Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

"Essential"

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review


Appealing both to a new generation of viewers and fans of the series since the beginning, this 30-years-later sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi is a thrilling adventure. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has managed to capture the tone of the original trilogy while telling a story about young, vibrant new characters whose connection to the overall saga deepens intriguingly as events unfurl.

Over the past three decades, the Empire has regrouped, forming the First Order to crush the Old Republic for good. And the plucky Rebellion hasn't offered much resistance since leader Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) disappeared. The Empire's top henchman Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is searching for him just as diligently as the rebel leader General Leia (Carrie Fisher). But the real action is happening out of their grasp, as disaffected storm trooper Finn (John Boyega) teams up with rebel pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and then feisty scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and expressive droid BB-8. Along the way, Han Solo and Chewbacca (Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew) find themselves back in the fray. And everyone is startled when there's a strong stirring in the force.

Abrams beautifully recreates the scruffy, clanky mechanical atmosphere of the original trilogy, infusing scenes with witty banter and John William's soaring score to throw us right back into that familiar galaxy. This includes the saga's main themes: the temptation of power, how true heroism is often accidental, and the tension between parents and children. Combine this with a plot that propels itself with a series of unexpected adventures and battles, all centred on the characters, and the film taps strongly into the teen in all of us.

Newcomers Boyega and Ridley are solid in the leading roles as young people who think they know what they want to do with their lives, but have no idea what might happen next. Energetic, inventive and wildly gifted, they make terrific new heroes who fit seamlessly alongside the veterans. Ford and Fisher bring layers of time to their iconic roles. Isaac shines as a rogue good guy. And Driver nicely balances his conflicted villain.

In the end, the film manages to have all of the whizzy visuals you could possibly want from a fantasy epic, but with added character depth and thematic resonance. And for fans of the original trilogy, there's a lot more here, including constant echoes of memorable moments from the classic films. Sometimes this may feel a bit overdone, perhaps because Abrams is such a superfan himself, but it adds an extra kick to the film that's already one of the most skilfully made, massively entertaining movies of the year.

Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens here!



Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Budget: $200M

Production compaines: Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures, Bad Robot

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Bryan Burk

Starring: as Kylo Ren, as Poe Dameron, as Han Solo, as General Leia Organa, as Luke Skywalker, as C-3PO, as Chewbacca, as Rey, as Maz Kanata, as Supreme Leader Snoke, as General Hux, as R2D2, as Captain Phasma, as Korr Sella

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