Star Wars 3D: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Star Wars 3D: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

(2015)

The first Star Wars film since Disney bought the rights to George Lucas' space opera franchise, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost). Also the first in a planned trilogy (extending the movie saga with episodes seven, eight and nine), the story is set 35 years after Return of the Jedi. Lucas' main cast returns alongside Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), John Boyega (Attack the Block), Adam Driver (TV's Girls) Daisy Ridley and Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings).

Flicks Review

To exit the cinema with not just a sense of relief but joyous excitement says it all. The Force Awakens immediately transports its audience into a Star Wars universe both familiar and mysterious, and from there director J.J. Abrams delights in introducing new characters and working through a roll call of familiar faces. Sure, at times the fan service gets a little heavy, and you can almost picture Abrams working through a checklist of things to include, but these are minor quibbles for a franchise which has already seen George Lucas cannibalise his own ideas several times over - not to mention ramming characters into shot in order to sell toys.... More

The new additions to the cast are simply phenomenal. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega form a compelling onscreen pairing opposite one another, and heroic pivots for the film to swivel around as required. Adam Driver’s villainous Kylo Ren owns the screen with menacing physicality to such an extent that it almost comes as a surprise when he shows he can also emote - something we may not have seen from a Star Wars baddie before (unless you feel like including whiny Hayden Christensen, and I’d rather not). Meanwhile, fighter ace Oscar Isaac seems like he’s been teleported in from the 70s or 80s with a classic wisecrack hero schtick that may be setting him up as the Solo of the new heroic trio.

The time that’s passed since the original trilogy in both our universe and that of Star Wars aids the film a great deal. By casting prior events as somewhat mythical, Abrams is able to bring The Force Awakens into a more modern era stylistically, while respecting the cinematic conventions established by Lucas (ships silhouetted against sunsets above a hot desert, for instance, looking like they’re shot on actual honest-to-goodness film).

This is no throwback though, instead it’s an amalgam of old and new, a thrill ride that satisfies in its own right as well as in assuaging the fears of fans. I don’t know how it could have been better, but somehow have the feeling that’s exactly what’s going to happen with the sequels from Rian Johnson. And I’m ok with that.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 9 ratings, 5 reviews
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BY RealityCheck superstar

Star Wars-The Force Awakens
Well, not much can be said about this film... Go see it… Done. It’s combination of Episode 4 & 5 on a basic level, but still awesome and will totally gain new younger audience. I can’t believe that mind control guy from Heroes is a fighter pilot! So cool he’s now a good guy again. Anyway, enjoy, go watch it on the big screen, even better in Imax 3D!!
Genre : Sci-fi, adventure, fantasy, Star Wars
4/5 : epically awesome, could’ve been even better if Jar-jar... More Binx was in it.EHide


BY Mel superstar

Avoided all reviews and write-ups before seeing the film, which was definitely a good move. Fans are rewarded in spades - but, rather delightfully, the new additions are absolutely brilliant in their own right, rather than feeling like they've just been slotted in and around the nostalgia. A totally joyous experience, clearly made with love. Awesome.


