"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (2015)- Movie Review

Written and Directed by J.J. Abrams
Co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt
Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Harrison Ford

‘A Dream Come True’

Before I begin this review, I must admit that I’m not a huge Star Wars fan. Although this may be hard to believe, I didn’t grow up with George Lucas’ original trilogy that changed cinema forever. Neither did I ever have the chance to watch the prequels. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which is saying something. Bringing back a beloved franchise to the big-screen after 30 years, it is a movie-going experience I won’t be able to forget about anytime soon.

 It was unforgettable in the sense that there was a feeling of excitement and energetic enthusiasm among the audience that I saw the movie with. In fact, ‘excitement’ may be an understatement. These movie-goers weren’t just excited, but swept away by the thrill of seeing Star Wars on the big-screen after many years. As the lights went out and the iconic logo burst onto the screen accompanied by John Williams’ timeless music, the audience suddenly burst into applause. And it was then that I immediately got the feeling that we were in for something special.

Few films, if any, leave you with this kind of feeling. In most cases, you never know how a movie will turn out. Sometimes, movies live up to your expectations but most of the time they leave you disappointed. Every once in a while, however, there are those rare occasions when a film exceeds your expectations in every way imaginable. J.J. Abrams’ long-awaited “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is one of those films. Ever since it was first announced that Star Wars would be making its way back to the big-screen, fans of the series have anxiously awaited to see if it lives up to the hype. Thankfully, J.J. Abrams has passionately created a film that does not disappoint. Packed with thrilling action, irresistible humor and unexpected twists/turns, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is everything that Star Wars fans could have possibly hoped for.

However, the most surprising thing about the film is that you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy it. While it is obviously intended for fans of the popular series, J.J. Abrams’ film also does a great job of introducing the world of Star Wars to a new generation of movie-goers. Picking up 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi”, the sci-fi epic follows the adventures of two new heroes: Rey and Finn. Rey is a lonely scavenger with a mysterious past, while Finn is a storm-trooper seeking freedom. When a new threat arises known as the First Order, they must team up with old allies to save the galaxy from being destroyed forever.

As you are transported back to a galaxy far, far away, you encounter the colorful characters, breathtaking visuals and sense of awe that makes you fall in love with Star Wars all over again. As far as directing is concerned, they couldn’t have picked a more fitting director to take on this world famous franchise than J.J. Abrams. Perhaps best known for re-inventing Star Trek with 2009’s successful reboot, he brings the same passion and enthusiasm to Star Wars. It is hard to not admire how well-made “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is, from both a technical and storytelling standpoint. One can immediately tell that J.J. Abrams has poured his heart and soul into this blockbuster, from the opening credits to the heart-pounding climax. Along with a talented team of artists, he has crafted the Star Wars film that fans have been waiting a long time to see.

The gorgeous visuals offered by the film prove that the wait was well worth it. Visually, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the most breathtaking film that movie-goers will come across this year. It isn’t really surprising, considering that nearly every blockbuster nowadays is visually a feast for the eyes. Yet, in a year that has been filled with one visually stunning blockbuster after another, this science-fiction extravaganza stands out. Not only do the visuals transport audiences to the distinctive world of Star Wars, but they also anchor together some of the most exciting action sequences of the year. Unlike most action movies which offer nothing more than loud explosions, the action-sequences in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” elevate your interest in the story.
Casting is another aspect about the film that couldn’t have been better either. Whether it is the iconic stars returning after nearly 30 years or newcomers to the franchise, each actor in the film was perfectly cast and left a lasting impression. In a humongous cast that is filled with talented actors from top to bottom, the two newcomer stars that stood out the most were Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Although this is only her first major role in a motion-picture, Ridley proves that she is an actress with a bright future ahead of her in the industry. As Rey, she carries the film on her shoulders with confidence and charisma that is not often found in young actresses nowadays. John Boyega, on the other hand, is simply a joy to watch as Finn. Providing hilarious comical relief and a cheerful presence, he cracks jokes that make for the funniest moments in the film.

When it comes to older actors returning to the franchise after 30 years, it’s hard to not take notice of Harrison Ford. Reprising the iconic role of Han Solo, the legendary actor brings his most famous character to life with surprising ease. He delivers an emotional performance that tugs at the heartstrings, proving why this role made him a star all those years ago.

As for the dark side, the villains in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are also appropriately cast. J.J. Abrams’ film offers a unique villain who goes by the name Kylo Ren. Played by Adam Driver, he is truly a force to be reckoned with: smart, intimidating and full of layers. Although it is hard to live up to the high standard set by Darth Vader, an unexpected plot twist near the end makes Kylo Ren a memorable villain.

Unfortunately, however, stuffing so many characters, plot twists and mythology into the film comes at a cost. At times, there are too many things going on which makes the story hard to follow for those unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe. Like a heavy meal that is too large to be eaten, the result is a film that is slightly overwhelming to watch.

Yet, one can’t deny that as a whole “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” lives up to the hype. To sum it up, it is exciting, emotional and one of the most well-made blockbusters in recent memory. Even though I’m not a fan of Star Wars, it left a beaming smile on my face that has stayed with me ever since.

4/5 stars

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