Sunday, 7 February 2016

For The Love Of Star Wars

It's another Star Wars post but this time its about The Force Awakens, sort of. Now that the buz has died down and there are barely fans out there that haven't seen the film, I feel it is safe to write about it. There are still major spoilers, or things I consider spoilers but I have given fair warnings with this epic sign:


Permission to speak freely? Granted. First off, I didn't really know the full extend of how much I love Star Wars. I've heard people say 'I prefer Star Trek' or 'I'm not really into Sci-fi', I've even heard someone say 'I'm more of a Lord of the Rings fan'. I've always thought of myself as a massive Lord of the Rings fan, which is surprising as I can't think of any other fantasy type film or TV show I love, comics aside - Fables, House of Mystery, they're full of fantasy - but I absolutely love Lord of the Rings. You can't actually compare the two, LOTR and Star Wars, two different genres to start with. My loyalties lie with both.

My love for Star Wars does have its limits, as with most things, the want and the 'can I actually afford this' are usually in question. I regret that I wasn't able to go/afford the Secret Cinema Star Wars event. I know other fans wanted to go but my gad the tickets were expensive. But my limit in seeing the film on the big screen, there is none. I know I know, people say why see it again if you've seen it once. But I say to them, what is the possibility that I will see the film again on the big screen? Especially the IMAX. I saw The Force Awakens 3 times and I'm happy with that. 

Watching the original trilogy to build up to the main event was a wise choice. It had been ages since I saw all three. Not long ago, The Empire Strikes Back was used for a film drinking game - most enjoyable. With those fresh in my mind, the viewing experience of The Force Awakens was that little bit better. 

The film did everything you wanted. Stabalising a new set of films as well as opening up the Star Wars universe to stand alone features as well continuing the main story arc. New characters were introduced, breathing new life into galaxy and bringing back old characters too meant that there was enough familiarity to feel at ease with the storytelling.

The film begins as if no time has passed, meaning, straight into the scrolling narration, setting the scene and expectations high and that we most likely will not see Luke Skywalker anytime soon.  

Domhnall Gleeson, Irish actor, cast as the villain, along with Gwendoline Christie, British actress, and a heavily disguised Andy Serkis, it seems the film is falling into the same trap about villains and the Brits. But wait, there is a new hope (see what I did there), Rey played by Daisy Ridley and Fin played by John Boyega are boths Brits and they're the good guys, even though the latter has an American accent for the film. This was puzzelling seeing as all the other soliders and followers of the First Order were British.... a deliberate approach that the filmmakers made perhaps.

There are familiar aspects taken from the originals, its deliberate and creates a sense of excitement as well as comfort. There are those out there who will just say that it's just history repeating itself, but that's being too basic. Leia, Han, Chewie, C3PO and R2D2 make appearences, some more stapled but we are also introduced to the 'new' important characters, Fin, Rey, BB8 and to some extent Poe. Poe is the first and we're told straight away, he's the best fighter pilot in the resistance. His buddy is BB8, a one of kind droid who he entrusts with a supposed map to Luke Skywalker. Poe is then captured and tortured by Kylo Ren, who has his own issues going on, mostly that he is looking to be the next villain. Poe is helped to escape when Strorm Trooper Fin wants out of the First Order. They escape successfully but crash on Jakku and are separated. We follow Finn has he treks across the desert until he meets Rey who has also taken in BB8. Now all the important players have met/been introduced.

I'm trying to stop myself from relating the whole story, so I'll stop there. What's interesting is that the fans who believe the new triology is just going the way of the first, are eager to pin point who is the new who. For me, it doesn't seem to work like that. Poe, played by the amazing Oscar Issacs, is the fighter pilot and has the droid, just like Luke. But Rey is the one who has the Force. Finn also gets a few chances to fight with Luke's lightsaber. So it seems, our would be trio have a little bit of the 'Luke' spirit in them. Rey also has shows signs of being a new 'Han' as she can fly, she's a pretty good mechanic and most importantly, she's gets on really well with Chewie. Finn could also have the potential to be 'Han' is he ups his game in the next film, he's a great character as he represents what it was like to be in the First Order and want to rebel against it. But he also felt a little bit like place holder in some scenes. The potential romance that was hinted at between Fin and Rey seemed forced and unnecessary, these characters shined without that.

