The anticipation of a movie which is a cultural phenomenon, one which has inspired a whole generation, one that has become synonymous with sci-fi and the vision of the future, leaves you with an unfair amount of expectations – You scour through each scene looking for classic references, hidden easter-eggs or symbolisms. Boy we were not disappointed !
Its been 7 long years since Star Wars: The Clone Wars came out and since then the fans had been clamouring for the next edition. When we started hearing that J J Abrams would be taking on the helm, the excitement had multiplied manifold. After his very well received reboot of Star Trek in 2009, he probably became a natural choice for giving the Abramsian treatment to one of the most popular franchises ever made. Abrams has been the Isaac Asimov of the Film and TV age with some of the most gripping works like Lost and Fringe under his belt. Although he might not have had much liberty with the plot for The Force Awakens, he always knew he would have to bring a lot more to the table than just doing justice to the original story.
As the screen lights up with ‘Star Wars’ and the trademark fading-into-deep-space text starts rolling up, your skin starts to tingle with nostalgia. Without spoiling it for you a tad too much, the story begins with The First Order hunting Luke Skywalker in order to eliminate the last Jedi who stands in their way and complete Galactic dominance. Poe Dameron, a member of the Resistance, acquires a piece of map on the planet Jakku which might possibly lead them to Skywalker and end the war forever. Fearing capture by the Order and the stormtroopers, he entrusts the map to his robot BB-8 – a rolly-polly, cutesy version of our beloved R2D2. BB-8, while running from the stormtroopers, stumbles upon a scrap collector Rey who turns out to be the quintessential victim of the Empire and has lost her family during childhood. She struggles for basic resources like food and water by collecting useable scrap from decaying battle-remnants and selling them to a pawn-broker in exchange for food. Rey’s story resonates so much with Anakin Skywalker that there is this unfounded feeling – is she a Jedi ? Will she eventually go to the dark side as well ?
If you are one of those fan-boys who would watch it just for the classic references, the nostalgia is strong in this one. It would be the crime of the century to deprive you of the nerdgasm you get when the characters make the entry. The presence of these characters is overpowering but Abrams has made it abundantly clear that this story is not about them. Its about Rey and her self-discovery. Although there is an undercurrent that Luke may appear any moment now, we are also interested in delving deep into Rey’s origins and her possible link with Skywalker. In one of the scenes, a deep anger fleets across her face while she duels with Kylo Ren giving a slight glimpse of the (inherent ?) darkness in her.
The Force Awakens delivers everything that it promised to. The desert fight scene between the Tie-fighters and an old dusty Millenium Falcon has been executed with finesse. Even though the Lucasfilm team has given mind-blowing effects that have always been far ahead of its time, there was always a concept-art like feeling to them. This edition takes it a little further with more realistic and accurate graphics detailing – like in a scene where Kylo Ren stops a green ray from a blaster gun in mid-air. Things happen around it while it stays there quivering and flickering. The new Lightsaber design wielded by Ren seems like an anachronistic amalgamation of a medieval sword and a laser beam. The X-wings seem faster and the reflexes seem way snappier.
With every reboot or revisit, Abrams has made it a point to bring in more fans into the fandom by finding a balance such that the films would not seem too esoteric to someone who has never watched or followed the franchise. The Force Awakens is easily enjoyable even if you keep the references aside. You can easily catch the underlying symbolism as in the scene where the stormtrooper army gives a Nazi salute to The First Order commander clearly projecting their mal-intent to rule the galaxy. The characters have been precisely written so that you grow to love them in the short span of the narrative…short, in comparison to the fans who have been following and loving them since the late 70s.
The Force Awakens promises the beginning of a new era in terms of the character developments, strategic warfare against the dark side and the return of the quintessential hero. The Force has been truly awakened and its undying legacy has been re-ignited.
We have a good feeling about this !
gobblpoint: Besides the sheer nostalgia, watch it for the gripping battle scenes and the larger than life visuals which have defined the charm of Star Wars for decades.
Disclaimer: The photograph used in this blog is the sole property of the makers of this film and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever.