AKA Episode VII
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, & Michael Arndt
Based on characters by George Lucas
Release Date: December 18, 2015
Running Time: 2hrs 18min
30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire a new threat, the First Order has risen from the ashes. A scavenger called Rey (Ridley) has come into contact with a droid that contains a map to the legendary Luke Skywalker (Hamill), who has vanished. Rey and a rogue stormtrooper called Finn (Boyega) find themselves in a monumental conflict between good and evil, hunted by the ruthless dark Jedi Kylo Ren (Driver) and teaming with smuggler/war hero Han Solo (Ford) and his Wookie partner Chewbacca (Mayhew).
The film received high acclaim for its screenplay, direction, acting performances (particularly those of Ford, Driver, Ridley, and Boyega), musical score, visual effects, and action sequences, although some critics found it derivative of the original trilogy. The film broke various box office records and became, unadjusted for inflation, the highest-grossing installment in the franchise, the highest-grossing film in North America, the highest-grossing film of 2015, and the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $2 billion and a net profit of over $780 million. Among films’ box office adjusted for inflation, it is the top-grossing sequel of all time in North America.
I wasn’t going to miss a continuation of the Star Wars saga in theaters! This series has been part of my life (and countless others) for as long as I can remember. I saw the 20th anniversary Special Edition rereleases in theaters (being 9 or 10 at the time, the changes didn’t bother me, I was just excited to see Star Wars on the big screen!), I saw all the prequels in theaters (disappointing yes, but far from the worst thing I’ve ever seen), so you bet I was gonna see new stuff that would include characters I was familiar with plus new ones.
I was definitely not disappointed by this movie! I wanted a Star Wars movie and I got a Star Wars movie. Once the opening text appeared on screen (you know the text I mean) and the John Williams score began blasting, I felt like a cult again. The wonder and amazement of the franchise was still there, and it sent a giant wave of nostalgia and feels! Some constantly call this movie a rehash of A New Hope, and while certain elements are there, it’s definitely not completely without its own originality.
Identity is a major theme going on in this movie, whether it’s Finn going against his forced Storm Trooper upbringing, Rey and her place in the galaxy, or even Kylo wanting to prove he truly believes in the power of the Dark Side of the Force. There’s also the theme of getting older, this being especially the case of Han and Leia (it doesn’t feel like it had been 30+ years since Ford and Fisher played these roles!).
The action is still exciting, the effects still top notch (I especially appreciate the use of practical effects and real sets and locations), and John Williams remains a master in creating memorable scores. So I definitely say give this a watch!
The Star Wars Saga
- Episode I -The Phantom Menace (1999)*
- Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)*
- Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)*
- Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)**
- Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)**
- Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)**
- Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)*
- Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)*
- Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)*