Star Wars VII (2105): The Force Awakens

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
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Years following the Battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker has gone missing and the Jedi order is all but extinct. General Leia Organa sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron to retrieve a piece of a map that may lead to her lost brother. Upon getting the map, Jakku gets raided by the First Order. Evil Lord Kylo Ren captures Poe but loses the map in a runaway BB-8 droid. The fight causes a conflict of interest in one of the stormtroopers, who decides to free Poe when they end up back on the star destroyer. BB-8 travels the desert until it is captured and rescued by a scavenger named Rey. The runaway stormtrooper and Rey meet at a junkyard on Jakku, when they realize that their paths have crossed for a reason.

A Near Perfect Blend of Old and New: While there was a potential of overhyping and rehashing, J.J. Abrams found a balance that truly brings the series into a new generation while maintaining the feel of the original trilogy. There are some old favorites, mainly Han (Harrison Ford), Leia (Carrie Fisher), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), but the new cast established themselves as able to carry the franchise forward.

In terms of the story, there are some clear similarities between this film and A New Hope. A young adult in the desert discovers that their future is greater than they already know, but there is an evil empire out there looking to end the resistance. While the original film involved the Empire’s attempt to simply rule with an iron fist, this new film involves both an empire looking to exert dominance and a villain looking to wipe out the Jedi order.

Heroes for a New Generation: Rey (Daisy Ridley) the scavenger, is not your typical heroine. While she encompasses some similarities to Luke Skywalker’s humble beginnings, she appears to be far more skilled in a greater number of ways than Luke with significantly more confidence and independence. She is a skilled fighter, crafty pilot, and fast-learning student of the force. She has a great history to live up to but will undoubtedly impress many with her future adventures.

FN-2187 or Finn (John Boyega) adds a new element to the mix that the originals never did. Compared to the stormtroopers that were clones during the Empire’s existence, Finn’s hesitation to fire his blaster during the first battle changed the game. While not clear about being a student of the force, he shows a willingness to adapt to the situation between firing a blaster, manning a cannon, or wielding a lightsaber.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) takes the role of the skilled pilot once held by Rouge pilots Wedge and Biggs. He also has the cockiness of Han Solo. There is a clear sense that he will continue to be an important part of the Rey and Finn story.

On the other side, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) takes the role as the main villain in a different direction than Darth Vader did. While there is still a family connection and conflict, he started as a Jedi of the light side. His betrayal and mission to destroy the Jedi takes Vader’s original mission to a new level. He believes that he can restore balance to the force by eliminating Luke. In many ways, he seems imbalanced. In others, he seems like he might be restraining his actual abilities.

Final Verdict: I truly loved this film to the point that I have already seen is 3 times. From the opening line to the fade of the credits, there is so much to love about this new installment in the Star Wars franchise. The music is intoxicating, from the familiar themes to the new ballads. The landscapes are breathtaking, with the aerial dogfights and blaster battles encapsulating much of what all Star Wars fans look for in an entertaining galactic drama.

Dan’s Rating: 5.0/5

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