Finally! After months of all of the promotion surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, it is here. A chance for all lovers of the Force and haters of the dark side, or vice versa depending upon where your sympathies lie, to throw themselves right back into the most celebrated galactic conflict in cinema history. The Force Awakens begins with resistance fighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow) under siege on planet Jakku. The First Order, which is the name given to a ruthless military organization whose tactics are similar to the Galactic Empire’s under the villainous reign of Darth Vader, has invaded Jakku to locate a map. But not just any map. It is a map that will lead them to the secret dwelling place of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Luke vanished years ago after helping to defeat the evil Galactic Empire. The map is hidden within a droid named BB-8. With it, the First Order can reach their ultimate goal which is to kill Luke Skywalker, the most famous Jedi that ever lived.
When First Order Commander Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) captures Poe Dameron, an order is given to kill all of the villagers. The stormtroopers open fire on the unarmed crowd. But one stormtrooper refuses to follow the order. His name is Stormtrooper FN-2187 (John Boyega) or Finn for short. BB-8 escapes the clutches of the First Order stormtroopers. He keeps the map given to him by his master Poe Dameron stored in his memory. Although this information is discovered by Kylo Ren during his interrogation of Poe Dameron, BB-8 successfully finds a new temporary master named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who is a poor inhabitant of Jakku.
Finn intercepts Poe Dameron after Kylo Ren learns the location of the map from him, and colludes with Poe to defect from the First Order. Together they commandeer a First Order TIE fighter ship and escape. In flight their fighter ship is shot down and they crash back onto Jakku where Finn eventually finds Rey and BB-8. When Kylo Ren orders his forces to go back to Jakku and retrieve BB-8, the newly formed resistance trio flees in the famed Millennium Falcon. The Millennium Falcon’s rightful owner Han Solo (Harrison Ford) soon locates his ship with Finn, Rey and BB-8 on it. He and his furry co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) retake command of the Falcon. If the resistance has any chance of fending off the First Order’s plan of galactic domination, it will take the efforts of everyone aboard the Falcon. A little help from the Force wouldn’t hurt either.
If you go to see The Force Awakens, do yourself a favor and see it in 3D. It is well worth the extra few dollars to see this ultra vivid world that J.J. Abrams has conceived-lush, verdant forests, arid desserts, snow capped mountainous terrains and cavernous space stations.
The hollowed base of the First Order, which is of a planetary scale, is so much more so than the Galactic Empire’s death star. If such hollowness directly corresponds to the soul of its operators, then the galaxy is in trouble. The Third Reich, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS combined have nothing on the First Order. These are really bad dudes. Really bad! And their leader is the biggest “badest” dude ever. His name is Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and whenever he is summoned, or doing the summoning, he is a monstrously imposing figure. In those scenes where Snoke’s hologram is consulted, the cinematography leaps off of the screen with a gorgeous shower of light in a space mostly draped in a black pall.
Everything feels familiar with this seventh episode of Star Wars. The fun is back. The Millennium Falcon’s junky hull is back along with Han Solo and Chewy. R2-D2 is back and still annoying the hell out of C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) with his insolent chirping. Princess Leia, I mean, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is back and still giving Han hell over his detached narcissistic patronizing ways. And Luke Skywalker is back. Finally! Sort of.