As a huge fan of the Star Wars films – I reviewed the original trilogy last week – I bought my tickets for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens two months ago. Yesterday was finally the night I went to the cinema with my mom. At first I was a bit afraid the film would not meet my expectation, partly because of the amazing trailer, but The Force Awakens is everything I – and a lot of other fans – hoped for! Never have I experienced so much cheering and applause during a film. It was fantastic to witness and be a part of the fandom, where some of the fans were waving with their lightsabers and wore special 3D glasses. I will try not to spoil, but beware! – May the Force be with you!
The Force Awakens takes place thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader and the Empire were defeated and all was well. Director J.J Abrams and the rest of the cast and crew did a great job at keeping the rest of the story a secret. Untill the nostalgic and amazing intro with that score – that made the audience cheer – we finally learned more about what happened the past few decades in the galaxy far, far away. Evil has returned and they call themselves The First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren – who wants to follow Darth Vader’s footsteps. It’s the job of The Resistance, led by General/Princess Leia, to destroy their secret weapon and find the one who could save them all. With the help of Rey, ex-Stormtrooper Finn and the most adorable droid ever: BB-8.
The film is very nostalgic and therefore very similar to A New Hope from 1977. Besides John Williams’s score, there are a lot references to that first Star Wars film. The old characters are all back, a little bit more wrinkled or in case of C3PO an improving arm, but they haven’t lost their touch. Harrison Ford’s Han Solo still has ‘swag’ and those funny comments: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”. To hear Chewie roar on the big screen is fantastic as well. When C3PO finally appeared I really giggled and also when he used his famous line “We’re doomed” again. Spaceship the Millenium Falcon is back as well. Where Luke Skywalker used to call it “a piece of junk”, Rey similarly refers to it as “garbage”.
The new Luke Skywalker is Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. Ridley plays a very independent young woman who has some impressive skills and lives on Jakka, an other desert planet. Who she truly is, is something which might be further explored in the next film. John Boyega plays Finn, a Stormtrooper who struggles between what he’s raised to do and the right thing to do. In contrast to Rey, Finn is a bit of a dork who doesn’t really know much about life outside The First Order. The third new character is Poe Dameron, who is played by Oscar Isaac. He’s the best pilot the Resistance has and is on a solo mission with his droid BB-8. Isaac’s role is really small, I expected way more of this character. But when we do see him, he brings a smile on my face. Just like BB-8. He’s so cute and funny, without even speaking an understandable language. Sometimes he tilts his head like a dog, it’s so funny!
The First Order / or The Dark Side is now led by Supreme Leader Snoke. In my perception we only saw this character through a hologram and he was quite freaky. I had to look up which actor portrayed this evil bastard, and – no surprise – it is Andy Serkis who plays once again a character who looks completely different from Serkis. I should have know that! Snoke is Kylo Ren’s master, a Jedi with issues and a very bad temper, but has an impressive appearance. Adam Driver plays this character, who is more wicked and scarier with his mask on. Without his mask you can see his flaws, or he just plays it very well. Another very intimidating character is General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson. I remember him from the romantic film “About Time”, but this is a very different character and he portrays it very well. He was very intimidating during his speech before the Stormtroopers.
Like I mentioned before, the film has a very nostalgic vibe. The characters, the score, some phrases, the storyline itself and the fight between good and evil. Both sides do have better weapons, even Chewie (Peter Mayhew) has improved his shooting skills. With the improvement of technology everything looks better as well. The CGI, the aliens, the setting, the spaceships and the battles. Even the 3D effects were amazing. If I have to say one bad thing about the film is that the story was sometimes a bit rushed and that I hoped to see more space battles. However we did get an epic Jedi fight with lightsabers and a phenomenal ending!
To conclude, it’s definitely everything I hoped for! So thank you Disney and J.J Abrams for making the fandom happy. I’ll be back from more Star Wars 24 May 2017, the date when episode VIII will be released!