Saturday, 19 December 2015

REVIEW: Star Wars - The Force Awakens

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

The iconic opening starts with the John Williams' memorable theme song, the crowd in theaters started cheering along. To millions of us, Star Wars is back with a bang, after a decade of absence. However, is it any good?

The result? It is, really good, despite some of its problems. The Force Awakens is by far the best Star Wars since 1980's Empire Strikes Back and is the best Star Wars during my lifetime.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens begins 30 years after the Battle of Endor, the reorganised The First Order and The Resistance continue to fight for supremacy of the galaxy despite the fall of the Emperor 30 years ago. Old heroes and new characters combine to take the fight against The First Order. The battle of good and evil has been intensified to a new level.

I kept a realistic expectations for The Force Awakens, because I know the original trilogy despite its flaws, will always be movie classics, it's almost impossible for The Force Awakens to top the trilogy. I also kept a realistic expectations because of how Attack of the Clones almost ruin Star Wars for me. Thankfully, The Force Awakens is more towards the original trilogy than the prequels.

Disney did play safe with the plot by borrowing elements from A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back (I'm not gonna mention how), but J. J. Abrams did really well by injecting a lot of energy into the movie. Unlike the prequels, the story of the movie is always progressing, every scene contains story that worth exploring and contributes to the main story. The action sequences, my god, it felt fantastic! It is intense and never felt too long or too short, J. J. Abrams allows clearer shots of the action sequences is a big plus of the movie. Despite it's higher amount of violence and darker theme compared to some of the Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens is the funniest Star Wars I have seen yet. However, there are some moments I do hope the movie slows down to let the emotions and contents to be digested by viewers, it's a bit tad too fast.

Newcomers like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, who portrayed Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron respectively, are great in this film. Finn by far is my favourite character in The Force Awakens as he is an outsider suddenly thrown into the world confused, he brought a lot of new elements and energy to his characters, and he is really funny throughout the movie. Rey is just as great in the movie as a lone survivor scavenging on the planet Jakku, then taking on the mantle of heroine later in the film. Poe Dameron, despite his smaller role in the film, is really likeable and being one of my instant favourite characters. Old characters like Han, Leia, Luke and Chewbacca are given much love and respect in this film, despite the initial worries.

For me, the jury is still out on the characters of the dark side. I love Kylo Ren at the beginning of the movie, somehow for me I don't really like him as he is not really as menacing towards the end of the movie. I felt General Hux and Captain Phasma, the much hyped characters in the pre-release, are way underdeveloped in this movie, something that needs to be address in the upcoming Episode VIII. The shadowy Supreme Leader Snoke is still as mysterious as ever.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens reinvigorates the Star Wars saga after so long. It's not as great as A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back but it's a really fantastic entry into the saga and is able to launch the new trilogy into motion. Despite the familiarity, it is able to stand on its own and brought newer characters and new worlds into its own. The Force Awakens is in the list of my favourite Star Wars, absolutely love every minute of it!

I will say like Han Solo put it, "Chewie, we're home!"

Rating: 4.5/5