Picking up where Episode VII left off, a newcomer to the Star Wars universe, Rian Johnson, takes the helm with his 2017 release, Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi as both its writer and director. Produced by Lucasfilm, Episode VIII once again stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, with returning classic characters played by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.Read More
In 2012, when it was originally announced that Disney had purchased Lucasfilms and all of the Star Wars properties along with it there was rejoice and there was opposition. Soon after news broke that not only did Disney now own the beloved franchise, but they were working on new movies immediately. Fast forward to 2015 and the wait is finally over for the next entry to the space opera franchise. Many are wondering if it will be ultimately disappointing or will it reignite old fans and newcomers alike to create a new generation of Star Wars nerds. Well I am here to tell you that the torch has been lit. Star Wars is back, and no one is happier than I am to write that.
Taking over the franchise is sci-fi veteran, J.J. Abrams. After leaving the moderately successful reboot of the Star Trek movie franchise, he takes on a Herculean task in making a movie not only for mainstream audiences but for hardcore fans as well. Abrams is able to create a film that feels like it was created 3 years after Return of the Jedi and is far more inline with the original trilogy than the CGI mess that were the prequel films. Bizarrely enough, for 135 minutes Abrams put on a masterclass of how to do these movies right in the modern era. After about 5 minutes I had a sigh of relief that The Force Awakens was going to be fine, but it wasn’t fine...it was better than that, far better.
The film concentrates on two characters overwhelmingly, the young stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega) and a scavenger on the planet Jakku, Rei (Daisy Ridley). The two meetup in the classic Star Wars way of extenuating circumstances of a coming adventure. The famed jedi, Luke Skywalker has been missing for many years and due to that reason the film is off to the races. Luke’s absence has allowed a group called The First Order to thrive across the galaxy. They too are on the hunt for Skywalker, and of course to dominate the galaxy while they are at it. In a lot of ways, The Force Awakens is a mixture of many of the classic Star Wars stories but it still forges its own path. As I mentioned before, the film feels very much in line with the original films and the new story connects us back to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi seamlessly. When Finn and Rei eventually find the infamous Han Solo and Chewbacca the story really starts churning fast for these newcomers. The team works desperately to not only find Luke but to stop the First Order from using a new planetary weapon, the Starkiller. The First Order is controlled by a man named Kylo Ren who has a very Darth Vader like presence in the film, and for good reason. As the trailer showed, Ren aims to finish what Vader started so many years ago.
The amount of moments of fan service, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, is fantastic. Instead of just doing cheap tricks to amuse fans the film just recreates a similar atmosphere of the original Star Wars. Through character personalities, set pieces, background elements we just feel at home again. This review is incredibly difficult to write because I don’t want to spoil anything, as nothing was spoiled for me. So I will end it here by simply saying: If you are a fan of the original movies you will be extremely pleased with the direction that the franchise is headed in. After so many years, you will get those movies you always wanted. For casual fans and newcomers, welcome to what it felt like when the hardcore fans tell you about the first time they saw the originals. The laughter, the goosebumps, the emotional feelings, the pure aww at times, and the absolute joy when you know that there is more to come; that’s what Star Wars has always felt like to me and to many fans and now you get to experience that first hand.
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