Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is the movie we should have received instead of the prequels that are episodes I, II, and III. I was a little skeptical going to this at first given the prequel trilogy, however I felt with J.J. Abrams at the helm we may actually have a decent Star Wars movie. And that is what we got; a lighthearted, funny, and touching movie that can be enjoyed by anyone, fan or not. With the new trio of heroes to focus on, with the nostalgia of some of the older characters, it helps to bring the continuation of the story alive.
The desert planet of Jakku is the first backdrop in which we are privy to. We bear witness to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) attempting to flee the movie’s nemesis, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Dameron is captured shortly after he manages to offload a map fragment to his droid companion, BB-8. The map fragment of course being the missing link in finding the location of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Now this scene shows us a few things. Ren’s raw power in being able to stop a blaster bolt fired directly at him, then finish his lengthy monologue, and then to release it like it was nothing. But we also get to see Ren lash out with rage and destroy a room in frustration, and also repeatedly explain to a captive that he “can have anything I want.” This shows us that he is still young and untrained, and the dark side is corrupting him.
Through Dameron’s escape, we are introduced to the other new lead characters; Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley). Finn is a defected Stormtrooper who was present in the beginning of the film when Ren was searching for the map fragment. He, along with Dameron, stole a Tie Fighter and escaped the grasp of Ren. They crash land back on Jakku, and Dameron is seemingly gone, and Finn is left to find help. He stumbles across a junker town where he meets Rey who just also happens to have a certain BB-8 droid by her side. They end up being found by Stormtroopers, chased down, and take refuge in an old dilapidated ship – the Millennium Falcon.
This of course leads them straight in to the arms of old favourites Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Having lost their ship previously, they have been on the hunt for it ever since. Chance meetings and happenings are a thing of Star Wars lore, with these being a common occurrence throughout the franchise.
Cut to Ren and his emotional fueled rage, and we discover that he has created the Starkiller base. This is an ode to the Death Star. Only ten times the size and ten times the fire power. This also happens to be where Ren holds his prisoners for interrogation so we get to see quite a large amount of this place.
There is plenty that brings this movie together: the practical effects of the droids (BB-8 and R2D2), the effects during the space battles and dog fights, and even the nods to the previous films. The musical score is still amazing, with John Williams back again to compose the music. Seeing Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill reprise their roles of the characters that people over generations to know and love was a special thing. Watching the future movies in the franchise will be that bit harder knowing that we will not be able to see Fisher again in another film past Episode 8. She was a much loved actress, and a great addition to the cast.
Watch the trailer below: