Arts, Movies, Featured Story

The Force Is Strong With Ford, Boyega, And Ridley In ‘Episode VII’

During The Force Awakens’ 2015 Comic-Con “Behind-The-Scenes” feature, a grayed and grizzly bearded Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) looks up at the camera. “Nothing’s changed,” he says. “I mean everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed. That’s the way you want this to be.” No one could have better described The Force Awakens.

It’s difficult to discuss the latest entry in the Star Wars saga without giving away some vital plot points. The Rebel Alliance and its recently formed Republic come up against the nefarious and ruthless First Order, the reorganized remnants of the Galactic Empire. The original trilogy’s cast reunites to help newcomers Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe (Oscar Isaac) take down a new and unprecedented threat permeating throughout the whole galaxy.

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Harrison Ford provide the most noteworthy performances in The Force Awakens. Ford slips seamlessly back into his role as Han Solo and, though Solo might’ve aged a bit, he’s still the same loveable rogue fans worship. Again, it’s not easy to talk about Ford without giving anything away, but Ford carries The Force Awakens. While new and old cast members alike pull their own weight and play well-developed characters, the soul of this film inarguably belongs to Han Solo.

What’s most noticeable with John Boyega and Daisy Ridley is how well the two actors integrate themselves into this well-established story. They play their roles with such conviction and their characters are so well-developed that you feel—though you’ve just been introduced to them—you’ve actually known them for a long time. While Ford gives the most exceptional performance in The Force Awakens, these two have certainly etched names for themselves in Star Wars history.

Visually, The Force Awakens is breathtaking. Looking back at George Lucas’s prequel trilogy, which relied heavily on CGI backgrounds and character models, director J. J. Abrams’s use of practical effects is noticeably more engaging and engrossing. Of particularly note is BB-8, the new and outstanding droid character introduced in The Force Awakens. The little soccer ball look-alike robot is sure to become a fan favorite.

It’s been 10 years since the last Star Wars, and, to a lot of die-hard fans of the original trilogy, George Lucas’s prequel trilogy is an unforgivable mess. When it was announced three years ago that Disney had bought the franchise from 20th Century Fox and that Disney was planning on making Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, fans were rather skeptical about what this would all mean for the series. Would George Lucas be directing them? Would the original cast reprise their roles? How would they look and would we as an audience really want to see older versions of these beloved characters? These were all questions that Star Wars fans mulled over as time slowly limped on.

It was especially hard to imagine how this new movie would feel. Once it was announced that visionary director J. J. Abrams would take on the daunting project, fans let out a slight sigh of relief before settling in for the weighty anticipation that would settle over them for a bit over a year. Would it be possible to capture the essence of the original trilogy, or was that spirit a thing of the past, lost to time? For many fans of Star Wars, this was probably the most anticipated film of all time.

And it didn’t disappoint for a single moment. From the second “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” creeps onto the screen until the end credits roll, The Force Awakens is a jaw-dropping roller coaster of emotion and sheer escapist entertainment. It’s not the most perfect film. Die-hard Star Wars fans will always find scruples in the saga, and they are sure to find some here. They could never, on the other hand, find enough to really detract from this gem in the Star Wars saga.

“Everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed.”

There are no better words for The Force Awakens. It isn’t the original trilogy. It’s the beginning of a new story—a story that has earned its place forever in the Star Wars universe and in the hearts of its fans, and ”that’s the way you want this to be.”

Featured Image By Walt Disney Pictures

December 18, 2015