Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Director: J. J. Abrams
Well, what does one say? I haven't looked forward to something with this much excitement since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. And then, I knew the story; it was the execution I was interested in seeing. With The Force Awakens I, and everyone else, had no idea what tale we were going to be told, how this story would interact with the old one. Unlike the prequels, we are not working towards a known end point, where every little piece tries to slot itself into the already existing narrative. No, this is fresh territory, and oh how pleasant it is.
The film is not perfect, but it is very, very, very good. The story zips along at a cracking pace (which is one of its faults), the characters are distinct and interesting, and most importantly, it all looks good. The Star Wars universe feels like the one conjured up for us in the 1970s, where things look tactile. The use of actual film (35mm and 60mm) is a great choice, adding to that sense of texture.
I won't spoil the story, but Abrams and Kasdan have made family the beating heart of the film, as it was with the original trilogy. That desire to follow in your family's footsteps (however that may be) drives almost all of the characters. I felt there were more humans in this film than there were in the prequels. The story is reliant on coincidences and would look rather holey if held up for examination, but like the others, it works as myth.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens had me from the moment the tile flashed onto the screen to John Williams' fanfare, and it never lost me. If you are a fan of British TV you will have extra joy in spotting the actor from this or that. All in all, a great start, and one I shall definitely see on the big screen again (in glorious non-3D, as I did this time).