Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Harrison Ford
Directed by J.J. Abrams
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Ten years on from the last film in the epic space saga, the build-up this film has been subjected to means this has been one of the biggest, possibly one of the hardest films to make in history. ‘Every generation has a story’, but can this generation of Jedi live up to the standard set by their ancestors?
Set 30 years after the destruction of the Death Star and the Empire in Episode VI (1983), the First Order are the new evil force fighting against the Republic and the resistance. Rey (Ridley), a desert smuggler, bumps into a rare droid that contains a map showing the location of the mythical Jedi Luke Skywalker, given to him by ace Resistance pilot Poe (Isaac). Meanwhile, Stormtrooper FN-2187 (Boyega) is flown into his first battle, and after seeing first-hand what his First Order is doing decides to escape and join the Resistance.
First of all, this was a really cool film. A big part of this was down to the funny side of this movie. There are many genuinely funny moments in this movie, verging on too much but in the end it’s just about right I think. Perhaps what makes the Star Wars series so successful is how real it all feels. Perhaps this is down to the hysteria surrounding the movies, but the depth to it makes the world feel very believable.
In terms of the story I think it’s a heartfelt story that works as a good bridge between the previous movies (which ended a long time ago, so that wasn’t easy). It’s not particularly incredible, and as a stand-alone film is not any better than what I’ve seen over the last few years from dystopian/futuristic movies, but does a good job of bring 70/80’s sci-fi into the modern age. I’ve heard the arguments about the disappointing characters and I don’t think they’re far wrong. The characters do seem a little thin considering this is one of the biggest films in many years. However, I would expect the characters to grow over the next few years as we find out more about them.
The lead actors in this film, all of them up-and-comers in the film world, delivered good performances in Star Wars. Boyega was very good as the conflicted Trooper, delivering a performance with a lot of controlled emotion. Oscar Isaac continues to look like a class act, and will surely be one of the best actors going in a few years time.
Daisy Ridley was a strange one. I hadn’t seen or heard anything about her, and in the first few minutes of her on screen I was thinking ‘god, she sounds so uncomfortable’. Her words were really robotic. Maybe that was the character, but I would be surprised if that was so. However, she seemed to grow into it as the film went on, having some really good moments. I think she did well overall, and will grow into it even more as the series goes on, her character seemingly the centre-piece.
J.J. Abrams is a good actor, and I think he does a good job shooting this film. He manages to keep the Star Wars magic while also bringing in the modern action sequences that got him the job in the first place. He’s also not scared to move with the camera, whether that’s putting it in people’s faces or following characters from a distance. I’ve always seen a moving camera as a sign of a good blockbuster director (not a legitimate thing, just what I do personally), and he makes good use of it here.
Whether you like it or not, this film is a set up for the upcoming series. However, this still has the much-loved Star Wars’isms that made this franchise one of the biggest ever made, and much like other reboot Jurassic World, this is a supremely entertaining movie!