★★★★★ – “A true work of art.”

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is directed by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost) and stars a compelling cast of new and old faces; Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Mark Hamill.

The Force has awakened, and a new threat arises. Set three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, The First Order are determined to rule the galaxy and only our new set of heroes, with the help of the Resistance, can stop them. The First Order’s leader, Kylo Ren, has an ambitious task; to find and destroy the last of the Jedi.

That’s all you need to know. The rest is a journey through time and space, back to the glorious days when practical effects and Panavision film cameras were the golden standard in filmmaking, and computer-generated images were kept to a bare minimum. This movie is a true work of art, it’s as real as it gets. This is the Star Wars we’ve all been waiting for since Return of the Jedi. Abrams made sure that everything was shot on real locations and miniature models were used for exterior shots of space cruisers and star ships in order to achieve the aesthetics of the original trilogy. He succeeds with an expert eye for detail and a tremendous charisma for writing and screenplay. The story flows with ease and constantly pulls you into the world we’ve all known and loved – and quite frankly, missed – for many years.

The new cast is outstanding. This is Daisy Ridley’s first major movie and she leads the way with a brilliant performance of strength and emotion. What a way to kick-off, what I’m certain is going to be a very positive, and rewarding career. John Boyega previously starred in Attack The Block (2011) and quickly grabbed Abrams’ attention with his role, thus bringing him to the Galaxy. He portrays a character we can all connect with, an outsider who has been thrown into this world. Every movie needs to have at least one character that can connect to the audience, it’s a very important factor in filmmaking. If you don’t have that element, you have no bridge from screen to audience. Boyega and Ridley have done a fantastic job at doing this, along with the brilliant and talented writers who brought these new characters to life. Adam Driver was electrifying and genuinely feels like a threat under Kylo Ren’s mask. Everything from the distorted voice to the hunched walk, the heavy-wielded lightsaber and the drive for success is perfect. Oscar Isaac is in an energetic performance as Poe Dameron, a pilot, who needs to reconnect with his droid, BB-8. I’m very much looking forward to the next instalments to see where these new faces are heading, and I’m very happy to say that I love each and every one of them.

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Mark Hamill all return to reprise their roles from the original trilogy and they still have the same witty charm that we all recognise. That’s all I’ll say on those characters, as I’m sure you’ll be wanting to discover each of their stories for yourself.

Of course the music is great, as John Williams returns to the franchise with a tour de force score that hits notes of love, hope, and excitement as we all watch the performances on-screen. It has become such a huge part of these movies, that if anyone else helmed the music, it would feel very different. Themes from the original trilogy return in full-force, with some new character cues that will soon catch your ears and start-up the humming bug again. Of course, the future Anthology movies will feature newcomers to the galaxy – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being scored by Michael Giacchino – so I look forward to hearing their work.

I’ve always had a huge appreciation for directors that not only decide to shoot on film, but use practical effects. Nothing will ever take you completely into the world of a movie as well as these two things. Too much CGI is being used in filmmaking nowadays and it’s rather sad to see that. But, with directors like J.J. Abrams, I know I have hope, and I believe it’s making a big comeback soon. It’s already in affect.

Verdict; As a huge and loyal fan of the original trilogy, I am very happy to say that this is an extremely satisfying continuation and a beautifully shot and directed instalment by J.J. Abrams. Thank you. The audience I was a part of applauded you, and I’ve heard that many other very happy fans have done the same, too. The quote “Chewie, we’re home” could not put it any better. Welcome home.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – ★★★★★ (10/10)

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