Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review (SPOILERS) – Dan Hayes
On 17th December 2015 the seventh installment of the Star Wars Saga was released in the form of ‘The Force Awakens’ and IT IS AWESOME! So I’m going to discuss what I thought of the film and some fan theories about the film (includes spoilers, sorry).
Firstly, this film has been hugely anticipated since it was announced at the start of last year. With the release of the trailers we learnt of new characters such as Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren. Many were concerned that it wouldn’t live up to their expectations and it would be about as good as The Phantom Menace. Yet it is the complete opposite. The introduction of these characters is done brilliantly with them interacting with the old characters perfectly. Personally, I wasn’t worried about the new characters being disappointing, I had faith in J.J. Abrams. No, instead I was worried about the old characters being disappointing and it all being rather underwhelming. I was worried they would be treated like they hadn’t aged at all, like in Indiana Jones. Whilst Indie doesn’t age, Harrison Ford does and this can’t be hidden. However, much to my relief this wasn’t the case and they retained their legendary status within the fictional realm and reality. They acted older/their age with this being evident in the fact Han Solo can’t actually run properly and Luke looks like Obi-Wan (probably done on purpose though).
The Plot: If you are reading this you have either seen the film already or have no care for the spoilers and are fine with the film being ruined or you are probably only going to watch it when it comes out on DVD. Which is ever the case, I’ll keep this brief.
The galaxy is under threat from the First Order whom are searching for a droid which contains a segment of a map which leads to the currently exiled Luke Skywalker. Both the First Order – led by the evil Kylo Ren – and the Resistance are after the droid.
Brief right? Ok, here’s it in more detail.
So we begin, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. The galaxy is under threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Han and Leia’s son) and the First Order. When they capture a resistance pilot (Poe Dameron), a rouge storm trooper (later known as Finn) helps him escape. This is the first time (in my opinion) we have seen a truly human side to the storm troopers and not just as clones. Their Tie Fighter crashes on the scrapyard plant of Jakku.
Once on Jakku, Finn meets a scavenger girl called Rey and a droid which contains information wanted by the First Order and the Resistance. When the First Order land and begin their search for Rey, BB8 (the droid) and Finn escape in the beloved Millennium Falcon, later bumping into Han Solo and Chewbacca who help get the BB unit back to the resistance.
During a quick stop off a battle breaks out and Rey is kidnapped by the First Order and interrogated by Kylo Ren, who tries to dig into her thoughts using the force. Here we find out that Rey has some kind of link to the force as she resists Ren’s trick and turns it around on him, telling him stuff about himself no-one knows. We also see her use the Jedi mind trick on a storm trooper, a favourite of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s.
Later, we witness the resistance attempt to destroy the Starkiller Base in a very similar way in which the Death Star was destroyed. I mean, it even has a trench to fly down and shoot at resulting in it being completely obliterated.
During this attempt, Han Solo confronts his son, Kylo Ren, on the base telling him to come home. After an Oscar worthy performance from Ren, convincing his father he didn’t want to be on the dark side anymore, the inevitable happens. He kills his father. This is a sad moment to begin with as it is hard not to love the smuggler who made the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs (still being mentioned in Force Awakens by the way). But is made even more harrowing by the fact he dies in a very unheroic way. I was hoping for him to die in an epic battle resulting in him being stabbed or shot and dying in Chewbacca’s arms while he shouted ‘AHHHHHH’ a lot, but nope.
With the droid now in the hands of the resistance, Rey can begin the search for Luke with the film ending on a cliff hanger with Rey offering Luke his lightsaber, on the edge of a cliff (surely done on purpose?)
In my opinion, this couldn’t have been a better way to bring back the Star Wars Saga. It is fast paced meaning there is never a dull moment. The story itself is wonderfully written (apart from Solo’s death) and makes the viewer leave with plenty of questions and theories about the film and the one to come after that.
One popular question about the film is:
‘Who is Rey related to?’
The answer to this question is, we don’t know. This is because at no point in the film are told Rey’s background (apart from knowing she was left on Jakku and is still waiting for whoever left her to return) or what her surname is. Whoever she is, there is no denying that she has a strong connection to the force.
