Today is Star Wars Day (May 4) and what better time to review the latest Star Wars film Episode Seven The Force Awakens? When I saw the film in the cinema last December I was amazed and now the DVD has been released. Be warned, the review below contains spoilers.
When it was announced that LucasArts was being merged into Disney and three more Star Wars films had been commissioned fans were apprehensive. They could remember the disaster that was The Phantom Menace. When the first trailer for The Force Awakened aired they became cautiously optimistic. The film visually looked great. George Lucas, the genius who had written the original trilogy but had received negative reviews for the prequels, was no longer in control. Then the original cast of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford (Luke Skywalker, Leia Organia and Han Solo respectively) were confirmed to return which meant they had approved of the script. Then the film premiered and was met with critical acclaim. The Force Awakens reintroduces us to childhood favourite characters while introducing us the next generation of heroes. Kylo Ren almost reaches the rank of Darth Vader in terms of Star War villains, BB8 takes over the role of robot sidekick and with the advances in CGI and movie making technology he can perform stunts R2D2 can only dream off. Han’s murder by his son is heart breaking and nicely wraps up Han’s story arc. It also contains the motive of handing down the torch to the next generation, frequently seen in Star Wars films. There is a good mix of action and humour as well as nods to the previous films, hidden Easter Eggs and cameos to delight long-time fans.
Having said all that the film isn’t perfect. Captain Plasma, an amazing looking Stormtrooper played by Gwendoline Christie (Briene from Game of Thrones) is wasted. She doesn’t do a lot in the film and is swiftly disposed of by Han and co. She is reminiscent of Boba Fett, the infamous bounty hunter of the original trilogy. He gathered a wide fan base despite only having five lines of dialogue and not doing much. Maybe Captain Plasma is purposely underused to reflect this. The title, The Force Awakens is also misleading. It’s set thirty years after Episode Six which isn’t a long time for The Force to be sleeping. There is also very little of Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill, who portrays Luke refused to do any interviews and Luke’s character was purposely removed from all posters and trailers. Like Captain Plasma however, maybe that is the point. We don’t see much of Luke until the last ten seconds of the film which is a good spring board for Episode Eight.
The main criticism of the film is that it is very similar to Episode Four A New Hope. I noticed this when watching the film for the first time.
There’s a droid carrying valuable information who crash lands in the desert where they find a lonely, force-strong hero. A desert settlement is wiped out by Stormtroopers. An old worldly warrior explains the Force to the next generation of heroes. There’s an evil puppet master. There’s a cantina filled with various alien creatures and a massive super weapon that can destroy planets. Heroes sneak around the villain’s lair undetected. A father figure is cut down by someone previously close to him, who has turned to the dark side while the hero watches helplessly. There is a rebel assault on the super weapon in which X Wings fly through a trench and cause a huge explosion. The masked bad guy survives and escapes said explosion to return in the following film.
I liked Episode Four and I like the graphics of Special Effects of Episode Seven and I didn’t mind them together but it was distracting at times.
My final point is very minor. In every Star Wars movie someone has at least one limb chopped off. I won’t go through the list of all twenty three separated limbs but there wasn’t one in The Force Awakens. Unless I missed it. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about look at this list
or the gif of the Wampa below.
I’m giving the film top marks. The Force Awakens is an amazing film and a must for any Star Wars fan. It also opens the door to future films, spin offs and merchandise. The trailer for Star Wars Rogue One was released several weeks ago and Episode Eight is already being developed.
What did you think of The Force Awakens? Leave your answers down below and May the Force be with you. Always.