Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Film, Science fiction
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(30user reviews)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

JJ Abrams's Star Wars reboot is as thrilling and playful as anyone could have hoped – a masterly revival of old themes and faces

Not only expert homage for the fans but a first-rate, energised piece of mega-Hollywood adventure, the hugely anticipated 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' stirs more to life than just The Force. The rollicking, space-opera spirit of George Lucas’s original trilogy (you can safely forget the second trio of cynical, tricked-up prequels) emanates from every frame of JJ Abrams's euphoric sequel. It’s also got an infusion of modern-day humour that sometimes steers the movie this close to self-parody – but never sarcastically, nor at the expense of a terrific time.

The wheel need not be reinvented: virtually every plot point and action beat comes from 1977’s 'Star Wars' or 1980’s 'The Empire Strikes Back' (you even get a dormant lightsaber shivering in the snow), yet that’s perfectly fine when the vigour is this electric. Life is still a drag on arid desert planets like Jakku, where scrappy Rey (Daisy Ridley, a strong-jawed find) sells scavenged parts of old battle destroyers. Crash-landing onto her world is Finn (John Boyega), a Stormtrooper shocked out of his violent path serving the evil First Order by an impulse to do the right thing. On the run, they hijack the decrepit Millennium Falcon – 'The garbage will do,' says Rey in the first of many exhilarating reveals – and take off toward a radicalising destiny in the Resistance.

Abrams ('Star Trek', 'Super 8'), a master mimic unafraid to revive Lucas’s old-school wipes and frame-gobbling spaceships, brings a light touch to the performances: there’s better acting in 'The Force Awakens' than in all the Star Wars movies combined. BB-8, a whirling football-like droid that plays like WALL-E’s mouthier cousin, might be best of the bunch – he’s a new high for cinema’s expressive machines (and a nod to Lucas’s love for gearhead invention). Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher bring unexpected pathos to roles they sometimes used to drift through. The greying hair helps.

But once again, a black-clad villain steals the show: mystical Dark Sider Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) wears the robes, face-obscuring helmet and ferocious demeanour of you-know-who, with a distorted basso bark that actually improves on the breathy squawk of James Earl Jones. Fortunately, the actor gets to do more than menace, steering the movie towards a heartbreaking scene of personal confusion that plays like a franchise high. Elsewhere – and hilariously – the film is crammed with those effete British-accented middle managers, gulping down fear in his presence. Quibblers who can’t recognise a labour of love will point to how the film repeats the same old space fascism: a bigger Death Star, a scummier cantina. But it’s wonderful to be back at the bar.

Details

Release details

Release date:
Thursday December 17 2015
Duration:
136 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter:
J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
Cast:
Harrison Ford
Lupita Nyong'o
John Boyega
Oscar Isaac
Mark Hamill
Carrie Fisher
Adam Driver
Daisy Ridley

Users say (30)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:17
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|30
2 people listening
3 of 3 found helpful

WOW!! JJ did it again. After reinvigorating the Star Trek franchise and take it to a new level, he has done it again with this, let's call it, reboot. I have been waiting 32 years for the continuation of the Return of the Jedi. 32 years! And JJ delivers. The prequel was like a spin off, no comparison. Originally George Lucas said he always wanted to create 3 trilogies. Then he gave up and said he would only do the first 2 trilogies, but now, thanks to Disney (Disney!) and JJ Abrams we have the final trilogy. Well, at least the first installment. It was like being 12 again. John Williams score is still as fresh and great today as it was in 1977. The themes are similar to the original trilogy and run much closer to George Luca's original idea of the Star Wars' universe than the prequel. No spoilers, there are surprises, twists, familiar faces, and a lot of action. The Millennium Falcon is back! The characters have grown older and wiser. And the newcomers are superb. Well acted throughout; well written with bits of comedy here and there. I can't, can't, wait for the next one!!! Like any other middle age (really?!) fan my expectations were huge and I was not disappointed. Go, run, find the movie theater and watch it! Now! Seriously, stop reading this and go!!

1 of 1 found helpful

i cant believe the good reviews this poorly acted , poorly scripted and unoriginal movie has got. Harrison Ford looking uncomfortable throughout says it all

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

PAAAAAAAH, PAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAH, PAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAAH!!!!

Soooo good!


What to say without spoiling it for anyone...

1 - No Jar Jar Binks

2 - Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie are back!!!!

3 - The new characters are amazingly good

4 - the story line is great


I've seen it in eXtreme 3D, which was pretty good but not sure if the 3D made any difference (just remember a couple of scenes that had an WOW factor), and because I've loved the movie so much will see it again Saturday and again on the 29th in the Science Museum iMax.


