Release Date : Dec 25,2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka) The Star Wars VII review

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Production: Bryan Burk, JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy
Cast: Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac
Direction: JJ Abrams
Music: John Williams
Cinematography: Dan Mindel
Editing: Mary Jo Markey, Maryann Brandon

A huge chunk of the seventh and latest Star Wars installment, The Force Awakens, is about evoking nostalgia for the six movies gone by, especially the first one, which is now called The New Hope. It is about the adventure of the underdogs and their process of self discovery. Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is with us for most of the movie. She has a mysterious past and yet-to-be revealed link to Luke Skywalker with whom she might be connected by blood. Her story is the most interesting of the various assorted characters.

The plot revolved around a droid BB-8 who is in possession of a map, which shows the location of the one of the protagonists. The action sequences are brilliantly staged and are a definite improvement on the prequels. But more importantly this movie has its heart in the right place. The prequels were too much of a show of special effects that always felt like: “See what we can do”. In this movie, there is an emotional quotient involved, which is quite high, and involves the death of a major character, which is executed with shocking effect.

Daisy Ridley is cute, almost as much as Natalie Portman, who played an important role in the prequels. She does her part well. But the cohesiveness is missing. The way we felt about those characters was a crucial part of the series. But JJ Abrams makes short work of characterization, especially events that might lead up to explain why the protagonists should care for each other. We don’t feel the same way for these characters they way we felt for Luke, Leia and Hans Solo. And that forms a huge chunk for what is missing.

The plot writing is quite good, but not dialogue, which has been my main gripe about this whole series. None of the movies has sharp words. And, this one shares the same fate. Perhaps, this is how people talked a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

Abrams evokes a lot of the dialogue of the original three movies; and some of the plot arc. But his just dialogue just moves the movie along without making you identify with any of the main characters. Hans Solo, is especially about Harrison Ford bring back to life a much-loved character. Ford walks through the part with his eyes closed, and while all the bravado, charm and mettle is there, somehow something is missing.

In the later half, and especially in the climatic sequence, the movie stops reminding you of the original series so much and begins to try and fit in its own shoes. But still the mandatory light saber sequence is just a taste of the new. I would say Yoda did it better, as he should.  

John Boyega as Finn, a storm trooper with a conscience, is very good. There have been African Americans in the Star Wars universe before. But none of them with a part as big as Boyega’s. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren has to interpret the role differently from the way Hayden Christensen did his role and that is an uphill task to begin with.

But will this movie bring in new initiates? The numbers from the world wide box office suggest they already have. Will it evoke or improve upon the fanaticism that fans share for the franchise? That’s a question that can only be answered in the long run. 

Verdict: Fun yet predictable sequel
( 3.0 / 5.0 )