‘Force Awakens’ draws new generation into old universe

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Having achieved the highest grossing film of all time, Director J.J. Abrams’ latest film, “The Force Awakens” of the Star Wars saga, has achieved marvelous box office success since its Dec. 18 opening.

Indeed, this latest installment has not left the fandom disappointed.

Filled with fantastic effects, cleverly-placed wit and humor, space-based action and the age-old struggle between the light and dark side, “The Force Awakens” delivers the familiarity of the Star Wars universe fans have come to know and love.

The film opens with the familiar floating words as they introduce a galaxy so “far, far away” and yet still so close to the fans’ hearts. It seems Lucas’ trilogy ended with order being restored to the universe upon the crumbling of the terrifying empire.

However, “The Force Awakens” introduces an old adversary that has morphed into a new, menacing form, the First Order. The happy-ever-after we imagined for the dynamic trio of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo has not come to fruition.

Just as the struggle between good versus evil is reprised, so too are the familiar faces of our old heroes.

Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher return and are joined by their old friends Chewbacca, R2D2 and C3PO.

Once again, the universe needs Luke Skywalker to restore balance, and though the plot line of “The Force Awakens” parallels that of George Lucas’s original trilogy, it is certainly a new adventure.

Featuring the mythic history of the unlikely orphan called to heroics as they feel the stirrings of the Force, the paternalistic struggle that pits dark against light and father against son and perhaps a new antihero fated to fall in the shadow of his ancestor, Darth Vader.

Despite the obvious homage paid to the cult classic, “The Force Awakens” has managed to draw a new generation into George Lucas’s old movie universe. A new dynamic trio seems to be taking shape as played by Daisey Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.

This trio brings a fresh feel to the Star Wars saga by bringing new diversity to the screen as the heroes are played by a woman, an African American man and a Latino.

In the original trilogy, the character of princess Leia presented a strong female protagonist whose refusal to back down from adversity created feminist undertones.

“The Force Awakens” has continued with this trajectory as Ridley’s portrayal of lightsaber wielding Rey is perhaps bringing a woman into the ways of the male-dominated ranks of the Jedi.

Director J.J. Abrams has kept true to George Lucas’s Star Wars universe, utilizing distinct plot and character similarities between “The Force Awakens” and its cinematic predecessors.

It is exactly what fans would expect. Altogether, though the film is not innovative, it stays true to the cult classic and is a worthwhile, entertaining addition to the Star Wars saga.

Now, fans must wait to see the next installments, left to wonder whether the films will continue their cyclical trend and how strong the Force is with this our new characters.

 

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