J.J Abrams has created a mashup with so much taken from the Star Wars canon and the expanded universe mixed in with a cast of new heroes and villians. For those that saw the originals in the cinema, The Force Awakens is a nostalgic ride. It pays homage to the originals in many ways from the epic imperial set designs, space craft and costumes, to the quick witted dry humor of Han Solo.
The film introduces the new vanguard of the light side, a disaffected Stormtrooper Fin (John Boyega), and Daisy Ridley as Rey, the new face of the force and a worthy hero for the galaxy.
Rey is a young woman, doubtful and head strong. She lives by her wits as a scavenger on the planet Jakku, An accidental hero that sports simple biblical-like attire, she roams the battle scarred desert, looking for junk to salvage and sell.
The force is strong with Rey. She’s a gifted pilot and resourceful and picks up light-sabre skills instantly. Episode 7 is one big tease for big reveals in episode 8. We’re given hints that Rey was deserted by her family but no clue as to why or what her lineage is. Star Wars is once again set up for sequel mode and her character arc will be revealed over the coming films. Much speculation exists over who she is related to. Rumours include that she is the daughter of Han or Leia – although if that were true surely they would recognize her? Perhaps she’s the daughter of Luke Skywalker or perhaps Ben Kenobi? Or perhaps she’s related to the dark side? Some of her light saber moves were notably similar to Palpatines. With her natural and untrained powers shes headed for some dark and trying times. Young Jedi’ are vulnerable to the lure of the dark side and while difficult to see the future is for Rey, she’s going to become a truly formidable Jedi to be reckoned with. There are some epic battles ahead in episode 8.
Fin is her sidekick and also a reluctant hero. As a deserter of The First Order, he escapes and teams up with Rey. Together they embark on a journey much like disenchanted youth in a dystopian future film. Rey quickly lets him know she is capable and doesn’t need any hand holding.
There’s a lot of complicated family drama fueling episode 7, with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), trying desperately to follow in Grandfather Vaders footsteps. He’s a dark soul tortured by the light, struggling to stay a villain. Episode 7 leaves us wondering if Kylo will give in to the light. His story, like Rey’s leaves many unanswered questions waiting for the next episode of the Skywalker family saga.
The new galactic dictatorship is the First Order, reformed from the remnants of the defeated Imperial Empire. The Order has an enormous fleet and an all powerful planet destroying Starkiller Base which in true Star Wars style, only needs an x-wing to take it out. Despite all the power, the dark side appears weak, undermined by internal tension and politics between General Hux and Ren. Both Hux and Ren serve the larger than life evil Snoke (Andy Serkis), responsible for seducing Ren to the dark side. Who or what Snoke is, also remains to be seen in episode 8.
Other characters in the mix include a new yoda-like character Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), to dispense wisdom.
C3PO reappears in his usual inopportune, awkward fashion.
R2D2 has been in low power depressed mode ever since Luke has gone into exile and only lights up at the end when there’s hope of finding Luke again.
Chewbacca is back as …well the Chewbacca we know and love.
Princess Leia, now General Leia. returns along with Han Solo. Together they share wistful looks and brief conversations about the past which old fans can nod along with knowingly.
BB-8 is a completely lovable new droid and deserves an Oscar for so effectively pulling on heart strings.
Oscar Isaac’s plays a vibrant Poe Dameron, a seemingly death defying resistance fighter, who makes a miraculous reappearance after he crash lands in a stolen tie fighter.
If I could find fault in this film, it would be to say there wasn’t nearly enough of Captain Phasma, high ranking storm-trooper dressed in shiny chrome armor, who so easily ends up headed for a trash compactor.
The Force Awakens brings a new generation of cinematic legends to the screen and pays the deserved respect to its predecessors. It’s a fast pace action film awash with nostalgia.
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