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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Movie Review

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, everyone wants to know what happened to Luke Skywalker. 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the Force has gone into hidden and these are the events that trigger its awakening.

Release Date: December 18, 2015
Writer: Lawrence Kasden, JJ Abrams
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega

In the seventh episode, the Empire has been replaced by the New Order. A weakened version of the Empire but ready to return to the Galactic stage with its new Starkiller Planet. It’s thousands of times more powerful than the Death Star. In charge is Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), his padawan Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), his base commander General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and leader of the troops, Captain Plasma (Gwendoline Christie).

Meanwhile on Jakku, the planet where the Empire lost the war is a girl, Rey (Daisy Ridley) abandoned as a child, who survives by scavenging old parts from downed Star Destroyers, TIE fighters and X-Wings.

Up against the First Order is the Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). They are on the search for Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker who went into seclusion after failing to train Han and Leia’s Son, Kylo Ren. The movie now becomes the search for Luke Skywalker. The First Order wants him found and executed. The Resistance wants his found to help restore balance to the universe.

Paths cross as Rey, former Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), pilot Poe (Oscar Isaacs) and the cutest robot since R2-D2, BB-8 join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca to find the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker and destroy the Starkiller base.

I came into Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a great deal of excitement. The level of hype was high and could have potentially ruined the movie. Instead, I walked away from the movie feeling like Star Wars was back in my life, but a very different Star Wars.

The first thing I noticed was the look and feel of The Force Awakens was very different from George’s original design. Different is not always bad. Director J.J. Abrams relied heavily on practical sets and practical effects. Very little of the movie was shot in front of a blue screen and more detail was added to set design compared to the lower budget Star Wars: A New Hope. The set of The Force Awakens felt real to me, which was almost a distraction to the fantasy feel of the prequels. As with anything different, I got used to it after about 20 minutes.

It soon became clear to me that Star Wars: The Force Awakens may not have been the best Star Wars movie, which still goes to Empire Strikes Back, but The Force Awakens needed to accomplish a few things before a new story could be told which will be whatever episode eight will be.

Their first accomplishment was to connect the Star Wars of the past to the Star Wars now. It was important to bring back Han, Leia and Luke. They serve as an important bridge to the future and now new stories can be told in their eventually fade away into oblivion.

The second accomplishment was to tell a new story that still feels like a Star Wars movie. In the Force Awakens, J.J. tells a familiar story in a new way. This movie is essentially the introduction of a different Death Star with the Starkiller planet and also the tale of the Resistance destroying said planet.

Finally, the new Star Wars introduced new characters. Daisy Ridley literally came out of nowhere and made the single most exciting impact on the Star Wars universe that could have possibly been made. As Rey, she’s a girl that was abandoned on the desert planet of Jakku and learned to survive on her own and slowly comes to the realization that she may be a Jedi.

As Finn, John Boyega plays a former First Order Stormtrooper that questions the very role he was bred to fulfill. This is new storytelling by focusing on an actual Stormtrooper. Finn soon realizes that even a Stormtrooper has more to offer the universe than being a mere foot soldier to the New Order.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren plays probably the most complex villain in Star Wars history. The others simply followed the orders of his/her master, but Ren is conflicted about his role. This is the first time we see a Sith Lord, who has not been fully realized and the next movie will spotlight Adam Driver’s character in an amazing way.

Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher return as former lovers, Han Solo and Princess Leia. I don’t think it’s any secret that Kylo Ren is their son. In fact, there are a lot of secrets that were called early into the movie, but still dramatically revealed for full, heart-pounding effect.

The Force Awakens spins a wonderful and familiar tale of the force and the destruction of the Starkiller Planet. It also leaves a laundry list of questions to be answered in the next film. Always leave them wanting a lot more.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens send the Star Wars franchise clearly in the right direction. The film feels like it belongs in the Star Wars universe and tells a masterful story. You’ll leave pining for the next episode, which you won’t have to wait three years, but only two. My childhood has returned.