HOLLYWOOD—Unless you have been living under a rock, that is the only possible way you could not have heard of a tiny movie called “Star Wars” that was about to be unleashed on the world. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest “Star Wars” fan. To be honest, I’ve only seen glimpses of “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
Sorry, I’m one of those who arrived on this Earth, post the explosion of the original “Star Wars” phenomenon. So imagine the confusion when I learned that new installments to the franchise were expected to come in 2015. Yes, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been unleashed upon fans and America and the result is: intriguing to say the least.
While I haven’t seen episodes 4-6 of the franchise in its entirety, I’m well aware of notable characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbecca and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). So to hear that director J.J. Abrams was taking over the franchise from George Lucas was scary at first. I might be one of those few who actually enjoyed watching “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” I mean what, sometimes getting that backstory of who Darth Vader is helps explain some of the secrecy behind the character.
Not to digress, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” takes place nearly 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” This is a movie where fans of the franchise will literally have ears and eyes closed until they enter the theater, but it’s important to set-up the narrative a bit. Luke Skywalker has gone missing, and it’s a hunt by the First Order and its bevy of Stormtroopers to capture the guy who was responsible for taking down the deliciously evil Darth Vader.
Viewers get a glimpse of Princess Leia who is now at the forefront of battling the evil forces and sends pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to the planet of Jakku to search for Luke. It is here where an attack takes place, and the introduction to our new leads come front and center in Rey portrayed by a lively and entertaining Daisy Ridley. This is a character that I suspect both guys and gals alike will resonate with. She’s a bit of an underdog and that is always something great to watch on the big screen. It doesn’t hurt that she kicks a bit of tail along the way.
Rey eventually links up with Finn (John Boyega) who is initially against the resistance, but has a moment to catch his conscience to realize what he has participated in is an onslaught that he no longer respects. Together, these two team up to do battle against the First Order, and along the way Han Solo joins them as well as Chewbecca (Peter Mayhew).
Oh, Chewie, you have indeed been missed. As for villains, fans might be surprised by actor Adam Driver who portrays Kylo Ren, a Vader like imposter if you ask me, whose motives are not clearly laid out in the beginning. Let’s just say his villainy and voice is unlike anything seen in the “Star Wars” universe.
Of course, with any “Star Wars” flick we are bound to be introduced to a slew of new characters that will indeed play a pivotal role in episodes VIII and IX. Yes people, there will be two more installments in the franchise, where characters like BB-8, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).
What Abrams and the rest of the clan do so well is introduce characters that the audience wants to know more about. We’re not dealing with another annoying Jar-Jar Binks here. While I can’t testify to the element of nostalgia from the first “Star Wars” movie here, I can honestly note, “The Force Awakens” has given me the push to check out the first installment of “Star Wars” in its entirety to learn what all the hype is about.
I always tell people there is nothing like watching fun, enthralling, explosions, epic fight sequences, and intriguing characters in an action-flick. Well, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” you have placed a gleeful smile on my face and forced me to admit that the hype was indeed worth it.