LUKE SKYWALKER RETURNS TO THE GALAXY, FROM DECEMBER 15TH, 2017

ARRIVING IN LONDON, FROM 18TH NOVEMBER, 2016. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Thursday, 24 December 2015

"HAPPY CHRISTMAS' FROM STAR WARS AFICIONADO!


They may be fighting the tyranny and chaos of the First Order, but that doesn't mean our brave heroes in the Resistance can't get into the Christmas swing.

Great festive art. Website: P.J. McQuade

Star Wars vs Indiana Jones droid chase! - YouTube

STAR WARS AFICIONADO wishes all its worldwide readers a Merry Xmas and a Prosper New Year. See you in 2016!

EPISODE VII: "FASHION FINDS THE FORCE' LONDON EVENT

Enjoying the new STAR WARS universe, Daisy Ridley.

Wrapping up our coverage this year for THE FORCE AWAKENS, here's a selection of images from November 26th, 2015's STAR WARS: FASHION FINDS THE FORCE event held in London at the the Old Selfridges Hotel, in suport of Great Ormond Street Hospital, of which the ever gorgeous Daisy Ridley and STAR WARS ambassador Anthony Daniels were in attendance. Images: DISNEY UK.

Anthony Daniels- but where's the gold jacket?!
Lovely Daisy Ridley.
Enjoying the launch.
Rey's costume, alongside BB-8
The STAR WARS inspired charity show.

"Fashion Finds The Force" 26th Nov - part 1 - YouTube
"Fashion Finds The Force" 26th Nov - part 2 - YouTube

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

EPISODE VII: OF SLEEPING GIANTS...


She's the girl without a past and, for a time, sees no future beyond surviving the harsh and demanding day-to-day life of a skilled scavenger on the frontier wastelands that populate the world of Jakku.  But, from her unusual home in and atop the wrecked and pitted remains of a once mighty Imperial Walker, Rey can still dream- dream of the stars, of other worlds and peoples. Dreams that will shortly come to fruition and take her on an exhilarating and awakening course that not even she truly believed possible.

AndrĂ©e Wallin's evocative conceptual image for EPISODE VII soon made strikingly real on screen- just one of 600 supreme illustrations of beauty, wonder, drama and action from some of the world's most gifted and influential artists, including STAR WARS veterans Doug Chiang, Iain McCaig and Ryan Chruch, alongside experienced film-making "newcomers" to the saga in Rick Carter and Darren Gilford, working intensely and joyously over a two and a half year period to crucially assist director J.J. Abrams in bringing such a visually and emotionally rich new chapter in the STAR WARS saga to distinctive and acclaimed life. Work now assembled for the beautiful and long-awaited THE ART OF STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, by Phil Szostack, out now from ABRAMS BOOKS. The second inspiring and gorgeous must-have title of the year related to the film, and the one  that truly shows how art and story can merge so beautifully in symbiosis- from early barnstorming ideas where nothing was impossible, and nothing was set in stone, to final practical construction reality, and other vital considerations, by the time of filming in London during 2014, and beyond.


Previous feature and book info: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: THE ART OF STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS

Get it here: The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Amazon.co.uk: LucasFilm Ltd: 9781419717802: Books

EPISODE VII: THE LATEST NEWS

Dan Mumford's striking new IMAX poster art for THE FORCE AWAKENS, featuring Poe Dameron.

Still smashing worldwide box offices in unprecedented fashion, THE FORCE AWAKENS has indeed become the ultimate seasonal present for fans, in this first real and proper feeling STAR WARS Christmas!

A hearty congratulations to the cast and crew of the movie for their amazing success!

