by Venky

The preternatural anxiety surrounding the release of the George Lucas spectacle climaxed last night with the Seventh installment of the iconic Star Wars series being premiered. Only this time the wait has been exacerbated by a thirty year break which for some hard core fans has been just too long to tolerate. Directed by J.J.Abrams, “The Force Awakens” does not disappoint and does more than just living up to expectations. Without nursing a sadistic intention of mercilessly dousing the enthusiasm of Star Wars freaks and fanatics, let me construct an extremely broad and simplistic overview of the plot characterizing “The Force Awakens”.

Luke Skywalker has vanished (yes you read that right) leaving no perceivable clue as to his whereabouts. While concerted searches for him come to a frustrated nought, an insidious force terming itself the “First Order” prepares to wreak wanton destruction on the Rebel forces led by Leia Skywalker a.k.a General Leia Organa by employing a machine of Death and annihilation, capable of putting even the Death Star to literal shame. The First Order decides to hunt down Luke with the intention of obliterating the existence of the sole remaining Jedi Knight. The Republic on the other hand, pulls all stops to ensure that the unthinkable does not materialise. Will the Republic be able to ward off this seemingly unstoppable peril? Will the First Order be successful in spreading the perverse influence of the strong and vile Dark Force across the Galaxy?

The movie blends an eclectic mix of exuberant old faces and egregious new and young characters. The cliched mix of youth and experience combines to deliver a performance worthy of acclaim. Right from the moment the omnipresent theme music signals the commencement of events “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away”  till the appearance of the ending credits, the movie keeps one engrossed and riveted. Among the old suspects, the peripatetic Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) holds the  movie aloft with an impeccable exhibition of effortless acting. Combing gallows humour with a gullible filial emotion, Ford breezes through his sequences in a manner which is inimitable, unique and incapable of being mimicked.

Carrie Fisher as Leia is dignified and almost minimalist as the situation demands. Her loss at the disappearance of her dearest brother and savour makes her taken on a weather beaten yet determined appearance, a paradoxical combination of resignation and resoluteness. The taken-for-granted ebullience is replaced by a quiet and knowing elegance. The perennial Chemistry between Hans Solo and Leia Skywalker is unwavering and electric. Their interactions are pregnant with meaning and premonitions. Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca evokes smile and sorrow in equal measure. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren manages to distinguish himself well in a role cleverly designed to invoke scores of surmises and conjectures amongst a  perplexed audience, while John Boyega as Finn puts in a creditable performance. However the star of the show is undoubtedly Daisy Ridley. Donning the role of Rey, a Space Scavenger, Rey is a central character in the movie and disappoint she doesn’t! Without resorting to overtly extravagant acting exaggerations, she smoothly weaves in and out of sequences with the dexterity of a seasoned veteran. Rey will be the central element and unavoidable focus of all ball room discussions, board room deliberations and booze induced debates until George Lucas demonstrates a willingness to appease the inveterate curiosities of a zillion fans by bringing out the eight portion of the franchise.

There is much to cheer in this extravagant offering by J.J.Abrams. The Millenium Falcon is back to ply business as is the inseparable combination of R2D2 and C-3PO. The light sabre duels pitting the red against the blue are back and how! But the most telling point made by J.J.Abrams lies neither in the awe inspiring Computer Graphic Imitations nor in the breathtaking action sequences, but in the scintillating tug and pull of syncretic human emotions. Deceit and devotion; Resilience and Revenge; Slavery and Sycophancy all conflate, collude and collide to produce a myriad mix of both predictable and unpredictable outcomes. Power metamorphoses into vulnerability while weakness transforms into determination. There are no long drawn out, enervating talks for stillness and silence constitute a powerful medium of expression. There are a couple of twists and turns capable of bringing a tingling chill up the spine of the viewer. The usual blend of dry humour and wit is present albeit in a degree that is disappointingly subdued. This is the sole aspect of the movie that evokes some consternation as the generally conspicuous element of thought provoking punchlines is unusually inconspicuous.

On the whole, “The Force Awakens” is a brilliantly conceived culmination of a prolonged wait of thirty years. It’s time to sit back, let your hair down, relax and watch the fated conflict between good and evil; darkness and light; Jedi Knights and the dark forces and more than everything, between truth and deceit.

Watch out for a killer of a climax though! The final minute is capable of making one’s hair at the nape of the neck stand and bristle!

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – The Glorious Resurrection of a Buried Saga!


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