My spoiler free thoughts on Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

When I’m really looking forward to seeing a film I try my best to avoid any mention of it before going to see it. I don’t want to know If people enjoyed it, didn’t enjoy it, and I certainly don’t want to know any plot details. In this post I won’t mention any plot points or give anything away, however I will mention how it made me feel. If this is too much for you, please stop reading now and come back once you’ve seen the film.

I mean it, this is your very last chance.

Good, then let me begin with some context.

I was six years old when I first saw Star Wars in early 1978. It wasn’t the first film I’d seen at the cinema but it was the one that left the greatest impression. My father, having just worked a long shift in the local paint factory, took me and my older sister to our local cinema. My memories of the occasion are a little vague having been blurred by repeated viewings but the main thing I remember is the sheer fun and adrenaline rush of it all. It was all my childhood adventures thrown up onto the big screen but much cooler than what my imagination could conjure up. It was big, brash and exciting. I really wanted to be Luke Skywalker. He was young, handsome, got to fly X-wing fighters and fought with a lightsaber. What was not to like?

My father, meanwhile, slept through the whole thing.

For months afterwards all I did was play Star Wars, and although I didn’t know it at the time, a life-long love affair with Star Wars was born. Star Wars had a major impact on my life in other ways, too. I first became close to my best friend (who became my best man) because he had an X-wing fighter and Tie-fighter toys.

As I got older my I came to appreciate the whole trilogy. My allegiance changed to Han Solo, wishing I could be as cool as him with his rebellious streak and his witty one-liners, and I found myself preferring the darker, more nuanced, Empire Strike Back over both Star Wars and Return of the Jedi. There were some parts of the later prequels I enjoyed but generally they were a disappointment. They were plodding, poe-faced, and took themselves far too seriously. Story and emotion were replaced by CGI special effects and set piece battles; snappy dialogue replaced by long, dull exposition. The films were interesting from a completist’s perspective, but somewhere along the way George Lucas had mislaid his creation’s heart and soul.

With Star Wars – The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams has delivered a film that is fun, funny and exhilarating, and made this middle-aged man feel like a six-year-old again.

From the moment the classic Star Wars text slowly made its way up the screen until the final credits (the one piece of information I will give away is that you don’t need to stay until the credits finish rolling, there’s no sneak clip at the end), I was enthralled.  I laughed, giggled, even let out the odd squee – something a middle-aged man shouldn’t do when attending a cinema on his own – as this unashamedly nostalgic ride progressed. This was the Star Wars movie I’d been waiting for for over thirty years.

It isn’t a perfect piece of film-making – neither were the original trilogy. It is gloriously bonkers in places, breaks many storytelling rules, and there are some parts that won’t hold up well to too much scrutiny, but it does perfectly capture the essence of what made that original trilogy so successful. Finally the moribund prequels are consigned to history. Star Wars – The Force Awakens brings back everything I loved about the original film. It has heart, it has soul, and it was the most fun I’ve had in a cinema for a long time.

The force is strong with this one.

So what do you think? Have you seen Star Wars – The Force Awakens? Did you enjoy it? Are you looking forward to seeing it or are you really not bothered? I’d love to hear from you.

Please keep things spoiler free and respect those that have yet to see the film. I will be moderating the comments more than usual.

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Second Chance – a review

This is a lovely review of Second Chance by Jane Dougherty as featured on Susan Toy’s Reading Recommendations Reviewed.
This review has a particular place in my heart as it was one of the first reviews I received from another writer whose work I admired. Up until this point I just thought people were being kind. After this review I started believing in myself a little more.

reading recommendations reviewed

Second Chance - High Resolution

Second Chance
by Dylan S. Hearn

Purchase copies here

Second Chance is thrilling and chilling. There is blood and gore, but it is the cold-blooded, or even bloodless aspect of British society that is really at the core of this story of a political system that controls everything even beyond the grave.

There are four distinct threads to the story as well as sub-stories, as murky as the crumbling cityscape. Each chapter adds a little more detail to one of the main threads, and as Dylan Hearn pulls in the threads, we begin to see through the murk to where they are all going. And it’s not a nice place, I can tell you.

The technical parts, the cloning and regeneration, the memories that are replaced in the new brain, or not, depending, seem perfectly feasible to a non-techy person like me. The idea of cheating death on the one…

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If I had one piece of advice for any author, whether they choose to go the indie route or prefer toward with a publisher, it is to read this post then work out how you can support your fellow authors.
I had my ‘road to Damascus’ moment nearly 2 years ago, realising that there was no point trying to persuade people to buy my indie book if I was’t buying books by other indie authors. Since then I’ve read many indie books and promoted those I’ve enjoyed on my blog. The best thing about it has been discovering so many great authors and becoming part of a much greater, supportive community.
So what are you waiting for?

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I finished reading a book on marketing that, while good, worthwhile, and filled with lots of ideas and information (much of which I already use) to get your book out there and selling, it fell short, in my estimation.

Yes, it discussed the importance of building a fan base and giving fans what they want, and it also suggested one way of developing your career as being to call on others more experienced in your field and essentially “use” them and their influence to get ahead (something I didn’t particularly agree with).

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But where the book fell short was in not once mentioning the importance of “promoting the writing and books of other authors” or in working with other authors to create a community in which all can thrive. Authors who read and follow the advice in this book will come out looking like lone wolves grasping after sales alone…

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