If you are a fan or even if you aren't I can assure you that you will have a great time!



PAAAAAAAH, PAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAAAAH, PAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAAAH, PAAAH, PAH PAH PAH PAAAAAAAH!!!!


Tastemaker

As always amazing graphics and music. However some of the acting was beyond awful, the story barely moved on from last time and some bits were cringe worthy. I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend bothering to see it at the cinema this time.

Tastemaker

I'll admit that I ended up marathoning Episodes 4, 5, 6 and THEN the Force Awakens on a long plane trip (all of which I was watching in full for the first time), and it really made me appreciate the Star Wars universe. TFA is a loving tribute to A New Hope, from the Deathstar, BB8, and actually bringing back Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, while still remaining fresh and original. All three main characters are extremely likeable and amazing, with very talented actors behind them. I am now a proper Star Wars fan and I'm glad TFA was a great film for fans both old and new alike. I can't wait to see where the series takes them next! 

moderator
Featured

WOW!! JJ did it again. After reinvigorating the Star Trek franchise and take it to a new level, he has done it again with this, let's call it, reboot. I have been waiting 32 years for the continuation of the Return of the Jedi. 32 years! And JJ delivers. The prequel was like a spin off, no comparison. Originally George Lucas said he always wanted to create 3 trilogies. Then he gave up and said he would only do the first 2 trilogies, but now, thanks to Disney (Disney!) and JJ Abrams we have the final trilogy. Well, at least the first installment. It was like being 12 again. John Williams score is still as fresh and great today as it was in 1977. The themes are similar to the original trilogy and run much closer to George Luca's original idea of the Star Wars' universe than the prequel. No spoilers, there are surprises, twists, familiar faces, and a lot of action. The Millennium Falcon is back! The characters have grown older and wiser. And the newcomers are superb. Well acted throughout; well written with bits of comedy here and there. I can't, can't, wait for the next one!!! Like any other middle age (really?!) fan my expectations were huge and I was not disappointed. Go, run, find the movie theater and watch it! Now! Seriously, stop reading this and go!!

Tastemaker

This is a movie I will never get sick of. Everything was incredible. There was one scene were you could foreshadow a little too much, but everything else I loved. It will be interesting to see how the new characters evolve and how the old characters are integrated into the plot. I want to see so much more, I can't wait to watch all the Bluray specials.


If you like anything with a little action this is for you, who cares if you haven't seen the other Star Wars movies yet, you'll be dying to watch them the second this movie finishes. It does hold a little something special for loyal fans ie. the repetition of some iconic lines from the older films as well as a pop culture joke about Leia's hair. 


This film did not disappoint. I can't wait for the next installment. 

Tastemaker

Goosebumps when the theme song played at the beginning. The film follows the good old recipe of the other ones but also takes advantage of modern technology, so it's even more enjoyable. 3D and iMAX made it an even better experience I guess - which made me go even crazier, it was AMAZING!!! The return of Hans Solo was so good and - oh - the end... I loved the new characters. So talented people, amazing performances. Daisy Ridley is so good with such and effortless beauty and charisma. I know some people were really disappointed but I'll just ignore them and wish you to have a great time enjoying this masterpiece by J. J. Abrahams! Worth going to the cinema. GO!


I have to say I was disappointed with this movie, I was expecting a lot more. I felt there was too much chopping around between scenes and I never really developed any sympathy towards the characters. The plot also did not really do it for me, the new supersized death star was just a bit silly, and why after having designed two previous death stars that could be destroyed by a single seat fighter to you go on to design a third with yet another single point of failure built in. Then there is Darth Vader Jnr with the temper tantrums killing his father; just not very original and the girl going from zero to Jedi in about 30 seconds flat. At least in the previous trilogies it took the main character a couple of movies before they could off the bad guy.

Tastemaker

As a relative newbie to the Star Wars franchise, and having only mildly enjoyed one-and-a-half of the original trilogy prior to viewing, I didn't have particularly high hopes for this film.


Oh how wrong I was. It delivered on all fronts and I haven't enjoyed an evening at the cinema so much in a long time. The action sequences were brilliant, the acting surprisingly impressive and they recycled old characters in a way that was sweet and nostalgic rather than boring and repetitive.


Overall, a brilliant refresh that should introduce Star Wars to a new generation and even win some converts from the previously disengaged!


I've seen this twice now and the second time was even more enjoyable - probably because the first time was on the back of so much hype and expectation that it was a little difficult to just enjoy what was there on the screen. It's massively entertaining, especially for anyone who enjoyed the first three films - it mirrors (the more cynical might say 'copies') the first film in interesting ways, and it sets up so many questions that it leaves you begging for the next one...


