A Force in cinema-Star Wars takes control again

For many of us, 2015 may have felt like one of the longest years in our lifetime. We had many teasers and trailers after a good number of pictures and pieces of info relating to probably the biggest movie release of the decade or longer – yes Star Wars:The Force Awakens was due to land in cinemas.

Lucas had passed on the rights to the all-consuming Disney for a massive billion dollar deal, and JJAbrams was directing this all-new first part of a new trilogy which was to follow on from Return of the Jedi.

I may not actually be a howling mad crazed Star Wars fanatic. I did not see the film on the night of release (though my wife did.) I have now seen it, just over a week since it finally dropped and has now overtaken Titanic in all-time box-office success.

Now what can I say about this new movie? What should I dare to say? If there could be anybody left who has not yet seen it-many of us have seen it more than once, may two or three times or even more-and so I may not be ruining much if I do discuss the film.

Have you seen it? Once, twice or five times or more? What are your thoughts?

So of course, we all had our ideas about what could be in this new movie. There have been many spin-off related books and comics and more over the decades which included the original well-loved characters such as Han Solo, Luke, Chewee and Leia. There were some things which seem almost very certain to be included, and other things which would probably have been very far from likely really.

This new Star Wars movie has come after the hugely problematic prequel trilogy, all directed by creator George Lucas. Those movies did look superb I think, but yes, he did make so many terrible mistakes with characters, plot and more. So with this new movie, we were all very nervous indeed. Need we have been?

This Star Wars return has been directed by new cinema success director JJAbrams, already a huge cult favourite of television and who has in recent times translated his success to cinema with his own Super8 and then tackled the rebirth of Star Trek. Without really seeming too hesitant, he jumped right into Star Wars like he was born for the job-perhaps he was.

So then, with the movie, what do we get? This is heading toward 40 years since the original landed in cinemas and became an all-time science fiction classic.

This is where I now get mindful, and try to not spoil too much if you have not yet seen The Force Awakens.

It does continue on a good number of years after Return of the Jedi, and some of the most loved characters in cinema and sci-fi history show up. Now we should perhaps remember that it should probably take a few viewings to really see a film for what it is, to really take all of it in, for the tale to open up to us.

Is it better than The Phantom Menace? Silly question of course. It most certainly is. But it is not as simple or easy as all that. JJAbrams has attempted to take us back into the world of the original trilogy. There are modern day special CG effects here, but used very carefully alongside real props, locations and actors. Gone this is the over abundance of CG-everything such as in the prequel movies, in place of the visual style of the cheaper and more basic original trilogy. That is quite some challenge, I think is was met well.

Next up, we meet new characters. This film is produced in a much different time, decade and cultural place. With this, the characters are different in their roles, their actions, their backgrounds in some ways. I would say that the actors chosen are great for the roles overall.

There are some weak points to the film, probably mostly around Kylo Ren and some of how the First Order is depicted but this does not ruin the movie. However JJAbrams managed to make this first new movie, he has done well, and we can be very pleased and thankful. Well done Abrams. This could have been a much worse movie, and so we look forward to what may yet be two more great sequels ahead.




New Book News…

We are now right at the start of 2016. I think now is a good time to offer some info about my new SF book soon to be published in perhaps just a few months from now.

My first book was called Orbital Kin, a science fiction story set somewhere between the next 20 to possibly 60 years or so. That tale started in the UK on Earth, when up to a space station and finally returned to our planet for the end.

This new book is called Minerva Century. It is probably more what some call ‘space opera’. This new tale takes place right far out into our galaxy in well over a century from now, possibly much longer. We have taken things out to space, our race has changed, our ways of living has evolved. We have explored much further than ever before, found new planets, made great changes, advances. With humankind living out on a new planet, trouble still finds us eventually…

This new book will be available as paperback, ebook and this time also in hardback form. More news about this soon.

My first book Orbital Kin is still availale from Waterstones, Amazon, WHsmith, Foyles, Blackwells, Ebay and other good bookshops.