Star Wars

Directed by JJ Abrams, written by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Harrison Ford.

“The Force Awakens is the newest installment into the beloved Star Wars franchise, and follows the adventures of Finn, a disheartened Stormtrooper and Rey, a scavenger living on the desert planet Jakku, as they try to stop an evil unleashed by the powerful and mighty First Order. This review contains NO SPOILERS, so don’t worry.”

Star Wars. Is. Back. The Force Awakens boasts incredible lead performances, stunning visuals, incredible fight scenes, and although the story isn’t anything special, it was well worth the wait. On behalf of all film fans everywhere, I want to thank JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy for bringing back our beloved franchise.

The Force Awakens does not work without the outstanding breakout performance by Daisy Ridley, portraying the young scavenger Rey. Even though this is her first major feature film, she shines as an experienced veteran would, holding her own with the great Harrison Ford. Ridley will make you laugh, will make you cry and will make you cheer (a lot like the entire movie), she is an absolute gem to look out for in the future. Similarly spectacular is John Boyega as Finn, a Stormtrooper who decides that he’s had enough of the First Order. Boyega is surprisingly comedic in the film, but it’s a welcome change from the prequels, as the jokes are actually funny this time. That being said, he can also hold his own in serious scenes as well as in a fight.

Harrison Ford. Han Solo. God, I’ve missed you. Ford returns once again to the franchise that catapulted his career and shows once again why the world fell in love with him as our beloved smuggler. Ford successfully turns in a performance that captures the essence of what Solo was like 30 years ago, while also bringing a little something new to the character that we have not seen before. Other notable performances, include the returning Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, the immensely talented Oscar Isaac as Resistance ace pilot Poe Dameron and the very angry Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. There is simply no bad performance in this film by any actor and that warms my very soul.

Watching any JJ Abrams film is like a feast for the eyes. Every time he steps behind a camera, he brings his A-game in terms of visuals and cinematography, and The Force Awakens is no exception. The cinematography during the dogfights alone could win the Oscar for best cinematography this year, and mixed in with incredible practical and CG effect makes the film if nothing else, stunning to look at.

Another thing that Abrams brings to the film is his absolute love for the franchise as seen through his homages to a New Hope and the original trilogy. Although some of these seemed a little forced at times, Abrams and Kasdan (who also wrote Empire and Jedi) throw in little call backs that remind us that we’re back in a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.

As stated before the story is nothing special. In fact, a lot of it shares similarities to A New Hope with many of the same plot points present. However, there is enough tweaking to the original story and other bits and pieces thrown in there that the plot feels new and familiar all at the same time. With the whole prequel fiasco, Abrams had no choice but to play it a little safe with the script and that’s exactly how it feels. But that just makes me all that more excited for Episode VIII.

Other positives worth noting are John William’s score which was the perfect blend of new and old, and BB-8 who every child will want under their Christmas tree this year.

Overall, although it’s impossible for me to be unbiased about Star Wars, The Force Awakens is a huge step in the right direction for the behemoth franchise. Despite an average story, the performances, visuals and just about everything else makes it the best addition to the saga since 1983.

Mathieu Chin-Quee_Author