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STAR WARS: The Force Awakens  : Nostalgia Strikes Back
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Friday, December 25, 2015
J.J. Abrams
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

When Harrison Ford arrives some forty minutes into the film, he gets such a warm ovation from the audience that it’s like meeting a favourite uncle after ages.


The welcome for Hans Solo sums up the audience reaction to the 7th edition of Star Wars. Fans of the franchise have hugely missed George Lucas’ characters and The Force Awakens gives them a lavish helping of nostalgia to revel in.


In the plot too, familiar emotions are recycled and the audience laps it up. Luke Skywalker has disappeared. Dystopia is now ruled by a new ruthless force called the First Order with Kylo Ren as the latest masked devil.  Droid BB-8 has lost his master Poe in a battle with Kylo Ren and finds a kind companion in scavenger Rey.


The cutely rolling droid, hairy Chewbacca, even Millennium Falcon, are all received like old friends. The unveiling of R2D2 which has deactivated itself ever since Luke’s disappearance, also brings on so much collective cheer that nobody stops to wonder how the droid suddenly springs  to life towards the end. Ah, the explanation will be fodder for the next episode, I guess.


When it’s time to take on the First Order in the final battle, a defector called Finn, Rey who has natural piloting skills and BB-8 join forces with Hans Solo and Chewbacca. Droid’s master Poe isn’t dead after all and he’s back too. So is Hans Solo’s ladylove Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia or the General operating the battle from the ground. 


The resemblance and references to past episodes continue to be heavy.  The Darth Vader-Skywalker relationship gets reversed here but the sentiment is a repeat when Hans Solo has a father moment with son Kylo Ren from the Dark Forces. Death and sentimentality are familiar feelings.


There’s also an ominously unexplained connection between evil Kylo Ren and good Rey, an obvious hook for the next instalment.  Especially since Luke’s lightsaber goes to Rey like it’s her birthright to hold it. So for sure there’ll be more of Adam Driver as Kylo and Daisy Ridley as Rey the next time around which will bring youthfulness to the franchise.


With Luke Skywalker away all through, The Force Awakens belongs to the charismatic Harrison Ford who has the best one-liners and moments of emotion. He makes room for the return of Mark Hamill as Luke in the next Star Wars.


Director JJ Abrams’ 7th edition is great stuff as it rides high on nostalgia and of course stunning special effects. But with Star Wars scheduled to roll out year after year for the next five years, there has to be much more in the writing than the rebooting of familiar stirrings.


For now it works big-time fetching Star Wars: The Force Awakens a healthy 3.5* rating.  


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Journalist & Author


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