ESP’s film critic Gavin Miller attended the official UK press screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square on Tuesday night. Here’s his exclusive review before it’s official release tomorrow (Thursday) . . .


This excellently meshes exciting new characters – Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isacc) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) – with some of the old guard – Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) – to provide enough magical moments as Abrams lays solid foundations for the future. The Force Awakens’ only real problem is familiar plot devices being re-trodden – message being inserted into droid, a Death Star-esque battle and maybe a few too many similarities to previous instalments – that sometimes gives it a perfunctory feel and doesn’t quite enable it to stand out on its own maybe as much as it should.


But once you throw in the Millennium Falcon, Tie-Fighters and a hefty helping of humour – from both new and old cast members – it never falls far below the epic and grandiose spectacle that we were hoping for. In fact, it is probably exactly what most fans will expect. This seventh episode continues some thirty or so years after The Return of the Jedi, with the First Order – made up of the remnants of the old Empire with re-tooled Stormtroopers – led by the intriguingly vulnerable ‘Dark Side-trained’ Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux under the guidance of an Emperor-esque Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), being the new menace in the galaxy.


Gavin Miller [youtube id=”HWyGr_XJB2k” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Ken Leung, Tim Rose, Max Von Sydow & Mark Hamill Running Time: 2 Hrs 15 Mins Director: Jj Abrams

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is being screened 33 times from tomorrow (Thursday December 17) and 35 times from Friday (December 18), in both 3D and 2D. Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for movies at Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

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