12:05am. I’m waiting at the gate to Macquarie Centre’s Event Cinemas. There are hundreds of people queuing outside the entrance. A few Darth Vaders walk past, then a Yoda, a few Han Solos, even a Boba Fett… and there are lightsabres everywhere. There’s an energy in the air. Everyone can feel it, and is feeding off it. It’s an anticipation that you don’t get often in movies today.
Seriously, stop and think about it. New ‘Star Wars’ movies are such an event when they are released in cinemas The original movie trilogy has come to be defined as an example of the best of what cinema has to offer in terms of blending technical mastery with ingenious and emotive storytelling. They are truly movies of yesteryear, but also of our own times too.
No wonder J.J. Abrams confessed that he was really feeling the pressure when Episode VII was in production (being a serious ‘Star Wars’ fan himself). Since when did one single film create so much buzz and anticipation? Maybe the first ‘Avengers’ in 2012, but not much else comes close.
Actually, I take that back. Probably one movie that can compare in terms of hype was the release of ‘The Phantom Menace’ in 1999. Of course, everyone now views that film as being the one of the most disappointing letdowns of our time. However, to all you fans out there, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because today history will not repeat itself. Abrams and company have delivered a brilliant addition to the series, bringing ‘Stars Wars’ out of the ashes and delivering an instant classic!
Firstly, the movie itself blends brilliantly with the original series. The nostalgia certainly hits you when you hear the sounds of the Tie-Fighters and the Millennium Falcon in action, in addition to John Williams’s timeless score. Harrison Ford gives his best performance ever as Han Solo (and that’s saying something), the charming smuggler who is now marked by life (particularly when paired once again with Carrie Fisher as Leia).
However, what is even better to see is that the new additions to the 'Star Wars' universe shine just as brightly. John Boyega as Finn, the former Stormtrooper with nothing to fight for, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, the best fighter pilot in the galaxy, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, the complicated multidimensional servant of the dark side and commander of the First Order, breathe a whole new life into this series.
But the movie truly belongs to breakout performer Daisy Ridley as the scavenger Rey, and the new awesome BB-8 robot, who actually might be the best droid character in the franchise’s history (yes, a big claim, but when you put it next to C-3PO and R2D2, this droid really holds its own). When these characters come together it does not take long for you to accept them into the 'Star Wars' canon.
One of the most welcome additions too is the use of humour in this film. Unlike the humour attempted in the prequels, which came off as somewhat stiff and awkward, this film’s script sparkles with brilliant and genuinely hilarious moments that add to character development, almost leaving the sold-out audience in stitches at some points. With all the brilliance of the movies that have come before this, ‘The Force Awakens’ is by far the funniest ‘Star Wars’ film, which is a further delight.
Technology may have evolved from past films, but this film firmly keeps one foot in the past, with classic designs and brilliantly utilised practical effects. It feels so real and so much more engaging, particularly when compared with the prequels. If this is to be the first in a new series of films, then Abrams is certainly making a statement about creating a movie series that serves as a nod to the past, but also is one that forges its own path. The people who have crafted this movie have done so with serious love and care, and the result tells it all.
As the start of a new trilogy, this movie passes with flying colours; leaving us with plenty of questions that we as fans can’t wait to see be answered in the coming additions. The pain of the prequels is a distant memory! Strong with the force, this movie is!