The new characters, excellent, and in comparison to prevouis looks and the dialogue and a good instead of so bad, BUT as soon as the mentioned the death star, you immedtiately know the rest of the story, boring zzzzzzzzzz 


As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I'd love to drink whatever kool-aid everyone else is drinking and get totally on board with The Force Awakens. But it's just too much of a mess. The new characters are wonderful, the opening 40 minutes works like a dream, and it's lovely to see Harrison, Carrie and (especially) Peter Mayhew back in the saddle. But the plot is riddled with holes - do a quick google search and you'll find lists and lists of them - and there's very little sense of who the new baddies are and exactly what they're trying to achieve. Too much happens 'just because', and there's not nearly enough emotional weight, especially in the final scenes. It's a fun ride, but hardly a 5-star classic. Let's hope Rian Johnson - a better director than Abrams on every level - can turn things around.

Tastemaker

Pros: Enjoyable film-great visual effects, comic and action, great to see old characters back

Cons: felt a bit of a rehash between A New Hope and Empires Strikes Back!

Tastemaker

Did you like Jurassic World?


If so, I feel you will like Force Awakens. 

Why? 


Both are ultimately wholesome fun blockbusters, without that much substance. 


Force Awakens' tone isn't dark like Chris Nolan's Batman. Instead we see a combination of fan-service and Disney's influence. That is, delivering a balance between adrenaline-racing action and situational comedy. 

If you didn't like Jurassic World - too cheesy, shallow characters - then you'll probably walk away from Star Wars thinking the same thing.

My suggestion: embrace the movie from a more light-hearted perspective, and you'll enjoy it. Daisy Ridley is a highlight!

Tastemaker

I can't say much more than WOW! Worth every penny to see it at the BFI Waterloo. I don't normally see films in 3D but this was an exception. I loved every second and can't wait to see it again! Pay the extra and see it on the biggest screen with the best sound you can find.


Once you get past the fact that The Force Awakens is a remake disguised as a sequel with more than a few awkwardly presented callbacks, there's a hell of a lot to enjoy. Promising new characters, weird new creatures and exciting new set-pieces (well, aside from the trench run redux) put the Skywalker saga firmly back on track. Can't wait to see where Rian Johnson takes things.


Anyone who was not grinning madly at Poe's X-Wing skimming the surface of a lake, contrails dragging behind, must have missed out as a kid. This film was great. The new story arc is compelling enough that Abrams' could have done away with Han Solo & Leia and it would not have mattered one bit. Daisy Ridley stole the film from the other stars. That one wordless scene involving Rey and Kylo Ren alone justified the casting choices. Kylo Ren himself was a really interesting play on the light & dark, torn and twisted soul. Often he seemed like a child, unable to deal with failure.


I'm very much looking forward to the next film


Staff Writer

First the bad, Snoak looks like Gollum and Rey's Jedi powers came to her far quicker than they did Luke. Aside from that, this film was awesome. So many moments which made my hair stand up in excitement. The sounds, the ships, the score, the old characters, the new characters, this has everything a Star Wars fan would want. Rey is such an awesome, strong female lead character. John Boyega is a star in the making and adds an excellent comedic touch. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren gives a spectacular performance, a truly interesting movie bad guy. Seeing Chewy and Han brought back so many happy memories. A fantastic beginning to a new chapter in the Star Wars franchise. Only two years until the next one :-(


Brilliant-Brilliant-Brilliant. Loved this movie, Has the look & feel of the originals.

Took my 7 yr old son to see it and i am happy to report that he is hooked and both of us can't wait for the next one.

JJ done good!


I have to join the throng loving this film, even if it is essentially a reboot - you pretty much know what's going to happen next. Still it recaptures the essence of the originals and is an absolute blast from start to finish. One word of warning? Try to scope out the cinema for Star Wars geeks - their LOLs, whoops and cheers can seriously grate. Best to find another seat (especially if they're old enough to know better). 


Massively, massively enjoyed this film! The one word that kept striking me during the film was 'constant', it was constantly enjoyable, constant action, constant introduction/re-introduction of new/old characters. Light sabre battles, space battles/chases, the all important use of the force, it has it all and if you're a star wars fan you're not going to be dissapointed.

It's a million times better than episodes 1-3, and on a par with all the rest. I'm giving it 4 stars as I still believe there's room for improvement with the story, but I absolutely loved and and am sure you will too.

Tastemaker

Two weeks on from release, after two viewings, and having written about and discussed this movie at great length on one too many occasions, I genuinely cannot bring myself to any sound conclusions about whether I'm happy with it. For this reason I will post an excerpt from my blog (Warning: Shameless Plug) Movie Quibble. 7/10 equates to a 3.5 but to err on the side of caution I will go with three stars on here. 


