The world can relax. Phantom Menace this ain’t…
People have become so wary and tired of the constant streams of reboots, remakes and sequels. I am a fan of the Marvel universe but it is so ubiquitous that no Marvel release feels like an event any more. Harry Potter has come and gone. The Lord of the Rings franchise was let down by the sub standard Hobbit entries. Sometimes it is tempting to think that none of that film magic remains. There is a strong argument that The Phantom Menace is partly responsible for all of the above.
Phantom Menace was as successful commercially as it was reviled by it’s fan base. This set a dangerous precedent of Hollywood looking for anything with a pre-existing audience and just feeding them dog shit because Phantom Menace showed this was possible and profitable. After walking out of the midnight showing of The Force Awakens at 2:41am I am fucking delighted to confirm that some of that old movie magic still exists.
All the things that made Star Wars fans wince from the prequels are pretty much gone. JJ Abrams has made a film as if the first three episodes barely existed. Gone is the dodgy CGI and the convoluted, incomprehensible plot. Gone is the shoddy acting and rushed dialogue. In it’s place are thrilling new characters for a whole different generation to fall in love with.
In Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Domhnall Gleeson, Abrams has assembled the most exciting up and coming cast he possibly could have and all three are a revelation. Boyega is funny and warm and believable. Isaac is probably the most sought after actor in the world at the moment and you can see why on this showing and Gleeson is unrecognisable as the slimy General Hux. Newcomer Daisy Ridley more than holds her own and Adam Driver does an excellent job as Kylo Ren.
I wont say much about the old guard as I don’t want to spoil too much but I am happy to confirm the characters from the original trilogy are utilized and realised brilliantly. Never did I think anything was out of character for them. Never did I think they were over or underused.
The Force Awakens is not without it’s flaws but then neither is A New Hope or even The Empire Strikes Back for that matter. The sometimes clunky and cheesy dialogue and the derivative plot are not burdens. The cute new droid clearly designed to sell shit loads of toys is not off putting. These are franchise trademarks as much as the crawling intro and the theme music.
I guess what I am trying to say is that The Force Awakens feels like a fucking Star Wars movie and that is all we ever wanted from the prequels. JJ Abrams and his astounding cast, with a little help from some old, no good nerf herder’s, have given us back everything that the disappointing sequels took away – the magic and excitement of the most beloved movies ever made.
Let your cynicism be washed away as mine was. The Force Awakens is about as good as it possibly could be.
Star Wars is back.