The force is strong with this one

January 14, 2016

Caleb Daniel

Staff Reporter | cds020@ latech.edu

courtesy of Disney

courtesy of Disney



While the characters of “Star Wars” continue to have “a bad feeling” about things, it seems that fans of the franchise certainly do not. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the long-awaited seventh installment of the popular space saga, Force-jumped its way to numerous box office records, raking in over half a billion dollars worldwide on opening weekend alone.


The film revives all the wonder of the original trilogy in a fresh and exciting fashion unrivaled by the controversial prequels of the early 2000s. Set 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi,” the galaxy in “The Force Awakens” is once again in turmoil, as the sinister First Order rises from the ashes of the old Empire. As a brave Resistance opposes the First Order in galactic warfare, new heroes and familiar faces must come together to restore balance to the Force once again.


Director J.J. Abrams is far from stingy with throwbacks to the original trilogy as the plot develops. From top-secret data hidden in a droid on a desert planet, to a mission to blow up a huge spherical space station and good old Jedi mind tricks, “The Force Awakens” is riddled with nostalgic, crowd-pleasing elements plucked directly from the old saga. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprise their iconic roles as Han Solo and Leia Organa in ways sure to leave longtime fans in tears of reminiscence.


John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are superb as leading protagonists Finn and Rey, ensuring a comfortable baton-pass from the old heroes to the new. Ridley is especially convincing in her debut role as a lone scavenger who gradually realizes her strong connection to the light side of the Force. Rey’s almost giddy reaction to meeting Han Solo in the flesh perfectly reflects the fans’ excitement to seeing their favorite smuggler back in action.


The film moves at a quick pace, driven by another heart-swelling John Williams score and numerous action sequences that feel much more earthy than those of the CGI-overloaded prequels. If there is any criticism to be made, it is that this new installment’s plot is perhaps a bit too similar to that of the original film, “A New Hope.” While some developments are indeed new and refreshing, the overall arc of “The Force Awakens” almost feels like history simply repeating itself.


These similarities are completely understandable. Abrams had to walk a fine line between nostalgia and originality, and while he may have leaned a little heavily on the side of nostalgia, he also left openings for the next films to seek newer frontiers.


As long as the remaining episodes take the plot in a more original direction, the heavy amount of throwbacks in this new beginning is absolutely forgivable. Seeing the words “Star Wars” make that beautiful golden crawl across the screen may have been enough on its own to pack theaters, but “The Force Awakens” delivers a solid movie experience even apart from popularity of its predecessors.


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