Verdict: 4.5 / 5
“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it? The Dark side, and the Light,” says Supreme Leader Snoke to a deliciously villainous Kylo Ren. Of course, everyone in the audience who has waited several years to get a chance to see the next chapter (the seventh instalment) in George Lucas’ galactic odyssey will feel it too. Thankfully, the force is strong with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film that returns to the spirit of the original films.
Rey: There are stories about what happened.
Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side, the Jedi. They’re real.
Is it possible to encapsulate a 40-year-old iconic franchise and move ahead into uncharted territory without George Lucas at the helm? Diehard fans can rest at ease. Abrams elevates Stars Wars beyond our expectations, breathing life into the old while delivering something new. That’s what The Force Awakens is at heart; less a reimagining and more of a homage film. However, it’s not an imitation. It’s much more than that.
Yes, old favourites return. We get to see the core heroes we grew up with onscreen once again. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is flooded with nostalgia. But there is also a slew of new characters, equally as charming and reminiscent of our heroes at a much younger age.
It’s all remarkably familiar.
Leia: Hope is not lost today… it is found.
The iconic imagery. A desert planet. An unwilling hero. A young hero who shows signs of the force. A short strange creature who bears the wisdom of Yoda. A villain who is trying to follow in the footsteps of Darth Vader. A lovable beeping robot. A space battle. A sword (lightsaber) fight. An epic battle of light versus dark. A dramatic narrative with gripping twists. It’s all there. Everything you’ve loved about the saga so far, minus the clumsiness of the subsequent prequels. Think of it as a new arrangement of a familiar tune. Again, think of it as your very own Star Wars party and all the characters you love have arrived to watch you blow out your candles.
Kylo Ren: I will fulfill our destiny.
Abrams catapults Star Wars: The Force Awakens into a brand new horizon. The film is steered ahead by possibly its strongest director thus far, accompanied by John Williams’ epic score and breathtaking atmospheric visual effects. It’s a colorful, exciting, surprisingly funny and adventuresome continuation of the saga. New additions Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are fantastic as Rey and Finn. Their onscreen chemistry is truly authentic and charming. You can feel the emotion in every frame of their performance.
The story is fun, the characters are enjoyable, the action is engaging. There is no denying that initial magic of seeing the original films cannot be duplicated. That being said, it does well enough to be at least second or third best in the franchise so far. Yes, it’s that good.
Maz Kanata: I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes… I know your eyes!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a technically superb film that dazzles the imagination. Those who were filing for divorce after the prequels will learn to love Star Wars all over again. This is the blockbuster film you’ve been looking for.