J.J Abrams fuses a great combination of both old and new in The Force Awakens; drawing on what we loved so much from the original trilogy to create a loveable old-school homage to the beloved space epic. The force is strong with this one!
The lights go down, a black background with blue letters ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’ appear on the screen followed by one of THE most iconic scores in film history and I’m instantly transported back to the first time I ever saw a Star Wars film.
Three decades after the Rebel Alliance triumphed over the Galactic Empire, a new threat has risen from the ashes – the First Order. The resistance, lead by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), are on a mission to find AWOL Jedi Luke Skywalker to help return balance to the galaxy. They send their best pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and his droid, BB-8, to the planet of Jakku to retrieve a vital piece of a map that will lead them to Skywalker.
Poe and BB-8 become separated after they are ambushed by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), and the First Order’s band of storm troopers. But Finn, (John Boyega) a disillusioned storm trooper helps rescue Poe as he escapes from General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and the First Order. The two of them crash land back on Jakku in search of BB-8 but become separated, with Finn quickly running into the droid and scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), and they team up to return BB-8 to the resistance with the help of a couple of familiar faces!
The look and feel of the seventh episode is just perfect. Unlike the CGI stuffed prequels, J.J Abrams has opted for the more organic approach, using real locations, props and practical effects to bring The Force Awakens’ fantastically varied Worlds alive. The vast desert landscapes of Jakku, filmed in Abu Dhabi, closely resemble Tatooine, yet with the addition of new towns and species (such as Luggabeasts) create a new and exciting planet. Abrams also nicely references previous instalments with visible wreckages of a Star Destroyer, X-Wing fighter and an AT-AT. Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana is also very reminiscent of the Cantina bar from A New Hope but with lots of new and intriguing alien species.