FILM REVIEW: Star Wars – The Force Awakens

Posted on December 20, 2015

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This was originally posted over at A Writer Goes On A Journey.

Once, long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…there was a film trilogy called…

694px-Star_Wars_Logo.svg

And it was good.

Then there was a second Star Wars trilogy telling the first half of the story. And it was shit. Just about everything that made the originals so good was missing.

And now we have Star Wars – The Force Awakens, resuming the story. And it was fan-bloody-tastic.

I had such mixed feelings about going to see this new one. After all I was pretty badly burned by the abortion that was the second trilogy. But there was a significant difference. An uninspired George Lucas and co were no longer calling the shots. Instead it was now JJ Abrams and his crew doing things. And he and his posse have a good track record with story telling and adventure so all boded well.

Frankly there is not a great deal I can tell you about the film itself without this becoming Spoiler City. But here are some things that I can say.

For those with literary critique sensibilities, this film was classic Hero’s Journey. If you are in the know then you can tick off the points as they unfold…unless you get wrapped up in things and forget to continue keeping score as happened with me.

It is no secret that Han Solo, Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker make returns to the story.

Harrison Ford is pretty much what I expected Han Solo to be after the passage of years. He was older (obviously), grizzled, looking a bit battered with the years. When Mark Hammill makes his appearance, the passage of time is also obvious with heavier, battered features and a thick, greying beard. And finally we had Carrie Fisher. And obviously time has passed for her too. The difference to the other two, however, was the amount of what I assume was Botox treatment which left Fisher with all the facial expression of a frozen watermelon. That disappointed me for the simple reason I remember the Fisher all packed with passion and expression. Fortunately that did not detract from the story for me.

This isn’t a rehash with all the old characters doing the equivalent of a reunion film. It is a story with new characters with a strong female presence, but in many respects in a similar story that works. What Abrams and co have done is bring back the elements that made the original series such a standout. It has the same feel about it, little snatches of dialogue similar to the originals without being silly tropes. It was lovely to see the old bantering relationship between Han and Chewbacca which Ford seems to do effortlessly.

Through the film there were a few things that the inner critic part of me was muttering about. Why would that be sitting there, all conveniently fuelled up ready to go? Flames don’t billow in space. Blah blah. But these were Mickey Mouse stuff.

Following the original films, a Star Wars franchise of novels resulted and I read quite a few of them over the years. And these had to be approved by Lucas or whoever did those things for him, ensuring those stories stuck to the approved story line, reflecting the Star Wars canon. Yet when it came to the second trilogy, Lucas was happy enough to depart from them himself although not in that big a way – just enough to annoy me. If you have followed enough of those novels, once you see this film, you will notice two major departures from that canon, relating to Han and Leia, then Han and Chewbacca. But I suspect those of us who have read that much will be in the minority. And even realising those departures, it didn’t worry me.

I was transported back in time to the 14 year-old who saw the original Star Wars when it first came out. And as I type, a bit over an hour after the film’s end, I am still experiencing that same thrill I had way back when.

If you have been worried that this new Star Wars would be the equivalent of the unforgettable (for being so crap) second trilogy, you can relax. If you liked the old Star Wars then don’t sit here reading – get off to see it NOW.

star4

 

 

Ross sig

 

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Posted in: Review