POTENTIAL SPOILERS. Latest THE FORCE AWAKENS and sequel news:

J.J. Abrams, Collaborators Talk 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' After Academy Screening (Exclusive Video) - Hollywood Reporter
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Special Event Screening Dublin - YouTube
Star Wars Writer Explains Why The Force Awakens Leaves So Many Questions Unanswered | Vanity Fair
All the Stuff From The Force Awakens Trailers That Wasn't in the Movie
How Rey and ‘The Force Awakens’ could change ‘Star Wars’ forever - The Washington Post
One Small Change In 'Force Awakens' That Complicates the 'Star Wars' Series (Spoilers) - Hollywood Reporter
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The ending, and what it means for 'Episode VIII' | EW.com
Harrison Ford Destroys Millennium Falcon Collectible
Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy confirms that entire cast will return for eighth film | Celebrity News | Showbiz | London Evening Standard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens DGA Q&A with J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan - YouTube
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deleted Scenes - Cast Reveal Their Favourites! | MTV - YouTube
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explains the deleted scenes | EW.com
Why J.J. Abrams now regrets deboarding the Star Wars chair before Episode VIII - The Washington Post
J.J. Abrams Based a 'Star Wars' Character on His High School Teacher - Hollywood Reporter


Photo Gallery: Tested's Tippett Studio Set Visit - Tested
A 'The Force Awakens' Character Was Originally Suppose to Die in Early Version of the Film | The Star Wars Underworld
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Did Chewbacca have a major scene cut? | Den of Geek
Stormtroopers - 'Star Wars' Costume Designer Breaks Down 'The Force Awakens' - EW.com
J.J. Abrams on Kylo Ren's shocking act in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | EW.com
J.J. Abrams Reveals Alec Guinness Was In The Force Awakens
There's Been An Awakening in Star Wars: Card Trader | StarWars.com
Star Wars The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explains R2-D2's closing scene | EW.com
Meet The New Chewbacca Actor In Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Yahoo News
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano says Star Wars 7 ‘fails spectacularly’ | Daily Mail Online

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

EPISODE VII: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SNOWTROOPERS?!

Snowtroopers board the derelict Falcon in a deleted scene from EPISODE VII.

MILD SPOILERS! They were an intrensic part of early publicity for THE FORCE AWAKENS in cards and merchandise, and the Snowtroopers snow speeder toy was a striking new addition to the Hasbro EPISODE VII range. Sadly, the First Order Snowtroopers scenes of patrol and battle after discovering the presence of our heroes on Starkiller Base never made the film's final cut, presumably due to its potentially slowing down the fast pace of the gripping finale. Here's hoping a scene or two might get to the Blu-ray release next April.

Toy art featuring the snow speeder in battle. The craft was built, as seen in DK's THE VISUAL DICTIONARY.

Promotional image of a Snowtrooper.

Monday, 21 December 2015

'THE FORCE AWAKENS' WITH DORLING KINDERSLEY!


These are the books you're looking for!

The first official books linked to the spectacular events of THE FORCE AWAKENS have finally arrived in bookstores, with DK's titles stylishly leaping out from the starting gate- their VISUAL DICTIONARY surely being at the top of fandom's must-have list. LUCASFILM veteran and now key story development official Pablo Hidalgo provides the vital and surely challenging job of penning this all eyes primed book, and I have to say its been very well thought out and written, giving us all the info we need, and more, on the new movie, whilst crucially filling in the vital back story to so many characters, historical incidents, planets and technological changes forming such a crucial part of that massive, all-new-to-be-explored gap between RETURN OF THE JEDI and EPISODE VII, as well as cunningly giving us some potential plot points for EPISODE VIII if you know where to look! It's so detailed, there's easily ten years worth of build-up original novels, short stories and other spin-off material to be mined from just this movie! Alongside the always pleasing interior design standard to this beloved continuing series, the book has a superb selection of photographic material finally going beyond the standard 26 images or so that have been constantly printed in the media this last eight months, plus some intriguing deleted scene shots that we hope will make it to the Blu-ray in 2016.

