Movie buffs old enough, can still remember when and where they watched the original “Star Wars” blockbuster a long time ago, in a theater far, far away. A timestamp etched into our memories, marking the epic start to a hit franchise about outer space civil war. Thirty two years after we said good-bye to them in “Return of the Jedi” (1983), the 1977 original cast is back to fight on. The 7th chapter of the Star Wars saga, “The Force Awakens” is an absolute blast…! A work of brilliant cinematography, music score and filmmaking!
Star Wars newcomer J.J. Abrams directs audiences to a rekindled struggle between the Dark Side’s “First Order” Stormtrooper forces and the Rebel Alliance’s fighters. The coveted prize in this Galactic match-up is the last remaining Jedi--whose whereabouts are unknown to all. As Stormtroopers search for this final purge holdout to their hopes of finally destroying the “Resistance”, the lone Jedi must live-on to provide balance to a Galaxy where evil exists.
As the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, “The Force Awakens” perfectly blends a new dynamic and energetic cast with the original’s legendary stars. With three generations of Star Wars lineage covered in this movie, Abrams masterfully juggles the exciting new actors in with the older characters and droids—all of them vital to the exhilarating story.
Make no mistake…there are no token cameo appearances by these Galactic veterans…from Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker and General Leia. Each and every one play a significant role in the immediate action or to the overall narrative. Likewise, Abrams takes deliberate care to mold the new franchise faces into compelling, and funny, action-driven space warriors. They’re endearing to viewers from their very first scenes. Handling most of the heavy lifting are a strong-willed, action heroine Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) and First Order escapee, Finn (John Boyega).
Non-stop adventure permeates throughout this surefire hit. “The Force Awakens” operates at one action speed--and one speed only--full-throttle! With the best composer in the business (John Williams) returning once again, Star Wars fans will not only hear, but feel the Force be with them. Short pauses, to rearm or re-strategize by each side, are superbly countered by well-timed humor and lighthearted moments—attributed mostly to the Han Solo-Chewbacca comedy team and the rookie Finn.
This film’s overwhelming success is due to Abrams’ willingness to take risks and yet remain faithful to the Star Wars’ product DNA. By not playing it safe, moviegoers are never sure which direction events or characters will break in the end.
The result is splendid, action-packed space thriller that will likely be the biggest film in our lifetime—particularly if this is the last time the original cast is seen together in the collection. Abrams deserves enormous credit for honoring the legacy of George Lucas and delivering one of the most entertaining films in 2015. I suspect viewers will be able to remember back, to when and where they saw this iconic blockbuster…even if it’s a long time from now, far, far away.
"Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi of violence. Its running time is 2 hours and 16 minutes