JJ Abrams / Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega / Sci-Fi / 12A / 135 mins / 2015
When was the last time you had fun watching a movie?
Normally we get our kicks from blockbusters. In fact, we can't get enough of them. An easy-to-follow plot, edge-of-your-seat action, loveable flat characters... we crave a simple film that does the work for us, mainly because most of the Western world is lazy AF. So what if Star Wars is a blockbuster, I don't give a fuck. As soon as "A long time ago" crops up I'm ready - hit me with your best shot Abrams!
A true adventure film that sticks to the heart of the series, The Force Awakens will ignite your inner child. It's clear that JJ Abrams's sole intention is to take you for the ride of your life and boy does he succeed. Set roughly 30 years after Episode VI, BB-8 - a tiny cute football-droid-thing that everyone will love unconditionally - has a map leading to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) that he must deliver to General Leia (that's Princess Leia to you and me) and the Rebels. But it's not all fun and games, the evil First Order (led by Adam Driver's Kylo Ren) also want to find Luke, and so a cat and mouse chase begins. Ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) rescues BB-8's buddy, Rebel pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), only to crash land on a desert planet called Jakku. Disorientated and lost, Finn comes across Rey (Daisy Ridley), who in turn has rescued BB-8 and the trio chaotically stagger across the galaxy with the help of some old friends.
How did Abrams tackle the monumental task of keeping everyone happy and producing a good film? Simple: he took the formula George Lucas used (including bringing everyone and everything involved in those films back) for his wildly successful original trilogy and melded it with 21st century innovation, leaving delicate hints of Abrams-esque cinema (ie. ALL OF THE LENS FLARE, although it seems he's mostly kicked the habit) - the end product is beautiful, probably explained by Abrams's newfound interest in the genius auteur Terence Malick. The intricate details of the sets, the costumes, the makeup, the CGI, a masterful John Williams score - it all adds up to a superbly conducted work of blockbuster art. It also helps Abrams is a massive nerd: he made the film the way any fan would, with all that extra love and care. That's the brilliance of The Force Awakens - it keeps surprising you because it's full of what you want.
Time will tell if there are major flaws. Snoke's CGI seemed a little underwhelming, even if it is just a hologram. You can also argue the characters are basic and flat but remember: this is a space opera, where the characters have to be melodramatic and straight to the point with rigid characteristics. It's why we can so easily define the 'bad guy' and the 'good guy' even when it's someone as devilishly rogue as Han Solo. Speaking of which, best actor in the film? Arguably Harrison Ford - who clearly relishes filling his old boots. John Boyega is great too and doesn't seem too daunted in his role as Finn - good to see from the Peckham lad. Daisy Ridley as Rey is, well... average, at best. Her TV acting past reared its ugly head with visibly forced acting. Carrie Fisher was the opposite - a little too rigid for my liking and needed a bit more oomph. If I'm honest, Chewie was my favourite - great banter from the big guy.
This was the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. The hype was untenable and it has finally arrived, and what a spectacle it is. Abrams wants you to feel like a kid again and it's true, The Force Awakens did that to me, and that is the greatest compliment I can give. Thank you, Disney, for not fucking this up.
This is pure Star Wars - what more can I say?
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