AFICIONADO RATING: 5 out of 5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9780241198919: Books



With THE FORCE AWAKENS pleasing fusion of old and new STAR WARS imagination and design comes the equally important INCREDIBLE CROSS-SECTIONS book, giving us a striking and prized look at the story's new and old vehicles, weaponry and technology that will become so important and part of the mythos for the next three films (and beyond). In all there are twelve art pieces: new ships showcased include Kylo Ren's vicious looking, bat-like command shuttle, the immense Finalizer Star Destroyer, the Resistance's B-wing-esque transport, scavenger heroine Rey's unique Jakku speeder, a mysterious freighter whose owner we won't yet spoil whilst the film is still in release, and a deleted scene enemy vehicle which you'll know when you see it, then wish it had made it to the final cut! And let's not forget the classic craft given a new lease of creative life: the tried and trusted Millennium Falcon, the lethal and more aerodynamic First Order TIE fighters and the Resistance's sterling X-wing fighter warhorses, especially dashing pilot Poe Dameron's unique craft, Black One. The book's artwork, from Kemp Remillard is superb (I truly envy his abilities!), Jason Fry's notes are, as usual (being a veteran STAR WARS wordsmith), accomplished and thoroughly informative, and the spreads of new still images from the film make me wish that someone out there in publishing land would do a large format type book devoted just to the on-set photography alone.

AFICIONADO RATING: 4 out of 5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9780241201169: Books



Finally, for the younger fans, there's the ULTIMATE STICKER COLLECTION book, full of things to do and film information for them to interact with, as great images, scenes and artwork are transformed to sticker form, importantly showcasing its quickly iconic new heroes (BB-8 being a particular standout!), boo-hiss villains, and the wonderful Legacy cast of 1977-1983, in a fun way that's just in time for delivery into Christmas stockings.

AFICIONADO RATING: 4 out of 5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ultimate Sticker Collection: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9781409336600: Books

Sunday, 20 December 2015

NOW ONLINE IN THE UK: 'STAR WARS AT THE BBC'

C-3PO is looking for Artoo during his 1980 appearance on the children's show SWAP SHOP. Images: BBC.

Sadly, its only available for another 20 or so days, but if you're able to you'll wanna check out the 20 minute long special BBC archive clips show on their iPlayer system for STAR WARS AT THE BBC, hosted by the always funny comedian/actor, and voice of Darth Maul, Peter Serafinowicz. Its a nice look back at the Classic Trilogy heroes at their first peak of popularity: Mark Hamill's enthused premiere appearance on the children's feature programme BLUE PETER in 1977, followed by Carrie Fisher and others in 1980, where they'd bravely consume the notorious "Star Wars Stew"! Plus Anthony Daniels on SWAP SHOP in 1980 and Dave Prowse as himself and Darth Vader in LATE NIGHT AT PEBBLE MILL, and a look at the filming of TESB for the business programme THE RISK BUSINESS.

BBC iPlayer - Star Wars at the BBC

UPDATES: Michael Rodd looks at Star Wars - Star Wars at the BBC: Exclusive - BBC iPlayer - YouTube

Star Wars' Mark Hamill appears on Blue Peter - Star Wars at the BBC: Exclusive - BBC iPlayer - YouTube

Mark Hamill talks about the prequels on Blue Peter - Star Wars at the BBC: Exclusive - BBC iPlayer - YouTube

Michael Aspel interviews Star Wars' Mark Hamill - Star Wars at the BBC: Exclusive - BBC iPlayer - YouTube

Mark's first UK TV appearance on BLUE PETER, with Lesley Judd and an original mask wearing John Noakes. 
Mark Hamill on set talking to THE RISK BUSINESS, shown in 1980.
John Barry on set watching rehearsals for the Snowspeeder launch.
Harrison Ford talks briefly about UK technicians.
BBC presenter Michael Rod on the specially built Falcon prop at Elstree.
Another shot of Rod on the set.
Our heroes visit BLUE PETER again in 1980.
Carrie Fisher prepares to eat "Star Wars Stew"! Gulp!
Mark bravely joins in too!
Wearing his EMPIRE DAY t-shirt, Mark guested on the ASK ASPEL programme May 1980.
Mark Hamill talks about his early 1977 car accident.
Daver Prowse as Darth Vader on PEBBLE MILL in 1980.
Dave Prowse talks to Jackie Collins about how he got the role of Vader.
Anthony Daniels talks about his TESB Threepio costume and "greeblies".
Peter Serafinowicz hosts the BBC special with humour and affection.

