Star Wars The Force Awakens is refreshingly new yet nostalgic: Movie Review


Star Wars The Force Awakens is refreshingly new yet nostalgic

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force awakens is refreshingly new yet nostalgic in many ways – “SPOILER ALERT”

yoda meme Ananth
Yoda meme – Humor – Ananth
Star Wars The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens

Imagine a movie that required the birthing of a company like the “Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)”, a magical and fantasy studio that has created breathtaking visual treats for hundreds of movies over the past so many decades.

ILM, was strangely how I was introduced to the movie franchise of Star Wars, a decade ago. I was pursuing my studies in animation and visual effects and was at one of the finest special effect studios in India at that time, when I stumbled upon a book which discussed ‘the making of STAR WARS – The Phantom Menace’ and the book shared a great deal of history about visual effects, CGI and of course, the legendary history of ILM and how it all began.

I then spent the whole month at the studio watching and re-watching the entire Star Wars Franchise and in that same year, the sixth in the series, Revenge of the Sith was released.

I admit it; I am a huge Star Wars fan, not just because of the iconic characters, stunning visuals or breathtaking cinematic brilliance, but because of the dream, the creative mastermind and the pursuit of sheer genius by George Lucas behind the making of this saga.

I saw STAR WARS: The Force Awakens in India on December 25th on an IMAX 3D Screen.  

This was the seventh film in the series and is just the start of the third trilogy in the series of the nine films by George Lucas and I believe, the first one so far to get a non-MAY release date. (All the previous Star Wars movies have had May release dates).

Some memorable quotes, lines, plot and characters:

The Movie:

The movie has tons of new characters and feels young and fresh right from the very start of it.

The movie revolves around Luke Skywalker who is the invisible hinge in the movie.

What we see in the movie is a Stormtrooper like we have never seen before. We also see a fighter pilot, chirpy, fun & full of zest and yes, a lost dreamer on a deserted planet. We also get a visual treat from an all new spherical droid capable of climbing down stairs, hanging onto walls and one that can glide across the deserted lands. This movie ends with a finale that screams of a son who has turned to the dark side against his father.

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The lead roles are played by Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, , Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa , Harrison Ford as Han Solo , Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata and of course, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awake-012

About few of the characters, their epic scenes, quotes and the vehicles in the movie:

Rey is shown to be an independent woman who can survive all odds, fly jets, elegantly fight stormtroopers and boldly face Ren himself. Throughout the movie, she is shown to intentionally fight or at least try to shadow who she really is and gradually as the movie nears it’s ending, she embraces the ‘force within’.

daisystarwars

There are few epic moments with Rey which take us back to memory lane. For eg, she is living in the aftermath of the Empire’s war with the Rebellion. Her home is inside of a fallen AT-AT walker and in one of the scenes she is seen watching distant ships heading to the stars and she wears an antique helmet, which would make any Star Wars fan nudge themselves closer to the screen as they spot this and few more similar references to the earlier story-line and movies.

Similarly, in the basement of Maz’s cantina, a lightsaber calls onto Rey as she hears voices in her head. A single touch of this lightsaber sends her into a dizzying array of glimpses from the past and even the future. The lightsaber belongs to Luke Skywalker.

Finn’s character is that of a brainwashed stormtrooper who is trying to escape from the clutches of having to ‘serve the dark side’. This is the very first time in a Star Wars movie franchise; stormtroopers are depicted as real human beings.

Finn makes a deal with Poe in an attempt to escape and become free. A great bond of friendship and trust begins. This is followed with a display of a spectacular larger than life visuals and intergalactic fight scenes which result in their escape.

Finn runs into Rey and this is where we see the iconic Millenium Falcon that brings about the entry of the legendary Hans Solo with Chewbacca. I along with scores of other audiences gave a thunderous applause as the music of John Williams introduced these iconic characters.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Ph: Film Frame. 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

starwars_forceawakens_new

Inside the Millennium Falcon, Finn accidentally turns on the Dejarik which is the holochess table which fans will remember having seen Chewbacca play against R2-D2 from before.

