Anyone who ran relay races on the high-school track team knows the importance of smoothly passing the baton during transitions. It is now safe to say that J.J. Abrams “coached” his team well — the “blaster” was seamlessly passed from one generation to the next.
Director J.J. Abrams created a Star Wars movie with heart and soul. He created a Star Wars movie that fans can embrace. He created a Star Wars movie that fans do not need to make excuses for, which is a nice way of saying The Force Awakens will open more eyes to the horridness of George Lucas’ prequels.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens begins, as usual, with its iconic scrawl across the screen. The announcement: Luke Skywalker has vanished. Within minutes the action starts and fans are introduced to the droid BB-8, ace-pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac), the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and the soon-to-be ex-stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega).
Poe gives sensitive information to BB-8 and instructs him to flee as Kylo’s Ren’s forces close in — reminiscent of R2D2’s mission in Star Wars: A New Hope. From there we meet “scavenger” Rey (Daisy Ridley), and the mystery unfolds. Everyone is looking for Luke, and the fate of entire star-systems will be determined by who retrieves BB-8’s data first.
One of the most welcome surprises of The Force Awakens is Han Solo’s role, played admirably by a grizzled Harrison Ford. Solo and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) could have been given throwaway cameos, but Abrams chose instead to make them extremely relevant to plot.
There isn’t too much more one can disclose without getting into spoiler territory, other than to say Abrams made a movie with a little something for everyone — but he did it well. He was asked to juggle the Star Wars universe for everyone’s amusement, and he didn’t drop a single ball.
In some slightly sad but wonderful way, Abrams is now a better “George Lucas” than George Lucas.
Perhaps the only two criticisms The Force Awakens may be susceptible to are: 1.) Many of the situations these characters must overcome are rewrapped versions of events from the original trilogy, and 2.) Certain scenes seem a bit rushed. I, however, am inclined to dismiss the first critique since history does repeat itself and, more importantly, Abrams’ script and direction were superb.
The second observation has merit, but it does not change the fact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a legitimate return to form after the embarrassments that were Episodes I-III.
If you haven’t seen J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, then I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later. There is one major spoiler that will not remain a secret for much longer, and it’s better to go into the theater without that knowledge.
Editors Note: I refrained from including spoilers in the review, but the comments section are fair game. Do not read the comments section if you want to avoid spoilers.