Tuesday, 22 December 2015

(film review) - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After spending almost a week, running, ducking, diving, jumping, swimming and rolling away from Star Wars Spoilers EVERYWHERE online, I am glad to say that I have finally watched the film and I loved it.  Yes, there are a few issues with it, but what film is perfect? I saw this film last night and I have spent all day reading and listening to what people thought, their reviews, what they liked and disliked and generally how the film made them feel.   For me, after watching this film, I wanted to see it again.  I will not go into spoilers, but I will try and review this film without giving a lot away.

Star Wars VII (7) is about the fall of the Galactic Empire, who inspire a military dictatorship now called the First Order who has begun executing it's plan to depose the New Republic and reclaim control of the galaxy.  The film picks up around 30 years since Return of the Jedi, after the fall of the Galactic Empire and a lot has changed.  Luke Skywalker is missing.  The veterans from the Rebel Alliance, in response to the First Order are now called the Resistance and they retaliate against the First Order and their new weapon of mass destruction.  With the introduction of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), an ace fighter pilot for the resistance who is captured by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order, he is taken to be interrogated for very important information.  Poe eventually meets Finn (John Boyega) who in turn meets Rey (Daisy Ridley) who later meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to only be pulled into General Leia Organa's (Carrie Fisher) fight against the First Order.  With the odds stacked against them, success for the resistance seems nonexistent and it is now up to our heroes to defeat this new threat that is the First Order.

Now if you have seen A New Hope, there are blatant parallels with Episode IV and this is the aim.  Where a lot of Episodes I-III have a great deal of exposition, the general plot is given to you whilst the film flows at a rapid pace.  Having watched the film, you will leave the cinema thinking, one of two things, overwhelmed or underwhelmed and mainly because, although this is a good film, there are a lot of things missing, i.e exposition. Sitting or standing in circles discussing politics.  Relationships between characters are not forced, but not very well fleshed out to be majorly impactful.  The film acts as a springboard or a passing of the torch to the new characters and if you want to know about the older characters, watch the previous trilogy.  Moreover, you simply might have wanted a lot more than what JJ Abrams gave to us.  J J Abrams had a lot to do and without making this children's film (enjoyed by adults) run for too long, J J was only able to deliver on what I felt he did what the Prequel Trilogy didn't manage to do, but should have; and that is to produce and direct a film that resembles the original trilogy films which were made, update it with the technology we have now and deliver a quality product.  Although this was done in the prequel trilogy, sort of, a lot of the puppets, set pieces and acting (funnily enough) was not real.  Some of the acting didn't carry much weight.  Wooden or very bad dialogue/scripts.  The reason why a lot of people who have watched the original trilogy basically trash the prequel trilogy, is due to the way it was directed and how the characters acted and were portrayed along with the bad dialogue.  Too much kiddie elements to it with a lot of bad acting and bad characters.  The Force Awakens is a return to form and we can only see this progressing further into the next trilogy and beyond.

Things I didn't like about the movie, was the pacing.  It was too fast and even though it didn't feel rushed as such, everything moved quite rapidly once we got into the film and this didn't allow for some story elements or scenes to be 30 seconds longer just to fully appreciate the story, situation or dynamics.  With soo many things left open to the imagination or for us to wait until the sequel, although the film doesn't answer all our questions, it just gives us another bunch of questions you will have to figure out yourself or like I said, wait until the follow up film.

Seeing the Millennium Falcon again was great.  Sexy beast of a hunk of junk.  And the X-Wings are as sexy as they can ever be.  The sound and special effects are tip top and when it comes to the cinematography, nearly every single frame is a screenshot masterpiece.  Like, pause it at any moment and print screen, put it in a frame and hang it up.  Another gripe I didn't like was Lupita Nyong'o's character.  The character was fine, but we didn't need her for it and felt that this award winning actress was misused.  But other than that, this film is a stepping stone for the sequel and many more movies to come.  Hopefully the second movie doesn't get too dark.  Word has it, Star Wars Episode VIII (8) will be the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise.  I'm expecting explanations and a lot of people dying.  Dark days for the resistance.

Oh, by the way.  People don't understand the "HYPE" about this film.  For me, there is no "hype". If you appreciate storytelling and film, then you would get the "Hype", otherwise you just won't get it.  A lot of this is due to the knowledge of watching the original trilogy since 1977 and understanding what Star Wars has done for the movie industry.  What George Lucas has done for the movie industry.   Don't raise your hopes up either.  This is just the start of another journey to a galaxy far far away, long ago.

Enjoy