The Force Awakens… and is Still With Us

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Star Wars

So the new Star Wars film, THE FORCE AWAKENS has been out now for a couple of weeks and has broken records for all kinds of money made at the box office. The legion of fans, like my son, have seen it more than once and I guess are mostly happy with this latest addition to their childhood fixation. Little did I know when I took said son to see this film it would become a lifelong obsession for him and for millions of other young men of his generation.

We took it in at the local theater just before Christmas and found it to be a pleasantly pleasing movie. It was good to see Chewie, Han, and Leia one more time. We were surprised to see the good ole Millennium Falcon could still fly and that the Storm Troopers are still wearing the same uniforms they wore thirty years ago!! Who knew they could hold up so well??

Han and Leia turned out not to be stellar parents and have walked away from their marriage, but still love one another. Han has gone back to doing what ever it was he did in the first movie as a ‘trader’ of questionable goods and Luke is off somewhere perhaps becoming the next Yoda. Won’t know the answer to that until, wait- the next installment of this series that isn’t going to end in my lifetime.

All humor aside, this is an entertaining film. J.J. Abrams brings back some much-needed humor to the story and adds some new questions to be answered down the line. The plot line is familiar; a R2D2 type droid, BB-8 has been given the map to where Luke Skywalker might be hiding and must keep it safe from the First Order, which has replaced the Empire. They live on something called a Starkiller instead of a Death Star; sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it??

A lot in this movie seems familiar and that is part of its appeal. The viewer gets a warm glow when Han and Chewie take the screen for the first time. We’ve missed them.

This film introduces the next generation of heroes: Rey (Daisy Ridley) Finn (John Royega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac). To the new fans they will become Luke, Han, and Leia. R2D2 and C3PO are being replaced by BB-8 and his crew of droids. Rey has been taken from her parents at a young age and grown up in a desert area somewhere in the vast galaxy. She flies the little garbage collecting ship at record speed and has no trouble in flying the Falcon either. The Force is strong in her, to quote Yoda. Her true identity remains a mystery yet to be solved. The same is true of Finn, a Storm Trooper turned good guy. He too was taken from his parents at a young age so he could be raised to be a Storm Trooper and the Force is strong in him too.

Then there is Poe, an ace fighter pilot, who flies the X-wing much like Luke did and is BB-8’s best friend. Adam Driver is Klyo Ren, the Darth Vader wanna be. I thought it was interesting Ren is given the same voice box as Vader, but can use his own voice when he takes off the recognizable mask.

I will stop here before I give away surprises. The film carries the same ideas as the first three films; good vs. evil; rising to do what is right; believing in something (The Force) greater than your self.

The three newer movies, in my opinion were not as good as the first three for many reasons. They were a study in how darkness over shadows good. It wasn’t entertaining watching Anakin Skywalker turn into Darth Vader. There was little humor in those films and it was good to see that Abrams brought back some humor and some of the entertaining quirky characters that inhabit this odd world that Han and Luke live in.

This movie won’t be the magical moment that it was for my children because today’s youngster has been inundated with special-effects driven films and games since their birth. For those of us who are older, this latest Star Wars film gives us a moment to remember that magic when our children were transported to a galaxy far, far, away and that’s a good thing.