"The Force Awakens turned out better than expected.  It is a respectable 7/10 movie and worth seeing on an IMAX screen for its sheer scale, but the comparisons between this and the original Star Wars trilogy are frustratingly numerous. Way beyond homage. The new characters are vibrant and have room to grow, which keeps the story captivating, and the cast is incredibly solid. Even the minor characters and cameos are played by high pedigree thespians. However, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are also officially nominated by Movie Quibble as joint worst actors of the year. The quality of the rest of the cast is what really shows them up, and when they have scenes with just the two of them, it is actually embarrassing.


JJ Abrams’ work on Star Trek has served him well as a warm up to the mammoth task of bringing the galaxy far away back to life again. Whatever the Star Wars magic is, the force or something else, he’s found it. Stunning  special effects and physical sets combine to lend the worlds  a physical depth and immersion within a much wider universe, a marked improvement on the middle trilogy, which was like watching a hologram face-time call with poor reception.


On a larger scale the events set in motion in The Force Awakens can only really follow one trajectory and it seems inevitable from this film’s ending that the next two installments will play out in a very predictable and familiar fashion. There are also too many fanboy-bating callback moments that detract from the new content you’re trying to enjoy. But people really do love Star Wars, and if they want to whoop it up in the cinema then that is fine."


At least it wasn't as bad as The Clone Wars. Although that's not hard to achieve. 

Tastemaker

While it certainly has some of the stylistic shots you expect from JJ Abrams, it also has heavy nods to the original trilogy, both in the characters and the way the plot unfolds. It really is a welcome return to the film franchise and set up the next few films well. Only major downsides were the music which is unmemorable, something that was never the case for any of the previous 6 films, i think it missed one scene at the end to finish off a nod to the previous films, and perhaps too many cameos. I cant say more without SPOILERS so i will leave it at that.

moderatorStaff Writer

If you were a fan of the original Star Wars movies then you won't like the new movie, you'll LOVE it. An edge of the seat ride for pretty much the whole movie, with plenty of new characters. For me the only disappointment was the lack of Jar Jar Binks.

Tastemaker

We went to see this after refreshing our memories by watching the original 3 films over the weeks before.  We didn't think it was worth watching the prequels as well.


We were pleased that Disney had kept a lot of the story secret so we went into the screening not knowing much except that people were wondering where Luke Skywalker was, there was a black storm trooper from Peckham and most of the original characters were in it. 

The original actors have aged quite a bit, but they acknowledged this in the characters and they didn't look out of place in the film.  The two main characters, Rey and Fin did London proud and we'll definitely see more of them.


One thing that disappointed me was that I was really hoping everyone in the cinema would dum dum along to the tune when it was played, but I was too chicken to start it off myself!


One word of caution, there are some shocks in this film, so I would recommend to steer clear of reading reviews as far as possible before going to see it, so you can watch it in pure ignorance.  My son pointed out to me tonight that even where the BBC has posted a news story on twitter saying that Star Wars was the biggest film of the year, someone has replied to the tweet giving away the massive spoiler, so try your hardest not to find out before you watch it.


Another thing we like doing after films, is checking out IMDB to see who was in it and you will find that there have been some interesting cameo roles including Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Warwick Davis!

Tastemaker

An absolute triumph, absolutely captures the essence of the the originals & brings them into the 21st century. Great cast, action, story - loved, loved, loved it. Can't wait to see it again and again and again!

Tastemaker

A New Hope came out the year I was born. Star Wars is part of my childhood and while I've never bee a "super fan" I do like the movies (well, the first three anyway). The Force Awakens brings all the memories I had from my childhood and presents them the way I imagined the old movies when I was younger. It's glorious to watch and I was oddly emotional in places just to feel memories flooding back. The Force is strong in this one!


On it's own this would be a hugely enjoyable Sci-Fi romp.  What elevates The Force Awakens is the way the film captures the spirit and tone of the original trilogy.  The direction, production, overall look and feel as well as the humour and one liners (occasionally the same one-liners!).  Even down to the cutaways between scenes this is a re-boot that is faithful in the extreme.  Many scenes do give you a slight sense of deja-vu, but in short no Star Wars fan is going to walk out of the theatre disappointed.

Tastemaker

I'm probably not the best authority to be reviewing Star Wars - the only reason I've seen them all is because my boyfriend loves them. Even so, I really enjoyed the seventh instalment. 


Without trying to spoil anything, the effects are as impressive as you would hope they would be and the music throughout is epic. There are lots of new characters in this film but it was great to see Leia, Luke, Han, Chewie, R2-D2, and CP30 back again. This is definitely my favourite of the seven films.