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Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens - Film Review

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
In a Galaxy Far Far Away - or a Cinema Near You
star wars, the force awakens, film review

2015 came to an end with the most hotly awaited release of the year: Star Wars VII. The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film to be released since its takeover by Disney, and the first to be written by J.J. Abrams rather than its original creator, George Lucas. The seventh in the saga, The Force Awakens is a sequel set thirty years after Return of the Jedi and, is in essence a handing over of the torch, as audiences meet the next generation of heroes and villains. The film focusses on two new characters, a scavenger called Rey, and a runaway called Finn. The unlikely pair's paths cross when they discover BB-8, a droid that contains a vital map that leads to the legendary Luke Skywalker.

Unsurprisingly, the Dark Side is eager to get its hands on this map, and new mask of evil, Kylo Ren, will do anything to achieve his goal. It is up to Rey, Finn, and some old familiar faces to safely deliver BB-8 to the resistance fighters, who are led by none other than former princess, General Leia.

I write this review as someone who is not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, and admit to never being able to sit through the entire length of one of its films. The only reason I went was because my dad wanted to see it and would not go alone. As someone who is not a fan, I hope that I can provide a different perspective on the film; one that is not influenced by nostalgia or high expectations, and maybe for those who are also getting their first taste of Star Wars.

As a Star Trek fan, I was annoyed when J.J. Abrams took over. I felt that he was using the franchise as merely a jumping board to get him into Star Wars - and it showed. Star Trek XI & XII not only had strong flavours of Star Wars, but it was clearly aimed at bringing in new audiences who were never interested in Star Trek before. In contrast, Abrams specifically made The Force Awakens for long time fans. If you have not followed the saga then there will definitely be moments when you are confused and struggling to make connections. To be honest, I respect this decision, as it how I would have liked the rebooted Star Trek films to have been treated.

While Star Wars fans are going to be leaping for joy at the return of old favourites, I was far more interested in the new recruits, Rey, Finn, and the adorable BB-8, who you can feel much more empathetic towards than C-3PO and R2D2. The dialogue is witty and varied: Hans Solo provides dry sarcastic humour, Finn has a fast pace panic-based banter, and there is whizz-kid excitement from Rey. I enjoyed the film much more than I expected, but at the same time, it did not inspire me to watch the previous films. The ending is rather anti-climatic; it is meant to leave you in anticipation of Star Wars VIII, which comes out in 2017, but it felt like too much of a conclusion to leave me wondering what is going to happen next. The Force Awakens will leave you satisfied, but possibly not as giddy as hoped after the ten-year long wait for a revival.
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Why? Find out what happens 30 years on
When: from 14th December 2015
Where: Cinemas
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