‘Force Awakens’ returns Star Wars to glory


Jonah Hinebaugh, Entertainment Editor

Earning close to $2 billion worldwide in the span of a month “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has gained popularity among old and new Star Wars fans alike. In a much-needed reboot, the director J.J. Abrams has returned the franchise to its roots delivering a diverse, captivating — but not too original — movie. In addition, a multitude of little scenes, lines and camera shots give nods to the original, including the silhouette of a speeder traveling across the desert as the sun sets and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) asserting it was 12, not 14, parsecs, that will link diehard fans to a new generation of film-goers.

Abrams introduces unique use of camera angles, especially during chase scenes with star fighters, to leave viewers twisting and turning as if they were being chased as well. On top of that, his limited use of CGI makes the film more believable and realistic. In one scene it feels as if you are actually listening to a ska band in a tavern full of creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Despite being a reworking of Episode IV, the writing proves sharp although it doesn’t veer far from the classic hero journey. The updated script passes the Bechdel test, in that it allows for two female characters to have a conversation regarding something other than a man, showing the progressive push when compared to the older pieces, which were geared more toward an adolescent male audience. Additional comedic beats also have been added to give the audience a breather from the drama. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) gives audiences a laugh with sarcastic comments despite the dangerous situation he finds himself in at the start of the movie, also one can’t help but cheer when stormtroopers turn around after Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) starts destroying a room they’re headed for.

The chemistry between Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, who play the protagonist and deuteragonist, help make this installment less about explosions and epic battles — even though they’re still welcome — and more plot-driven as the pair find themselves pitted against the new villain, Kylo Ren. With more complex characters, fans of the movie are no longer stuck with the two-dimensional characters that once were. The dichotic characters of Kylo Ren and Rey as they struggle between the light and dark side is much more palatable then Hayden Christensen’s performances in Episodes 2 and 3. Yet despite the better performance, the Kylo Ren character is nowhere near as intimidating or convincing as Darth Vader because he behaves like a child prone to temper tantrums. When Rey escapes, for example, Kylo Ren is thrown into a frenzy destroying everything with his light saber.

Overall, fans can rejoice in this cinematic work of art as the classic saga is rejuvenated under Abram’s direction. Every aspect has been touched on and improved, making the new movie stronger and more refined. Despite the cliché plot where the ‘Starkiller Base’ is blown up by last-minute heroics, the movie serves as a testimony that “Star Wars” is hard to beat when you’re looking for a well-rounded action flick full of ominosity, explosions and a peek inside a galaxy that has become celebrated across the globe.