To paraphrase a paraphrased phrase from our review of The Matrix Revolutions
, "Everything that has a beginning, has an end - unless it is Star Wars." The 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s - each decade has had at least one Star Wars live action movie release. All good things don't necessarily come to an end.
Episode IV released in 1977. Its theatrical release posters said, "Coming soon to a galaxy near you!" You watched it. And then you watched it a few times more. It was pioneering. It was path-breaking. It was radical. It was avant-garde. Yes, you needed to switch to French to describe the brilliance that this movie was because English did not have enough words.
Episode V blew your mind. Episode VI merely confirmed what you always knew - when it came to cinematic allegiances, you made wise choices.
George Lucas. He defined a space opera. He invented CGI. He took every existing rule of filmmaking and threw it out. Into space.
And then he took a large dump on it. Twice. Episode I
and Episode II
- they are how you describe things that are beyond abominations. Episode III
salvaged quite a lot of it.
This reviewer had said that Episode III would be the last Star Wars movie we would ever see. Yes, Jon Snow and I - we know nothing. Episode III was also the last movie I reviewed.
This time, the force awakens. And at the helm is J J Abrams who wanted the job so badly that he made two demo reels - Star Trek
(2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness
. Credit where it is due, though. Simply put, Abrams did not reboot Star Trek. He gave the franchise the much-needed kick up its backside.
So, the 2-billion dollar question: How is it?
The force is awake. Wide awake. It does not need a snooze button. It does not even know what an alarm clock is. It has no concept of time. It is just there, all-pervading as it makes its way into the hidden crevices of your brain. Where it rests, and ferments.
It excites that child in you - the child who grew up with Star Wars, the child who went all gooey at the mere mention of a lightsaber battle, the child who knew that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, and the child who winced in agony and suffering when the prequels came out. This movie is that child's reward. This movie brings the magic back. This movie is amaze-balls.
This movie, in a nutshell, is all that was, is or ever will be right with this world.
I had never heard of Daisy Ridley. Today, I am in love. She is mind-bogglingly good, and you want her in every frame. There is not an iota of doubt - she is a superstar in the making. What about Harrison Ford? To comment on a legend, I am not worthy. He is Han Solo. 30 years older and weary. But that chutzpah, oh that chutzpah! Carrie Fisher? Perhaps not a great idea to reprise that role - her in the gold bikini is the only lasting memory I want. I am a guy. I am a pervert. Get over it.
The other actors? No one who shouldn't be around is. No one who shouldn't be doing what they are doing is. It's Star Wars. Human beings (otherwise known as Star Wars fans) don't expect an Academy Awardesque performance. All we prayed for was not to have Hayden Christensen.
The special effects, though, are stars unto themselves. They are there to serve a singular purpose - paint the canvas of that galaxy far, far away, and then get out of the way. This is the biggest triumph of the movie. JJ knows exactly how much SFX is needed. No less, no more. Practical effects or CGI? I don't care either way. Practical or otherwise, the effects work. And I was having too much fun to go about discerning which is which.
John Williams is in solid form. His musical score is other-worldly. The production values are top-notch. Dan Mindel's cinematography puts you in the middle of all the action. And, JJ is God. He has to be. To recreate all this from the ashes of the prequels is beyond the reach of a mortal being.
This movie is a win. Whether you choose to watch it in 2D or 3D or IMAX is a choice I leave to you. Whether you choose to watch it at all is a choice Evolution has already made, and this review is not going to influence it one bit. You don't have to be a Star Wars fan to be sucked in by the movie's magnificence. However, if you are not a Star Wars fan then you should re-look at the direction your life has taken.