Guest Blog Post from our Art Director – An Avid Star Wars Fan…
“For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes, even between the land and the ship.”
As Master Yoda so aptly puts it, the force is everywhere, and its a powerful ally. Relate it to what you want, luck, karma, magic, hope or love, everyone can relate to it in some form or another.
Star Wars first arrived in 1977, just when the film industry needed it. The old stories that we were familiar with in the world weren’t fun and interesting anymore, and the world needed something new. America was in depression in the wake of the Vietnamese war, and it needed something to inspire the nation, and also give birth to a new focus on space. It made such an impact, not just in America, but globally. It was a simple and interesting story, with a great array of characters, characters that at their basic form are simply a farm boy, a wizzard, two bumbling robots, a pirate and his beastly companion, a princess and a villain. George Lucas was able to put all these characters together to create a new and fresh mythology for the world to embrace and fall in love with.
George Lucas completed his first trilogy, and years later created a prequel trilogy that illustrated the story of the franchises chief villain Darth Vader, and how he fell from light to darkness. This new trilogy received mixed reactions from fans and critics. They didn’t really work well as movies, nor were they as good as the original trilogy, but the sparks of magic were still there.
Now thirty eight years later, it really feels like Star Wars has come home. The Director, JJ Abrams, at his core is a die hard Star Wars fan and he knew what it needed. It was important that he didn’t let his fandom get in the way of the feature and he knew he would have to reel it in. JJ at first declined the offer to direct it, as he was such a big fan he didn’t want his work ethic and personal love to clash. However after a meeting with Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, where he heard the companies ideas and direction regarding the franchise, he began salivating at the idea and kindly accepted. George Lucas also made millions and still does from the merchandise that Star Wars provides, even now Star Wars is everywhere! From fashion to fast food to television, it has truly once again taken over the world.
The Star Wars community was happy and also relieved to know that JJ was at the helm of the film. JJ serves the story with the lightest touch, knowing that he doesn’t need to push it. The whole feel of the film felt so organic, and textured, JJ’s deception to limit the use of CGI certainly paid off, it felt so much more like a Star Wars movie than the prequels. It was so much fun and enjoyable to watch, exhilarating space ship scenes and amazing wide angle establishing shots are stunning to watch. JJ takes us to environments that we’ve never been before, the X-Wing fleet flying over a lake was so beautiful to watch. And there was the perfect amalgamation of robots, aliens, arial dog fights and blaster fights.
There was also so much diversity in the movie, the movies lead roles played by a female and a black man, this level of diversity was present in all facets of the film. From the lieutenants in the First Order, and to the Generals in the Rebel Resistance. The weight and gravitas of Harrison Fords Han Solo, Peter Mayhew’s Cherbacca and Carrie Fisher’s Leia is very powerful – just seeing them on screen together is nostalgic and even emotional. The newcomers do a good job to share the scenes with them, Harrison Ford’s Solo in particular having great chemistry with John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. The films new villain Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver is also very good, serving up a very dark and truthful performance.
The Force Awakens satisfies the hunger that was left over by the prequel trilogy and its brought Star Wars home. There were little things that need ironing out such as the weight between the First Order and the Resistance, also the story arcs of Han and Leia are a little vague. There are also quite a lot of similarities to the original trilogy, such as plans being hidden in a droid, at times the nuances seemed like overkill. Nonetheless, overall The Force Awakens rocked; the big daddy is home and home to stay. The franchise is in safe hands and we can all look forward to the next episode that is due to release in 2017.
May the force be with you.