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Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Grab your droids, abandon your TIE fighters and complete those cosplays as the new Star Wars film has landed. The Force Awakens comes to us 38 years after the original film engulfed the world like a nuclear powered death star. This time, the story is set 30 years after the events of the original trilogy, and the First Order has taken over in the Empire’s place. Luke (Mark Hamill) is gone, Leia (Carrie Fisher) heads up the Resistance backed by the Republic and attempts to find her brother by sending our renowned pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to obtain a map to his location. Of course, things are never simple and quickly things escalate out of control.

Perhaps one of the most impressive element of The Force Awakens is its commitment to the new and the old. Fresh faces in the form of Daisy Ridley and John Boyega help revitalise the series while showing that it can still hold onto its charm with familial favourites Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. It’s a lesson in unity on a galactic scale. After all, it would have been all too easy to make a continuation of the series that focused entirely on old faces, but this is where The Force Awakens makes a bold decision – to create new lead characters and give their roles to relative newcomers. Ridley stars as Jakku scavenger Rey, a bright-eyed and capable woman who hopes for the day her family will come back for her. But she isn’t messing around. Quick to adapt to a whole spectrum of new situations, Ridley’s Rey jumps straight in to action whenever necessary and her performance has an unbridled charm about it which makes it hard not to like her. Rey’s intriguing story gives Ridley all the cards to play with, and she handles the mix between light-hearted humour and serious drama impressively. Sufficed to say it is a welcome change in the series to see a woman secure the lead role and head up what can only be described as 135 minutes of pure passion and entertainment.

Ridley is joined on screen by Boyega’s Finn (an ex-stormtrooper), and the two have overwhelming platonic chemistry, like a brother and sister (now, now, no ideas) who are both playful and praising of each other. Boyega is, arguably, made for film and his charismatic nature floods the screen like a group of Stormtroopers invading your home planet (too far?). But in this epic space opera there isn’t just one instance of on-screen chemistry, there’s several, and one of the most notable is that of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn. The two have an unabashed ‘bromance’ and it isn’t hard to see why; there’s concern, attention and celebration in this intriguing relationship, and although the scenes are short between the two, the impact is lasting, and they are one to watch in future instalments.

Naturally though, this is Star Wars, so even the robotic characters are adorable, and BB-8 is the bouncing new addition that despite only communicating through beeps is utterly engaging (and also sounds remarkably like WALL-E, I’m guessing in this analogy, Poe is EVE?) and a potential scene stealer.

Meanwhile on the dark side, The Force Awakens finds its villain in the form of cloaked figure Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, who is prone to destructive temper tantrums and yet still manages to appear menacing in a mask that hides every expression he has ever felt. Driver delights in carving out his spot in the wake of former ‘villain’ Darth Vader, fleeting between unpredictable and empathetic all in one fatal sweep.

Ultimately, this is one of those films that utilizes the improvements in technology to its advantage; where electrifying lightsaber battles and sensational space escapades are a marvel to behold on the big screen. After all, there’s nothing quite like seeing the Millennium Falcon in the midst of an attack, or panoramic shots of imaginative planets, both of which have been creatively envisioned.

The old and new join forces in The Force Awakens, and both leave having created something that is utterly thrilling and breath-taking to behold for a multitude of generations.

Is it worth watching?


+Stunning galactic battles
+Impressive new performances
+Combination of new and old

No doubt the Force has been truly awakened in new legions of fans, and rightly so.

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Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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About Author


melissahaggar As the current VENUE Deputy Editor and former Film Editor, Melissa spends the majority of her free time sobbing over her mountain of MA work or indulging in cinematic outings. A self-professed lover of Gothic & Fantasy genres, Melissa naturally loves Harry Potter, aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts, and classical music. She also really wants to be Jessica Jones.

June 2021
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