EPISODE VII: INTO ENEMY TERRITORY!


Having won them over with his gutsy plan, Finn, travelling with Han and Chewie in the Falcon, must now put it into action, gambling all their lives as they enter First Order space, in this tense scene from THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

OUT NOW: 'THE FORCE AWAKENS' - MUSIC BY JOHN WILLIAMS!

Feel the Force of John Williams new score!

He's the man who puts the true heart and soul into STAR WARS, his work building and cementing the emotion and excitement in front of our eyes to a higher level: the irreplaceable and incredible John Williams, music composer maestro and conductor, genius and all round inspiration to the world of both cinema and the STAR WARS odyssey. Ten years may have passed since his previous, and then presumed last score for the saga, with 2005's Revenge of the Sith, but now he's back, as accomplished as ever, with his super first work for the newly launched sequel universe, which has started so explosively with THE FORCE AWAKENS- his specially selected 23 track story order score for the movie, newly arrived via WALT DISNEY RECORDS/UNIVERSAL, proving a joyous and captivating experience, building on the striking work he delivered for 1983's Return of the Jedi as well as elements from the Prequel saga, for a remarkable accomplishment, of which his striking new scores  will quickly become a part of pop culture history, and heard here sometimes cleverly intermixing with those recognisably familiar, heart beating-faster, beloved heroic themes of 1977.

In one of the last recording days for the film: J.J. Abrams and John Williams.

Particular highlights from TFA: the gorgeous, brings a lump to the throat score for the tomboy scavenger Rey, about to come out of her chrysalis shell for the incredible journey that lies ahead, the ominous and darkly operatic tones for the psycho adolescent Kylo Ren, the soaring-to-the-skies jubilance and defiance of plucky Poe Dameron and his sterling X-wing fighter squadron with the March of the Resistance plus the exhilarating Scherzo for X-wings. Plus the well-placed use of the main STAR WARS and Skywalker themes adding heightened romanticism alongside much more which we're not yet about to go into detail and spoil for anybody.

His first pairing with writer/director J.J. Abrams having proved such a resounding and incredible success, like his previous relationship and collaborations with those other kidults in George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, John Williams THE FORCE AWAKENS is yet another essential purchase for any STAR WARS fan and soundtrack aficionado in general.

Get the original motion picture CD soundtrack for THE FORCE AWAKENS here:
The Official Star Wars: The Force Awakens Soundtrack Store

On iTunes: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by John Williams on iTunes

On Amazon: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): Amazon.co.uk: Music

projector & orchestra | John Williams on The Force Awakens and the legacy of Star Wars
Interview: John Williams on Scoring Star Wars: Episode VII - YouTube
John Williams Conducts the Opening Scene to Star Wars: The Force Awakens - YouTube
Force Awakens score: John Williams' Star Wars music streaming | EW.com
Secrets of the 'Star Wars' score | EW.com
A John Williams Celebration - John Williams and Gustavo Dudamel interview - YouTube

NEW (possible spoilers): LA Times - John Williams on 'Force Awakens' score: 'I felt a renewed energy, and a vitality'

Friday, 18 December 2015

NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK: 'EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS'


He's an acclaimed and successful science fiction author in his own right, but we'll always love him for his work in ghost writing/adapting George Lucas's original STAR WARS into book form in 1976, plus his never made "alternate" sequel in the hugely entertaining, 1978 released continuance that was Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Now, Alan Dean Foster is back to adapt THE FORCE AWAKENS, and I think that this is one plum, and surely challenging, assignment which he'll give to the world with the kind of page-turning excitement and extra character depth for readers that will resonate just as strongly as the film unspooling into movie theatres this Christmas and beyond.

The adaptation is now available in electronic format here: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Star Wars the Force Awakens) eBook: Alan Dean Foster: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Then becomes available in novel form in the UK from CENTURY from 1st January, 2016: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Amazon.co.uk: Alan Dean Foster: 9781780894768: Books

The 11 Biggest Differences Between the Book and Movie Versions of The Force Awakens

Look out for Alan Dean Foster's all-new short story lead in to THE FORCE AWAKENS in the STAR WARS INSIDER special issue to the film, available from December 18th, 2015.

