There’s been a lot of hype about this movie and when it finally arrived on our screens most of the critics seem to have liked it. For me, that’s not necessarily a good thing as I like to make up my own mind, so it was with some trepidation I finally went to see it for myself. I needn’t have worried – it was great!
I think there are probably two types of Star Wars fans – those who were young when the first three came out and who therefore consider those the best, and those who were youngsters when the next three hit the screens. I’m guessing they’ll have fond memories of Jar Jar Binks and Queen Amidala, not to mention Anakin Skywalker (who turned into Darth Vader eventually) and will consider those their favourites.
I belong to the first camp. For me, the older films were the true Star Wars epics and since this latest instalment returned to that world, I was very pleased. I almost breathed a sigh of relief at NOT having to see Jar Jar Binks (am I the only one who found him seriously annoying?) or the tortured Anakin, although I did miss Ewan McGregor in his role as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
So, The Force Awakens: three decades have passed since Princess Leia, her brother Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, the intrepid space pirate, defeated the Empire. Somehow however, in the meantime, another evil force has arisen and most of space is now controlled by ‘The First Order’ under the command of someone who knows how to use the dark side of The Force, Supreme Leader Snoke.
Luke Skywalker has disappeared. He’d been training a new generation of Jedi warriors, among them Leia and Han Solo’s son, but the boy (who now calls himself Kylo Ren) rebelled and went over to the Dark Side, which made Luke so disillusioned he disappeared.
Leia is a general, leading the Resistance movement, while Han Solo has gone back to pirating. Leia wants to find her brother and when a scavenger girl called Rey, living on the planet Jakku, finds a droid with information about his whereabouts, the chase is on – who will find Luke first, the Resistance or the bad guys? Rey has help from Han Solo and an ex Stormtrooper called Finn, but finds that she can handle things pretty well on her own …
What I liked most about this film, as I said, was that it returned to the Star Wars ‘roots’ and felt like part of the original series. I also loved the return of Leia, Han and Luke, albeit older and wiser. The interaction between Rey and Han was particularly good (he always did get the best lines!) and it was brave of the director to allow a cast of almost entirely unknown actors to take over the lead roles. This made it feel fresh and exciting. Plus, having a kick-ass heroine is always a bonus – not only can she handle herself in a fight, she’s a brilliant mechanic too!
I think my only criticism would be that, as seems to be the case with so many movies these days, the ending was left wide open and I came out of the cinema sighing because I now have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next. Yes, the story was complete in some ways, but viewers were still left with lots of questions. Maybe I’m impatient, but I didn’t like that. Still, I enjoyed the story so far.
In summary, if you loved the first three films, you’ll love this one. And even if you preferred the second three you’ll probably like it anyway.
Pia Fenton writes contemporary romantic YA stories and her Northbrooke High series features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The latest one is New England TLC. Pia also writes fantasy YA and is currently working on a new trilogy full of elves, trolls and other fairy tale creatures, but if you think they’re going to play nice, think again!
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