Thats right, Star Wars: The Force Awakens dubbed the ‘movie event of the year’ definitely gave the cinema of 2015 its big finale and no, not just because it had the highest grossing worldwide opening of all time or even that it reached one billion dollars faster than any other film. The reason is quite simply because it is the seventh instalment in the universally popular science fiction film series (and maybe also a little due to the fact JJ Abrams directed, co-produced and co-wrote it!).
Produced by Lucas-film and Abrams' Bad Robot Productions; Star Wars: the Force Awakens is set about thirty years after Return of the Jedi and introduces us to our new lead protagonists; Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger living and surviving on her own and Finn (John Boyega), a reformed First order stormtrooper. Through these characters we learn of a new threat to the galaxy known as the First Order, controlled by the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and are re-introduced to both Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) thanks to a BB-8 droid that holds the clue to solving the mystery surrounding Anakin Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
One of the biggest doubts surrounding the anticipation of The Force Awakens was the computer generated imagery and how it would stand against the film’s predecessors such as The Empire Strikes Back. Unlike the prequels, director JJ Abrams and LucasFilm purposefully leant towards a more practical filmmaking approach and this latest instalment definitely exercises its use of authentic, real, practical effects, with a mere 28 shots being completely generated by computers, out of a total of 357 scenes. This often rare decision doesn't go unnoticed in The Force Awakens and is a clear demonstration of the high levels of visual artistry that can be achieved by merging both computer imagery and practical effects.
Visually, Star Wars:The Force Awakens can stand alone, but narratively speaking I am less confident. There have been mentions across the internet and beyond, of the similarities with the plot of A New Hope, and at times I found myself wondering if I was experiencing Déjà vu or whether this was in fact the newest chapter in the Star Wars series.
In spite of this, The Force Awakens delivers on every other aspect, whether that be the characters, costumes, cinematography or sound and manages to reintroduce us back into the franchise after the let downs of the prequels. And with the possibility of two spin-off films and yet another sequel fast approaching, Star Wars: The Force Awakens feels as though JJ Abrams himself is taking your hand and carefully leading you back to the galaxy far, far away…
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