‘Star Wars’ franchise gets an inventive reboot
We’ve never been a huge fan of the popular “Star Wars” saga, so we couldn’t join the rapturous jubilation that greeted the initial announcement that “Episode VII” was in the works.
Frankly, we found the film franchise’s recent outings overreaching, outdated and even annoying (hello, Jar Jar Binks)—and, it has fallen victim to the law of diminishing returns!
Now comes JJ Abrams, whose “The Force Awakens” successfully reinvigorates the sci-fi franchise, the way he did with “Star Trek” in 2009—and has turned us into a “Star Wars” convert!
Abrams’ achievement is no easy feat—because even George Lucas had run out of fresh ideas and inventive ways to reanimate and stretch the story’s neverending and ever-expanding mythology.
After all, it isn’t easy to get invested in a story that relies heavily on forced deus ex machina moments whose novelty overstays its welcome when those space chases and light saber duels are over.
The franchise’s latest installment resurrects the heroes of the original 1977 flick, even as it introduces a fresh batch of young leads that viewers can root for. Most notably, there’s the butt-kicking heroine, Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger from desert planet Jakku with a sketchy past, who doesn’t need a dashing, misogynistic male to extricate her out of life-or-death situations.
Rey figures in edge-of-your-seat action sequences that disprove the notion that most distressed damsels need saving. Fighting the good fight beside her is Finn (John Boyega), a rebellious Stormtrooper who wants to reform, away from the reign of the treacherous First Order’s enigmatic overlord, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis, appropriately sinister in another astounding vanishing act).
Just as menacing as Snoke is his cruel right-hand man, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who idolizes Darth Vader—and who happens to be the estranged son of…OK, we’re just teasing, no spoilers here.
Rey and Finn must protect BB-8, a droid carrying crucial information that everybody will kill for!
It’s hard to deny that the film’s nostalgic bent adds a lot to its appeal. It gives viewers a different high just seeing the aging Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) back with The Force again, some 30 years after their iconic characters first captured moviegoers’ imagination!
Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and a rusty and dusty R2D2 are also on board—but, it’s the precocious and precious BB-8 who will steal your heart—for instance, his version of a thumbs up is unlike anything you’ve ever seen from any creature with artificial intelligence! Adorable.
If the action scenes, fanboy-hooking gadgets and sweeping vistas from “a land far, far away” are impressive, the compelling drama that fuels the ties that bind Han, Leia and the mysterious Luke, as well as the startling secrets about them, will keep you even more riveted—and sweep you off your feet!
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