Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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The following review contains NO SPOILERS and comes from a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here and is the 7th film in the Star Wars saga. Directed by J.J. Abrams and starring a huge cast of new and old characters played by the likes of Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega and Mark Hamill to name but a few.

Set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983), The Force Awakens follows the story of Finn, a former Stormtrooper of The First Order who has defected to help good battle evil, and Rey, a young orphaned scavenger who lives on the planet Jakku. The two run into each other and get thrown into an adventure that neither of them expected. Along the way, the encounter some familiar faces to Star Wars fans of all ages including the legendary Han Solo and formerly Princess Leia but now known as General Organa, leader of the resistance against The First Order.

With all the hype surrounding the release of this latest installment of the Star Wars saga, many fans and critics alike feared that it may suffer the same fate as the last time a Star Wars movie received this much buzz which was for The Phantom Menace back in 1999. I am pleased to announce, that The Force Awakens has bucked that disappointing trend and has triumphantly revealed that the series has returned in spectacular fashion. We are indeed home.

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The Force Awakens has everything for both old and new fans of all ages. It is clear in every scene of the movie that J.J. Abrams and the team thought long and hard about how to appeal to all fans and make Star Wars great again. Abrams, coming off the back of Star Trek: Into Darkness, had a huge weight on his shoulders taking charge of one of the biggest cinema franchises in movie history.

Many of the skeptics out there were convinced that Abrams would be unable to create a motion picture that would rival the original trilogy. Well, the director has most certainly made them eat their words. With most long running franchises, slipping back and being once again immersed in the universe, story and characters is the most important thing that needs to be achieved without alienating newer viewers. None of the original cast and characters feel like they are shoe-horned in for nostalgia purposes at any moment and all feel fleshed out whilst also having an important reason for being there.

Our new heroes, Rey and Finn (along with the cutest droid in the galaxy BB-8) are a fresh and welcome addition to the series and blend magnificently well with the likes of Han, Chewie and Leia. That in part is down to the terrific performances by everyone involved, especially Diasy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn). They managed to capture the very essence that makes Star Wars what we all know and love, a wonderfully imaginative space romp that can be funny whilst also hitting out emotions hard and fast. Adam Driver who plays the films main antagonist, Kylo Ren, was a fantastic villain who most importantly did not feel like a "bad guy with a mask". His character and the accompanying performance gave him real heart allowing certain segments of The Force Awakens to be that much more powerful.

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The Force Awakens also manages to blend CGI and practical effects seamlessly which the prequels failed to achieve successfully. The ship battles were beautifully choreographed and directed with incredible landscape backdrops and exceptional sound effects, everything that long time Star Wars know and love. Seeing the film in IMAX 3D only cemented the fact that the scope of the planets landscapes were simply breathtaking no matter where in the galaxy they were; from the desert of Jakku to the surface of [REDACTED] covered in a blanket of snow.

Whereas die hard fans of Star Wars have most likely already seen The Force Awakens, for those out there who are waiting to hear the verdict of fellow film lovers or have never seen a Star Wars, you need not fear as The Force Awakens caters to new and old fans and blends characters and locations from the entire Star Wars universe whilst also allowing viewers a safe and enjoyable entry into the franchise with this movie.

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With superb performances and breathtaking visuals, The Force Awakens is not only one of the greatest cinematic experiences of the year, but most certainly one of the best of the decade so far. Whereas it isn't a perfect movie, which is hard to achieve these days, it has something for everyone that will leave you wanting more and more. Luckily, Episode 8 is only two years away, and in the meantime, Rogue One (the spin-off movie) is due for release Late 2016 meaning that more Star Wars isn't in a galaxy far, far away and will be here before we know it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is most certainly the film that fans have been waiting 16 years for and is in cinemas worldwide NOW!

Check out our live blog below for more of the team's opinions as we watch the film.

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Overall

A triumphant return to a beloved franchise, filled with moments for old and new fans to enjoy.

9

out of 10

Star Wars

Star Wars is a science fiction film series created by George Lucas. It debuted in 1977 and the first film was quickly retitled to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. It was followed by two sequels - The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983. A trilogy of prequel films were launched in 1999 with The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In 2015 Star Wars returned to the screens for a new trilogy under the control of Disney with The Force Awakens directed by J J Abrams. This was follows in the main Star Wars saga by Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi with the final film of the sequel trilogy, Episode IX, due in cinemas in December 2019 with J J Abrams back at the helm,A series of spin-offs were launched in 2016 with Gareth Edwards' Rogue One, which was followed in 2018 by Ron Howard's Solo and a fourth trilogy of films has been announced for release after 2020 which will be overseen by Rian Johnson which will feature entirely new characters and an entirely separate story.In addition, there are the animated TV series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels along with Star Wars Resistance which starts in late 2018 and finally a new live action series currently being developed by Jon Favreau set some time after the events of Return of the Jedi.

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