Star Wars:

The Force


RATED - (PG-13) -135-MIN-2015

                      “The Fun and the Force is strong in this one!”

                                                              Star Wars: The Force Awakens is two hours plus of pure joy!

I had written nearly two years ago why, when it was announced, that the new Star Wars film was to be helmed by (J.J. Abrams), it was very good news for fans of the first three films in the series.  I am very happy to report, that the force is strong and the fun is back in (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

Abrams knew that to be engaged more in the movie, he had to bring back the simple, but compelling story of good vs. evil, a strong dose of not taking things so seriously all of the time, a dash of mystical goings-on, and letting some important figures return as they were the ones that made the first three such a global phenomenon. This is the best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back.

Set some thirty years after the Rebels had defeated the Galactic Empire, all is not so well. A new set of bad guys have risen up from the ashes of Darth Vader and the Emperor, led by a masked leader and big fan of Vader: Kylo Ren (a fantastic Adam Driver), who along with a revised model of stormtroopers, have been terrorizing the galaxy, guided by the very scary Supreme Leader Snoke: (Andy Serkis) and the Nazi-like General Hux (Domhnall Gleason in full sneer). They call themselves the First Order and they have a new weapon, that makes the Death Star look like a compact car.

Luke Skywalker has gone missing and the First Order is after him. They fear that the powerful Jedi will help strengthen The Resistance, a band of rebels led by General Leia ( Carrie Fisher). Part of information crucial to the whereabouts of Skywalker was given to top-notch Resistance pilot: Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) on the desert planet of Jakku. With Ren and his soldiers on their way to intercept, Poe hides the information in his trusty beach ball droid: BB-8, with orders to get them to Lea and the Resistance. When the Order strikes Poe and the village he is in, one of the stormtroopers (John Boyega) seems reluctant to take in the slaughter at hand. He notices how skilled the valiant pilot Poe is in the attack. Kylo Ren decides to take Dameron prisoner, as he is sure that he knows about the information leading to Luke.

Back on the First Order’s ship, Ren tortures Poe but gets nowhere. That reluctant stormtrooper decides that he must free Dameron, to help him escape since he is such a good pilot and will surely know how to fly a Tie fighter to freedom. The disgruntled trooper didn’t have a name, only a number: FIN-2187, so Poe names him Finn. They crash land back on Jakku, where Poe goes missing and Finn lost, starts to trek to the nearest village for water. There he meets up with scavenger and loner: Rey ( Daisey Ridley) who has found BB-8 out in the desert and taken a liking to him. Rey is an orphan, who hunts for things to sell and makes her home among the wreckage of old ships from past battles, lying in waste and rusting on Jakku. Finn meets up with Rey in town and at first, they don't get along so well.

She is suspicious of why Finnis so interested in BB-8 until Finn can explain. Chaos ensues as the First Order, who now knows that Poe was rescued by defector Finn, and reluctantly, Rey and Finn barely escape from Tie Fighters in an old familiar ship….guess? This action sequence that takes them through a crashed Star destroyer buried in the sand is brilliantly executed, and the humor that Abrams injects in all of the battle scenes, are the very things missing from the last three films. You get a sense that there was a lot of on the set improv moments that were added to the scenes and they are a welcome comic relief, that adds those wonderful touches that the first three had. After Rey and Finn escape and are out in space, the Falcon is captured by another ship that they think are the bad guys. That’s where Han Solo ( a very funny and engaged Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca ( Peter Mayhew) make their wonderful return.

Rey and Finn know of the legend of Solo and Luke Skywalker and Han fills them in on the history, and that, yes…the force is real. Together now, this group must work together to find Han’s old Jedi buddy and destroy the evil First Order. Along the way, we see some more old friends and somewhat familiar places. A wonderful battle sequence as The Resistance arrives, with their ships charging ahead over churning waters, with the brilliant (John Williams) score playing, will get your blood pumping.

Part of the fun of this movie is how much Abram’s honors the first film and tries to mimic it. In some cases, right down to the same effects. He remembers, as do all of us, what made the first Star Wars so damn magical.

I must point out that (Ridley and Boyega) fresh new faces, have a sense of wit and charm like the original cast. They get the myth they are in and it brings a whole new level of excitement to feel theirs. Boyega does a little too much, with the mouth wide open "Oh my God" look, but he is very likable. Ford is wonderful and I had forgotten the subtle things Mayhew did as Chewbacca that made him so perfect with those sad eyes. BB-8 is cute, as he is the new R2-D2. I will point out, that the two standouts for me were Driver as Ren, and Isaac as Poe. They are both very good. Driver, particularly, has one scene that can’t be mentioned but is brilliant in how he shows and conveys the conflict inside. When it's getting's a just a little dark. The Starkiller Base is just a tad too much like The Death Star, but you need that kind of big hurdle in this universe against good and evil.

J.J. Abrams was a little boy, with wide-eyed wonder who saw George Lucas’s groundbreaking film and it inspired him with its vision. He remembered and has honored it, with the first of the new movies, of which I hope, will follow, many more exciting episodes.

Thank you J.J.

The force is wide awake, and you should see this movie…several times!


watch the trailer: