Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Often hailed as “more than just a movie”, the galaxy filled with heroes, villains, numerous otherworldly creatures and droids – Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally landed.
Set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi where the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire have become the Resistance and First Order. Han Solo and his allies now face a new threat in the form of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his army of Stormtroopers. Throw into the mix that Kylo Ren is actually the wayward son of Han Solo and Princess Leia and off we go.
Early on, we are introduced to new leads Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley). Boyega is a redeemed First Order Stormtrooper, whilst Ridley’s Rey is a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku.
And there’s another new addition in form of the adorable droid BB-8 who holds the map containing the details of the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker.
Ridley’s Rey very quickly establishes herself as an ass-kicking force to be reckoned with and the audience at London’s Empire Leicester Square lap it up when Finn and Rey escape an attack from the First Order by choosing to fly off in a piece of “garbage” in the form of The Millennium Falcon.
It’s not long before Harrison Ford’s Han Solo arrives with Chewie to rapturous applause from cinema goers.
The trio soon bond and vow to defeat the First Order and find long lost Luke, while Han Solo and the now General Organa (Leia) in the form of Carrie Fisher pledge to make their evil son see the light.
An on the money Han Solo muses that their offspring might just have “too much Vader in him” to be saved.
Disney pleaded with us not to reveal too much of the plot and to be honest, we don’t want to entirely spoil the movie for the millions eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The element of surprise is what has long made Star Wars the phenomenon that it is.
What we will say is that the trademark music, action shots and witty one liners are in abundance throughout. The score is composed by old hand John Williams who undoubtedly brings the original fanfare and nostalgia back to the production with his compositions.
Maz Kanata, the alien played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o is a delight, while Domhnall Gleeson more than holds his own as the ruthless General Hux.
There are also familiar and welcome returns from Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Kenny Baker as R2-D2
And Abrams has continued with his old school approach of traditional film in favour of digital.
The result? That famous ‘70s Star Wars aesthetic is recaptured, adding to the overall undertone of the movie as one which blends old and new seamlessly.
While the new kids on the block freshen things up nicely, it’s the presence of Ford, Fisher and a rather fleeting one from Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker that really brings things back to life.
As much as die hard nerds want to see the story progress, there was no denying the love in the cinema for The Millennium Falcon when it fell under control of Hans Solo once again.
Abram’s stressed that this was not going to be a trip down memory lane, but a new story, and the doors have been left wide open for development within the upcoming productions. One surprising door has very much been shut, but we will leave that there…
All in all, Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks a massive achievement for JJ Abrams, who was faced with a task not many would envy in continuing with the franchise following its move to Disney. With Rian Johnson taking the director’s seat for Episode VIII, many are wondering if Abrams will return for Episode IX, tentatively scheduled for release in 2019.
Unfortunately, he has already admitted that he won’t.
With ten academy award nominations already under its belt for previous installments, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is very likely to add to that tally next year.
And if all that wasn’t enough, George Lucas has given the film the seal of approval, which in this instance works like a blessing from The Pope on the eve of a Catholic wedding.
The force has indeed been awakened.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1