‘Star Wars the Force’ “Awakens” the beloved franchise (Review)


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“Star Wars: The Focus Awakens” is everything it was supposed to be.

There has been a lot of anticipation for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J Abrams and written by Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt. It’s easy to see why, according to Vanity Fair, “the film already passed “Avatar” as the highest grossing film of all time and by its end in theaters it is estimated to bring in $2 billion dollars worldwide.”

Related: ‘The Force Awakens’ is a Triumph to the Star Wars Franchise

The most engrossing part about all of this though is how the film worked and awakened the old franchise that was in need of some new writers and director’s to lead the series into a most interesting direction.

The film worked because it did everything it was supposed to do. It brought back to life a familiar “Star Wars” universe that fans and young viewers have come to admire and love through Lucas’s creation. The film also blended old characters and new ones that have more depth and diversity.

This new “Star Wars” film also had action and adventure and it set up the universe again for more movies to come soon after. The next “Star Wars” film, Episode VIII is set for release on May 26th, 2017 but the director will be Rian Johnson, who most notoriously directed the 2012 hit “Looper” and three well known and praised episodes of the hit television show “Breaking Bad.” For the franchise, switching up directors and writers is probably actually a good sign since it will lead to more expansion of storyline  and fresh takes on expanding characters, allowing things to go into different directions that won’t become too familiar or boringly overdone.

Trailing back to what to brought the series back though, “The Force Awakens” was overall a success due to its set up of a storyline that allowed long times fans to stay fascinated but also allowed younger viewers or people new to series to get this visually appealing movie that would not be confusing to follow since this is the first film created after the rights to Star Wars were sold to Disney. The movie’s characters shined and compared to the other movies they were more diverse and blended well into a modern age. Ren (Daisy Ridley), who quickly became a star of the film, was a main character and a woman. Finn (John Boyega) , who shined beside her, viewers come to see as an ex Storm trooper is of African American descent. Together, these two characters are quite different from Lucas’s films as stars on screen.

(From This Point on There Are Spoilers)

The Force Awakens starts thirty years after the events of The Return of the Jedi and it stars with familiarity since its plot virtually mimics Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In it is a death star-like weapon known as the Starkiller Base. The main difference between the two is that the Starkiller Base is technically greater in terms of destructive power. The base needs destroyed as the Death Star did in A New Hope. Also similar characters are brought back such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), R2 – D2 (Kenny Baker), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Rey and Finn as well as the other newly introduced characters mesh well the old ones allowing the series to move on and for some roles to be reversed or changed.

One character in particular Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) feels a lot like an old villain from the past from his deep nasally voice to the masked quality of his face. While much of the film has to take segments from the original series and where at times it does feels a like this is done too much, this new film does a good job as a progression or a lead into new found territory. It serves as a cross over into new territory for the films to come.

Abrams’s play on light vs. dark as well as the additional previous throwbacks gave a sense of history repeating yet recreating itself in the film. The First Order serves as part of the Dark Side of the force. The plot really starts on the planet Jakku where X-wing pilot Poe Damermon (Oscar Isaac) comes across a part of map that reveals Skywalker’s location, which Skywalker has gone into hiding, from an elder who looks very similar to one of Luke’s old masters. Poe hides it in a droid BB-8. Kylo Ren and his storm troopers destroy the village and capture Poe and they search for the droid’s whereabouts. In short, eventually Rey and ex-storm trooper Finn escape with BB-8 on the Millennium Falcon. The ship is then captured by a freighter that is being run by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Along the way Rey obtains Luke’s light saber on planet Takodana, attacked by then by the First Order where Rey is captured by Ren.

She escapes, learning that she can use the force. Han, Finn, and Chewbacca go looking for Rey, where viewers see Han have a confirmation of his son Ren after Rey finds the rest of the crew. Without giving too much away, something here goes terribly wrong that enrages Chewbacca who then sets off explosives, allowing a reaction to start to eventually destroy the base.

A final battle occurs at the end with Rey and Ren on the surface. Both live as the land separates beneath them causing a separation and Rey goes on to find Luke and to give his light saber which started as his father’s, setting up a scene which can only be described as breathtaking.

Star Wars has always been about history, the morals of good and bad and ethics on trust. The universe will continue on and people who are fans of the series or even those thinking to go see it should watch this movie. It awakened something in me that was the joy of watching these beloved films.