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December 18, 2017

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015) --- "Old People Trying To Remember How To Use The Force."

Plot Summary
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn (John Boyega) crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Star Wars fans who grew up with the original trilogy can watch Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) with relief as there is little to complain about. Director and Co-Writer J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) helms this brilliant first installment in another epic Star Wars trilogy. The film generated a ton of revenue – not including merchandise and video sales – after a record-breaking opening release as well as came with a surprising amount of positive critiques. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan resurrected the Star Wars franchise with more life and vigor than ever before. The film respects the original trilogy, brings in new characters smoothly, appeals to fans and new audience members, and lays the foundation for a new epic Star Wars trilogy. The Force Awakens is filled with everything a Star Wars fan could have wanted in a film and while it’s impossible to please everyone, the end result is almost like a love letter to the original trilogy.  

     The Force Awakens story continues around 20-30 years after the Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). While the title of the film suggests some ideas, this time around The Force doesn’t need to be explained anymore; it’s a mystery and it will always be a mystery. The story itself is pretty straightforward: The Empire was defeated and their first Death Star was destroyed in A New Hope but like in all good vs. evil films when one bad guy falls new bad guys take their place. The universe is different from Episodes IV, V, and VI because this time there is a new republic and a new group of imperialists/fascists. The main theme or question going around throughout the entire film is “Where is Luke Skywalker” who went into exile a few years prior to this film, and both good guys and bad guys are trying to find him for their own reasons. In the meantime we get to see some old favorites – Han, Leia, C3PO, R2D2, and Chewie – and learn more about the newbie – Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB8. This film is generational because it brings back some old favorites while introducing us to the next generation of heroes and villains.
     The action is amazing. The battle scenes are spectacular and sweeping with motion and emotion. And at the same time, Abrams knows when exactly he needs to slow down in order for the cast to deliver intense and emotional scenes as well give the audience appropriate time comprehend it all. One nice surprise is the humor, the comedic relief worked very effectively with the development of chemistry and relationships as well as offering moments of sympathy for some unfortunate characters.
     To be honest, great acting has never actually been a strong point in any of the previous Star Wars films but thankfully this trend has been broken with a stellar cast giving some great performances. The screenplay was entertaining, fun, and carried plenty of emotional plot twists that allowed for each character to have his or her own background that will develop throughout the course of this new trilogy. Again Ford and Fisher have great chemistry and deliver great performances her but let’s focus on the newcomers. Daisy Ridley (Murder on the Orient Express) as Rey and John Boyega (Detroit) as Finn prove that they are more than capable of carrying the load that comes with being the main characters in a film like this.  Their chemistry is great, with Rey bringing the heart of the film and Finn bringing the abundant energy. Oscar Isaacs (The Promise, X-Men: Apocalypse) may be a veteran actor among the young cast but he’s great as the cool and foolhardy X-wing pilot, Poe. The most complex character in this film is the antagonist Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver (Silence). Driver portrays an extremely intimidating villain with a mysterious and troubled past that fans are eager to discover. He is a Darth Vader wannabe or copycat and proves that while he may be a little darker and he is just as unsure about himself; like the dark side and light side are constantly warring inside himself. And his mysterious parentage is both surprising and expected.
     The Star Wars films have been known for their impressive visual images, realistic special effects, and astonishing sound editing by creating new sounds for guns, explosions, lightsabers, laser beams, alien noises, etc. Now in Episodes 1 -3 the special effects, sounds, and visuals were good but they were over the top and blatantly obvious, probably due to the difference in technology the verse now. The cinematography was impressive (Daniel Mindel who worked with J.J. Abrams on first 2 Star Trek reboot films) as Mindel showed us a diverse collection of shots that were new and conveyed a sense nostalgia; from the gadgets and techs to the droids and crashed imperial destroyers, from new and old aliens in new and old bars. The final aspect that was once again amazing is the John Williams music score, which pays respect to the original music by being emotional and heartwarming for both new and old fans alike.

     Overall, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) is the perfect beginning to another great Star Wars trilogy. This was not only the foundation for the new trilogy but it also served as a reunion where the old characters get to meet the new characters; they essentially get to pass the torch on to the next generation. The action is amazing, the visuals and special effects are impressive, and the music is reminiscent and yet new. We could not have asked for a better start to a new trilogy and this film will stand the test of time. I am beyond excited to see the new installment in this franchise, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) and I have to say that director Rian Johnson (Looper, Brothers Bloom) has some BIG shoes to fill for Episode VIII.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Film (2016)
Star Wars Episode IV: New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Star Wars Episode IX (TBA)
"Chewie...we're home."
 - Han Solo

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015).

Movies Similar 
John Carter (2012)
Rogue One (2016)
Star Trek 1 (2009)
Star Trek 2: Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek 3: Beyond (2016)
Star Wars I: Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clone Wars (2002)
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars IV: New Hope (1977)
Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

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