The force is stronger than ever

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Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens Directed by JJ Abrams

Young Padawans, the long wait is over. For 30 years, you’ve held that plas­tic sabre in your hand, sa­ti­at­ing your­selves with pre­quels and teasers, but no more. The sev­enth in­stal­ment is here. Come out of what­ever dark hole you’ve been hid­ing in, don your finest Jedi hood and warm up your most gut­tural Ewok grunt, be­cause I can say with con­fi­dence that The Force Awak­ens is quite sim­ply the fresh­est thing to hap­pen since Padmé Ami­dala.

I geeked out when I saw the movie this week with some of Jo­han­nes­burg’s big­gest Star Wars fans at the new Imax the­atre in East­gate. There’s noth­ing quite like a 3-D Imax eye ex­plo­sion to bring out the won­der of the world’s big­gest in­ter­ga­lac­tic fran­chise, par­tic­u­larly when a lot of the scenes were ac­tu­ally filmed us­ing Imax cam­eras. If you have the op­por­tu­nity, I highly rec­om­mend go­ing to watch at your near­est Imax – you might feel like you’re go­ing to throw up in the be­gin­ning, but it re­ally is just too epic to pass up.

Grown men and women were lit­er­ally squeal­ing be­hind me when the iconic crawl started on the screen: “A long time ago, in a gal­axy far, far away…” Then, when that un­mis­tak­able sound­track in­tro be­gan ... well, they lost it. But just as you get that feel­ing go­ing, that Star Wars feel­ing, you re­alise that things aren’t what they once were.

Kylo Ren, the new dark lord (played by the ter­rific Adam Driver), has chilled out, and he even has a sense of hu­mour this time around. Sure, he has a bit of a bratty tem­per, but the dark­ness that used to con­sume him, and most of the nar­ra­tive of the films pre­ced­ing this one, has been kept to a min­i­mum.

It’s part of what makes di­rec­tor JJ Abrams’ first Star Wars film so damn cool. It isn’t try­ing so hard – it main­tains the shad­owy un­der­tone by play­ing up the lighter mo­ments, the ones that make you iden­tify with this truly in­ter­stel­lar cast of new­bies. But I’m sure that won’t be for long – if the white-knuckle end­ing of the film is any­thing to go by, he’s just get­ting us warmed up.

Rey, this film’s lead, has some ma­jor force in­side her. Her char­ac­ter, played by Daisy Ri­d­ley, takes all the power back from the shrink­ingvi­o­let style of her hero­ine pre­de­ces­sor, Princess Leia (who ap­pears as a mil­i­tary gen­eral in this film). You def­i­nitely won’t see her in a gold bikini and flail­ing around for help any time soon.

But the shoot­ing star of the show is Bri­tish ac­tor John Boyega as Finn. He’s a swash­buck­ling an­ti­hero with a heart of gold who you just can’t help but fall in love with.

He’s the per­fect part­ner to go on this jour­ney with Rey as they save the gal­axy to­gether, and the per­fect ad­di­tion to the films. I just hope she will be enough to keep him on the good side – you just never know with Star Wars. Vuzu Amp (DStv chan­nel 114), 8pm This short spin-off se­ries fea­tures Todd Tucker and Kandi Bur­russ com­ing up with a plan to bring both of their fam­i­lies closer by ar­rang­ing a group-bond­ing ski trip at an up­scale re­sort, but things quickly go wrong when Kandi’s aunts snap at her.

Michael Bublé’s Christ­mas in Hol­ly­wood

M-Net (DStv chan­nel 101), 7.30pm Mul­ti­ple Grammy Award-win­ning singer-song­writer Michael Bublé pro­vides a night of mu­sic, cel­e­bra­tion and a touch of com­edy in this an­nual Christ­mas spe­cial fea­tur­ing a host of guest stars.



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