My Saturday afternoon this past weekend was like spending an afternoon with old friends.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a joyous return for the saga after the not-so-great episodes I, II & III. Some of the old characters have returned including Han Solo, Princess (now Commander) Leia, C-3PO, Chewbacca, R2-D2 & a brief view of Luke Skywalker. There are also some great new characters played by Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Daisy Ridley & Adam Driver. Overall, it’s a great time that will have you happy to see that the “true” Star Wars has finally returned.
Trying to avoid too many spoilers, film opens with a Resistance pilot fighter, Poe (Isaac), recovering the final map piece that will lead the Resistance to Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts. Of course the First Order and their masked leader Kylo Ren (Driver) knows of these map pieces and quickly captures Poe from the village he was doing business in. Thankfully, Poe placed the map piece in his BB-8 droid and tells the droid to flee before they catch him.
On the same planet of Jakku, the BB-8 droid meets Rey (Ridley), a scavenger waiting for her parents to return to Jakku to pick her up. She decides to help BB-8 stay safe until Poe returns for him on Jakku, even though that is starting to look slim.
Back on the First Order’s ship, Poe is rescued by a rogue stormtrooper, Finn (played by John Boyega), and the two of them set out to Jakku to find BB-8. Once landing, Poe is nowhere to be found so Finn journeys out on his own, stumbling upon Rey & the BB-8 droid. He knows the First Order is looking for the droid so the two of them have to flee a battle before they are caught.
As the story goes on, Rey, Finn & the BB-8 droid try to figure out what is going on with the Resistance & helps BB-8 get back to where he belongs. Of course they have help from some old friends along the way, making this for a very nice treat.
The acting very solid across the board, with Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac & John Boyega being the standouts of the film. Harrison Ford makes a very welcoming return as Han Solo, giving probably the best returning performance of the old characters. I was a little disappointed by Carrie Fisher’s performance, as it felt very stiff and by-the-book. I missed that spunk Leia use to have, but in all fairness, I think the Botox prevents Fisher from making the same facial expressions she once could make.
Director J.J. Abrams was a fitting choice for a director, after he directed some excellent films including Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness & Super 8. I couldn’t think of a better director, as he respects the old material. Plus, he was in good hands with original writer Lawrence Kasdan returning to write the screenplay with Abrams & Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). Some of the dialogue was a little corny, but the story works very well.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will delight true fans of the saga and help them forget about episodes I, II & III. It’s a wonderful blockbuster for 2015, with old friends returning to capture your hearts and bring back fond memories. Rated PG-13.