The Force is strong in this one.

Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens

After seeing the movie for the first time, I left the theater with a desire to see the movie again. Yes, I think it was that good. The movie is not by any means flawless, but this time around, the ride to a far far away galaxy is one we can enjoy, a guilty pleasure, like chocolate. 

With J.J. Abrams behind the wheel, I confess that during the first twenty minutes I was expecting lens flares. Happy to report it was not the case. In fact, Mr. Abrams kept the Star Wars format to the letter: scrolling text at the beginning, a climax with actions in different places, and the ending with a long scene without dialogues. I hope that was choice and not just obedience to the contract.

We have three new lead characters, always three they are, and we follow the story through their eyes. Okay, maybe four if we count the new droid BB-8. Good choice to cast unknown because it steered fans away from expectations. We have new villain, and he wears a helmet and a red light-saber. The remains of the Empire has reorganized in what is now called The First Order, led by a character we have only met through hologram. It may be fitting, or a bad joke, but that digitally created character was played by Andy Sarkins.

Of course, fans of the original trilogy are pleased to see the comeback of siblings Luke and Leia, and Han Solo. The Millennium Falcon looks more decrepit than ever, but it still had it where it counts and it is by far the damn sexy ship.

Skip the following part if you haven’t seen the movie.

After the excitement subsides, you start to see script as a rehash version of Ep. IV, except everything is bigger in both range and scope. There’s a massive weaponized planet called the Star Killer, which is a Death Star on steroids, and to prove its power Star Killer destroys a planet (Alderaan anybody?). There’s a secret stored away inside a charismatic droid, and its search moves the story forward for quite a bit of the movie. We have a character unaware of The Force living in a desert planet, who also happens to be a marvelous pilot and not bad in hand-to-hand combat. Near the end we witness the passing of a wise old man. These are but a few, enough maybe to make the old fan giggle, and the new one wonder where all that came from.

There’s a few things I didn’t like. For example, Luke Skywalker’s original light-saber lost in Cloud City reappears, except now it is more than a simple object. It has the power to call to people who have The Force, it almost felt like a wand choosing a wizard in the Harry Potter world.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the movie is worth seeing. Twice or more. It had plenty of good new things so the reminiscences of the old don’t overshadow the story. It fact, it has the making of an epic story. And this is just the first of the three. 

But for the record, J J Abrams didn’t mess it up, in fact he infused the franchise with a breath of fresh air.