The film is directed by JJ Abrams!
I must admit I am not a huge Star Wars nerd (you know the lightsaber-waving one!), though I have seen all the films,and even the animated ones. But I am definitely no fool to miss this one, and after watching the film, I certainly don't regret my decision at all! Here's what I felt after watching the most anticipated movie of the decade!
What's it about
Set years after the events of the original trilogy, the film begins with the dark side, called the First Order, championed by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), now in control of the galaxy, and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) gone missing. Snoke's commands are carried out by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the film's main conflicted baddie, and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). The Resistance, led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are the good guys, and both Resistance and First Order are in search of Luke for two different reasons. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia are all myths for the new heroes in town, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). Rey is a scavenger on the planet of Jakku where she meets an android BB-8, that belonged to tough Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Finn is a reformed Stormtrooper, who escapes his evil roots after witnessing a massacre by his army. He teams up with Rey and BB-8 and tries to help them in delivering crucial info about the whereabouts of the self-exiled Luke. As they try to evade storm-troopers and other baddies, they cross paths with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his buddy Chewbacca, who help them in their mission. The rest of the plot...well, I am not spoiling that for you here...
If I say this is a worthy sequel to the much loved, much revered original trilogy, will that statement suffice? If yes, read no more and book your tickets now! J J Abrams, who single-handedly resurrected the Star Trek franchise, works his magic on the Star Wars package, as he delivers a competent successor to the original George Lucas classics. If you are a fan of the originals, you will certainly love the little nostalgic bits the new film provides you. While the film remains true to the various Star Wars themes - Jedi gone bad, complicated father-son relationship, loveable androids - Abrams has managed to put his own stamp in the film as well. He excels in the action sequences, especially the scene where Rey and Finn try to escape from the Stormtroopers using the Millennium Falcon. The visual effects are simply....out of this galaxy! And you have to watch this in IMAX if you have to get the complete Star Wars experience!
But what Abrams did the best was in handling the three main characters. Rey is one of the best female protagonists we have seen this year, after Mad Max's Furiosa. I haven't seen Daisy Ridley in any other films, but she is one fine actress destined to go a long way. John Boyega is another wonderful talent to look out for, and his Finn is an adorable mix of both Han Solo and Luke, brave and flirty at the same time. The camaraderie between Rey and Finn is what makes the film strong, aided by the cute android BB-8 (the thumbs up scene raised a lot of chuckles). But the character that made the most impact was Kylo Ren. Struggling with internal conflict and wanting to please his master, he is cruel and strong, fearless and fearful at the same time. And Adam Driver, despite his boyish looks, gives us a villain that's a worthy followup to Darth Vader. In fact, he is much meaner than Vader, as proven in a scene near the climax that I am not going to spoil for you!
Among the old players, it's Han Solo and Chewbacca who get the best scenes and lines (grunts as in the case of Ol' Chewie). It's great to see Harrison Ford back in his familiar turf, and it is even heartening to see that he has not lost his old roguish charm. His reunion scene with his wife will surely bring a lump to your throats.
Unfortunately, there are a few chinks that stops The Force Awakens from being a total Star Wars masterpiece a la The Empire Strikes Back. While the director must be lauded for creating strong protagonists and an antagonist, it came at the cost of sidelining certain other important characters. Be it Princess Leia, General Hux (though Domhnall Gleeson gets one fine speech scene to display his acting prowess), Supreme Leader Snoke (we do expect to see more of him in the sequels), Captain Phasma (A badass character that gets the Boba Fett treatment) and Maz Kanata, they are just wheels in the narrative, nothing more.The biggest crime committed is to Oscar Isaac, a wonderful actor, whose Poe Dameron was supposed to be a third protagonist. But instead he disappears for most part of the runtime. Also why were the Raid actors brought in for cameos only to not give them any chance to display their martial prowess? The climatic portions, even though action packed, do feel stretched a bit and lacks punch that was seen in the first two films! Also people who want to see Luke and his Jedi skills may be a bit disappointed. Many questions about certain character traits remains unanswered (how does one character randomly get the Force? Can anyone wield lightsaber?), which we can only get answers in the sequels.
What to do
There is nothing to think about - If you are a Star Wars fan, why are you even reading this review? Just go and watch the movie. If you are not, still go watch it to see an amazing visual spectacle unfold before your eyes! Though not as legendary as the original trilogy, it is strong enough to wipe away the bitter taste left by the prequels and Jar Jar Binks!
4.0 out of 5
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