Star Wars: The Force Awakens review: This awesome big-screen experience, do not miss

Mihir Fadnavis

Dec 26, 2015 11:17:46 IST

The Star Wars franchise has seen both sides of the spectrum – the dark side and the light. While the first three films kick started a gigantic franchise that became pop culture for generations to come, the previous three films undid most of good work with shoddy storytelling, bad computer graphics and lame melodrama. So bad were the films the internet still pokes fun at them with memes.

JJ Abrams had quite a task – he had to reinvigorate the franchise, erase memories of the terrible previous three films, give this generation of youngsters a cool new world of pop culture, and remind the old fans why they became fans in the first place. With The Force Awakens, he’s accomplished all this with terrific style.

Titled ‘Episode 7’, the best thing about The Force Awakens is how it works for people who are new to the franchise and only have cursory knowledge of the names of the main characters. If you have never seen any of the previous movies, but know that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia were the heroes, and Darth Vader was the big bad guy who was related in some way to Skywalker, you’ll have a blast watching this movie.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review: This awesome big-screen experience, do not miss

A scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Screengrab

With crushing nostalgia brought on by the opening crawl of text, the story opens a few decades after the events in Episode 6. The Empire has been thwarted but a seed of the organization called The First Order has now become the fascist interplanetary leader. Princess Leia is now the General of the rebel forces trying to hold out against the tyranny, Luke Skywalker has gone missing under mysterious circumstances.

Three unlikely people collide into one another: Poe Dameron (Isaac), a rebel pilot who can fly ‘pretty much everything’, Finn (Boyega) a Stormtrooper who doesn’t quite like his job, and Rey (Ridley) a scavenger on a desert planet who bumps into the cute little robot BB-8 which carries some explosive information. Lurking in the dark side is the villainous Kylo Ren (Driver) with an agenda that is best left for you to discover.

Despite running for more than two and a half hours The Force Awakens passes by like a bullet, thanks to Abrams’ flair for breathless pacing. His theme of ‘people running around’ from his previous films carries over beautifully to the world of Star Wars. The pace is so breakneck at times you’ll tend to miss most of the Easter Eggs embedded into the imagery everywhere, but that only motivates you to go back to the theater and catch all the references.

The big difference between this film and all the previous ones is how real everything looks. Abrams works with mostly physical sets and costumes which is a nice departure from the awful green screen environments from earlier films. The scale of the production design is stunning, and most of the vistas are just jaw dropping. The world established in the film now looks livable, breathable; you get a sense of the Geography of the film.

The X wings look mouth watering, as does the new Millennium Falcon whose shots of flying around would wet the pants of old fans. The Lightsabers are no longer tubelights, they now have a growling intensity, burning with unstable, unpredictable grit much like the villain in the movie. And yes the Lightsabers battle between key characters towards the end is a cause for cheer.

But most importantly The Force Awakens has characters you give a damn about. Ridley’s character is particularly memorable, not just because of Ridley’s excellent screen presence but also because her character kind of subverts the clichés of a strong female protagonist. The cameos from familiar faces like Han Solo (Ford) and certain otherworldly creatures only adds as a bonus.

There’s really too much to like in The Force Awakens to even consider giving it a miss. It makes a big case for film over digital and an even stronger case to get your butts off your chairs and head to the movie theater. It’s not often we get a legitimately awesome Big Screen Experience these days, so make the most of it. The wait for the next Star Wars movie, however, is going to be excruciating.

Updated Date: Dec 26, 2015 11:17:46 IST