#REVIEW: “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS”
Set some 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens flashes forward to a new era where we see the world through the eyes of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega).
Conflict still is very much present between the Rebel Alliance – which Rey and Finn are a part of – and the Galactic Empire. The latter is commanded by Kylo Rey (Adam Driver), estranged son of General Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Rey and Finn find themselves in a fight for survival at every turn with the Galactic Empire in hot pursuit of them and a droid amidst them named BB-8, which holds some crucial information. Han Solo and long-time sidekick Chewbacca cross paths with the young duo and together join forces, even if it comes at the cost of dividing further apart father and son.
This latest installment in one of the most beloved Film franchises of all time, looks to reconnect Fans with a proper homage to the original Trilogy, and surely over 32 years since Jedi, some fully-fleshed ideas have come to fruition and we have stories to tell. Does Director and Writer J.J. Abrams do it justice though?
Abrams is faced with the impossible task of continuing and at once creating a legacy and as a storyteller, he succeeds largely. Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the surface is exhilarating action, conflict and a must-see-in 3-D Space Fantasy. At its core though, Abrams sees it as a Family Drama, a journey of self-discovery (especially for Rey) and continues to explore that archetypal Love Triangle with a new generation of characters – their lives at stake.
Newcomer Daisy Ridley is just fantastic in perhaps the most daunting debut in recent cinematic memory, convincing both emotionally as she is physically. Make no mistake, women are not relegated to supporting roles in The Force Awakens, they are physical and intellectual equals to their male counterparts and this is both refreshing and responsible. We would be terribly amiss if we didn’t take note of the diversity in this international cast and Disney’s ongoing commitment to being socially-conscious to a new generation of fans.
John Boyega brings to his role a bit of clumsiness and a great relatability, being the true heart and soul of The Force Awakens – a lovelorn Finn who isn’t certain about everything, but knows that he is willing to give his all for Rey.
Fans of the original Trilogy will be delighted by prominent face time from Fisher and more so Ford, who manages to awaken some nostalgia with endearing moments of comedic banter with lovable Chewbacca.
Adam Driver as the brooding and driven Kylo Ren shows us a new depth and range – difficult to read and unpredictable – which will surprise fans who like me discovered him in HBO’s GIRLS.
The biggest scene-stealer in The Force Awakens, you ask? That would be none other than the adorable BB-8 who rolls right into our hearts without words even, a true testament to the commitment to detail and realism by Disney Research which created the droid.
And all that talk about Mark Hamill appearing here? You’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS on Friday, December 18, 2015.