Thursday, 7 January 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I was a child of the 80s and that was the era of the original Star Wars trilogy. My brother and I spent many weekends watching A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1981), so much so that we knew most of the lines and scenes by heart. When my standard 2 class went to see Return of the Jedi (1983) as an end of year school trip, I remember my teacher spelling it 'Return of the Gedhi' on the permission form. She was clearly taking us all as a selfless Christmas act as she had no clue what it was all about.

Fast forward to around 2000 and a new Star Wars trilogy of prequels began to emerge. Promising to tell the back story of Anakin Skywalker, who became Darth Vader, The Phantom Menace (1999) proved little more than a gorging feast of visual effects and I completely lost interest in the next two.

So it was with much trepidation that I approached the latest iteration of Star Wars movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). This is the first movie in a trilogy to follow Return of the Jedi - in 3D, no less! (As a glasses-wearer, I'm 3D-averse but felt obliged to give it a go.) After the disappointment of the prequels, could it be any good? Original cast members were to return in various cameos, although it's been a long time since we've seen some of them on screen. I didn't watch the trailer online, even though I've embedded it below. I managed to avoid spoilers via social media and kept away from those who saw it on or around opening night. La la la la la! *blocks ears with fingers*

Until this week. Christmas gift movie tickets were put to use and we saw The Force Awakens in 3D - and I loved it! The movie played out as a kind of recap of the original trilogy, very much setting it up for the next two installments while paying homage to what came before it in scenery, script and cinematography. I don't know how to describe it without giving away any spoilers so won't go into the plot or details except to say:
  • The 3D enhanced the visuals instead of detracting from them, adding depth rather than pushing images out into your face. If you're unsure about whether you should watch in 2D or 3D, I'd say give 3D a go.
  • Harrison Ford is as on form as ever, providing humour and sass in his role as Han Solo - but we wouldn't expect anything less, really.
  • Despite all the talk about an aging cast, Chewbacca is the one character that hasn't aged a bit! Sure, his arms are a little scragglier now, but whose aren't after 30 years?
  • The stormtroopers are as expendable and ineffective as ever - except for one, who carries it off very well.

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