Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Force Awakens- How I Became A Star Wars Fan

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, out now on Blu-Ray and DVD, directed by J. J. Abrams, is the seventh film in the Star Wars series, released a whole 10 years after the previous one (Episode III  Revenge of the Sith) Thirty years after defeating the Galactic Empire, the First Order and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) pose a new threat. Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger on the planet -, meets Finn (John Boyega), a First Order rebel, and BB8 (aww), who holds part of the key to locating Luke Skywalker. They team up with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca, to try to locate Skywalker and put an end to the First Order.

Now, before I go on, I have a massive confession to make. I’ve never been a Star Wars fan. In fact, I have made a point of letting everyone know just how much hatred I’ve stored up over the years for this particular franchise. But before you grab your lightsabers and ready yourself for battle, just hear me out.

Back when I was considerably younger than I am now, I went to the cinema to watch an unknown Star Wars film. I was very young, and I didn’t really understand what I was watching. The story didn’t make sense, the graphics weren’t believable to me (I had very high graphical standards as a primary school kid), and I just felt bored. I’d always hated puppet-based characters anyway (sorry, E.T), and so Yoda and the others didn’t really do it for me. To make matters worse, all of my other classmates really enjoyed it, and so it was around this time I started to develop a particular stubbornness towards anything Star Wars-related.

Fast forward quite a few years, and I make the fatal mistake of actually asking my partner what he wants for his birthday (as opposed to buying just him a pair of socks and being done with it), and he says, with a gleam in his eye, that he wants me to take him to see the new Star Wars film. I try my best to get out of it but the damage is done, and so on the 18th December I accompany him to what I believe will be the most mundane 2 hours and 15 minutes of my life (not including ads, of course).

As you’ve probably guessed, I’d already decided it was going to be bad. I’d complained to hordes of people already about this torture that I was going to be subjected to. So imagine how stupid I felt when, just 20 minutes in, I realised I was going to have to completely change my tune. Where do I start? The film itself was brilliant. Shamefully, the best film I’d watched during 2015. I can’t pin it down to just one thing – it was like listening to an orchestra where each individual member plays their instrument perfectly. Rey was a fantastic lead (and a great example of the strong female), with a whole host of great characters behind her. Character development was done really well for all characters – in particular for Kylo Ren. We feel his struggles at each turn, and get a really in-depth insight into the person he actually is, as opposed to who he wants to be.

The story itself was quite easy to follow, and had so many engaging parts to it that it was hard not to be sucked in. With the search for Luke, the mysteries surrounding Rey’s origins, and the idea of a stormtrooper rebel, there was a lot going on to keep the audience satisfied. Not all questions that came up were answered, either, which definitely paves the way for an exciting sequel. This time round, I was also very happy with the graphics. Star Wars has always been known for low CGI effects – sadly they had to use more than usual this time round, but it really did work. Everything  was believable from start to finish, and some of the landscapes they’d featured were beautiful. I was particularly impressed with the sound effects – instead of the Force seeming cheesy, it  was now intense and dark.

I think what made The Force Awakens so good was that there was just so much passion involved. Every detail was meticulous; every character embedded within the story. You could tell that the whole cast and crew were real fans of the story, and so put in their all. Even the buzz around the film release was exciting – I swear I’d never seen that much build-up over any other film. I guess now I need to apologise to all you die-hard fan out there. I’m sorry for neglecting this film series for so long. And for preaching my hatred of it in the past. I’ll admit that it was a seriously good film, and that I was wrong.. And I’ll even admit that I went straight back to the cinema to watch it all again. In all honesty, I’m super excited for the next one!

The Force Awakens gets a 5/5 from me.


 Hannah Read

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