Star Wars: The Force Awakens

tfa-poster-japan

The Japanese poster, because it has Kylo Ren at its center.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Release date: December 25 2015 (India)
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong’o, Anthony Daniels

Back when the “original” Star Wars came out, i.e. A New Hope, in 1977,  I wasn’t even conceived yet. I got around to watching the initial trilogy and wound up watching the later prequels in just about 2012 and some time later, the announcement of a reboot was made by Disney after their acquisition of Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Lucasfilm. A New Hope, as compared to films that have been made in its succeeding four decades, appears to be very basic in its design and inception. It uses silly fade-ins and fade-outs to transition between scenes, often done between disconnected scenes. What it shows you is a strong groundwork for fairy tales set in space. (Lucas himself described it as a fairy tale with a cohesive reality)

It brought along with it, Jedi knights, Sith lords, stormtroopers, tribes of Ewoks, talking droids, a grizzly wookie, an extraterrestrial life guru who’s just a bazillion years old, some messed up familial relationships, and the biggest of them all, telekinesis being used in a non-horror film. It created a universe which demands of you to suspend your disbelief. Cementing its legacy, film by film, fictional creature by fictional creature. The similarities between being a pro-wrestling fan and an avid Star Wars follower are many, and I know them. And just like how the former don’t approve of conversations about the match results of a show they haven’t seen, the latter frown at the slightest mention of a film ‘spoiler’.

The characters of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess/General Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have aged well into their grey-hair and wrinkly-skin years, and have went down their own paths of satisfaction and fulfillment in life. A long time later, in a galaxy far, far away, The First Order has risen from the remains of the fallen Galactic Empire and is out to find Luke and establish its supremacy. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a a Resistance fighter-pilot who crosses path with Finn (John Boyega) and makes a journey to the barren land of Jakku, where Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a scavenger who sells her finds for a living.

There’s an intersection of paths and an adventure ensues.

That’s the shortest plot description I’ve ever written. You can guess why.

As the title of the film goes, there’s an awakening of The Force and it is felt by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), your new age Darth Vader and Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is the new Emperor Palpatine. Ren is the same amount of Vader as he his own person, he takes off his mask when he wants, and he’s as evil, and a little more unpredictable. Snoke is slightly more accommodating of his disciples, but vindictive in equal measure. Han Solo and Chewie are back and thankfully, their sense of humor and wisdom is still alive and kicking.

J. J. Abrams retains the best of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and spins his story with the right dash of nostalgia thrown around, here and there. He brings back the bar-bands playing sick tunes, gritty pawn shop owners, lightsaber duels, beautiful landscapes reminiscent of Episode V, the Millennium Falcon and John Williams’ epic background score! He knows that his audience wants instant gratification, and he uses that fact to give away a lot of layers of the film’s characters in a short time. The motivations for the characters’ actions are made clear by neat backstories for them.

The Force Awakens has a mouth-popping, jaw-dropping, flabbergasting moment which leaves you pretty much like this…

The face you make when Ren does the unthinkable

And the ridiculousness stays intact with the silly fade-in, fade-out transitions!

The film takes you on a journey you’ve taken before, probably even multiple times, but it makes it enjoyable all over again.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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