As in the previous instalments of this thirty eight year
old franchise, it tells the story of a galaxy threatened by great evil. The First
Order, much like the Empire before them, are a coterie of masked figures, hell-bent
on total domination and in control of an infernal arsenal. This time around the
galaxy’s saviours are Rey and Finn. The former, a scavenger eking out a living
in a desert wasteland; the latter, a rebellious Stormtrooper who refuses to
assent to his commander’s brutal orders. Played by relative newcomers Daisy Ridley and
John Boyega, the pair’s on-screen chemistry is undeniable. In the hands of less
talented actors, the script’s comic understatement and slightly awkward
repartee could fall flat. It’s to their credit that, here, it doesn’t.
The duo are joined by a gang of resistance fighters,
among them returning characters Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia (now
Commander Organa). And these old favourites aren’t all that’s back. The film recycles
plenty of its plotlines, and does so with a delectable knowing. The First’s Order
new weapon is in effect a larger version of the Death Star. At one point, there’s
even a hologram comparing the two. Meanwhile the infamous father-son showdown
makes a welcome return, staged once more at the hollowed heart of a space
station. Far from laziness, this is a moment of self-reference that draws its force
from the series’ history: it feels timeless, almost elementally dramatic.
In much the same way, the villain of the piece Kylo Ren
(played by Adam Driver), draws inspiration from Darth Vader. In their cloaked
garb and icy screen presence, there’s much that unites the two baddies. That said, there’s a capriciousness to Ren that separates him from Vader, and
leaves Driver’s performance feeling fresh and terrifying in its own particular way.
The special effects, meanwhile, are as spectacular as you
would hope and expect. Lasers fire across the galaxy; space ships hurtle between
planets at light speed, and lightsabres smash into each other in perfectly
choreographed fashion. It’s not exactly subtle, but it is deadly effective. You
could say this of the film generally – the dialogue is lean, and the narrative familiar
– but somehow it just doesn’t matter. The fact is, it’s tricky to think of a
more enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
Star Wars outdoors:
The Force Awakens is being screened in London parks this summer as part of Luna Cinema's open-air film programme - book your tickets now!
|What||Star Wars review: The Force Awakens|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
17 Dec 15 – 31 Jan 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click to go to Star Wars: The Force Awakens official website|