Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

"Is there a garbage chute? A trash compactor?"

Well, that was a little bit awesome. First point: this is going to be a very positive review. Second point :SPOILERS. This is going to be one very spoilerific blog post. If you don't want to see the scores, look away now.

We see lots of Han and Chewie, a fair bit of Leia, some of Threepio, less of Artoo and only a final glimpse of Luke. And, unlike the prequels with its forgettable characters, here we have the very likeable and interesting Finn and Rey, and it is the success of these two new characters, above all, that makes J J Abram's sequel such a triumph. He's also realised what good Star Wars should be: not so much science fiction but the feel of myth with the trappings of science fiction.

It's brave to hold off the appearance of any familiar characters for the first part of the film while we get to know Rey and Finn, but it works. Rey is a deliberate parallel of Luke on Tattooine, poor but noble and waiting for a family that will never come- but the Force is strong in her. Finn is a stormtrooper with a conscience, already a rich and powerful background for a character. It helps that both of them are played so well.

And then Han and Chewie appear. It's so good to se them, and Harrison Ford is so amazing you forget how old he is. He gets a huge role and gets to be really heroic- and at the endowed see why, narratively, it had to happen: killed by his own evil son. Whose mother, Leia, now leads the Resistance and is as cool as ever.

The First Order, who have taken over from the Empire, are superb baddies and... well, they're Nazis, aren't they? There were so many punch the air moments with the reveal of various old faces- Admiral Ackbar! Nien Nunb! Yes, lots of the plot beats feel familiar, but so they should. The plot feels completely Star Wars. Everything looks good, with a proper, finely balanced Star Wars aesthetic for all the aliens and all the decor. J J Abrams has done an amazing job.

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