On Thursday night, I put my hair in two buns and went to the cinema – I was aiming for the Princess Leia gold-bikini vibe in Episode IV but it’s likely that Yoda was a closer comparison. Given that I turned to my mum about a minute and a half before the film started and said ‘so, can you quickly catch me up?’ to her absolute horror, I’m not a die-hard fan. I’ve seen all the films throughout my childhood, but it had been years. Let me say now that I anticipated to enjoy the film, it cost 200 million to make, it was hardly going to be rubbish. I didn’t anticipate however, to cry, laugh, and want to write about it the second it began.
From the outset, the film is funny. I laughed out loud, a lot. This can be largely credited to new face in the franchise, and pilot for the resistance, Poe. His lines are perfectly timed and delivered, and his performance throughout the film is standout. I’m going to hold my hands up and say that BB-8 – the small droid – made me laugh, probably more than it should have. It’s just so cute! As a central feature of characters and plot within the film, that little droid encompasses the joy of the Star Wars franchise, and very smartly. BB-8 tickles young and older viewers in varying ways, a clever tact from its creators. If you watch that little ball, head down, move as fast as it possibly can across a sandy desert in the film, and don’t squeal with cutemess-overload, there’s something seriously wrong with you.
We saw many new and old faces in the 2 hours and 16 minutes – never did I think I’d be so pleased to see Harrison Ford, with the incomprehensible and ever brilliant Chewbacca in tow. Princess Leia was back as beautiful as ever, played by the same Carrie Fisher at the age of 59.
Central character Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, stood for powerful and independent femininity – a beautiful girl who can take care of herself, and look after a few men in the meantime. She was a little Kiera Knightley-esque at times, talking through her teeth and breathing a lot, but she was way more badass. She grew into her character as the film went on; she stomped her way through the first scene over-emphasising every word, but the longer she was on the screen, the more settled she became. I wish I looked that pretty when I cried.
I was a little underwhelmed by her companion Finn played by John Boyega, but the juxtaposition of Rey’s hardiness and Finn’s lack of, was a match made in movie-making heaven. Adam Driver as a baddy was sick. The faceless character of Ren was creepy as hell, and he plays the young and tormented soul effortlessly, with a dark voice and a moody strut to kill. My only qualm was that we didn’t see him enough.
Visually, the film is impressive. The desert landscapes, empty snow-ridden woods, and swirling planet surfaces were vast and breathtaking. The explosions were enormous and vivid, and the fight scenes were frenzied in a realistic, manic way that had you on the edge of your seat. A fight scene between a luminous blue and red lightsaber in a saturated, snowy wood was inspired – the power of colour in this was extraordinary.
It’s possible that because I didn’t remember much of the last films, at face-value I saw this instalment as fresh and exciting. It was probably one of the toughest tasks to take on, but in my opinion JJ Abrams did one hell of a job.