“STAR WARS: The Force Awakens”

Let’s cut to the chase, in case you cannot stand the suspense any longer. I am a huge STAR WARS fan and have been so since seeing the very first film when it first hit theaters. With STAR WARS creator George Lucas having stepped aside for this film, what would happen to our beloved STAR WARS saga?

Well, we can stop worrying. J.J. Abrams did not mess up our beloved STAR WARS. On the contrary, he was extremely loyal to the original. Thank you J.J.!

I just saw the new STAR WARS movie and it is everything that you’ve grown to love about STAR WARS – and then some. From the classic opening theme music by John Williams and the scroll down through paragraphs of explanatory text – written in yellow over a star field – that set the stage for this episode (VII); to Princess Leia (now General Organa), Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Storm Troopers – lots and lots of Storm Troopers; to the Millennium Falcon; to distant planets in a galaxy far, far away that are covered in inhospitable desert sand, snow, water and lush greenery; to battles on land and in space with plenty of blasters and lightsaber action, with big, fiery explosions; to the sarcastic jokes that provide great comic relief and make the characters so endearing; to the classic tale of really good ‘good’ versus really bad evil – its all there, just like you will remember it – particularly from the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI). But wait, there’s more, much more.

Episode VII introduces a cast of new, younger characters. Strong women take even greater roles, and there are other new, main characters that will surely return in future episodes (there will be more. Yes!). Darth Vader may be gone but he is not forgotten. You will see. As the actors grow into their new roles and take their characters in new and different directions, we will increasingly

love (or hate) them, in the same ways that we do the familiar characters that we already know so very well.

The Death Star? Ha! Forget that old thing. It had nothing on what you will see introduced here.

And then there are the surprises – major shockers actually. Just you wait and see!

Could there be even more? Yes.

When STAR WARS first hit the big screen so many years ago, it was all so new – fresh, innovative, creative and thrilling, with amazing special effects and a wonderful cast of human and alien characters who found themselves in strange, difficult, and often life-and-death situations as they worked their way into our hearts and souls, and became an everlasting part of our popular culture. We truly grew to love or despise them.

As much as I understand J.J.’s motivation to want to stay true to what has gone before, and in so doing make so many of the effects real and like what was possible years ago, back when the originals were made – I personally like today’s amazing, cutting edge, state-of-the-art, whiz-bang special video effects. In the great, unknown (to us), vast expanse of space, anything and everything is possible. Since modern technology can show us amazingly realistic depictions of almost anything imaginable, please J.J. – stretch the cumulative imaginations of your huge creative team and give us even more of that cool stuff next time! It will add to the wonder and the spectacle.

I had huge hopes and expectations for “STAR WARS: The Force Awakens,” and have no doubt that this film will be a huge box office success, smashing previous records. J.J. Abrams has proven himself more than worthy of tackling this project for the legions of loyal fans. He is quick to remind us that he is one himself. He has the blessings and support of STAR WARS creator George Lucas, along with the vast resources of Disney at his disposal. Major stars have returned to reprise their roles.

There is welcome continuity in the script, co-written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Even if you’ve been living on another planet and have never seen another STAR WARS film, the story stands well on its own merits.

“STAR WARS: The Force Awakens” is indeed a worthy successor to the STAR WARS films that preceded it. It is at once familiar and yet new – a compelling tale of good versus evil.

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Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #415

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