Not since the release of the first of the 3 prequels has there been a more anticipated movie release in history. I think it would be safe to say that the release of The Force Awakens is more anticipated than any other Star Wars film yet. Fans are eager to wash the bad taste out of their mouth that the prequels unfortunately left. When the news broke that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm Ltd to Walt Disney Studios the first question everyone wanted answered was, “would this bring any new Star Wars films”? It didn’t take long at all for them to get their answer. Yes, they would. It was quickly announced that there would be a concluding trilogy to take place after Return Of The Jedi. JJ Abrams was given the keys to the kingdom when he was asked to write and direct Episode VII. He promised a return to what everyone loved about the originals and to make the movie the fans deserved. Without any George Lucas involvement and a true fan at the helm, fans had a lot of reasons to be optimistic.
It didn’t take long for the story to come together as well as the cast. Despite constant media attention from the original announcement things were kept relatively secret. Pictures slowly leaked and characters’ names but not much else would be known. The more footage and photos made their way online the more the anticipation built. For the last couple months eagerness was palpable. This is the most exciting weekend in any Star Wars fan’s lifetime. So many questions bubble forth. Would Abrams deliver? Would it be what we hoped for from the prequels? Would it have the authentic feel we missed? To all these questions the answer is a resounding YES!!
I should clarify, this is not the greatest movie in the series. There is NO DOUBT that they are headed in the right direction. It is clearly washing away any uneasy feelings that the prequels left lingering. There is no sign of ego in this film as there were when Lucas made the last 3. Lucas wanted to experiment and lost his drive and vision when he created the earliest Anakin years. He slightly redeemed himself with Revenge Of The Sith, but that shouldn’t give him a pass on almost destroying the entire franchise, including his terrible reproductions of the original three.
The Force Awakens picks up some 30 years after the end of Jedi. The rebellion had lost its power and the empire has reemerged and are now known as the first order. The rebellion is now known as the resistance. The stories of Luke and Han and Leia are legendary and at the same time believed to be myths. When a storm trooper begins to have an attack of conscience and helps a resistance pilot escape from captivity it sends him on a journey he was hoping to separate himself from. When Finn and the rescued pilot Poe crash on the planet of Jakuu they are soon separated and Finn is unexpectedly teamed up with an orphan scavenger named Rey. When Rey discovers a droid named BB-8 who is carrying vital information as to the location of Luke Skywalker, who has long since gone into hiding after his attempt to train a new breed of Jedi goes terribly wrong when a student quickly is drawn to the dark side.
The journey to bring the map of Luke’s location into the hands of the resistance has many familiar faces when Han Solo is reunited with his ship, the legendary Millennium Falcon and a young crew of Rey and Finn, who soon learn that the stories of the rebellion are not just stories but that they are truth.
The first order is in pursuit of the same map for fear that if it falls into the hands of the resistance they may find the power they need to once again take down the evil overlooking government. Kylo Ren is the pupil of Supreme Leader Snoke and hopes to walk in the footsteps of Darth Vader and to succeed. Where he could not. Kylo Ren has the inexperience of youth and an almost uncontrollable temper standing in his way.
The Force Awakens follows very closely the blueprint that A New Hope laid out 38 years ago. This is not due to a lack of originality, but because this is the best way to set up the films that will follow. This allows you to get to form an attachment to the newest characters.
New comers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega clearly steal the film with their performances which is not easy when sharing the screen with the iconic Han and Leia and Chewy. Seeing as how it’s been 32 years since Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were in character form there is some definite rust in their performances. Ford brings his classic dry humor and nerd herder presence, while Fisher shows it has been some time since she had to do any acting more than guest appearances or cameos as she is clearly the most out of sync actor on the screen.
When all is said and done, fans of Star Wars can rest easy that the franchise is back in capable hands. Don’t expect this film to be the greatest movie you have seen, but that it is the first step in what will be a great new path laid in the name of Star Wars.