Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Whatta Ride!

By Darlene Donloe

There is a lot of hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You can choose to believe it or ignore it.

In this case, believe it!!

The latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, which opens December 18, is all that and more. It’s exciting, fun, hair-raising, intriguing, emotional and satisfying! 

The franchise is alive and well.

And whether you’ve seen the other Star Wars films, sans a couple of references, you’ll be just fine.  This film stands on its own.   

Its expected to be the highest-grossing film of all time topping the $2.7 billion, yes billion with a “b” mark.  Currently Avatar holds that distinction.  Industry insiders are holding their breath to see if Avatar will be dethroned.

In the meantime, the force is set to heat up screens in just a couple of days.  And, speaking of heating up the screen – John Boyega – WOW!!!

John Boyega, the new lead, has incredible screen presence. He holds his own opposite veteran Harrison Ford.  As the character Finn, he has good comedic timing and, most importantly, is believable in his storm trooper – part of the Resistance role.  When we first see Finn he is a storm trooper. However, it’s not long before we realize that Finn has had enough of the evil and the genocide. He decides to defect to the Resistance.

Newcomer Daisy Ridley is a joy to watch. Not only is she beautiful, she eats up the screen. No one could guess this is her first feature film.

While Boyega and Ridley are impressive, one can help but get a bit melancholy with the appearance of Star Wars vets Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.  Not to be outdone – also returning are R2-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca.  Wait! What? Yes!  The gang’s all here!!!

The mechanical/robotic addition to this film comes in the form of BB-8, who, while speechless, speaks volumes!!!

And none of the old timers have skipped a beat. Ford is his classic self as Han Solo as is Fisher, who is now General Leia.

Like the other Star Wars films, this one is about Good versus Evil, dark versus light.  There are plenty of actions scenes. Plenty of bang, bang shoot ‘em ups at warp speed.

Without giving the full story away, this time around the dark side appears in the form of The First Order.  They want to find the map that will lead them to Luke Skywalker. The Dark Side’s  Supreme Leader Snoke is a creepy, eerie, larger-than-life hologram voiced by Andy Serkis.
The result is a wild, nonstop, galactic ride that is fulfilling and nostalgic.

In a kind of Han Solo role, Oscar Isaac plays a hotshot pilot named Poe Dameron who is taken prisoner by the Order in order for them to obtain the map. 

Adam Driver plays the military bad guy Kylo Ren, who hides behind a black mask.

Gotta admit, I was disappointed in not actually seeing Lupita Nyong’o. She, instead, appears as a cartoonish and likable alien bar owner named Maz Kanata.

J.J. Abrams’ film stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max von Sydow.

May the force be with you!

Production: Lucasfilm Ltd., Bad Robot
Distributor: Disney
Screenwriters: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, based on characters created by George Lucas
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk
Executive producers: Tommy Harper, Jason McGatlin
Music: John Williams

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Rated PG-13, 135 minutes

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets an E (excellent).

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