Back in 1977 in a cinema far, far away (Southampton actually) I watched a press screening of the orginal Star Wars movie - and realised sci-fi films would never be the same again.
Thankfully the latest in the series is just as impressive, with a strong story, decent acting and the latest technology to create some very impressive effects.
The production team for The Force Awakens must have looked at that first movie and decided ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, because there are elements of the initial film scattered across the latest incarnation.
The faithful Star Wars fans will most likely forgive this but there is a definite feeling of deja vu.
The surprising part of the film that does elevate it, though, is the humour.
There’s always been some lighter moments in Star Wars, but I don’t recall chuckling as much as I did this time round.
And, of course, there’s the excitement when the iconic figures reappear.
There was some punching of the air when Han Solo and Chewbacca arrived on screen, but there are plenty of images that resonate really well with the earlier movies.
Alongside the familiar faces of Harrison Ford (Solo), Carrie Fisher (formely Princess now General Leia), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) we do have the newcomers.
Daisy Ridley comes across well as scavenger Rey and John Boyega is sound enough as the former Stormtrooper Finn.
Plus there’s some great scenes with the likes of Max von Sydow, Oscar Isaac and Andy Serkis (in typically unrecognisable form).
But, as ever, the robots are the ones that lighten up the mood, with C-3PO, R2-D2 and the latest to the fold, BB-8.
Overall, this is a welcome return to the feel the original trilogy had and leaves us with loads of questions that, presumably, will be answered in the coming years with the remaining episodes.
Film details: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A) 135mins
Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol
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