Movie Night: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m going to keep this short, primarily because I want to avoid spoilers. However, there’s simply no way I can ignore having seen this movie, and I have to write at least something about it. Proceed as you will—I can’t promise not to spoil anything, but I’ll try my best.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens picks up where Return of the Jedi left off … give or take thirty years. It primarily follows the story of two young idealists, Rey and Finn, as they attempt to rescue a droid and transport it—and the crucial information it contains—to the good guys. In between, they are chased by bad guys, blow things up, and meet up with some dear old friends.

If this sounds an awful lot like A New Hope, you’re not wrong. In many ways, The Force Awakens parallels this original film, all the way down to a cantina scene. But this is for the better, I think—it gives us a chance to learn new characters within the framework of something nostalgically familiar. There are x-wings, TIE fighters, space dogfights and lightsaber battles. There are Jedi, and some very impressive manipulation of the force.

Yet for all of this, The Force Awakens manages to feel fresh and new. Perhaps because not a single planet or star system from the previous six movies is so much as mentioned. Perhaps because stormtroopers are shown to have a soul (no spoiler here—the trailers showed Finn as a stormtrooper). But mostly, I think, it’s because it treads old ground in new territory. The Force Awakens is, in many ways, the perfect bridge movie: although its story is good in its own right, its true strength is in passing the torch, as it were, from the old characters to the new ones. We love our old favorites, but we rapidly come to enjoy those that are new.

I, for one, can’t wait to see where this goes from here. And unlike The Phantom Menace, whose sequels were somewhat predictable, there is really no telling the direction of the next two films. From where The Force Awakens leaves off, there are any number of ways it could go, much like A New Hope. And if Episode VIII delivers in the way The Empire Strikes Back did, this will be a trilogy to remember.

If you haven’t yet seen this movie in the cinema, I highly recommend you do. You won’t regret it.

Featured image taken from: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Wars:_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens.

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