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Movie Review: Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars The Force Awakens_2 by Paul Shipper[1]

Directed by: J.J. Abrahams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Peter Mayhew and Adam Driver

***THIS MOVIE REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS***

Star Wars is one of the greatest movie franchises of all time. That’s a fact. Even if you don’t like Star Wars you can’t deny it of its achievements and success. It has made mega bucks since 1977 and it continues to make a ton of money through various different avenues to this very day.

My introduction to Star Wars began back in 1997, when the films were re-released as part of the films 20th anniversary. One of my best friends at School was into Star Wars and I always remember him one day bringing in this Micro Machines playset that was in shape of R2-D2. You could open it up and it reveals Jabba the Hut’s palace (I remember him mentioning that he recently found all his playsets and that he was going to sell them on e-bay, I can only imagine that he’s since become an overnight millionaire). Not long after that, I bought my first ever Star Wars action figure. I remember there being a full aisle dedicated to Star Wars toys in my local Woolworths (you remember that, kids?) ranging from action figures, spaceships, dress up outfits and much more.

Bear in mind that I haven’t seen the films at this point, so I had no idea who the characters were aside from R2-D2 and Jabba. From all the characters available in the shop guess which one I bought? If you said Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader or Leia, you’d be wrong. The figure I bought was none other than C3PO. Why? Because he’s made of fucking gold that’s why!

Imagine my shock when I actually saw him in the film! What a big girl’s blouse he was. My figure was quickly relegated to my dresser draw and finally made its way to the Seaham car boot sale.

Take my advice, kids. Don’t let looks fool you.

The prequels were released with much fan-fare but were a total let down, and that is why I didn’t allow myself to fall into the trap of being hyped for Episode VII. This is coming from someone who waited in line for FIVE HOURS to see Phantom Menace. What a bummer!

I’ve got to be honest and say that my expectations for this film were low, very low. Since the six movies, Star Wars has expanded into cartoons, Lego movies and we’ve even seen Yoda in mobile phone adverts, and I feared that it would just end up ruining the franchise. Sure it makes a ton of money, but it comes at a cost. That cost being reputation. Plus, Disney was involved with the project and that made me worried that the film would be watered down for families.

Even so, I was still going to see this despite my fears.

After seeing the film, a mid-night screening on Wednesday, I’ve got to say that you’re in for a treat because Episode VII is tremendous.

The horrors of Jar Jar Binks has well and truly been put to bed!

I loved the overall atmosphere of a mid-night screening. The theatre was packed out, if memory serves me right, I believe the three screening were completely sold out. Good job I got my tickets early! You could tell that everyone in the theatre was a diehard fan of the series. Everyone was in good spirits and I remember someone saying if Jar Jar appears we’re fucking off.

This was the first time I ever attended a mid-night screening of any film and I’m glad that I did. Normally I would frown upon people talking during the film, but here it was acceptable. As the lights dimmed people started applauding in anticipation, and when the Star Wars theme hit, everybody lost their shit. It was insane. I’ve never been a part of anything like it before in my life! It was also the only time in my life where a film received a standing ovation. I heard things like this before happening in America and always thought it was a myth.

I really enjoyed this film. It was serviceable and it did what it had to do in order to restore itself after when we saw in the prequel trilogy.

I also like they didn’t overload us with all the classic stuff from the word go. The older characters were spread out equally throughout the movie and it worked, so when you saw the likes of Han Solo, they all got great reactions from the crowd. Even C3PO got a sarcastic cheer! The Millennium Falcon was reintroduced as a joke which I liked. The new characters were great additions to the franchise. John Boyega (Finn) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) played their respected roles perfectly, they had this very childlike approach to them I felt much like the way Mark Hamill played Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. The same could be said about the film’s newest villain, Kylo Ren. If I could pick a standout star from the new characters it’s got to be Poe Dameron, superbly played by Oscar Issac. He’s like a younger Han Solo I though. I’m excited for what’s in store for these guys come Episode VIII.

I do feel it’s fair to share some negatives I found whiles watching this. I found a lot of reputation in certain areas, especially the overall plot of the movie. To be blunt, it was like a remake of Episode IV. There, I said it! I understand why they felt the need to go down that path, come to think of it; they had to return to basics, as it were. Even so, I would have liked to have seen something new.

I would like to have learnt more about Kylo’s backstory other than he was enticed by the dark side. That felt lazy to me.

There was this one scene which took me by complete surprise. As soon as it happened, the gasps echoed around the theatre. I was legit stunned. You could actually hear people saying holy shit. It was like Undertaker losing at WrestleMania. It was that ballsy of a move to do. It’s going to be regarded as one of the most iconic moment in cinema history in a few years time!

I’ve always felt that Return of the Jedi was the perfect ending and I still stand by that. Everything has been done and there’s nothing more to be said. The prequels were done to tell the back story of Obi Wan and Anakin’s transformation to the dark side. That being said this was an unnecessary sequel, but I do welcome it at the same time. It plants the seeds for the new storylines as we look forward to a new generation of Jedi warriors with Luke being booked in the Obi Wan/ Yoda role.

Episode VII is a very organic film which rights the wrongs of the Jar Jar trilogy and takes the Star Wars franchise back to basics and back to what brought it to the big dance in the first place.

The force is strong!

Rating: ***** (Top of the pops)

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2015 by in Movie Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .
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