Official website: ALAN DEAN FOSTER

The Most Interesting Man in the World - YouTube

EPISODE VII: NOW PLAYING!

The battle between good and evil rages on!

THE FORCE AWAKENS! Now playing in movie theatres across half the planet, and more territories  premiering it within the next few days!

Latest TV spots and featurettes:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Power of Storytelling Panel and Q&A - YouTube
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Featurette - Shooting In Abu Dhabi (2015) Epic Space Opera Movie HD - YouTube
Three New 'The Force Awakens' TV Spots | The Star Wars Underworld
Star Wars The Force Awakens Featurette - The Women of Star Wars - YouTube
Star Wars: The Force Awakens European Press Conference - YouTube

More reviews:

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Review: A New Hope With the Old Force - WSJ
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Review: The Empire Strikes Out - Forbes
Star Wars: The Force Awakens review: 'the magic is back'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens—The WIRED Review | WIRED
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is a Satisfying Return to a Galaxy Far, Far Away | Vanity Fair
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Delivers the Thrills, With a Touch of Humanity - The New York Times

Rey and BB-8 discover a new visitor at the scavenger zone.

Other news:

- 'Star Wars - The Force Awakens - A collection of cameos and Easter eggs - EW.com
J.J. Abrams: ‘History repeats itself’ in new ‘Star Wars’
Exclusive: JJ Abrams talks the future of Star Wars and the new Star Trek trailer | GamesRadar
Star Wars: Natalie Dormer, Tom Hiddleston, more stars reenact films in 86 seconds | EW.com
Best Late Night Of The Morning: See How Stephen Colbert Convinced Harrison Ford To Be I...
Italy Box Office: 'Star Wars' Lands $2 Million on Opening Day - Hollywood Reporter
Daisy Ridley: Star Wars Episode 8 Script ‘is Fantastic’
http://time.com/4151880/bb-8-voice-star-wars/
Daisy Ridley on getting to know BB-8 | ShortList Magazine
Ben Schwartz, Bill Hader: The Secret Faces Behind 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' New Droid - Hollywood Reporter
Harrison Ford on Han Solo | ShortList Magazine
The Force Awakens' Oscar Isaac Covers Bill Murray’s “Star Wars” Theme Song, Crushes It - YouTube
Adam Driver Represents the Dark Side in 'The Force Awakens' - YouTube
Why Kylo Ren Turned To The Dark Side According To J.J. Abrams | Comicbook.com
Star Wars 7's John Boyega reveals his friends thought he was an EXTRA | Daily Mail Online

The Resistance to the rescue! Art by Brian Rood.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking records as 60k turn out for midnight showings | Daily Mail Online
David Beckham challenges Star Wars: The Force Awakens' John Boyega to a duel | Daily Mail Online
Box Office: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Headed for Record $50M-$55M Thursday - Hollywood Reporter
Star Wars' John Boyega Preferred the Dark Side as a Kid | GQ
Daniel Craig's Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cameo Revealed
Star Wars The Force Awakens on Ellen: See the young stars get grilled about romance | EW.com
'Star Wars': Visit Jakku 'Disney Infinity' Style With New Concept Art (Exclusive) - Hollywood Reporter
'Star Wars': What 'The Force Awakens' gets right that the prequels got wrong | EW.com
Carrie Fisher's advice to Star Wars co-star Daisy Ridley after sex toy Christmas gift revelation | Daily Mail Online
Is Luke Skywalker fighting in Episode 7? | Mark Hamill Interview [3/3] - YouTube
Star Wars Star John Boyega Says He Lied to J.J. Abrams | TIME
Star Wars 7's Adam Driver to host SNL for the very first time | Daily Mail Online

Thursday, 17 December 2015

EPISODE VII: THE EUROPEAN PREMIERE - LONDON (DECEMBER 16TH, 2015)


