STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Harrison Ford
The massive giant that is the Star Wars film series has had such a riddled past that, in bringing the story to life, director J.J. Abrams had quite the task at hand. Luckily, for Star Wars fans and moviegoers, alike, the newest chapter in the saga wasn't anything short of spectacular, blockbuster fun.
Following in line after 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, this seventh chapter of the space opera, original conceived by George Lucas, picks up some 30 years after the death of Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker has gone missing. Leia is now serving as a general for the revolution. And, Han Solo has become somewhat of a myth to the younger generation.
As the First Order continues terrorizing humanity across the universe, a humble-hearted storm trooper (newcomer John Boyega), who calls himself Finn after realizing he was never given a name, jumps ship to achieve a life outside of death and destruction. A run-in with a young, free spirit named Rey (Daisy Ridley) leads the two on a mission of escape and a harrowing life adventure, that isn't complete without a ride on the Millennium Falcon (cleverly referenced as an old "piece of junk") and the cheers of audience members who know exactly where this is headed.
Eventually, we meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford, giving off the charm we all know and love) and Chewbacca, a clear crowd favorite. There is plenty light saber fighting, blaster swinging, and dialogue biting for even the least experience Star Wars viewer to enjoy.
I had the pleasure of experiencing Episode VII in a packed theater at the end of an almost-18 hour marathon of the entire cinematic collection. Starting at 4:00AM, it was difficult, to say the least, to justify why I was putting myself through this trouble. Jar Jar Binks at 5:00 in the morning is never a good idea. But, it was all worth it as the sights and sounds of the Star Wars films of yore brought back memories of the first time I saw the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father (and the subsequent, and hilarious, revelation that Luke was in love with his own sister).
With a worldwide fan base, The Force Awakens was a brimming test launch of a new, Disney-fied experiment. Could Abrams, known for his fast-paced television projects and the reboot of the Star Trek series, create the same energy as the originals without cheapening the experience of the most recent trilogy? In short, yes he can. There's a certain nostalgia that is present that may only be felt by those with some connection to the past. Seeing film favorites like C-3PO or R2-D2 on the big screen again is heartwarming. To hear the audience roar at the sight of the classic Star Wars title card and the scrolling, yellow prologue is nothing short of movie magic.
Making big numbers at the box office doesn't always mean a film is necessarily great. In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the two go hand in hand.
Runtime: 135 minutes