films gone by with some exciting next-gen additions to the character list.
The standouts from the old-school Star Wars stable are undoubtedly Han Solo (a surprisingly spry and up-for-anything Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).
It has to be put on record that Han and Chewie are still a double act to be reckoned with. Their trademark banter has an endearing zip that prevents a number of so-so scenes from flatlining.
Oh, and when it comes to wasting Stormtroopers willy-nilly, Solo and the ’Bacca are still the team to beat. Very young viewers are going to be won over in a flash by these two.
And what of the new recruits stepping out for the first time in The Force Awakens? The breakout star of the debutantes will undoubtedly be young Brit Daisy Ridley as the movie’s feisty, fully-fledged heroine, Rey. Though Ridley doesn’t make much of an entrance – she starts out as an unglamorous scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku – it is not long before she is making a considerable impact. Rey’s unconventional skill set and how she puts it quickly to the most resourceful uses (just one example: she can pop the hood of the Millennium Falcon and fix its engine in minutes) will see her become a strong role model for young females in years to come.
In playing Rey’s running mate Finn, John Boyega will take a little longer to grow on viewers. His role as an ex-Stormtrooper entrusted by The Resistance to help Rey protect BB-8 suffers from some uneven writing, and a few tentative performance choices.
As for the Vader-like villain of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is as bad as bad dudes can be over on the Dark Side.
Not sure about Ren’s through-themeshy-mask speaking voice, though. The kid just doesn’t have Darth Vader’s impeccably ominous diction. The poor lad mostly sounds like an mis-tuned AM radio late at night.
Is The Force Awakens a perfect movie? No. Is it a perfect Star Wars movie? Of course not. But it gets a hell of lot closer than you dared wish.
The Force is strong with this one. Best of all, it will only get stronger from here.