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Monday, December 21, 2015

May the Force Awaken

It's finally here!  The Star Wars saga continues in J.J. Abrams’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ the seventh episode of the beloved and super popular fantasy-in-space opera George Lucas started seemingly so long ago.  As members of its fandom, Star Wars defines who we are and makes us proud to embrace the inner geek in all of us because it is cool to be a Star Wars fan.  With a box office gross of $238 million in North America and well over $500 million worldwide on its opening weekend, TFA proves once again that SW is a global phenomenon with no equal.
 
While Abrams gave the Star Trek franchise an extreme makeover with sometimes mixed results, he approached his new project with the care and reverence of a devout fanboy who’s terrified of straying too far from the original material.  Playing it safe is the right thing to do because: (1) he would have been crucified by angry SW lynch mobs, I mean fans, had he taken too many risks they didn’t like, and (2) he can’t go wrong staying true to the “spirit” of the original trilogy.  If by so doing TFA looks a bit familiar and feels like a rehash of Episode IV in its parallel plot lines and characters, then so be it because that was the intention in the first place.
 
Fans love SW for its plentiful action, colorful characters and simple black-and-white world-building with a dash of dysfunctional Shakespearean family melodrama, all of which TFA delivers in spades.  While we may miss the old (or young, rather) Luke, Leia, Han and Vader we’ve known, a new generation of heroes and villain has capably picked up the standard in Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren.  With the background thus set in this long-awaited new chapter, the future looks bright indeed for the most popular “science fiction” franchise of all time.
 
Grade: A- 
 
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