Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

starwarsforceawakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
12A | 135 min | 17 December 2015 (UK)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

I saw the long awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the day it came out here in the UK. I’m well acquainted with all 6 of its predecessors and I won’t be the only one as the franchise, of course, boasts legions of fans.

The film includes some of the original cast, including Harrison Ford, Carrie fisher, and Mark Hamill. The new cast includes little known faces John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver, as well as a nice supporting role from ever rising actor, Domhnall Gleeson, of Ex Machina fame.

The story takes place a few decades on from the destruction of the second Death Star which occured late in the original trilogy that was followed by a prequel trilogy. The new baddie is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. He is in fact the grandson of Darth Vader, being the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia who is the sister of Luke Skywalker and daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader).

Now while I enjoyed the entirety of the film and was not bored for one moment, I do have some criticisms. Kylo Ren wears a scary mask that muffles his voice as he speaks through it, and I thought that was brilliant, but it turned out he didn’t actually need it. I presume he wore it simply because he was a bit of a fanboy of his good old granddad, Vader.

He is also far less intimidating with his mask off and hood down, as he has quite soft features for a man of the dark side, as well as long flowing hair, unfortunately making him a Fabio-like dark lord of the Sith. To be fair to him he did try and channel a bit of the dark side in his facial expression but he didn’t do as good a job, as for instance, Hayden Christensen or Ian Mcdiarmid in the prequels.

It’s called, ‘The Force Awakens,’ and I suspect this is partly the case because Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, seems to be force sensitive and has her abilities activated when Kylo Ren uses the force on her. So it’s sort of as if the force awakens in her. Annoyingly, the force has attained mythological status for most characters that populate the film, and the film isn’t awash with Sith nor Jedi and merely has only a very small helping of each.

Rey appears to have combat training, but with a type of staff, not a lightsabre, yet she manages to fight at master level against a Sith Lord somewhat just figuring out how to do so in the moment. She even manages to pull off Jedi mind tricks without any training. Now it is clear from earlier films that the Jedi must be selected at a young age for their innate talent and also extensively trained by a Jedi Master. The film glosses over these fundamentals and allows for the ludicrousness of an untrained young woman being able to convincingly face off with a formidable foe using a weapon she’s never wielded before.

John Boyega has a good part and plays it well, but from memory, if I recall correctly, he uses a fake American accent, which was ok, but a couple of the characters have English accents and I just thought, why not have him have one as well seeing as he would be able to do it perfectly, being from London, England, himself.

I would have liked the film to have had more than one basic thread or storyline so I could have seen more landscapes and architecture, as well as other interesting characters, but for the most part it follows a linear thread, deviating little from it. It reminded me a bit of the sitcom, ‘Friends,’ where they’re almost always in one of 3 basic locations.

All criticisms aside, it’s still pretty good and I’ll watch it again when it comes out on DVD and Bluray.

Reviewed by Alistair Martin

 

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