Monday, 21 December 2015

The Force Awakens

Star Wars fans will enjoy reminiscing with The Force Awakens
I am not one of those die hard Star Wars fans who was counting down the days for the latest installment of the franchise, but I have to admit I fondly remember the original characters, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca.

Before the prequels, The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I was in Hong Kong at the time and my colleague, a total Star Wars fan -- he has models of all kinds of things from the movie -- got me to go with him to see the original Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The last time I had seen it was when I was about eight years old and so watching it again many years later was an interesting experience. In particular I loved the witty dialogue between Princess Leia and Han Solo, and having a better understanding of "the force" and how good and evil can be complicated -- that it's not always black and white.

Loved the witty repartees between Han Solo and Princess Leia
I only saw The Phantom Menace and wasn't too enamoured with it, which is why I didn't see Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith.

So it was with mixed feelings that I went with my dad this evening to see The Force Awakens at our neighbourhood theatre.

We saw the late show and as my dad predicted, the theatre was not full, though the seats that had bums in them were mostly young men in their 20s.

Nevertheless for father and daughter, it was a nice way for us to relive the original Star Wars in a new movie.

I'd read The Globe and Mail's Kate Taylor's review of The Force Awakens. She pointed out the parallels with A New Hope -- an orphan on a desert planet, a cryptic message falling into her possession and then somehow joining the resistance to fight the dark side.

And I can see why Taylor yawned at this -- what's new here? Nothing really, except to help fans recapture a lot of the nostalgia from A New Hope, and the movie, directed by JJ Abrams and written by him, Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt does it well.

Rey, BB-8 and Finn flee from the evil Empire
There's even a bar scene that invokes the famous cantina scene in the original, and how some people can feel "the force".

Harrison Ford as Han Solo is is same self 38 years older, and clearly enjoying himself on the screen. Newcomer Daisy Ridley as Rey is fantastic -- a really strong female character that is refreshing to see, and John Boyega as Finn is the sensitive new age guy.

The fight scenes are pretty predictable -- the rebels' X-wings battle the Empire's starfighters, while Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) battles it out with Rey, this time in a snowy forest scene.

So now that Abrams has firmly re-established the Star Wars franchise with big thumbs up from fans, where does it go from here? That's the real question.

And we will wait with avid anticipation...

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