Episode VII “The Force Awakens”

Episode VII “The Force Awakens”

*Spoiler Alert* This article contains information from the movie.

Disney’s latest installment in the Star War Series is filled with a lot of key sequences that mimic the original story of Episode IV.   Was this an attempt by Disney to recreate the success of the first franchise film?  Or was it designed to capture a new generation of fans?  Whatever the reason, reviews are mixed….Long ago in a galaxy far away……these are seven words that began a tale that spawned six feature films, a multitude of books, several independent films and opened a world of science fiction fantasy loved for generations.  When it was announced that Disney had purchased Stars Wars from film director George Lucas and planned to make a new movie – Fans were thrilled at the chance to once again watch their favorite characters reappear on the big screen.  In fact, it was even rumored at the time that Disney planned to incorporate a lot of the current Star Wars fandom into the upcoming movies.  However, the release of the December movie put a lot of those rumors to rest and confirmed other plot spoilers circulated.

Let’s review, Episode VII takes place thirty years after the events of the Return of the Jedi (Episode VI).  Now although the Galactic Empire has been overthrown, a new threat has arisen.  A group known as the First order has risen to power attempting to rule the galaxy.  Our heroes, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have endured much during the past three decades.  These experiences take their toll and leads to a separation between Leia and Han, and our Jedi Master Luke into seclusion.  This becomes the main theme of the movie – to locate and contact Luke Skywalker.

New heroes such as Rey (a scavenger from the desert planet Jakku who appears to be force sensitive), Finn (a defected Stormtrooper from the First Order), Poe (a fighter pilot of the Resistance) and BB2 (a droid that carries a map that leads to Skywalker) are introduced.   Fan favorites like Han Solo, Leia, R2D2 and Chewbacca return.  And in the midst of this search, the leader of the first order (who appears to be a Sith Lord named Snoke) has developed a new superweapon known as “Starkiller Base” that has the ability to destroy multiple planetary targets after devouring a sun.

The heroes of course save the day, launching an assault that destroys the Starkiller base, and retrieve the map that  leads them to Luke Skywalker.  But NOT without much tragedy along the way.  Several inhabited planets are destroyed by the Star Killer, innocents are slaughtered at the hands of Kyo Ren (A dark Jedi in service to the First Order),  and Han Solo dies.  Does a lot of this sound familiar? To any Star Wars super-fan it should…..let’s point out the similarities:

A force sensitive hero from a desert planet destined to wield the force? Sounds like Luke Skywalker to me.  A droid that is carrying an important document that the First Order wants? Sounds like R2D2 to me   A superweapon with the ability to destroy planets that threatens the universe? Sounds like the Death Star to me.  An assault against the Starkiller? Sounds like a repeat of the space battle at the deathstar.   And Han Solo’s death?  Didn’t Obi-wan Kenobi die in Episode IV?  As you can see, the list of coincidences can go on….Now although there are overall differences in the plot and storyline,  to super-fans it appeared no different than Episode IV.  This is perhaps why it had a lot of mixed reviews.  Watching the movie from this viewpoint makes the movie less enjoyable as you are constantly searching for parallels in the film.

In this writer’s opinion, the story of Star Wars is about a family that was destined to change the universe.  Episodes I through III is about a young Anakin Skywalker’s struggle to protect his family.  Ultimately the choices he makes destroys the old republic and transform him to a Sith Lord known as Darth Vader.   In Episodes IV through VI, his children embark on a quest to correct their father’s error and bring him redemption.

Perhaps the best advice that this writer could give is that you will need to watch the movie and form your own opinion.  The hugely anticipated seventh movie in the franchise featured an epic adventure with plenty of space battles, great special effects, lightsaber duels and surprises that in itself is worth watching the movie.   Star Wars Episode VII “The Force Awakens” opened December 15 and is in theaters now….