Sunday, December 27, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Earlier this week me and my colleagues went to check out Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the seventh installment in the main Star Wars series and the first one since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005. It is also the first movie released under Disney -- you probably remember the gargantuan $4 billion-plus deal The Walt Disney Co. struck with Lucasfilm late in 2012 -- and the first of the new trilogy. Directed, co-produced and co-written by Fringe co-creator/Star Wars superfan J.J. Abrams, the successor of Lucas is tasked with resurrecting the one megafranchise to rule them all. Will he succeed? Well, you know what Yoda said about merely trying.

The skinny

Thirty-some years after the second Death Star was destroyed, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last Jedi, has gone into hiding. Both the First Order (risen from the remains of the fallen Galactic Empire), led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and the Resistance, led by Luke's sister, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), go looking for Luke, the Order to eliminate him, the Resistance to enlist his aid. Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) has obtained a map to Luke's location on the planet Jakku just as stormtroopers under the command of dark warrior Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) arrive, destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe's droid BB-8 escapes with the map, coming across Rey (Daisy Ridley).

The review

Hats off to Lucas' heir J.J. Abrams for crafting a movie that stays true to its roots and honors the franchise's history, all the while presenting a new future to follow along with a fresh generation of characters. The Force Awakens is beautiful to look at, brillianty acted, breathlessly exciting and obviously made with grand enthusiasm. Abrams doesn't quite break new ground with this seventh installment, but his 135-minute thrill ride is a spirited and gripping update for the new generation. Complete with the great John Williams score, appearances by Han Solo, Chewie, C3PO and R2-D2, and a terrific performance by English actress Daisy Ridley, who crosses effortlessly into stardom, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is definitely worth your while.

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