A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
When the “Lucasfilm’ logo appears on the screen, followed by the Star Wars logo and John Williams’ title theme, those of us who saw the original three when they came out nearly 40 years ago could not help but have a lump in our throats.
Just as its fore bearers began with a bang, so does this latest piece in the seven part moneymaker for first George Lucas and now Disney.
Director JJ Abrams pays homage to Episodes 4 5 and 6 with a similar theme. The evil First Order has developed a ‘Death Planet’ similar to the “Death Star” but many times as powerful.
There is a Darth Vader like character that hasn’t quite made the grade, a count down to the destruction of the remnants of the Republic, lots of fancy flying, and a new female almost a Jedi(Rey) to save the day.
After she and a fallen away storm trooper (Finn) steal the Millennium Falcon, accidentally return it to Han Solo and Chewbacca, and the group joins up with now General Leah who is estranged from Han. All is forgiven as Han, Chewey, Rey, Finn, and a host of star pilots head off to do their thing.
This is some of the best acting that Harrison Ford as a 70 year old Han Solo has done deftly combining his earlier pirate self with his emotional attachment for Leah (Carrie Fisher) and their son, who has taken the route of his Grandfather. (If you don’t know who that was, don’t see the movie.)
The plot hovers over the search for Luke, now a Jedi Master who has disappeared. As First Order wants him dead to end the Jedi, the Republic races to find and save him. Mark Hamill reprises his role as the missing Luke and has no problem with his dialogue.
The Force Awakens was the perfect sequel to the first three live action movies. British actors Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn) are well positioned to take the franchise to even more galaxies in the not so distant future.
I didn’t love it, but I liked it a lot. Its like Thomas Wolfes’ ‘You Can Go Home Again.’ We have become so jaded with technology in the last four decades that there is no way Abrams could match the awe factor of the original. But he comes damn close.