It was hard to be anything but excited going into this movie. There was a load buzz, some trepidation and a whole lot of hope. Would it recapture the magic of the original trilogy? Would it make us forget about the abysmal prequels? Would it get us pumped for a new generation of Star Wars movies? Yes, yes and YES!
Set 30 odd years after ‘Return of the Jedi‘, ‘The Force Awakens‘ finds our original heroes separated. Luke is missing, Leia is now a general in the Resistance army and Han is off gallivanting around the galaxy. But they are not the only main characters we get to follow now. Also along for the ride are scavenger Rey and defected stormtrooper Finn. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega have a great chemistry and energy as these new heroes and seeing them work together is very fun. Oscar Isaac as pilot Poe Dameron is having a whale of a time in this film, but another standout star is Adam Driver as the villainous Kylo Ren, who is in essence what Anakin Skywalker should have been like in the prequels.
Whilst the plot plays out very similarly to ‘A New Hope‘, it is updated just enough to still be enjoyable. This film is about recapturing the magic of the original trilogy and starting a new story. Things are familiar enough for old fans but new enough for the newcomers. It’s a lot of fun and has more comedy in it than any Star Wars film to date, despite the story treading a lot of the same ground. It’s helped by great special effects, obviously great music by John Williams and also great characters performed very well. Carrie Fisher doesn’t get too much to do in this one, but she’s still great. The real MVP of this film though is Harrison Ford. For someone who never seems to enjoy the franchise all that much, his performance here is so good you wouldn’t believe it. He’s the same old Han Solo except a little more world weary and carrying a little more emotion. In short, he’s great!
The practical effects are back in a big way. Sets and costumes and aliens are real and look awesome. The new droid companion BB-8 is adorable, funny and possibly the best new character ever. C-3PO and R2-D2 are also back, in a lesser way but no less enjoyable. The settings and vehicles are updated and look good too, with practical and CGI blending almost seamlessly. All in all this is just a really good movie and a great way to kick off a new trilogy. And with ‘The Last Jedi‘ looking like it’ll also be great, I’m starting to forget about the prequels completely as we enter a new age of Star Wars!
JACK’S SCORE: 4/5