Surely the most ambitious publicity event/premiere that Disney UK has ever realised, and certainly one of the busiest, spread across three London West End cinemas (including the IMAX Leicester Square- apparently one of only two IMAX venues in the country where the film can be seen at its optimum picture and sound quality), THE FORCE AWAKENS clearly arrived in style for its European Premiere. Security was sadly intense (sniffer dogs and bouncers prepared to remove anyone without a ticket or whom looked suspicious- a sad indicator of our post Paris tragedy world), but the joyous effects of the STAR WARS saga soon overcome such obstacles and long waiting, of which everyone who attended the premiere (including STAR WARS AFICIONADO) felt an intoxicating shot in the arm of happiness, especially when the Classic Trilogy cast arrived and began mingling with the new stars of the Sequel Trilogy, plus the dynamic duo of George Lucas and J.J. Abrams spending lots of time with the crowds and signing, with even an appearance from the upcoming ROGUE ONE's new star, Felicity Jones. But this special night rightly belonged, I feel, to Carrie Fisher's beloved Gary the Dog, clearly bemused throughout and even challenging BB-8 to a brawl live on the outdoor stage!

As we all assembled in our seats at the EMPIRE, armed for cinematic enjoyment with our complimentary water and popcorn, the lights dimmed and the clapping and cheering quickly begun from the enthused and eagerly awaiting audience- the first of many satisfying occurrences throughout the whole film.

WELCOME BACK, STAR WARS!

A wonderful homecoming for Daisy Ridley.
The name's Boyega, John Boyega.
Creative Forces! J.J. Abrams and George Lucas.

Top four images: James Gillham/Sting Media.co.uk for DISNEY UK

Star Wars 'coming home' says George Lucas at London premiere - BBC News
Star Wars The Force Awakens ANA R2-D2 L.A. to London Flight Departure - YouTube
UK Star Wars premiere: On the red carpet in Leicester Square - YouTube
London Turns Nelson's Column Into a Giant Lightsaber for 'Star Wars' Premiere - YouTube
John Boyega and Daisy Ridley Interview - Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Red Carpet - YouTube

The STAR WARS AFICIONADO team joins the busy red carpet.
We watch as J. J. signs for fans before going in.
At the ODEON, the cast assemble to introduce the movie.

Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - Mark Hamill - YouTube
Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - Daisy Ridley - YouTube
Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - John Boyega - YouTube
Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - Oscar Isaac - YouTube
Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - JJ Abrams - YouTube
Star Wars The Force Awakens European Premiere Interview - Carrie Fisher - YouTube

Star Wars: The Force Awakens European Press Conference - YouTube

The iconic sight of Nelson's Column becomes a lightsaber to light up Europe!

Online UK premiere articles:

Star Wars The Force Awakens premiere – a round-up of what happened | Metro News
Star Wars: The Force Awakens actors Daisy Ridley and Harrison Ford arrive at London premiere | Daily Mail Online
Star Wars' Daisy Ridley shows off some serious leg at premiere afterparty | Daily Mail Online

AFICIONADO's non-spoilery first review:
STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: EPISODE VII: THE AFICIONADO REVIEW

Other reviews: (Note: potential SPOILERS in some of these)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviews | EW.com
New Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed by Mail critic Brian Viner | Daily Mail Online
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review | Star Wars 7 | Movies - Empire
The Force Awakens Is the Biggest Movie of the Year. But Is It Great?
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens review - " rest easy, this is the real deal – and will leave you begging for more"

The front of one of the UK premiere tickets.

Other STAR WARS related news:

'Star Wars' in U.K. Presales Record - Hollywood Reporter
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Lands on AFI's Top 10 List - Hollywood Reporter
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Breaks $100 Million In Advance Ticket Sales | Comicbook.com
Disney Stock Rises on Enthusiasm for 'Star Wars' - Hollywood Reporter
France Box Office: 'Star Wars' Soars In Paris on Opening Day - Hollywood Reporter
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' German Box-Office Preview - Hollywood Reporter
'The Force Awakens' Cast Sings A Capella Tribute to Star Wars With The Roots on 'The Tonight Show' | The Star Wars Underworld
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher Talk 'Star Wars' Then and Now | ABC News - YouTube
Oscar Isaac Talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens | GQ
Lupita Nyong'o on Star Wars: The Force Awakens audition | EW.com
Ben Schwartz, Bill Hader: The Secret Faces Behind 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' New Droid - Hollywood Reporter
Ridley: Not Being Star Wars Fan Helped Play Rey
Ewan McGregor Had a Tiny Role in The Force Awakens (Spoiler)

With thanks to DISNEY UK for their help and support.

