Everyone has childhood memories of Star Wars.
Mine are sitting in my bedroom, slumped on a beanbag, watching the original three films on video. Yes that's right, video. Those were some great childhood memories right there, pretending I was flying alongside Han Solo and battling Darth Vader with Luke. That is the magic Star Wars creates.
Now, almost 10 years later (for me) and roughly 32 years later for the original cast, does the force truly awaken? Yes it does.
The film was perfect, both for newcomers to the franchise, people like me who grew up watching them and also for those who were children when Star Wars was first released.
JJ Abrams had done a great job incorporating the modern aspects of CGI with the original flavours of masked aliens and droids we know and love. Bring in the favourites like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher and you have yourself a winning film. Notice I left Mark Hamill out. The man who was the lead of the originals, who's training we saw undergo completion, the guy who has not featured in any interviews, posters or even the trailer for the film .... appears for about 30 seconds. I refuse to class this as a spoiler, and while I eagerly anticipated his arrival, I understand why Abrams kept his appearance where he did.
Regarding the newcomers, Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn are brilliant additions, and a superb casting choice. They break the line between new and old, and both add humour to the film, while being excellent actors as well. I look forward to seeing more of them in the next few films that are planned.
Visual effects are a must for Star Wars, and The Force Awakens does not disappoint. From the Millennium Falcon jumping into light speed and curving around tight corners, to sprawling desert landscapes featuring crashed Imperial ships in the background, visuals are stunning and, in all fairness, beautiful.
It's hard to talk about some of the best bits of the film without spoiling it but I'll try my best, especially to discuss the villain, Kylo Ren. As the main bad guy, I'd say he does a modest job, with a deep creepy voice and strong knowledge of the force making him quite a fearsome foe. His reveal isn't too bad either and while I won't say who Ren is, the identity comes as a slight shock. And the confrontation between him and Han Solo is terrific too! That's all I will say about that.
My biggest downside of the film, and admittedly my only downside, was the lightsaber fights. There were only two, and while I know Star Wars is not built around these (and definitely shouldn't become reliant on them) it would've been nice to see more battles, or for the final fight to have been longer/more choreographed. While it shows the newcomers' development, especially Rey's, I just wish there could have been even more duels and progress for both her and Finn.
Is this as good as the prequels? Stupid question, this was five times better. As good as the originals? Definitely. Better? Hard to tell. The Force Awakens is a great film, and a brilliant Star Wars film, well worth watching. I'm just glad Disney didn't mess anything up.