Finn also throws away what is clearly the antique floating combat remote once he and Rey are on board and hiding under the floors of the Millennium Falcon (does that ring any bell?, it should give you a New Hope ~ Pun intended.)

Another awesome scene which brought back memories was when the team inside Starkiller Base succeeds in giving the Resistance fighters a fighting chance and Poe with his fellow fighters takes a run on their defenses by making a frantic paced attack which runs through a trench running along the base’s surface. I loved this one.

Han Solo ensures that he can still pack more punch than most of the stars half his age and yet convincingly hand over the lead to the young cast members gracefully, the way only Han Solo can do.

Leia is no longer called the Princess (though C3PO) accidentally does so and then corrects itself. She is now a General and a leader. The scene when she meets Han Solo was yet another memorable one. This movie takes us to a new level of emotion between this couple as they realize, they have lost their dear son to the dark side.

Yes, we do have Han Solo saying the most memorable and familiar quote of all time “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” keeping the tradition of the movie series intact.

Lupita Nyong’o plays the role of Maz and appears as a fully CGI character and she has few but some epic and important lines which form crucial part of the story-line in this movie.

Throughout the movie you can spot, X-wing fighter, the holographic chess, the First Order Special Forces TIE fighter, the Millenium Falcon, antique helmet, the orange suit in Rey’s room, and of course R2-D2 and C3PO etc which are awesome references to the movie series that would keep the fans ensnared in their own nostalgia. In one of the scenes a comparison is made between the Death Star and the Starkiller Base and well, you have got to see this one yourself.

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The finale depicts a battle scene on the melting ice between Rey and Ren which is an iconic scene because this is when Rey pulls the lightsaber of the melted ice as it zooms past Ren thus showing signs of a young Jedi well trained in her combat, who had simply chosen to forget her real power.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) Ph: David James ©Lucasfilm 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)
Ph: David James
©Lucasfilm 2015

Kylo Ren:

Yes, he is no Darth Vader, at least not yet in the first installment of the third series, but this movie showcases that one does not need monstrous or scary facial features to evoke a sense of ferocity. But there is a fabulous scene at the start introducing Ren in which he fights and stops a laser blast mid air showcasing his power of the dark side. Agreed that the size of the Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis) looms much larger than any other character we have seen before, at least in this movie franchise, but Ren’s viciousness erupts with a sense of disdain to what one would seem to expect from an epic villain and at the end, he does something which without a doubt gears him up to become one of the most menacing villain of all time which we will hopefully see in the second installment of this third and final series.

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When Lucas started the movie series he had quoted, for the visuals, to depict a “used future” and Star Wars The Force Awakens does that really well. Though the CGI is less as compared to the earlier series, this movie has tried and successfully brought together the human side of emotions to both, the characters and even the iconic vehicles and weapons in the movie.

This film for me has successfully brought together a franchise filled with favorite characters and quotes and at the same time ensured that the new generation will find lot of their own magical moments, characters and memories to make this movie a legend on their own without having to depend on nostalgia or its previous series. It has good humor which are not forced on the characters or the scenes but which flow naturally with the story-line and is backed by a fabulous cast. 

Star Wars the Force Awakens, directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams is a wonderful movie that keeps us wanting more.

PROS:

It’s STAR WARS, a visual spectacle from a genius.

CONS:

Well, I honestly did not feel there were cons in the movie as such, but yes, some more explanation about how the Millenium Falcon ended up here, about how the lightsaber came into Kanata’s possession, a little more ferocity and screen time for Ren and Snoke would have made the story a little more enjoyable for those viewing this movie series for the first time.

RATINGS:

4.5/5

I believe this movie will surely win an Academy award across one or more categories at the OSCAR 2016.

What is your take on the movie or the franchise? Did you see it? Are you planning to? Do share your comments and views on the same, would love to hear from you.

Fun fact: Did you know that on July 7, 2015, Lucasfilm announced, via StarWars.com, that a second Anthology film, which “focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley”, would be released on May 25, 2018.

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Ananth V

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