Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Chewie... we're home
Classic Elsternwick - Thursday 17 December 2015, 12:01am
Hoyts Melbourne Central - Thursday 17 December 2015, 6:30pm [3D]
Hoyts Melbourne Central - Tuesday 22 December 2015, 6:30pm [3D]
Classic Elsternwick - Wednesday 30 December 2015, 8:55pm
Village Sunshine - Monday 11 January 2016, 4:15pm (ME)
Running time: 135m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Science fiction themes and violence)
Release date: 17/12/15
Rating: 8/10 (4/5 ME, 4/5 DP)
NOTE: the Bent Thumbs review does NOT reveal any plot twists or spoilers.
Many years after the events of Return of the Jedi wrapped up the Star Wars series, we find ourselves reunited with familiar characters and situations and discover how little has changed following the end of the Empire. Masked Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) answers only to his evil supreme leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) while in pursuit of the unassuming Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the secret hidden inside the droid (BB8 as himself) that has arrived on a strange desert planet; sound familiar?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes us back to George Lucas' mysterious universe (this time without George Lucas) where the lines between good and evil blur in a whir of light sabres. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill (you're going to scream when you hear what he has to say) reprise their roles from the original trilogy and provide the important connection between the story arc and new characters. Yes, we know they're older now (funny how that happens) and this has generated much media attention, but the characters have also aged and this is reflected in the writing and characterisations. John Boyega as stormtrooper Finn and Oscar Isaac (star of one of 2015's most underrated films A Most Violent Year) as pilot Poe join Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver to propel the story forward into new and unexpected directions. Despite the strong cast the performances are restrained by the clunky script, but it's the overall story that delights rather than the detail. The special effects are the quality we've come to expect from the series and move beyond the generic computer generated content that has become so standard in mainstream cinema. There are a few gasps as secrets are revealed (no spoilers here) and a few laughs with quirky little references to previous adventures.
It's hard to say if The Force Awakens lives up to the hype that has been steadily building since production of the seventh instalment was first confirmed. Delivering a film to the large cohort of dedicated fans who have made an emotional and cultural investment in the franchise requires a careful mix of the familiar and the new. The individual films (original and prequel trilogies) all have a predictable rhythm and this familiar style has been maintained, but there are also enough twists and turns to move the story into new ground. This one feels more episodic than previous instalments and the final scene teases (no spoilers here) at the direction the next episode may take.
In many ways The Force Awakens could never live up to the hype it had generated, but it provides an enjoyable film experience that will thrill fans and create an excitement about the stories yet to come. (ME)
88th Academy Awards
2016 BAFTA Awards
2nd Golden Thumbs Awards