MOVIE REVIEW: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I was born in 1975, old I know, so for me the Star Wars universe is one that has pretty much dominated the cultural landscape of my life.  I was Luke and my elder brother was Han, and together in our small town in Ireland we fought the Empire in our own special way.  With the exception of Batman, no other piece of pop entertainment has stuck with me like Star Wars.

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Finally, the Star Wars film that we’ve waited for since Empire Strikes Back has come to our cinemas.  It’s decades after Return of the Jedi, there is no Empire, there is only The First Order, and the Rebellion are still fighting the good fight.  Luke has gone missing, deciding to leave everything and everyone behind, and all sides are looking for him.  Poe Dameron the Rebellions most courageous pilot and his trusted Droid BB8 have come to a planet to find a piece of the puzzle that will lead the Rebellion to find Luke.  The First Order, or the New Empire, lead by the villainous Kylo Ren, is also on route to this planet to find the information.

This film from the start to the finish lived up to the standards that Empire Strikes Back brought us, we can put the Prequel Trilogy behind us, it’s as though they never happened, and I was brought back to being a child.  I sat there through every single minute of the two and a quarter hours of the running time with the biggest dumbest smile on my face that if you saw it you’d think there was an issue with my mental state.  I assure you that there is, but not in any way like that, but don’t worry.  If you are a fan of the original trilogy there is so much here that will have you with a massive silly smile too, from returning cast members, familiar locations, and the high adventure that we’ve come to expect from this amazing franchise.  What is even better here is the casting.  We all know, unless you’ve been living under a rock, that the main three characters from the original films have returned and they are perfect back in the roles that made them.  But the new cast members, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, and John Boyega, fit into the world with that same sense of wonder that made the original cast so special to the fans.

fly7amytwbcwrqfssuglThe story is all about The First Order, a group trying to bring back the Empire, it’s full of shadowy characters that will come into their own in the movies to come.  Where The Force Awakens succeeds more than any of the prequel trilogy movies is that Disney and Director JJ Abrams seem to love the franchise a little more than they should.  They give the film every chance to be its own film, rather than just rehashing the same old story along the way, they broaden the universe to the point where it can go anywhere.

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I don’t write spoiler reviews, and hopefully will never have to resort to that in order for you to read my work, so all I’ll say to the legion of true Star Wars fans out there is this, make sure you bring tissues.  There is one event in the film that had this guy in tears and if you love the characters the way that I do it will happen to you.  In the end nothing I write here is going to change your mind about going to see this film, you’re going to see it or not, but I hope that you do.  I really hope that those who fell out of love with this series of films during the horrible prequel madness will return with an open mind and the same love for the Star Wars universe in their hearts.  There is something special here that you just cannot deny.  If any of you had worries that Disney buying the rights to the Galaxy far, far away I can honestly tell you that the house of Mouse has saved this from the hands of its Creator, well-meaning as they are, and we have A New Hope.

This Holiday season there is just one film on everyone’s radar and Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is it.  The running time flies through, you don’t feel you are sitting there for that length of time, and you start to think about how you can see it again and again.  I haven’t felt this strongly about a film in a long time, before the dark times, before Empire.  If you haven’t booked your ticket then Awaken and get out there and buy it soon.  Avoid spoilers as you’ll be far better off finding them out when they are announced on-screen.  This is how big budget films should be.

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