Saturday, December 19, 2015


When I first saw RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983 I really didn't care that there was never going to be anymore Star Wars movies. I was 6 years old at the time and had many other distractions. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe being one of them. That Christmas I remember it being He-Man toys or Star Wars toys. I got the essential JEDI action figures, but that year Masters of the Universe ruled all.

I don't think it was until I got the original trilogy on VHS that I truly wondered about Episode VII? George Lucas said it would never happen. But as years went by, never happen changed to maybe in the future? And we all know what became of that don't we. Before the prequels, fans did actually get a sequel to RETURN OF THE JEDI, but it was in the form of a book and not a movie.

These new Star Wars books were cool, but something was missing? They weren't movies, and the experience just wasn't the same. And I completely wrote off Expanded Universe stuff once I heard about a dumb novel about Boba Fett surviving the Scarlac Pit.

Well, the wait is finally over! 32 years I've waited, and tonight Star Wars fans got something I thought we'd never see, a sequel to RETURN OF THE JEDI. And the wait was worth it! Gosh, I'm so happy that Disney listened to J.J and kept the marketing for STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS spoiler free. Which this review isn't going to be, so you've been warned.

Seriously, if you do not want to know what happens in STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS stop reading now.

When the second teaser trailer for the movie hit, I was on board 110%! But something bugged me, I kept wondering where is Luke Skywalker? Oh, okay. He'll be in the next and probably final trailer, that is understandable. I started to get nervous because there was slight rumor talk that Luke would appear at the end of STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, as a cliffhanger? What! Man, I really hope not!

The last trailer hit the same night as advanced tickets went on sale and lo and behold, still no Luke Skywalker? Fine, whatever. I'm sure there is a good reason to why Luke Skywalker is not in any of the trailers.* Turns out there is a reason, a pretty big reason. And if you're still reading this and haven't seen the movie, your loss.

The major plot point in STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS is that Luke Skywalker is missing! This information is the literal first sentence in the films opening crawl. When I saw this I had to refrain from laughing, because I was thinking “no shit he's been missing”!

Now that that's out of the way, it's time to fall in love and delight in Star Wars again, like the filmmakers had promised. And they did. The Star Wars I grew up with and loved is back!

Like I said earlier, Luke Skywalker is missing. But come to find out it's more of a self exile. He tried to train a new group of Jedi but one of them became seduced by the dark side of the Force and murdered some of the others. Because of this Luke decided to leave because he was doing more harm than good.

There is a new threat. Out of the ashes of The Empire rises The First Order. They want Luke Skywalker dead and the Jedi destroyed forever. His sister, General Organa Solo learns of this and sends Poe Dameron, her best pilot on a mission to the planet Jakku to recover the map. The First Order know of this map as well, so the race is on! Think opening of Episode IV and you get the gist of it. Poe even hides the secret map data in a droid before going off to help villagers fight off Stormtroopers.

The First Order is hot on the trail as well. And instead of Darth Vader we have Kylo Ren, leader of The Knights of Ren. Like the First Order he is a Empire sympathizer and hell bent on the destruction of the New Republic. He is also a Darth Vader wannabe. Ren is well versed in the ways of the Dark Side, but he is no Vader, yet.

The droid BB-8 comes across the aid of Jakku scavenger Rey. And thus begins the delight that is STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS!

I think that is enough of the plot. I mean if you read my blog then chances are you've seen the movie. Or are going to the first chance you get. So from here on out without too many spoilers I wanna talk about the things I loved and a few nitpicks I have.

Let me say this one last time. I love that Star Wars is back! So what's the thing I love most about this new film? Right now it's the practical effects. Everything is back to looking lived-in again. No telling what kind of creature it was, maybe a Dewback? But whatever, there was this creature that had AT-ST armor as a helmet. How freaking cool is that! There is CGI of course, but unlike the prequels it isn't the whole damn movie.

My second favorite thing was the acting and characters. Yes, characters have returned to the franchise! You find yourself caring about each and every character in this film. Rey is my favorite! And she'll be yours as well once you see the end of the film. The last scene of STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS is my second favorite shot in the film. It would be my favorite but that belongs to Rey using a lightsaber for the first time! Holy cow, that music cue!

Next up is Poe Dameron, the new Han Solo of this trilogy. I could be wrong? But I don't think so! Cannot wait to see what's in store for this character.

I have others, but time to move on and talk about the return of Han Solo! A risky move but Harrison Ford pulled it off! I've missed this character since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, so I'm glad he's back.

The last and final thing I loved about STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS is the tone of the film. The entire movie is one huge love letter to the original trilogy. A remix of Episode IV with I'd say 20% of V tossed in there. All the while being something different. Paving the way for Episode VIII being something entirely new! How exciting!

I did not mind the call backs to STAR WARS one bit, with the exception of the Starkiller base. But it was still cool and I wouldn't change a thing!

Overall the reactions to STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS have been positive. There are a few movie news site bloggers saying the film is good but not great. I say half of them are lying, just so they don't come across as fanboys. Which that's all they are, just a bunch of glorified fanboys. Enjoy your TANGERINE and THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY fellas! Hey, all in good jest people. What ever floats your boat!

Final thoughts, I thought the film was great. I've seen the movie twice now and the entire film works for me. The only thing that I think is tiresome is the Starkiller base. It's a third Death Star! Time for something new guys.

I got more to say, a lot more to say! So maybe when the movie hits home video I will discuss more!

May the Force be with you, always.

* I realize that is Luke's hand in the trailer.

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