Star Wars: The Force Awakens REVIEW

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

One of the most iconic sentences in cinema returns- heralding a new era in sci-fi. The Force Awakens begins with the shocking news of Luke Skywalker’s disappearance that has coincided with a new period of turmoil for the beleaguered Republic, under attack from The First Order.

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Even as the infamous yellow text crawls up the screen the film feels incredibly different from the infamous prequels, the teasers and the escalating hopes of Star Wars fans have created a unique fever pitch around the film and it’s thrived on that atmosphere of expectation. It is not just a film made to make money; it is a return, a rebirth and a rescue.

The famous crew of Han Solo, Leia Organa and Chewbacca return…

The return to the original Star Wars formula permeates throughout the film and clearly one has to thank J. J. Abrams for keeping his cool despite being a life-long. Nostalgia did not override his ability to keep the fine balance between old and new features in The Force Awakens. The famous crew of Han Solo, Leia Organa and Chewbacca return, amongst other old faces and places, but this doesn’t detract from the new elements that are the real centrepiece of the film. This goes as far as mentioning the Senate, now heavily tied to the prequel problems, (think long, dull meetings that maybe should have been edited out of the final films,) in a discrete way that evades direct association with the controversial prequels.

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Dogfights make up some of the film’s most remarkable action sequences and are hugely impressive in places.

A wide array of new characters ranging from sassy, top of every child’s Christmas list, Resistance Droid, BB-8, to the tormented and mysterious, Kylo Ren join the Star Wars universe alongside our beloved intergalactic veterans. A rebirth has occurred; or rather an ‘awakening’ has, with a new generation of heroes and villains developing meaningfully throughout the battles, skirmishes and scrapes that Episode VII takes us through, thus establishing a tantalising precedent for the next two films.

The young actors, with especial recognition for John Boyega, alongside the vast crew behind the film, brought together in huge cross corporation coalitions, create a great drive to the film that sets it, in many ways, above all other Star Wars films. Accompanied by the perfect score of John Williams it moves seamlessly from scene to scene and as stories and characters become more entwined the pace does not yield.

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Andy Serkis’ atmospheric role as Snoke, the leader of The First Order, is also well worth an honourable mention.

The Force Awakens has ultimately rescued the franchise by not only letting fans appreciate the nostalgia of the previous films but encouraging both the seasoned enthusiasts and new generations of fans to see something very new and unique. Perfectly balanced cinematography, characters and Star Wars lore creates a film that has given credit back to the previous six films and set a good precedent for the next two films.

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Meeting the heavy burden of fan expectations was a tall order, but Episode VII has excelled itself, with the Jedi seemingly returning and new, interesting characters coming to fore it is clear Star Wars has indeed awakened to silence critics and reassert itself as one of the greatest film sagas in history.

By Arran Byers

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