Star Wars: The Force Awakens

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the remains of the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate Luke and the Republic. The Resistance, a military force backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s sister, Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets with village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and comes across a scavenger, Rey, at a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to kill for the First Order, frees Poe and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn appears to be the only survivor. He encounters Rey and BB-8 and tells BB-8 of Poe’s fate, while lying to Rey that he’s a part of the resistance. The First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike, but the three are able to flee the planet in a stolen, rundown ship, the Millennium Falcon.

The Falcon breaks down, leaving Finn and Rey stranded. They are found by Han Solo and Chewbacca, who reclaim their former ship, taking it aboard their freighter. Han reveals to them that the force, the Jedi, and Luke Skywalker, who were thought of as mere stories, were real. He explains that Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi Order, but after a student turned to the dark side and destroyed all that he had built, Luke went into exile, feeling responsible. Criminal gangs seeking to settle debts with Solo attack, but the five escape in the Falcon. However, the criminals inform the First Order of Han’s involvement with the droid. The Falcon crew arrive at the planet Takodana and meet Maz Kanata, who can help BB-8 reach the Resistance, but Finn wants to flee on his own. Rey is drawn to a vault and finds the lightsaber that belonged to Luke and his father before him. She experiences disturbing visions, and flees into the woods. Maz then gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.

At the First Order’s Starkiller Base, a planet converted to a superweapon capable of destroying star systems, Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use it for the first time; they use the weapon to destroy the Republic capital and its fleet, declaring it the end of the Republic. Snoke also tells Ren that to overcome the call of the Light Side of the Force, Ren must kill his father, Han Solo. The First Order then attacks Takodana. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn, who uses the lightsaber in the fight, are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, but Rey is captured by Kylo Ren and taken to Starkiller Base. Ren, confident that he could find the map from Rey and didn’t need BB-8, interrogates Rey, but she resists his mind-reading. Discovering she too can use the Force, she escapes her cell with a Jedi mind trick.

Han, Chewbacca, Finn, and BB-8 arrive at the Resistance base on D’Qar, where they meet Leia and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, the latter of which has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to lower the planetary shield so their fighters can attack. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the base. They lower the shields, find Rey, set explosives, and encounter Ren. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Though conflicted, Ren kills Han. An angered Chewbacca shoots Ren in the arm, kills several stormtroopers, and sets off the planted explosives, allowing the Resistance X-wing fighters to attack the weakened weapon and starting a chain reaction that destroys Starkiller Base.

The injured Ren chases Finn and Rey to the surface. Ren, bent on taking his grandfather’s lightsaber for himself, knocks Rey unconcious, forcing Finn to battle Ren with the lightsaber. Finn holds his own and even slashes Ren in the arm, but he is wounded by Ren. Ren tries to take the lightsaber using the force, but a now concious Rey proves to be stronger with the force and takes the lightsaber to fight Ren. Although Ren is the better lightsaber fighter and starts off with an advantage, she overpowers him with the Force and wounds him before they are separated by a fissure opening. Snoke orders General Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him, while Rey, Chewbacca, and Finn escape in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates its victory while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 then awakens and reveals the rest of the map, allowing Rey to travel with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to an island on a distant planet. Finding Luke, Rey offers the lightsaber to him

REVIEW:

Finally, after what has seemed like forever and day, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived in theaters. Those of us super nerd fanboys can die happy…right? Maybe not quite yet. I hear this is only the start of a trilogy, as well as more movies, series, etc. that Disney has planned for the franchise. As long as they don’t go overboard like George Lucas did, that’s fine with me, but it is all for naught if this film is no good.

What is this about?