EPISODE VII: THE AFICIONADO REVIEW


NO SPOILERS!

Coming to the screen with verve, vitality and bundles of enthusiasm- each frame clearly and lovingly thought out by director J.J. Abrams, THE FORCE AWAKENS is a triumph of heart-felt escapism and certainly a very, very welcome return to that galaxy far, far away. Its bam, bam, bam from the get-go as it sends its all ages audiences on a rollercoaster ride through an invigorating two and a bit hours, given additional and heightened emotional resonance via John Williams classy score, introducing a tremendous new group of young stars in the process: I challenge anyone not to fall in love with Daisy Ridley the moment they see her as the tomboy scavenger Rey, whose dreams of the stars and a life beyond her meagre existence become realised in the most unexpected way, nor cheer along John Boyega's spirited but vulnerable stormtrooper turned unlikely hero who needs a purpose as the do-the-right-thing Finn, or raise a salute to the flying ace skills of Oscar Isaac's daring hotshot pilot Poe Dameron and his irresistible blend of humour and loyalty that is his BB-8 droid- well, I want one- now! But the genuine standout for me had to be Adam Driver, as the troubled and psychotically destructive Kylo Ren- Driver is a real film star in the making here, clearly raising the bar in onscreen co-developing a villain long-term worthy of Darth Vader.

And then there's the original "Classic" cast whom we've all cared about and now joyously celebrate the return of: Carrie Fisher's warmth and renewed strength as General Leia Organa, whilst Harrison Ford's Han Solo is older, crankier but just as heroic and crafty as ever- the actor totally superb from the get-go, slipping effortlessly back into character and sharing some wonderful camaraderie with the wookiee Chewbacca, both of whom are given new depths and new problems to become immersed in. Oh yes, let's not forget Mark Hamill, either... but you'll just have to wait and see what happens there- his participation in THE FORCE AWAKENS clearly being part of a huge new game plan for future films, within a whole plethora of well-thought out surprises bringing freshness and charm to this next trilogy chapter of the franchise.

Creator George Lucas's incredible and fertile imagination, alongside his ability to think out of the box, is certainly missed in places: his Prequels may be derided in some quarters, but long-term, as part of the overall saga, they bring intriguing subconscious underpinnings and depth to certain aspects witnessed within THE FORCE AWAKENS, and don't let any naysayers tells you otherwise! (Especially linked to Kylo Ren's unique exploration of Darth Vader.). But, to his credit, Abrams, generally regarded as being a director in the best traditions of Steven Spielberg than the more elegant and documentarian Lucas, pays tribute to the STAR WARS creator's house style beyond just screen wipes and opening title crawls, and in a pleasing way that's much commended. Additionally, the story of THE FORCE AWAKENS does have moments that feel like STAR WARS Greatest Hits  - especially with the Starkiller weapon- and in much the same way that JURASSIC WORLD often felt like a re-tooled for a new audience variation on the original JURASSIC PARK. But I expected such a move here, however, aware that such a nostalgic partial re-working was necessary in order to capture that box office-vital next generation of die-hard fans- the new LUCASFILM/DISNEY team having succeeded admirably and lucratively in my book. Let's hope Rian Johnson's VIII and Colin Trevorrow's IX get to explore and build even further, and even more satisfyingly, on the huge potential that these new characters and their arcs have showed with their richly enjoyable first outing.

AFICIONADO RATING: Tears of joy, with a sprinkling of sadness, in this bright and shiny Christmas present for STAR WARS fans. 4 out of 5

With thanks to DISNEY UK for their help and support.
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