There are many suggestions of who her family are with some saying she is Luke’s daughter. Some speculate that she is Han and Leia’s daughter, making her Kylo Ren’s brother. Who doesn’t love a family feud involving lightsabers?! Others believe she is the child of one of the Jedi’s who survived Order 66 or she is made of Darth Vader’s DNA.
However, for me, the theory that makes the most sense is the idea that she is the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Many points can lead us to believe this.
Firstly, Rey shows she can use the Jedi mind trick , only making one mistake, as we know this was a speciality of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s who was much better at it than his mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, who was potentially THE worst Jedi. She also shows she is able to defend herself against mind tricks and even enter Kylo Ren’s thoughts, who has been trained with the force, whilst she has no training what so ever.
Secondly, over the years many Jedis have gone into exile, much like Luke, with the most famous being Obi-Wan and Yoda. It isn’t completely unlikely that in this time he fathered a child before leaving to train Luke. This child then having Rey about a decade after ‘Return of the Jedi’.
A third link between the two is to do with Rey’s vision, in which Obi-Wan features. In the vision, the combined voices of Ewan McGregor and Sir Alec McGuiness can be heard saying “Rey, these are your first steps”, very similar to something he once told Luke during his training; “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world”.
However, this point can be opposed by the fact that many other voices can be heard in the vision, including Luke screaming ‘no’ and Yoda talking, thus leading us to believe the point I previously made could be irrelevant. Well, not entirely. If Rey was a Skywalker, then surely it would only make sense for her to hear Anakin as well? But he is nowhere to seen. Well, heard…
On the exterior alone, Rey and Obi-Wan aren’t too dissimilar in their outfits. Even though her costume is based off some Ralph McQuarrie concept art, they match all the way down to the boots. Not to mention the English accents; surely that can’t be coincidence?!
Another popular theory (which I previously mentioned) is that she is the daughter of Luke Skywalker. Many believe that she was mind wiped and then left on Jakku. This would make sense of her strong link to the force and the Skywalker lightsaber. However, in juxtaposition to this point, Obi-Wan was in possession of the Skywalker lightsaber for much longer than both Luke and Anakin combined thus surely having a stronger link.
When the trailer was released many noticed an absence of Luke. This raised many questions; is he dead? Has he joined the dark side? Is he the guy in the mask? The answer to all these questions is, no (sort of). With regard to the last question, the answer was given in the very same trailer when we saw Finn take on Kylo Ren whilst he wasn’t wearing the helmet after moments before seeing him baring the mask. Also, when Luke makes his own lightsaber, it’s brilliant and looks and works perfectly, whilst Kylo Ren’s crucifix lightsaber is quite shoddy if I’m honest. The answer to the other questions are revealed at the very end of the film, when Rey finds Luke on the edge of a cliff, thus proving he isn’t dead. With regard to the second question there is no actual answer, however I’m going to say, no. I say this as many believed his absence meant he had gone to the dark side, yet he is present at the end. Obviously, I can’t be certain of my answer as Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker doesn’t actually say anything or give us any clues, like wiping out his red lightsaber. He literally does nothing, leaving the film on a cliff hanger (rather fitting considering their location). Leaving us wondering, what will the next film be about?!
I vehemently believe the next film will be about Luke training Rey up for a big battle with Kylo Ren (resulting in the death of Luke, sadly) and then a war with the First Order in the third film. I also believe we will find out who Rey’s family is and how see can use the force. If it turns out she is a Skywalker, she will most likely lose a hand or an arm to keep in with the family tradition.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a brilliant movie in many ways. Brilliant but not perfect. It’s fast pace means the viewer never faces a dull moment, however some things seem to be skimmed over and not properly mentioned ever again when it needs to be.
We are treated to a new Boba Fett kind of character who stands near the main villain for most of the film and then dies in a pathetic way like getting accidently knocked into a pit or pushed in the trash compacter, who goes by the name of Captain Phasma. Whilst completely pointless, she does look really badass.
To conclude, I highly recommend you watch this film, but if you enter the theatre with the same mind set you would have before you watch any other film ‘What if it’s bad?’ it won’t disappoint. Overall I give this film a solid 9/10 and look forward to seeing the rest of the trilogy and all the spinoff films to come.
Thank you for reading.