Star Wars is a phenomenon like no other. It has begot cults and religions, experts who know exactly how many parsecs it is from Kamino to Degobah, and collectors who spend small fortunes amassing figurines still in their original packaging.
However, when you strip away all the nostalgia, Star Wars has always been a bit, well… naff.
C3P0’s campiness, the fuzzy Ewoks, even the notion of ‘The Force’: it’s all rather naff. The original trilogy played into this, enjoying its ludicrous nature. The prequels, on the other hand, didn’t, bogging itself down with prophecies and midi-chlorians, taking the whole thing rather too seriously. Star Wars was built to be popcorn escapism, where good faced evil, not where Trade Federations brought about taxation disputes.
One thing is for certain: The Force Awakens, the first of a new Star Wars trilogy, never for a moment gives into self-importance. It’s here to entertain, and entertain it does.
The plot, in summary is (The following has been redacted by the lawyers representing the plaintiff, Disney Studios in conjunction with Lucasfilms, as any spoilers would be deemed a violation against human rights) which of course, is bad news for Admiral Ackbar! Wink wink!
The Force Awakens effortlessly blends the old with the new, characters and storylines alike. The main reason this works, is that the new wave of talent hold no arrogance, each one determined on likability. John Boyega (Attack the Block) and Daisy Ridley (literally nothing) bring charm and vulnerability to their respective roles. Seeming the funniest moment in the prequels was when Jar Jar stood in the poopy, it’s somewhat surprising to find that The Force Awakens has a comic, self-effacing strand running throughout.
Many have argued that, although he is still actually in movies, Harrison Ford has long retired from acting. However, his performance here is well-judged, a smart evolution of everyone’s favourite rogue. No one could’ve played Han Solo the way Ford does. Ford can do more with a head-tilt than most can do with a two-page monologue. At times he looks like Judi Dench in Skyfall (trying to run, but forgetting you’re old), but most times he’s just as delightful as ever.
Director JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (writer of Episode V and VI) understand that a Star Wars film is almost an exercise in nostalgia. When the Falcon is referred to as a hunk of junk, it’s hard not to smile. Perhaps there are too many parallel events, too many call backs, with the plot mirroring A New Hope a bit too directly. The Force Awakens does walk the thin line between being overtly nostalgic and overly nostalgic.
But, in all honesty, when it’s Star Wars, who the hell cares?
The Force Awakens tells an exciting and traditionally escapist tale; a proud continuation of a franchise in no need of rebooting or reshaping. After the divisiveness of the prequels, Star Wars now has its mojo back.
If you want to force Rían to awaken, you can try tweeting him.