In the next films, I'm hoping Poe is developed more as there just wasn't enough of him in the film. He served his purpose but wasn't established enough. I would say the same for Finn and Rey too, but they had more opportunities to show what they could do. The Force Awakens is an most excellent into, teasing us with what is and can come later. Two major things are definitely Rey being a jedi knight and Kylo Ren completing his Sith training.

Rey being the one with the Force was huge step of brilliance, I of course am now talking as the feminist inside me. It felt really good to see a woman take up the mantle. She had the struggle, she's a survivor and she's the jedi, not Finn, which is what was teased in early footage and posters. It's inspiring and hopefully will encourage more girls to enjoy the film as now they can see a sci-fi film where they can relate to the 'hero', sort of.

About Kylo Ren, now, I've read and heard people either praise Adam Driver for his role or complain he wasn't 'evil' enough. Let me point out that Kylo Ren or should I say Ben Solo, is not a Sith yet. If he was, he could have crushed Finn and Rey in the later fight scene. He's still struggling with light and dark, he's still seeking advise and guidance. The cryptic speech he gives to Darth Vader's head could also been seen as puzzling, what exactly does he mean by 'finish what you started'? Everyone automatically thinks, it's bad, but I'm hoping something else is up the filmmakers sleeves. I suppose the fact Ren kills his dad, Han Solo was going to happen and then was actually needed. Harrison Ford wanted out and Kylo Ren needed to get rid of him to complete his transition to the dark side. I was mortified when it happened and I saw it coming as soon as the bridge over the chasm came into shot.

Despite the killing his father and for a short time, Rey's mentor, Kylo Ren showed other emotions that seemed even more alien. Again, it's unclear about Rey's origin. Some say she's Luke's daughter, others say she's actually Kylo Ren's twin, which would be thoroughly disappointing as that would be dull. I'm hoping for something right out of nowhere to make it more interesting and it would help support my theory. Kylo Ren seemed somewhat infatuated by Rey. The first time he takes off his mask is to her, he is weakened in her presence as Rey has never used the Force before but managed to get through on her first try? Sorry, this means less credit to Rey but it's logic. Kylo Ren also offers to teach her how to use the Force, granted it's while they are fighting but still, there is something there. Whether it be a family bond or Kylo Ren's unsure emotions and connection towards to light side, the tension between Rey and Kylo Ren in the torture scene is brilliant. It's actually my favourite scene.

(Side note. I've just discovered #Reylo on Twitter. So, I'm not crazy after all)

Rather than a straightforward review, these are more my rambling thoughts about the film. I still talk about today, even after two months have passed. It had such an impact and everyone has their own theories, Star Wars is an excellent topic, with the right people. I'll end this with no conclusion as it's pretty obvious I loved the film, but I'll just say, may the Force be with and I can't wait for Rouge One this year.


  1. Yes! So much love for this post. I wasn't a Star Wars fan till last year, when I sat and watched every movie so I at least knew what was going on, and I found myself thinking 'why the heck didn't I watch these sooner?!'
    Also, I'm firmly #TeamReylo until it's proven otherwise! :)
    - Allie

  2. That's briliant! A new Star Wars fan all caught up, its great that people are still discovering it, increasing the fandom. I'm so pleased to hear you're on #TeamReylo too! Most of my friends think I'm wrong, but we're not crazy, there is alot out there for #Reylo - I ended up losing a few hours looking on twitter. But yes, until proven otherwise I stand tall for #TeamReylo!

  3. Nice review! I've never been a big Star Wars, despite trying to watch the prequels and originals a few times. Star Wars: The Force Awakens really opened my eyes and made me feel so excited to revisit the previous movies. I hope there's more of Poe in the next one and that Rey's connection to someone (Luke, Kylo, etc) is unexpected too - those were my biggest 'complaints' but they didn't spoil the fun/movie. Can't wait to see the next one! :)

  4. Thank you! Yes! More Poe please, I'm hoping he'll get more in the next movies and they were building him up in Force Awakens. Definitely watch the originals - the prequels are a lost cause but I am bias. I'm sooooo excited for the next film! They've just started shooting which makes me more hyped up!

  5. I'm probably not the greatest Star Wars fan, or one that has good taste. I don't like the prequels but I love the last 45 minutes of Revenge of the Sith. lol The originals are something I have to re-watch. :)