Revisted, revived and reinvigorated
The struggle to recall any details of the soaring starfighters and laserblasting Stormtroopers is the greatest compliment I have to pay The Force Awakens, the insanely anticipated seventh instalment of the Star Wars space opera.
Even the climatic lightsaber duel is little more than a blur in my memory.
What is clear are the quieter scenes between the characters; the banter, the camaraderie, the heart. The moments that provide the characters with insight and depth, and foster our investment in them, the moments that George Lucas’ maligned prequels were so spectacularly bereft of.
Director JJ Abrams doesn’t so much blow our minds as comfort them, presenting us with familiar character arcs, motifs and a story structure that mirrors the original Star Wars (or Episode IV: A New Hope depending on your age). The characters and environments are tangible and fun. This is ‘‘real’’ Star Wars, we are reassured.
As for the blowing of minds, that is left to Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver as Rey and Kylo Ren. They are our beacons of light and dark, the scavenger in search of purpose and the tormented purveyor of the dark side.
STARWARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (M)
Directed by JJ Abrams ★★★★★ 2hrs 15min Reviewed by Matthew Dallas
Ridley’s Rey is a revelation, and an act of redemption in terms of the saga’s use of female characters to date. But it is not mere girl power tokenism. Smart, feisty, courageous and resourceful, her influence is not defined or confined by the other characters around her. Rey is the centrepiece and an engaging one at that.
Like Luke Skywalker, her quiet life in the sand is interrupted by a galactic power struggle, in which she must assume a fateful role.
Yes, there are epic battles, a scary battle station, gorgeous special effects and killer costumes, and I’ll no doubt soak these up more on the second or 16th viewing.
But for now I’m simply spellbound by meaningful characters having cool conversations about their fears, their formidable destinies and The Force, which is something we haven’t seen in a galaxy far, far away in a long, long time.