***** SPOILER WARNING *****
A long time ago, in a galaxy that we all live in, there was a young man with a vision for a movie that would change the future.
After American Graffiti (1973), George Lucas had the vision for a space adventure that was inspired by such movies as Flash Gordon (1980) and Planet of the Apes (1968 – 1973). So in 1973 began the writing of Star Wars: A New Hope. After Star Wars: A New Hope followed the movies Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. From 1999 to 2005 came the prequel movies. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
The year is now 2016 and we have had the release of the newest in the Star Wars universe! Star Wars: Force Awakened!
Force Awakened starts off three decades after the destruction of the Galactic Empire. Life for citizens in the galaxy has returned to somewhat normal. Smugglers are less fearful of being jettisoned out their own airlocks if caught smuggling, Imperial employees can now make friends, and the only one outer rim survivors have to worry about being swindled by is each other! But in Star Wars, things don’t always go smoothly. We are immediately thrusted into another brewing war as it is discovered that Luke Skywalker has gone into hiding; and being the last Jedi that’s kind of a problem as the Sith are out there already plotting their return. Though the Galactic Empire is once again the Galactic Republic – with the representative from Naboo hopefully being replaced – there is still a Resistance to fight against the old fans of Emperor Palpatine and his Galactic Empire ideals. They are calling themselves the First Order.
On an outer rim planet, we’re introduced to Rey. A young woman who has taken to surviving on her own rather well. All we know about her is that she’s alone, and waiting for someone to come back to her. While her desire to stay in place and quietly wait has gone well so far, fate has decided to pop large holes in her dreams and thrust her into a new life and way of living. This is where Finn comes in. It’s obvious he’s running away from the First Order and his position as a Storm Trooper. What’s his luck when he lands on the same planet as Rey? They end up running from the First Order together with a spunky little droid, BB8. In running away from the First Order, they escape on one of the most famous ships in the Star Wars universe.
The Milennium Falcon is not far off from its true owner as Rey and Finn are joined by Han Solo and Chewbacca themselves! They’ve been up to their usual tricks, if not a bit longer in the tooth these days. What we learn is that Han and Leia have had a small falling out with one another, though we’re not too sure why. Han agrees to take Rey and Finn to someone who might be able to help them get BB8 to the Resistance.
Meanwhile, in the new base of the First Order, it’s clear that they’ve been busy bees dressed all in blacks and greys and still holding ice on the burns that the Rebels gave them when Luke destroyed not only their first death star, but killed their Emperor as well. Their anger hasn’t abated at the loss of their ideal way of life, and someone else has taken Palpatine’s place. The new Sith in town is Kylo Ren. An impulsive, and sometimes petulant, Sith in training that is obviously the son of Han and Leia when we find him praying to Darth Vader’s burnt and bent helmet, begging his Grandfather to show him the path to the Dark Side.
The movie is bigger, grander, and geared toward bringing in that new generation of Star Wars fans just like the first three did in the 1970’s. Fans that have been through the first six movies might have felt differently about the new movie. While it certainly gives us all the elements that are in a Star Wars film, such as an engaging hero, the death of a beloved character, a villain at war with not just himself but the declared enemy, and a compelling and emotion inducing soundtrack, a lot of fans felt it could have given more.
In comparison to the original movies, there didn’t seem to show much of a development for Rey in her abilities with the force. She was introduced, a small bit of her mysterious background was shown, and then she’s introduced to Luke’s, before that Anakin’s, lightsaber by way of the saber calling to her through the Force. She’s given a vision of the past about the journey of the saber and then runs off saying she wants no part of it when told that it called to her for a reason.
What might have upset a lot of fans is the fact that Finn, the former StormTrooper with no inclination for the force what so ever, picks up the lightsaber and uses it. If not a bit haphazardly. It has always been understandable that the lightsaber was the weapon of the Jedi and Sith. Masters of the force. Those that were not able to show any ability for manifesting their connection to the force weren’t able to use lightsabers. While they did follow with the lore in showing that Finn was very awkward with the lightsaber, it still technically should not have been done. The explanation behind is use, is the lightsaber does have an on and off switch, allowing for it to be used by anyone. It was determined by their level of skill with manifestation of the force whether they could use the lightsaber well or not.
For this movie we’re given a little more insight into the conditions of the First Order and how the Storm Troopers are trained and utilized. Their conditioning is more like mind control, and their change in uniform has allowed for better accuracy as well. Proving that the helmets were the cause for bad aim when firing their blasters.
The First Order as well has since decided that the plans for a second death star has been a bit small in ambition. While being able to destroy a planet has been a good idea, and the plan worked, they chose to go on a grander scale and destroy multiple planets at one time with their new super weapon. Instead of a battle station that is the size of a moon, how about a battle station that is the size of a whole planet, and sucks away whole suns in order to charge itself up? Welcome to the First Order! Even though it’s a new threat to the republic, the storm troopers are still weak willed proven when Rey is able to manipulate the mind of her guard without any formal training in the force what so ever. And the First Order is still making their ultimate weapons with obvious weaknesses in them. At least those beloved characteristics of the universe haven’t changed.
In the end, we here for the MFG Mouth Off have decided to give Star Wars: Force Awakened a three out of five. While it still engages us to watch the next movie, it leaves a bit to be desired like we had from the first six star wars movies. We enjoyed the return to the Star Wars universe, but felt that Disney was taking some liberties that should have been shut out like their refusal of the books being canon lore. While lore is missing from the story, such as Han and Leia’s twins, Disney has still made a good attempt. Go and see the movie and enjoy star wars for the first time or the seventh time.
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