Film Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Review


Not much needs to be said about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as the world’s cinema going audience have already been queueing for weeks in some places to see this next instalment of this epic series. With the release of Episode IV, the sci-fi geek in everyone has been tickled.

Set thirty years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, the saga continues. Helmed by director JJ. Abrams we see the return of old favourites such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and a host of droids (some funny and cute, some annoying as usual). Coming to the fore however, are new cast John Boyega as Finn and delivering a stunning performance is Daisy Ridley as Rey.

The Star Wars series has always been on the forefront of cinema technology, and will become the first film screened in 4DX on the African continent, in the newly installed setup in Cape Town.

Effects-wise, The Force Awakens does not disappoint, with masterful set-pieces, and effects that are out of this world. With a soundscape that envelopes the entire cinema. Audiences should most certainly see this in an establishment that has a 7.1 setup. Those viewing it in 3D should be aware that there are unfortunately many cinemas that are just not bright enough to do this justice, resulting in a lot of detail being missed, especially in darker scenes. Watch for updates to this review on the Imax and 4DX screenings.

As far as story goes, Star Wars keeps to its tried and true formula, of the heroes journey, favouring a simple plot, a straight forward quest, covering many spectacular location, planets, and space ships. The story thread being basic does not mean viewers aren’t in for a host of surprises, as events transpire, and more of the world is revealed.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is well worth the hype, coming up trumps in every department, from story to effects, from acting to directly. This is definitely one to go and see with friends and family, and is sure to be another classic that will be enjoyed by many generations to come.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in South African on 16 December 2015 in 2D, 3D, Imax 3D and 4DX.

Adding to the news and review on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Imax version is a sight to behold. For one, screen brightness is leaps and bounds ahead of the standard 3D screens (at least those used for the various press previews and screenings). This means that the fine details of ships in the blackness of space, are actually visible.

The larger screen size means that 3D effects are more pronounced, colours are more vibrant (not to mention brighter) and seemingly more clear. Audio is also more engulfing, with the larger speaker setup of Imax, completely immersing the viewer.

As a side note, public audience members took great delight in dressing up in costume for their movie outing, with a handful shedding a tear as the opening credits rolled. Certainly a testimony to the power of The Force.

The 4DX version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a new experience on the African continent. While enjoyment in this full immersive cinema is sure to be subjective, younger audiences were laughing with glee (and comparing notes, post movie, on where they jumped and how they were rattled about).

Space battles are a treat, akin to a fairground ride, with each explosion being felt, each barrel roll and each blaster hit. With strobe lights, smoke, wind and water (when on a planet), and of course, a lot of movement.

The smell of “napalm in the morning” added a new dimension to a post battle, and floral scents when in the midst of vegetation is a nice added touch.

Sound-wise, the 4DX setup compares to any other, with its 7.1 mix. However, screen brightness is sadly a little dark, comparing to other 3D cinemas, but not coming close to the bright, intense colour of Imax. Hopefully this is something that will be remedied.

A lot of fun for those who are looking to become part of the film. You certainly can not fall asleep during any film. A fun ride.

Spotting many new easter eggs, plot connections, and throwbacks to the previous episodes. Catch Star Wars in any of the many cinemas, as it soars past all box office records, living up to they hype.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray review, by SAMDB

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

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