it, he got lucky. The cast turned out to be well chosen, the effects guys innovated and pushed boundaries and John Williams elevated what could so easily have been a simple B movie to now-legendary status.

So, with all this in mind, how could we possibly have worried knowing that another Director had finally had passed to them the reigns that had been reluctantly prised from such a relentlessly meddling ‘creator’. And, let’s face it this new Director was, after all, J.J. Abrams. The man who was responsible for successfully rebooting the Star Trek franchise and whose film making style successfully blends beautifully realised imagery whilst always remaining faithful to the need for meaningful story telling.

So it was that we sat down and began to watch the new Star Wars film and, though I’ll not discuss ANY of the contents, I will state my feelings on it and what I thought of it.

Did it make me feel like a child again? No. But I feel that is more of a comment on me than the movie. If any movie is likely to fill you with that feeling you had back in 1977 then this is it. From start to finish it is full of action, full of character and full of Star Wars. J.J. certainly knows how to please fans of any franchise whilst also successfully moving forward the franchise’s story.

Everything on the screen is of a very high quality from the CGI to the practical effects, from the costumes to the new ship designs. The new characters are brought vibrantly to life by a carefully chosen cast that exudes chemistry and charisma. The Force Awakens has clearly been dipped by its’ Lucas’ heel into the River Abrams and has come out the other side stronger and more exciting than it has been in years.

This episode of the new trilogy sets up what hints at being a much stronger story arc than the prequels and which also offers a much more mature vision of the Star Wars universe that will appeal to both children and adults alike.

I will begin to wrap this review up as, without detailing aspects of the films’ contents it will be hard to continue and, as I promised, there will be NO SPOILERS here!

This is the first film in many years that makes me want to go back and see it at the cinema all over again and this I feel, in itself, is recommendation enough. If you liked Star Wars, like Sci-fi or even just like stories about real people in fantastic environments then I’d recommend you go and see this. It’s funny, sad, grounded, gritty, ambitious and though it touches on jeopardous situations, I feel it is the Star Wars fan base’s new hope.

SCORE: 9/10

 As always, please feel free to leave comments and, for anyone wishing to contact you can find me here ned@thewayofthesquirrelbooks.com