Star Wars: The Force Awakens… A New Hope?
So the most recent Star Wars prequel films saw a wave of fans old and new disappointed with various elements that were deemed unnecessary. But the first entry of this new trilogy will turn even the most cynical of fans hearts to mush. J.J. Abrams is at the pinnacle of his career – he’s taken everything he’s learnt from Lost, to Fringe, to Super 8, to Star Trek and now the goliath that is Star Wars. Visually, the film has Abrams’ unique flair (and his lens flare), mixing clean cut sci-fi with gritty realism. He throws the action sequences right into the characters’ faces – he’s certainly not afraid to get his hands a little dirty.
He also clearly makes use of shooting on location – some of the most thrilling and tense sequences aren’t found in the giant practical sets or the backdrop of a space-battle. They’re in the middle of dense forest or in the back alley of an alien pirate’s castle. The look of the film is everything, when Finn is stranded on Jakku, the way the scenes are shot truly show how alone he is and how desolate that world is.
It manages to pay homage to everything that was fantastic about the original trilogy – the tense lightsaber fights, the shadowy villains and the chemistry created between these beloved characters. It’s easy to spot some of the themes and events that parallel things that occur in the original trilogy. With the legacy of Vader being a key theme for the film’s villain, Adam Driver’s performance of Kylo Ren is menacing. Once he removes the helmet and reveals himself, he really shows how twisted and deformed his psyche is. The chemistry created between Finn and Rey is lovable and comedic – but we really hope they don’t force a love story between the two, it wouldn’t particularly benefit the story in any way we can see.
One of our favourite characters has to be the scene stealing BB-8, he/she/it has some of the funniest moments in the film – gaining more laughs than any of Han Solo’s quips or Chewie’s reactions. We love the direction they’re taking the main character’s, as it puts a spin on the usual hollywood tropes – but will make for excellent viewing over the next few years. A few minor points that didn’t seem to fit was the look of Supreme Leader Snoke – he looked to obviously CG’d, for a film that held itself in it’s gritty realism – they copped out for the shadowy puppet master. Ren’s helmet also made him look like he was wearing a bob style haircut whenever he took off his hooded robe, are we just struggling to find something wrong with it now? Maybe.
Quite honestly, we loved the film from start to finish. It’s riotously good fun, guaranteed to shock even the most hardcore Star Wars fans. It’s the right film, at the right time. Repeat viewing anyone?