The Force has finally awoken. Disney and JJ Abrams have delivered the movie that fans have waited 32 years for. Ever since 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” fans have wondered about the fate of their favorite characters and the galaxy after the fall of the evil empire. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” finally answers those questions.
Three decades after the death of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine the galaxy is still in a power struggle. While the Rebel Alliance was able to over throw the empire, a new evil has arisen out of it’s ashes called “The First Order”. This rising threat is led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) who, like his predecessor Palpatine, preaches the virtue of the Dark Side of The Force and has a Force wielding apprentice named Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The only man who can battle the Dark Side, the last Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), has gone missing and both the good guys and the bad guys want to find him.
“The Force Awakens” takes many cues from the original Star Wars movie. There is a brooding conflicted bad guy in black, the good guys are on the run as outlaws, there is a giant super weapon that needs destroying, and most importantly, the original characters that fans have known and loved for years have returned. While characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) play important roles in the plot of the film, it’s clear “The Force Awakens” is not simply about nostalgia and quickly establishes new heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), BB-8, and Poe (Oscar Isaac).
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” truly feels like an awakening of the franchise. The film is both fun and suspenseful and captures the mood of the original. Many of the twists in the plot are obvious from heavy handed foreshadowing yet there is still an anticipation when the expected payoff is about to arrive. This is after all a serial space opera so that is to be expected. The convoluted story and poor dialogue of the prequel trilogy are nowhere to be found and there appears to be a clear direction for this trilogy. “The Force Awakens” also looks better than any of the films in the prequel trilogy due to JJ Abrams’ decision to use practical effects over green screen computer generated sets creating a much more realistic and believable world.
Any fears Star Wars fans had over Disney’s 2012 $4.06 billion purchase of the property should now be alleviated. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a quality film that respects the past and moves the story and property forward. Gone are the times of wondering if or when another film would ever be released while the property sat moth balled. Disney plans to launch another installment in this trilogy in 2017 while a standalone Star Wars film is scheduled for 2016. This pattern of trilogy installment followed a year later by stand alone will repeat with a Star Wars film coming out every year for the next 6 years. In addition, Disney recently announced that Star Wars Land would be built at both Disneyland and Disney World. This is a great time to be a Star Wars fan.
The home video release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” includes 7 deleted scenes, video of the cast’s first table read, a making of documentary, and several smaller documentaries on individual character and set designs.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is on DVD and Blu-Ray April 5th, 2016.
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