Star Wars

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – an overexcited review

The latest instalment of Star Wars has become one of the most anticipated movie releases in recent history. Episode VII – The Force Awakens broke all previous box office pre-sale records.

However, making another instalment was also a huge gamble, and a great responsibility. Star Wars is loved dearly by its devoted fans worldwide and, especially after the largely disappointing prequels released between 1999 and 2005, the expectations of the Star Wars fraternity were sky-high.

The buildup to the première of the movie was phenomenal, worthy of the franchise, and further heightened expectations. The previews and trailers released had largely filled fans with confidence about the quality of this latest instalment.

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We were all set to attend one of the first full screenings of the new film in the world, other than the big Hollywood première of course, at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction, in Sydney, Australia at 12am on Thursday, 17 December 2015.

But, our journey to this latest instalment of Star Wars wasn’t free from a serious disturbance in the force – earlier in the day parts of Sydney were devastated by a tornado, also causing a roof collapse at Westfield Bondi Junction, home to Event Cinemas and the midnight première we were preparing to attend.

Event Cinemas and large sections of Westfield were consequently evacuated.

Later the cinema announced all screenings at the venue had to be cancelled at least until midnight.

The midnight première of Star Wars going ahead was then made subject to engineers clearing the cinema to open.

Eventually the skies cleared but the engineers had bad news, and the midnight Star Wars première at Bondi Junction was cancelled. Millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror … well, perhaps not millions, and ‘terror’ may be a little melodramatic, but fans were beside themselves.

That was it for our top row, middle, Vmax, 3D session tickets. One could have cried …

But our little Rebel Alliance was not prepared to accept defeat from the dark forces of nature. We got online immediately, and tracked down tickets to a 12.10am session at the George Street Event Cinemas.

It wasn’t Vmax.

It wasn’t 3D.

It wasn’t top row.

It certainly wasn’t in the middle …

Who cares?! We went for it. And it was certainly worth the effort. What an incredible experience it was!

Given the time zone advantage offered by my geographical location, and being mindful of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, waiting to see this movie, I will be very careful not to be responsible for any major spoilers.

Out of the gate, Episode VII brings this much-loved franchise back from the wilderness where it was led to by the prequels – of which we will never speak of again.

As you would expect of a classic Star Wars movie, and be assured this will be considered a modern classic, the story is engaging, heartbreaking and exhilarating, and will transport you to another place and time, in a galaxy far, far away …

J.J. Abrams created a story worthy of the Star Wars legacy. It is big, bold, familiar and yet fresh, and full of plot twists. Some you may see coming, but others will shock you to your core.

J.J. Abrams brought back to life the classic Star Wars universe we love, took the time to develop new characters, didn’t shy away from sweeping human emotions, and threw in incredible action sequences to boot that will have you holding on to your armrests, or loved one, for support.

The old crew is back, and each time one of them appeared on the screen for the first time, the audience cheered and clapped spontaneously.

They are of course older, and wiser. As they appear on the screen, we slowly learn what happened to them over the past 30 years, and it feels like learning the faith of long-lost family.

Meanwhile, the new characters are exciting and fresh. And they have … character and substance!

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver, among a strong new cast, are the perfect fit for the Star Wars universe, and they treat their cultural inheritance with respect, putting in a huge effort to make it their own. And they have …

The cast is very strong, but we would dare say that Adam Driver’s performance could be his best work to date.

J.J. Abrams must be saluted for what he had achieved here. He preserved the dignity of much-loved classic characters, and simultaneously gave life to a new generation of heroes who compliment our old friends, and a cherished Star Wars legacy.

Don’t wait too long to see this one – the plot twists certainly make worth seeing it before someone ruins it for you!

Rating: ★★★★★

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