BY Brendo superstar

Oh yes, yes, yes! This is the film I was looking for and to be reintroduced to some old friends was something that I never thought I was going to see. A return to a time long ago and in a galaxy far, far away is simply going home for this 'Star Wars' fan. Before I even thought about reviewing the newest installment in the 'Star Wars' space saga, 'The Force Awakens', I had to attend a viewing not once but twice. The first viewing was just out of pure excitement for a film that I have longed to... More see but after I allowed myself to fully process what I just saw, I took a trip to the local cinema to relive the magic all over again.
J.J. Abrams is the first star of this superb episode with the masterful storyteller beautifully taking the audience back to this wonderful galaxy where the forces of good and evil are played out in an eternal struggle for supremacy against the backdrop of magical arenas and timeless characters. Abrams has shown devoted respect to a story that means so much to countless souls around the world by perfectly blending old and new in all matters of this unique space opera. J.J. has introduced new worlds to the excited audience but still gives the fans the obvious glimpses of the past by seamlessly connecting a story that is moving forward from its days where the galaxy was ruled by an evil empire. Abrams is the ideal Director to resurrect the story and has the experience to back-up his reputation. His reboot of 'Star Trek' was nothing short of a miracle at a time where the Enterprise and its crew were tired and no longer relevant to a new generation that are not so easily impressed. Careful consideration to this mythical tale was vital to move "Star Wars beyond 'Return of the Jedi' and J.J. Abrams has given this third trilogy the blistering opening that it needed.
'The Force Awakens' starts thirty years after the events of 'Return of the Jedi'. A map containing the whereabouts of the legendary Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is placed into a BB8 droid by a Resistance fighter named Poe Dameron (Oscar Issacs) before he is captured by the New Order led by an evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who possesses the power of the force. And so the episode begins and it isn't long before we are introduced to Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) who cross paths with each other on the junk yard planet of Jakku. They are forced to escape the planet with the BB8 droid after being tracked by the New Order and it is here that they fortuitously run into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they all set about returning the BB8 droid back to the Resistance before the New Order can intercept them. The Millennium Falcon races across the galaxy with the enemy hot on its trail where the leadership of General Organa (Carrie Fisher) awaits the important cargo. Absolutely brilliant.
The new cast of Ridley, Boyega, Issac, and Driver engage with their characters to give the audience an unbreakable continuation to the mystical saga. Daisy Ridley looks very comfortable in her starring role and doesn't seem to be overawed by magnitude of the narrative. Ridley works well with John Boyega with each increasingly comfortable in the others presence. Harrison Ford is prominent throughout the film with his timeless character, Han Solo effortlessly engaging with the younger cast. Han relationship with his life long mate, Chewbacca only adds charm to a movie packed full of highlights. They are truly two of the greatest characters to ever grace the cinematic screen.
What a start to this third trilogy! J.J Abrams has delivered an engrossing space fantasy full of magic. He has been respectful to the story and has found the right balance between live action scenes and CGI giving 'The Force Awakens' the authentic atmosphere that the prequels so sadly lacked. George Lucas has done the right thing by allowing others to take his creation to new places with new heads collaborating to drive 'Star Wars' into a different direction. What we have here is a film equal to any of the original's, just following short of 'Empire Strikes Back' and with the baton now being paced on to a new Director for the next installment the potential for greatness is within reach. It is calling to us all.Hide


BY Gaspardation superstar

Best reboot ever, especially when you consider its highlight on gender equality. A female Jedi as the lead: how cool is that!


NUTSHELL REVIEW: It’s a blast(er)! After Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, this is, (script quibbles aside), the best chapter in the Star Wars movieverse by several squillion parsecs.

SPOILER FREE FULL REVIEW: After “The Phantom Menace” I went in to this new chapter in the Star Wars story muttering “I have a bad feeling about this.” So, sighs of relief all round, when, five-minutes in it became clear that director JJ Abram’s has delivered a family friendly Disney adventure... More movie, and the biggest fan-boy love-letter to George Lucas’ original 1977 Star Wars since Family Guy’s Blue Harvest.

The script (by Abrams and Star Wars veteran, Lawrence Kasdan), has a few (major) problems, but it makes up for those by taking all we loved from the first movie and spinning it into two-hours and twenty-minutes of action set-pieces, melodrama, slapstick, sentiment, and sumptuously old-school cinematography – all delivered with aplomb to create a film truly full of delights. On an IMAX screen, with all the 3D visual bells, and surround sound whistles, it’s simply the most fun I’ve had at the movies in years.

Abrams’ and Kasdan’s script avoids the much maligned political shenanigans, trade disputes, and the Force as bugs-in-the-blood Midichlorian mumbo-jumbo of the prequels. Great, yes, but that does leave quite a lot of the small but important stuff merely hinted at or largely unexplored. No biggie nowadays when we all know there will be endless episodes to come to fill in the (often gaping, sometimes minor) plot holes and narrative SNAFUs. This type of Disney movie, like their Marvel franchise, is a return to George Lucas’ much loved Saturday serials. Tall tales that left the likes of Flash Gordon on a cliffhanger, only to pick up again in the following installment, like so much cinematic soap opera. Okay, so it’s an action adventure for kids and adults, but the “It ain’t meant to be Shakespeare” argument never held much water for me. It may not be Hamlet, but it should still strive for a story that makes sense and characters that work in their fictional world. Anyway, that major gripe aside, let’s just agree this is seven in a series of a zillion and they’ve got time to make sense of the nonsense.

