There is something inherently manipulative about J. J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (although not explicitly mentioned in its title, it is Episode 7 of the franchise). It smothers you with nostalgia on all fronts, and almost every scene works like an ex-lover trying to worm its way back into your life. I’ve seen it twice in 2D and 3D, and it works. It works really well. (The movie, not the ex-lover). It made me remember my elementary years, around Grade 4, wherein I saved up money just to get this boxed set of the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes 4 to 6) at downtown Plaza Marcela’s music and video store. P599 was huge for my budget back then, especially for a ten-year-old, but I managed with all the prize winnings I got from poster-making competitions, my daily baon, and the coins that I could find in every corner of the house. After class one afternoon, I went back to the store and bought that big black box. Yes, all the effort was worth it. And this is the same special feeling I got after watching the latest installment. Abrams’ reverence to the past and levity are ingredients missing and desperately needed in the trilogy of prequels, which comes as a surprise because George Lucas, the mastermind of the Star Wars universe, is at the helm of those films (Episodes 1 to 3). Even the actors chosen for the new characters look classic, particularly Daisy Ridley’s Rey (such a magnificent face!). It’s as if they belong to the same film that is first released in 1977. There is no dull exposition of politics here, just the good old tale of The Force and both ends of its spectrum. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is effective enough as a baddie in this space opera, too, and even if he has yet to match the iconic stature of Darth Vader in the original trilogy, his character make it up with menacing tantrums. You really shouldn’t be on his bad side. A lot happens in this movie, and to avoid spoiling anyone I believe I’d just have to leave some important questions here: 1) Is it just me or is some of the notes in John Williams’ fantastic musical score sound a bit like his work in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”? 2) Am I the only one who thinks BB-8 is like an adorable, needy cat? 3) What can Oscar Isaac not do?
[ photo borrowed from this site ]