Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis. Directed by J. J. Abrams.
The Force Awakens is the first movie in Star Wars film franchise, where the episode number (VII) and the order of the movie in the series (7th) coincides. Following this, there will be two more in the trilogy getting released over next two years, making Star Wars a trilogy of trilogies (Original, prequel and sequel trilogies). Disclaimer: The Force Awakens is the first movie in Star Wars that I have seen in theater, and to get used to the characters and know about the storyline, I watched the original trilogy and the first movie from prequel trilogy, just a week before that. I am not a Star Wars fan but an ordinary movie goer trying to get a peek inside Star Wars universe.
The events in 'The Force Awakens' happen 30 years after the second Death star was destroyed in 'The Return of the Jedi'. After the Galactic Empire has been defeated, the First Order has risen and is threatening the Republic. The Resistance, with the support from the Republic, being led by Princess Leia, is trying to find Luke Skywalker to get his help to fight against the First Order.
Story wise, there is nothing much to write about the Force Awakens. The movie is mostly about some new characters, their development, their resemblance with some original trilogy's characters and how they fit in the order of things. As a proper fan service, this episode is filled with most of the popular characters from the original trilogy making re-entries at regular intervals and getting their share of limelight. Among them, Han Solo and Chewbacca get more 'coverage' and other fan favourites, Luke Skywalker and R2D2 will get their share in the next episode.
J. J. Abrams, after successfully rebooting Star Trek franchise, has been given the onus of making the first episode in the Star Wars sequel trilogy to satisfy the die hard fans as well as acquire new fans for the franchise. With the help from other two writers, he has done a great balancing act of being truthful to the original universe, retaining the same aura, while introducing the new elements into the story. But sometimes, this also gives a sense of déjà vu and makes you wonder, whether it is remake of the original. Thankfully, it is not. He has now given a proper platform for the next two movies in the sequel trilogy and made the job for the new directors easy.
Technically, the movie has excelled in all the departments. John Williams gives one of his best scores that elevate the movie experience to higher level and he has returned to the franchise after 'The Return of the Jedi'. J. J. Abrams retains Daniel Mindel, after having worked with him in Star Trek movies. His cinematography, while viewing in IMAX vertical screen, sucks you inside the action effortlessly. Frequent collaborators of the director in the editing department, Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon keep the proceedings at a very brisk pace and 135 running time doesn't seem that long. Visual effects, production design, make-up efforts are world-class.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega are casted to break the stereotype in Star Wars franchise. While Daisy gets your attention as the confident yet kind hearted scavenger Rey, John bowls you over as the bumbling good hearted stormtrooper Finn. Adam Driver grows on you as the main antagonist and his job is the toughest, as he has to replace the third most popular villain of all times. Among the regulars, Harrison Ford is outstanding and he brings wolf whistles in the cinema hall even now. Carrie Fisher has limited screen time as Leia and Mark Hamill doesn't get even that. Among the other new comers, Oscar Isaac is good, while performance captured Lupita Nyong'o and Andy Serkis impress with their voices.
Star Wars fans couldn't have asked for more and they are already making this one a phenomenal success worldwide, making it cross billion dollars in collections. My recommendation for others would be to not miss this one in the big screen (preferably IMAX or large screens). Do remember to watch the original trilogy before that, if you haven't already.
The Force does awaken this time!
2015, 7, English, Review