Other than script holes, if there’s a major criticism to be had, it’s the way the story sticks so closely to shadowing the blueprint set by the 1977 original. Mos Eisley cantina style sequence? Check. A bigger, badder Death Star? Check. That doesn’t mean there aren’t enough twists, turns and new shiny bits bolted on to make this its own movie. Hell, criticizing a Star Wars movie for having too simple a story, or for nabbing the plot from other sources is pretty unfair, given that Lucas readily admits the inspirations for the original ranged from fairytales, Saturday morning serial cinema, and Kurosawa’s movie, The Hidden Fortress, to President Nixon and the Vietnam War. This is a Star Wars movie and proud of it.

Fans will delight in the thousand and one nostalgic nods to the original trilogy. But none of these can top the return of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and former Princess, now General, Leia (Carrie Fisher), alongside the likes of Star Wars favourites ranging from Chewie, R2D2, C3P0 and The Millennium Falcon to that sweeping, emotional, overwrought, yet somehow never overbearing, John Williams score.

The new star of Star Wars is Rey (Daisy Ridley), a restless teen on the planet Jakku (just as Luke was a restless teen on Tatooine), who meets a droid called BB-8 (just as Luke met R2D2), and yada, yada, no-spoliers here - cue her call to adventure. But Rey’s no weedy girly, reliant on guys rescuing her. Fiercely independent, with no need for men to be her guide, teacher or love interest, Rey’s a Disney heroine for young kids of today. As for the hero? Former stormtrooper FN-2187, aka Finn (John Boyega), is a great addition to the team, as is Oscar Isaac as ace Resistance pilot, Poe Dameron. But it’s the villain that leaves the best impression, with Adam Driver’s silver and black masked Kylo Ren stepping in to Darth Vader’s huge bad boy boots. As the new baddie on the Star Wars block, with a dark heart and an even darker secret, Driver is superb, bringing a layered character to twisted life.

The supporting cast are all round pretty darn fine too. My pick of the bunch are Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka and Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata. On the downside, Andy Serkis as Snoke, and Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, suffer the odd bout of movie baddie clichés, and poor old Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, as Captain Phasma, has bugger all to do.

Direction wise? Fortunately, JJ discards his Star Trek lens flares and sticks to the look and feel set-up by the original Star Wars. The use of CGI to blend and enhance practical effects, rather than turn the film into a pale imitation of a PS4 platformer (as in the prequels), pays off big time. Shot by cinematographer, Dan Mindel, on 35mm film, with some 65mm Imax thrown in for good measure, the tech should please cinephile purists and digital whizz kids alike.

All up? If sci-fi soap, action adventure family fare ain’t your thing? Star Wars isn’t for you. But if Star Wars 1977-style is your thing? Praise be! The Force has awakened and is strong in this one. Roll on Episode VIII.Hide


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The Press Reviews

94% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Outrageously exciting and romantic return to a world you hadn’t realised you’d missed so much. Full Review

  • Brings welcome jolts of energy, warmth and excitement back to the biggest franchise in movie history... For impressive stretches [Abrams] achieves the action-packed buoyancy of the old Saturday morning serials that partly inspired Star Wars in the first place. Full Review

  • It has the usual toy-store-ready gizmos and critters, but it also has appealingly imperfect men and women whose blunders and victories, decency and goofiness remind you that a pop mythology like Star Wars needs more than old gods to sustain it. Full Review

  • Pumps new energy and life into a hallowed franchise in a way that both resurrects old pleasures and points in promising new directions. Full Review

  • The rollicking, space-opera spirit of George Lucas's original trilogy (you can safely forget the second trio of cynical, tricked-up prequels) emanates from every frame of J.J. Abrams euphoric sequel. Full Review

  • Filmmaking on an enormous scale and it packs a planet-sized punch, launching a new generation of characters who – by the end – take a place next to Han, Leia and the rest. Full Review

  • The movie that fans wanted, the movie that fans deserve. And it’s only fitting that it is, beneath the scintillating action and striking world-building, a film about parents and children, about the effects of one generation on the next, about legacy. Full Review

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