Sadly, there’s no piquant or even satisfactory way to type a scream of joy out but that’ll have to do. 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, we finally have the continuation to the science fiction saga the entire world knows of. As a disclaimer and to be upfront: no movie is perfect, not even The Force Awakens. But we’ll forgive everything because frankly, we still love it. We’ll try our hardest not to spoil anything because this is a movie that should NOT be spoiled (shame on you if you did spoil it for someone).
The Force Awakens picks up where Return of the Jedi left, with the return of the Dark Side. Now the Sith hide under the banner of the First Order, a third-reichy bunch of brainwashed troops hell-bent on controlling the galaxy, just like their Galactic Empire origins. Standing in their path is the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa (played by Carrie Fisher) and backed by the Republic. Both the Dark and Light side are scouring the galaxy to look for the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Luke disappeared after a student of his, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), betrays him; butchering the students and Luke’s dreams of a restored Jedi order.
So instead of the original gang, we follow Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), a scavenger and an ex-First Order trooper respectively, on their adventure after Rey stumbles across a droid entrusted with the location of Luke Skywalker.
We’re going to give Director J.J. Abrams mad props for his dedication in keeping with the feel of the original trilogy. A fan himself, Abrams was expected to know what the fans wanted and he delivers it in spades from the get-go with a riveting action scene that morphs into a nostalgic and melancholic introduction for Rey.
But anyone walking into the theatre thinking The Force Awakens is just a fan tribute with no new bells and whistles will be surprised at the bold additions. With new technology, the set pieces are marvellously grandiose and dramatic, the action scenes crisp (though Stormtroopers still can’t shoot to save their life), and the new characters adding to the story instead of being plastered on.
As the new villain, however, Kylo Ren is moderately disappointing. He lacks the malevolent confident swagger of Darth Vader but makes up for it with unpredictable wrath and temper. He comes off as a bratty teenager… which is not unlike Anakin before his turning to the Dark Side, so we guess it works out. But the first film in a planned trilogy is definitely too soon for the villain to be unmasked. We can’t help but feel that Ren should have stayed hidden behind his visage.
The film still has its Star Wars quirks, both good and bad; with plenty of plot conveniences as old characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa are introduced into the film. The comedic element is also explored in the helter-skelter manner with funny quips added amidst blaster fire and explosions (like Solo commenting on Chewbacca’s bowcaster weapon).
The Force Awakens is more than an homage with Abrams adding his brand of dramatic flair into the legacy of George Lucas. It’s a revitalisation of a saga that the new generation of geek chic might not connect with (you must admit, watching the original trilogy now has them feeling kinda cheesy) that strives to add on instead of detract from its own origins. Despite its shortcomings, we can’t help loving it to death. Just like how Han Solo says “We’re home, Chewwie” with nostalgic amazement, in that theatre we felt like we were, indeed, back home.
DANamic.ORG rating: 5/5
Images courtesy of Disney