Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is here. I repeat, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is here. The most anticipated film of 2015 has finally arrived. It could either be the best thing since A New Hope or the largest disaster since Attack of the Clones (yes, I still think it’s worse than The Phantom Menace). This is Star Wars for a new generation and if done right it could endear a world of children to the franchise.
And they did it right. The visuals are stunning, the characters intriguing and the dialogue is a vast improvement on the stiled, hammy lines we got from George Lucas. There are lightsaber fights, blaster shootouts, electrical baton/lightsaber fights and X-Wing/TIE Fighter show downs. There are daring escapes, daring rescues and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t state without spoiling everything. All you need to know is that it’s good and if you’re excited for this film you should definitely see it as soon as you can.
Most people will be excited for reappearances of Leia, Han and Chewy but it’s the new cast members in the forms of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver whose performances bring the narrative to life. Boyega’s character, a turncoat stormtrooper, is one that we haven’t really seen in the Star Wars franchise thus far and the film has great fun in the opening half hour demonstrating that Finn is actually quite a good shot. Rey is a scavenger pilot who is trying to do the right thing without really getting involved. Somewhat like Han Solo from the original film although she’s much more idealistic and open-minded to the power and effectiveness of the force. And Adam Driver does a great turn as an intimidating, conflicted character who is actually really confused about what the right choice is.
If there is a criticism to be made, it’s that The Force Awakens draws heavily on A New Hope. The story arcs for both films are remarkably similar. There’s enough in here for the series to feel new but there are large structural points which harken back to the first of the original trilogy. Without spoiling anything, the film begins with a droid with a secret on a quiet, desert planet being found by one of the main characters whose help is enlisted to complete it. That’s just the beginning. It’s not a terrible thing for the film to recall A New Hope. When last the franchise tried to be original we got the prequel trilogy. But I do feel that J. J. Abrams played it safe. So long as he followed the original film’s key points, he couldn’t really go wrong.
This is just one film though, and it does end somewhat more optimistically than A New Hope. The Force Awakens may hold true to the traditions of the Star Wars franchise but there’s still plenty of potential for the future trilogy entries to take more risks in regards to structure and story development. Regardless of what this film replicates or how the series evolves, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is an intensely enjoyable affair. Treat yourself this Christmas by seeing the best film of 2015.
Speaking of Christmas, this will be my last post for this winter season. I thought it appropriate to end with a big one. But preposterousprose will resume in the new year with new reviews and opinion pieces on subjects such as Fallout 4 and the various Christmas specials. Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.