Star Wars The Force Awakens should have come with a disclaimer that it would be an experience truly worth the hype and that it would be one of the best Star Wars movies since A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and that it would charge up your fanboy cells like never before. There, I have said it all.
I remember when mom used to tell me stories of A New Hope. I used to attentively listen to the ‘droids’ adventures through the desert’, ‘the masked villain’ and of ‘pure energy sword battles’ and all I could do was to imagine at the time. As I grew up I finally had the chance to watch the first trilogy and I realized I was smitten so much and so badly that I would carry it till the end of time and pass it on to my children. Nonetheless, I was equally excited for The Force Awakens as IT IS a Star Wars movie. I was way tolerant towards Lucas’ prequel trilogies as they carried the ‘Star Wars‘ tag and if The Force Awakens turns out even a bit better than Revenge of The Sith, I would definitely give it a thumbs up. As usual, I was skeptic when I heard about J J Abrams helming the new Star Wars movie. I mean, of course, he did a good job with the Star Trek reboot and then Into Darkness happened which was just about ‘serviceable’. I was wondering why any studio give two major franchise reboots to the same director?
I WAS WRONG TO THINK SO*
*to a certain degree.
Star Wars The Force Awakens starts off with an uncanny resemblance to A New Hope and the better portion of the movie seems like A New Hope rehash than anything else but it mimics all the best things that made Star Wars the phenomenon it is now, in a far better way than the prequel trilogy. If you are a Star Wars fan you will feel right at home and the rehash seems to work just fine. It’s a safe bet, a tried and tested way to release yet another chapter pleasing both fans and newbies. There is much more than meets the eye though: a strong set of new characters, good blend of practical SFX and VFX, a good plot that includes a mystery that’ll eventually unfold in the upcoming movies and everything else you wanted from a good Star Wars sequel. J J Abrams not only made sure that you get a huge gist of nostalgia, he also made it happen seamlessly with the introduction of new characters.
The main leads themselves seems to be enjoying their roles to the core. Truth be told, I wasn’t much into the new cast when I’d seen the previews, but they all blew me away. Daisy Ridley as Rey just felt natural to the narrative, like someone whom I thought I’d seen aplenty before. With her exceptional charm, Daisy has effortlessly slid into Rey’s shoes and it felt like the role was written just for her. Pre-release, Kylo Ren was just a name, a wannabe Darth Vader and after watching Adam Driver breath life into the character I was truly dumbfounded. Kylo Ren was much more intimidating than I’d expected. I kept wondering how he’d fair in the ranks of Star Wars baddies like Vader or Maul but Adam as Kylo has done a great job and will undoubtedly be known as one of the best villains of the Star Wars mythos. Talking about intimidating, Domhnall Gleeson’s portrayal of General Hux felt as much daunting as Kylo Ren. He was just as blood-curdling and relentless as the main antagonist, Kylo. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac’s bromance was just as sweet and perfect as the original’s Han & Chewbacca duo. We also do get our regulars, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and all time fan favorite R2-D2. Words can’t express how good and refreshing it was to see them again in the roles we have all loved so much. Last of all how can I not mention BB8? This adorable little droid is the heart and soul of The Force Awakens, much like C3PO and R2 became the face of the first trilogy. All I want now is a Sphero BB8 and nothing else.
Another gem of a change in The Force Awakens is that the universe is populated with female characters unlike the previous installments. Rey, Leia, Maz, Phasma, the list goes on and it’s a welcome change for a universe previously tagged as ‘misogynist’. Fingers crossed for Mara Jade! (Pretty sure she’ll pop up in the sequels)
John William’s spellbinding score once again takes the front seat as the visuals and score takes us through a journey like never before. A few cues from the original and a mix of the new is all it takes to send you down the familiar memory lane. The score in itself demands to be heard on a vinyl and I am pretty sure it would most definitely be a part of the crazy merchandise.
It’s not all perfect, though. As I have already mentioned about The Force Awakens being A New Hope rehash I shall delve onto some of the other nitpicks that I have. First off, I hate the filmmakers having to relate every other character in The Force Awakens to its predecessors. Why can’t there be any original characters? Why can’t they invest more time on original characters to make them feel important? A New Hope did it and rather well, then why can’t they do it now? We have Oscar Isaac’s Poe as an exception I’d like to see more of him in the upcoming sequels than cast aside as a supporting role. Secondly, Captain Phasma’s screentime was so darn less. A character who was so lavishly marketed in the one sheets and merchandises had a few minutes of screentime. While I hope we get to see more of her badassery in the sequels, Gwendoline’s towering character deserved much more screentime in the first of the new trilogy. The other few nitpicks I have all have spoilerish content so it can definitely wait.
J J Abrams throws everything a near-perfect sequel needs: tons of fan-service, drama, action, tragedy and pulls all the right strings. Infinite goosebumps, loads of lumps in the throat and so much excitement (that I ended up having a headache) was what I had, watching this edge to edge thrilling chapter. I’d be lying if I said there were no tears shed during its 135 minutes and if you are a true blue Star Wars fan I am pretty sure that you’d have caught the premiere and shared the same feelings as any other fan. I was aware that my thoughts on the movie would have been biased had I started on it right after watching it so I slept on it and I still recall having a wonderful experience and have much less ‘downs’ to brood on. J J Abrams has crafted a true successor for the franchise which has more ups than downs. Few movies urges me to watch it twice, Mad Max Fury Road was one and I am glad The Force Awakens evoked a similar reaction.
If you don’t like Star Wars or if you want to just babble at how overrated it is….do yourself a favor: Don’t watch The Force Awakens, stop yammering and move along. If you still want to go on ranting your irrelevant comments, you can suck my long, hard, juicy lightsabre to shut yourself up.