Star Wars: Episode VII – the force is strong with this one

“The Force Awakens” truly is the return to the “Star Wars” we all love


On opening day, I waited in a line for three to four hours to see the most anticipated film to ever be released, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” With all the hype behind the film, there’s no way it could have possibly lived up to the extremely high bar, right? Actually, not only did it meet the standards, but surpassed them by far.

Without going into spoilers, the plot of the film is relatively simple: the Empire that terrorized the galaxy in the original trilogy is back wreaking more havoc, now known as The New Order. In their way is the Resistance, formerly known as the Rebel Alliance, led by General/Princess Leia Organa (once again played by Carrie Fisher). From there we meet our three new characters: a hotshot resistance pilot named Poe (played by Oscar Isaac), a former stormtrooper named Finn (played by John Boyega), and a lonely scavenger named Rey (played by Daisy Ridley). Along the way the gang reunites with everyone’s favorite smuggler Han Solo (played again by Harrison Ford) and his faithful sidekick Chewbacca (played by a variety of stuntmen, but voiced by the original’s Peter Mayhew). What follows is a two-hour action thrill ride from the very beginning to end credits.

A lot of credit must first go to director J.J. Abrams, who previously helmed 2008’s “Star Trek” and it’s sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Abrams is a gigantic fan of the franchise, and it shined through with fantastic cameos and hidden easter eggs. Also, Abrams perfectly captured the Star Wars feel, something George Lucas, director of the original film, could not even capture when he directed the three prequel films. While it has that Star Wars feel, Abrams also brought his own unique style to the film, with inventive camera work and a lot more humor than the franchise is typically known for. Abrams created a happy medium here between the old and the new.

In addition to his directing, Abrams also co-wrote the film with Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan, known for his work on both “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” The writing is very well done, with arguably the best dialogue of any of the previous films in the franchise. This comes as the film’s biggest advantage over the previous trilogy of films, which saw mediocre writing at best throughout.

As I previously mentioned before, the film not only brings back much of the original cast, but also adds new blood to the film. Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson all shine in the film, however the two strongest performances from the newcomers are from John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Both are strong headed, funny, realistic characters, but their chemistry together whenever these two were on screen with one another was something of legend. They worked so brilliantly together that it actually kind of reminded me of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

Even the likes of Boyega and Isaac, however, held no light to the return of Harrison Ford to the franchise. Ford’s Solo is such a classic and iconic character that it was hard to believe he could ever improve upon his already great performances. Somehow, in someway, he did. His performance was so awesome, so funny, and so cool that I’d argue he deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award. Seriously, he was that good. It was nice to see him finally get top billing during the credits for the first time in the franchise.

Around the major players in the film, the music, visuals, costumes, cinematography, editing, sets, and sound were all phenomenal as well. John Williams’ score mixes some of his old work with new music pieces, creating a new, haunting score while Daniel Mindel’s cinematography was beautiful, creative, and exhilarating. Ben Burtt, the man responsible for some of cinema’s greatest sounds, returned to the franchise to once again bring out the roar of the TIE fighters and the blasts of igniting lightsabers. The visuals done here remind us that when CGI is used right, it is arguably the biggest innovation Hollywood has ever seen.

I have nothing bad to say about the film. Even with my nostalgia goggles off and on the table, this is still a great film. At the time of writing this, the film is about to dethrone “Avatar” and take the title of the highest grossing film in worldwide history, so I doubt anyone who is reading this has not seen it yet, but if for some reason you haven’t witnessed one of the best films of the past five years, then I highly recommend it.


Grade: A+


what appeals to filmgoers: great acting, directing, writing, music, visuals, and sound

what appeals to FHC: it’s a Star Wars sequel with great reviews and is the biggest film right now


Director: J.J. Abrams


Stars: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac


Runtime: two hours and 15 minutes (135 min.)
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence