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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm 2015

Star Wars was more than just a movie, it was a cultural phenomenon that took over the entire world when it was released in 1977. The powerhouse franchise remained massive through the mid 80’s after the release of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Keep in mind this was before video games were in all of our homes and before technology and special effects were all over the big screens across the country. This experience from George Lucas had such memorable characters, amazing weapons, (Lightsabers!) and many different effects and things that we had never seen before, and not in this way for sure.It was created in a very inviting manner that was fun and adventurous for a generation. There were three other additions to the franchise made starting in 1999 that never quite captured the same magic as the original film series.

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Now J.J. Abrams brings his passion as a Star Wars fan, and talent as a filmmaker to attempt to breathe life back into this classic movie series. This is a NO SPOILER REVIEW, so no worries on me ruining your good time at the theater. I screened Star Wars: The Force Awakens on an IMAX. I would highly recommend that experience if possible. I’m a fan of the original films, but I’m not a Star Wars fanatic or anything. It was more a part of my childhood that I look back on fondly than a world where I live in and know all the ins and outs of the galaxy and all the players. (Although in full disclosure my dogs name is “Chewy”)

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For those unclear as to when these new films take place, here is the breakdown. The first films in the 70’s & 80’s were the 4th, 5th and 6th episodes. The second series were actually the 1st, 2nd and 3rd episodes. The Force Awakens is the first of a new three that will be the 7th, 8th & 9th episodes. Now that you are up to date on when and what we are dealing with, the next thing you need to know is that this new Star Wars is amazing and it will certainly accomplish the goal of bringing new life into the franchise for generations to come.

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The biggest compliment I can give J.J. Abrams and all of those involved with Episode VII is that it looks and feels like the original we all love. They didn’t try to modernize or make it look like a Transformers movie. It has just the right balance of new and old, so the experience right away feels like sliding on that old comfortable pair of shoes you love to wear. This film will be enjoyed by all types of audiences. The fanatics will love all the nods to the past and blending of the new and old cast members. The casual moviegoer will remember just enough and have a nostalgic walk through space. For those not familiar with Star Wars and the children seeing this for the first time, it will still resonate because of the classic storyline of good vs. evil, and really it’s just a great adventure.

If there was anything that I could point to as a negative, I suppose some of the new characters don’t feel as important or memorable as the originals. I could be biased of course, because when any of the original characters are involved it’s such a refreshing and welcome feeling. This is an enjoyable ride and it will begin a new direction for the Star Wars franchise and that is wonderful for all of us. At a time where there is a lot of evil in the world, getting to spend time with some old comforts at the theater is a gift for all of us.

Bottom line: Welcome back Star Wars, it’s so nice to see you again.

MovieMark Grade: A

Rated PG-13
2hr 16min

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