Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the first Disney-produced Star Wars movie, helmed by JJ Abrams. This film is a return to the original themes of the original Star Wars trilogy, done in the same style. I really enjoyed this film, and rank it on the same level as those films. I’ve seen it twice already, and will probably see it again. I haven’t seen it in 3D, nor do I intend to, since it does not appear to benefit from it – others have told me as much.
There are minor spoilers in this review, so stop reading now if you feel the need to avoid them
The film starts as the previous ones have, with the crawling text setting the tone. It is a few years after the defeat of the second Death Star. The Empire is in disarray,and one splinter group, The First Order, is taking control. The former Rebel Alliance has a footing, and is guided by The Resistance, centralized around a handful of planets. We learn that Luke Skywalker has gone missing, under unfortunate circumstances. The rebels are trying to find him, and that’s where our movie begins. A rebel pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) goes to a village and gets information that will help them find Luke. The First Order has been alerted to this, and they send troops to intercept. Dameron attempts to escape, but is captured, not before leaving the information in the care of his robot, BB-8. The troops are lead by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a dark figure who clearly has learned the ways of The Force. Ren orders the deaths of everyone in the village, but one trooper (John Boyega) isn’t too keen on the command.
The film them cuts away to a desert, and focuses on a scavenger, Rey (Daisy Ridley), who stays alive by ripping parts out of crashed Imperial cruisers. She’s barely squeaking by, but managing. While resting, she hears a droid screaming for help. It’s BB-8, who’s about to be taken by another scavenger.
So far, I’ve only described the first few minutes of the film. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a runtime of 135 minutes, so there’s great deal more to discover. All of these people’s lives become intertwined, and that is the core story. Yes, they do commingle with the characters from the first three films (aka Star Wars IV-VI), in very appealing and exciting ways. Other new characters are introduced, and there is a satisfying conclusion to The Force Awakens. It is epic, and there’s a heft to the story. There is never a dull moment. There are a few heavy moments that have a big impact, and are best left for you to discover on your own.
I do want to address a thing or two about the movie’s reception by the public. There are people that have complained that this movie follows the same basic storyline of The first film, retitled Star Wars: A New Hope. While it is fundamentally true, it doesn’t matter. This story stands on its own and it has substance to it in a way that the Prequel movies could have had, but didn’t manage to pull off as effectively. Also, there are many people have complained that there are many unresolved questions, and complaints about some of the lesser characters, and are demanding answers. My response is that there are two further films planned, and that anyone who isn’t satisfied should wait for the story to unfold. There’s plenty of time to get those answers.