Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The first thing I want to say about Writer/Director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that it is even better than I hoped it would be.  Abrams has truly awakened a franchise that has been suffering from disastrous prequels to the original, which opened in 1977.  He has masterfully blended what made the Star Wars franchise so successful with a new generation of heroes and heroines that ensures more adventures to come.
Since, thankfully, the details of this film were kept underwraps, here are some of the things with which I was most impressed (without spoiling any plot points for you). 

First of all, I’m thrilled that Harrison Ford is back as Han Solo and that this character and Chewbacca are so important to the plot.  Secondly, I’m delighted to tell you that Carrie Fisher is more attractive as Leia, today, than she was in 1977.  Thirdly, the addition of Keira Knightly look-alike Daisy Ridley was brilliant  casting.   And, that’s not, in any way, a putdown of this marvelous actress, who admirably proves herself.  (I’m looking forward to a film in which she and Keira play sisters.)  And, fourthly, I’m happy that Abrams brought Michael Arndt (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) to the writing team to make it so much more than an action-flic.
To be sure, however, there is action galore to keep you on edge throughout, great music by Composer John Williams and amazing camerawork by Cinematographer Daniel Mindel.

 Additional performance standouts are Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Domnall Gleeson as General Hux, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata and John Boyega as Finn.
The only problem I had was the casting of Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.  And, it didn’t have to do with his fine performance.  It’s just that there’s no way looks-wise he could be the biological son of Han Solo and Leia as portrayed by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.  That might seem as nit-picking, but this is one of those rare years when the highest grossing film may also be a top contender for Best Picture of the Year and these little nuances can make the difference.

If you are or were a Star Wars fan, this film is an absolute must-see.  And, go early, so you can cheer along with the rest of the audience, when your favorite characters come on the screen.

I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens a 4.8 out of 5.

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