Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Well, it’s here: the biggest movie event of the year. The hype couldn’t have been any bigger; the expectations any more mixed. Would episode VII be a new hope – or a phantom menace?

With zero spoilers, I can say that The Force Awakens is a lot of fun – but, it’s also quite familiar. A desert planet, a droid with a message, a crack pilot, and some familiar faces – not to mention the dark organisation hell bent on taking over the galaxy. Add in a couple of motifs that are also super-familiar from director JJ Abram’s previous hop on the existing universe train (Star Trek), and the biggest possible disappointment in TFA is the lack of novelty.

And yet… I really enjoyed it. I must confess, I’m not a Star Wars nut – I’m slightly younger than the series, for a start, so my childhood wasn’t given over to the amazement of this set of movies; they were just the ones on TV every Christmas. But I am a geek, and I am surrounded by uber-fans of this cultural phenomenon – because, yes, I think it is. I can’t remember a movie with so many people – fans and otherwise – saying they had to go see it, and before any spoilers at that. Everyone has an opinion, too. Largely, I’d suggest the hard-core fans are a little disappointed; everyone else seems happy.

I suppose it makes sense that I’m pretty in the middle. I really enjoyed the movie, but I’m not raving ‘wow wow wow’. I liked the reappearance of characters like Han Solo (but not C3PO – the Jar Jar Binks of this one, imo!). I mostly liked the new characters, too – the lessons from previous movies (Jar Jar, whiny Anakin, etc) seem to have been taken to heart. And yes, while it all felt very familiar, I kind of liked that too: after 30 years, the nods back almost feel appropriate – and, from my superficial interest in the whole mythos, the circularity of the story telling has been used before.

That said, this is very much an opening movie. There are various hints but many more questions about what’s still to come in the next two movies. So, patience, padawan!

Overall: it’s a lot of fun, but it was never going to match the cultural impact so many people remember so fondly from their childhood. That doesn’t make it a bad movie, but don’t try to take it all so seriously!

Released: 17th December 2015
Viewed: 21st December 2015
Running time: 135 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 7.5/10 – really enjoyed it, but I think BB8 is the only ‘amazeball’ factor 😉

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