I was going to wait to watch the new Star Wars, but then I realised what a cruel place the internet is, and I didn't quite fancy going offline for the next few days in an ill-fated attempt to avoid spoilers. I even avoided watching too many of the trailers, I wanted my experience to be pure and unsullied. In that vein I'll warn anyone who hasn't seen it, and who is as particular about spoilers as I am, that I'm going to try my absolute best not to give anything away, but I've gotta talk about something, so maybe just go and watch it first and then come back to see if we all agree. After all, that's what whole movie reviews are really for, right? To affirm our own beliefs and abuse those who disagree? Or maybe I've been on the internet for too long.
But I digress. Stars Wars VII is finally here. I remember the announcement, I remember the angry keyboard crusaders, certain that their beloved franchise would be ruined, while also lamenting its death many years prior by George Lucas. The prequels suck, but the originals were good, and handing the whole thing over to Disney was likely certain, Jar Jar Binks laden doom. But I had faith. After all, Disney picked up Marvel, and just check out how those movies are doing.
I feel I've digressed again, so let me just say it, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an amazing movie. It's the return to form that the franchise needs. Formulaically it has many beats that mirror A New Hope, and I've seen many decry this as pure fan service and lack of originality. But to me it was a promise that Star Wars is going back to its roots, there are enough similarities to let fans know that this new trilogy will be so much more original than prequel. But there are also many elements that let you know this isn't George Lucas' Star Wars, some obvious, some very subtle. Star Wars is going in a new direction, but has established its roots and connections to the original trilogy very firmly.
The new characters are all great. The two leads, played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, are fantastically written and acted, the villain is menacing while also very intriguing, and it almost feels like the veteran Star Wars cast never left. The story is compelling, and packed with some very human moments and great comedic timing. The cinematography is stunning, massive set pieces, wonderful animatronics, awe-inspiring space battles and some particularly good uses of light (you'll see what I mean). Movie technology has come far since A New Hope, and my word does it show. John Williams is back for the music, and he strikes a perfect balance between new themes and old, again planting his feet firmly in the original movies, but also looking to the future, and not a single tune seemed out of place, they all perfectly complement the action on screen.
Star Wars is back, and it is entirely glorious. Despite watching it well past midnight last night, I didn't find myself looking at my watch once, and for me that's a sign of a damn fine movie. I was stuck in my seat, taking it all in. It sounds, looks and feels great. This is the Star Wars you've been waiting for. See, I like it so much, I'm not even going to sign it off with an awful pun. Just go and see the movie.
My rating: 5/5