The Light Side: Star Wars “The Force Awakens”

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Kelly Langin
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is not the best Star Wars film. But “The Force Awakens” is a good Disney film. It’s also generally an enjoyable science fiction film, with plot twists, visually appealing cinematography and effects, and like able characters.

“The Force Awakens” may or may not have been purposely paralleled to “A New Hope.” However, I see the similarities between the two as necessary for a new beginning. “A New Hope” was the beginning of LucasFilm Star Wars, while “The Force Awakens” is the be-ginning of Disney Star Wars. J.J. Abrams used the updated cinema technology of the last 40 years, as well as an updated story, to breathe a much-need-ed new life into the decades-old franchise.

“The Force Awakens” brought back focal characters from the original series. We see Han Solo and Leia, resurfaced with their original actors (Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, respectively), interacting similarly as they did in the original films. We discover their relationship has disintegrated since Episode VI, but the reunion and the bond of coming together to retrieve their son from evil is heartwarming and points to the core of Disney’s family values.

The characterization is spot-on. The heroine, Rey, is independent and brave after years of fending for herself after her family left. However, when new situations – even an offer to work with Han Solo – arise, Rey finds herself reluctant to leave her home planet. Kylo Ren, the main villain, is cowardly in his approach to further his power in the First Order. He is not inherently evil, causing him to seem unsure of himself and non-threatening to the audience. Finn, the bumbling hero, started out as a nearly-robotic Stormtrooper suddenly disheartened at the first sight of war. He becomes relatable as he uneasily lies to get further in his friendship with Rey, which also points to his lack of independent identity.

Friendship is an over-arching theme and is integral to the story’s plot. Rey and Finn’s relationship starts out rocky, but a mutual thirst for adventure and general good heart glues the two together as partners. BB-8 is a continuously loyal drone who lost Poe, his master, and so attaches himself to Finn, who tried to save Poe’s life.

Han Solo and Chewbacca remain partners through the 30 years“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is possibly a disappointment to die-hard Star Wars fans of all generations. However, consider that at the core, this is a Disney movie and no longer a Lucas-Film movie. Cheesy friendships and heartwarming family values will not only appear, but sustain the entire plot. The film remains as visually stunning – if not more so– as the other Star Wars films. Plot holes aside, “The Force Awakens” lives up to the hype.

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