The Galactic Empire was defeated thirty years ago. The Galaxy is now facing a new threat: a new faction named the First Order. Their main mission is to rule the Galaxy and destroy all who oppose them. Their commander is a ruthless, mysterious, powerful Sith, Kylo Ren. Kylo has an ambition to find and kill the last Jedi who is able to restore order and revive the Jedi ways, Luke Skywalker. Luke’s unknown location is also a main concern for General Leia Organa, a General from the Resistance that now trying to find him too. Han Solo and Chewbacca meet some new companions: Finn, a defective First Order Stormtrooper, and Rey, a scavenger from the Jakku planet who acquired Luke’s location through a BB-8 rolling droid. This unexpected team is forced not only to fight and resist the First Order, but also to find Luke Skywalker

What did I like?

Know where you come from. The prequels are generally reviled by fans of the franchise, so for this film to really stand on its own and not be compared to those it did the smart thing, return to its roots. What do I mean by that? Well, we are now 30 years after Return of the Jedi, and on this planet Jakku, you can see remnants of Star Destroyers, AT-AT, and even the Millennium Falcon is found there. While the latter becomes part of the film, it is still a nice easter egg for us die-hard fans to see these vehicles.

New class. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford could probably still carry this franchise if need be, but they aren’t as young as they used to be. It is time for some new blood to be injected. Enter Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. I didn’t really know what to expect from these two. Boyega I’ve seen in Attack the Block, but I didn’t pay that much attention to him back then and Ridley is cute as a button, but this is one of her first roles. The chemistry these two have, though, really lets them shine when they are together, couple that with the talent they have on their own and these two have very bright futures ahead of them, in this franchise and beyond!

Practicality. George Lucas ruined the holy trilogy by forcing CG into scenes where there wasn’t any and the prequels may as well have been as CG as The Clone Wars animated series. Thankfully, J.J. Abrams shut that down and used mostly all practical effects. Meaning the creatures you see are actual people wearing costumes, as opposed to someone in a MOKAP suit. I really can appreciate this approach to filmmaking. We are entirely to reliant on computers for everything these days, and it isn’t for the better!

What didn’t I like?

Kylo. How do you follow up a classic cinema villain like Darth Vader? Apparently, you create someone similar, give him daddy issues, and throw in the little subplot about his leaving jedi training to follow the Dark Side. Ok, all this works, but something about this guy just wasn’t menacing. He seemed more like that high school bully, rather than a threat to the whole universe. Think back to Star Wars, from the first time we see Darth Vader, it is known that he is not a force to be reckoned with. Don’t get me wrong, Kylo Ren has impressive powers, but there is something that just doesn’t make him a threat, yet. It may have been that he took his mask off, but I can’t be sure.

All for one. As I said earlier, there are some clever easter eggs for those of us that grew up with the holy trilogy, but the biggest of those may be the plot of this film. It is very similar to Episode IV. I was on board with the girl on the desert planet who finds a droid that has to complete its mission, her discovery of jedi powers, and other parts similarities too numerous to list. When it came to the giant planet that destroys solar systems though, I had to take issue. Is there nothing else for the First Order to do but to blow up planets? Did they not learn from the Empire’s mistakes?

Starkiller. How many of you have ever played The Force Unleashed? Anybody? Well, the main character is a clone Darth Vader made and his name is Starkiller. I’m not sure if this is mean to be a coincidence, an easter egg, or what, but naming this giant battle station Starkiller felt a bit forced, pardon the pun, if that was the intention. I guess Death Star III would have been too much, though.

Let’s not beat around the bush, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was definitely worth the wait! I was a little nervous going in that this was going to be one of those overhyped pictured, but it wasn’t. Sure, there are some scenes that I felt could have used a bit of tweaking, especially in the early part of the film, but all in all, this is quite the enjoyable experience. For me, I got the feeling i did (and still do) when i watch the holy trilogy. Now, it isn’t quite at the level yet, but it could get there. Do i recommend this? Yes! Yes! A billion times YES! Why are you wasting time reading this? Go see it NOW!

5 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

  1. […] antihero for the franchise and did what she had to do for this film. Much like Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she isn’t given much, but works with what they gave her.  We get action, call backs to […]

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