Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – Viewed 01/01/2016

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Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyongo’o, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Age Rating: 12A/PG-13

Running Time: 135 Minutes

The STAR WARS franchise is a huge part of Hollywood’s history. Famously known for its ground-breaking special effects in the 70s and 80s (which now obviously appear fairly dated), back then George Lucas transported us into a world of Jedis and Sith Lords, which would go on to be an integral part of millions of childhoods across the world in the form of a timeless trilogy. Jump forward to 1999 and STAR WARS would go on to make its comeback and produce the three original stories of what would be known as ‘The Saga’.   This plan, as simple as it sounds, may have been a hit at the box office, however, as fans look back on the six films together, many feel as though the essence of the original trilogy (70s-80s) was not captured by director George Lucas in episodes 1-3, and as a result many have been searching for something that would not only celebrate parts 4-6, but in fact follow on from them. Enter THE FORCE AWAKENS!

Thirty years on from the defeat of the Galactic Empire at the hands of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and the Rebel Alliance, a new threat arises in the form of Sith Lord Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and The First Order. Determined to rule the galaxy, they must wipe out the remaining threats that stand in their way, but with an unlikely group of Resistance heroes forming from the planet Jakku, will the dark side prevail this time?

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As I sat down in my seat with my IMAX 3D glasses on and Maltesers at the ready, the whole cinema around me was near enough silent waiting for the masterpiece they were about to see. When that infamous logo blasts onto the big screen followed by the creeping introduction with the legendary score from Mr John Williams, you are a kid once again. I always knew this feeling would come, but would what I see after it amaze me as well?  Simply put, Yes!

New protagonists Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) are so likeable that you instantly grab onto their characters and enjoy the journey that these two embark on. I realised I would like Boyega in the film, the moment I saw his interview on THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW a month or so ago. He has such a captivating personality which leads to every scene he appears in having a great sense of comedy and excitement.

In fact, the film in general, not only captures the brilliance and intensity of Episodes 3, 4, 5 and 6, but it also produces the endless amount of comical exchanges between characters, which unfortunately Episodes 1, 2 and 3 never managed to hone in.

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Most importantly, following on from one of the greatest villains in Hollywood history, Darth Vader, is an extremely hard thing to do well. Yet, director J.J. Abrams (who is extremely brave taking on such a momentous franchise), produces a spectacular vision of Vader’s successor Kylo Ren, who personally even competes with Vader’s brilliance. The only criticism I can have of Abrams here and in general in this film, is how often we see the face behind Kylo Ren. I would have liked him to be more mysterious and perhaps have an even darker back story than he does.

Overall, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is a film not to be missed! It is possibly the film of 2015 in my eyes, and because of its late release date it will continue to be a big part of 2016. The performances by all are great and no way near as cheesy as I was expecting from the STAR WARS franchise, and it is particularly special and at times emotional to see the likes of Harrison Ford back on the big screen playing Han Solo! By viewing this film in IMAX 3D (if you have the opportunity to do so), you are immersing yourself in this galactic world! The special effects and sounds of this film are simply perfection, and even more so than JURASSIC WORLD back in June 2015, this film deserves at least the 3D experience, and I do not say that often! If you haven’t seen it already, make sure this film is your number one priority in 2016. If the trailer for this film made you tingle when you first saw it, it will make you tremble with excitement, emotion, nostalgia and overall satisfaction once you’ve paid a visit to your local cinema!

 “The force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in”   

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Recommendation: If you do not experience this film in IMAX 3D, you have missed out. Go all out for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS as you will not regret it! Trust me!

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