Released 14th December
Seen 16th December
Directed & Written by Rian Johnson
Produced by Lucasfilm, Ram Bergman Productions & Walt Disney Pictures
Starring Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac & PORG’S
Every one of these new Star Wars films has quite the legacy to live up too. Not only must the film continue the tale that began so perfectly with the original trilogy, it has to appease old fans and bring in the new ones without having anyone feel alienated. It’s a mean feat to try and pull off and Force Awakens certainly got the ball rolling. This movie is that ball rolling at lightning speed with a passion that lives in every single frame of the 150-minute runtime. Every frame is filled with a kind of energy that drags you in and takes you along for the films incredible ride.
I dare not describe the plot for fear of spoiling any of the joy that will be experienced by anyone who hasn’t yet seen the film (Cos let’s be honest, most people saw it opening day and are now on their 4th return visit) but rest assured, it’s wonderfully assembled with intricate details that truly matter to the plot, you couldn’t remove an instant of the film without taking away some of its magic. The flash of a ring or a pair of dice can be integral to some emotionally impactful moments played to perfection by a cast who embraced the material and created cinematic magic. Every performance is incredible, every single one. Mark Hamill produced some of the most incredible lines in the movie, a single flick of his hand produces the biggest laugh. Daisy Ridley provides more hope than a million Skywalkers, she is a marvel to witness. Oscar Issac and John Boyega spend very little time sharing a frame and yet they bounce off each other so well, it’s a brothership that is amazing and it is no wonder that their chemistry has launched a thousand ships online. All praise to Adam Driver who has the task of being the villain of this movie, having to somehow match the intensity of Vader and make people forget how awkward he was in the last film and fortunately for him, this time is a vast improvement. Before he was whiny, now he is intimidating and I love every time he pops up with his conflicted heart and his wicked ways bursting through as clearly as the scar on his face.
Of course, we cannot neglect to mention the
Princess General herself, Carrie Fisher. The only Disney General that anyone will ever need. This may be her last film, but she went out on top because she has never been better than she is in this film. She is the emotional centre of everything, we could truly state that the world of Star Wars revolves around her and we would be correct. It’s her heart, her strength, he wry sense of humor that fills the movie with what makes it special. Rian Johnson said in an interview that Carrie helped rewrite the script and you can tell she’s why this film excels. Is an element of my praise for her performance related to her sudden passing a year ago? Undoubtedly, but that doesn’t make my praise of her any less deserved. I may be biased and have been determined to like her performance no matter what, but it’s her talent and her warmth that made it so easy to smile every time she appeared on screen to take command of every shot she had. She helped make this film what it is at a fundamental level and her addition to it is brilliant and beautiful. Thank you General Leia Organa, may the force forever be with you.
Speaking of brilliant and beautiful, the cinematographer better get some kind of award for how amazing this film looks. There are visuals in this movie that are beyond description with how gorgeous they are. Some of the battle sequences are so perfectly shot that the camera becomes another combatant, flying in and out and capturing everything with a graceful talent that can’t be denied. Every close-up, every angle, every flying ship or passing crystal fox is expertly captured and provides some of the much-desired drama, elevating this film and showing how far we’ve come from the originals.
We’ve grown up, the films grew up with us. It introduces new elements to the universe that slip in comfortably alongside the old, it creates new uses for old powers we thought we knew and those uses are perfectly aligned with what we know can happen in this world. It’s a great film, flawed only in knowing what could’ve been in the next one and how they must now try and adapt their tale to the new reality of their cast that is missing one crucial component that should still be here. It’s not going to be easy for them, the next film is going to have a to address this horrible moment in ways that this film just didn’t have the time to do but for right now I can say that this film is not only worthy of high praise as a film, it’s worthy of being the final note in a princess’s tale.
…oh, also Porgs are awesome and I want one!