A & E

In Defense of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


By Liam O’Sullivan


It’s been slightly shy of forty years since the iconic Star Wars franchise made its inaugural appearance on the silver screen in 1977 and created a cinematic and cultural phenomenon never seen before. Since this time, it has developed and evolved into one of the most beloved and glorified movie series in popular culture. Very recently, the latest edition to this long running series, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, was released to the public. Controversially, Disney took the series over and people waited with poised breath to see if they would produce a movie to end it, or one to revive it. Fortunately, in my opinion, it was the latter.

The Force Awakens is a movie very similar to previous Star Wars movies in several ways. There’s a starship like the Death Star (but bigger of course) capable of destroying planets by exhausting the power of the sun. There’s a comedic relief character (similar to Jar Jar Binks). But most importantly, the movie continues the tradition of the light side vs the dark side. The rift between these two sides initially seems extremely large. This is a result of no remaining Jedi being alive to fight for the Rebel Alliance, save for Luke Skywalker, whom the two main characters try to locate and enlist to aid them.

The first main character is a storm trooper given the name Finn. Ironically, he is one of the most boisterous, energetic, and loyal characters in the movie. As he breaks away from his conditioning and plans his escape from the Empire, he struggles to discover his identity when it has been so well crafted for him at a young age. From uniformity comes defiance, and Finn escapes to a nearby planet along with a Rebel Alliance pilot named Poe to begin the journey of a lifetime. The second character is Rey, who, unknowingly, is a possessor of the force and is unaware of it until she touches Luke’s old lightsaber. Her Jedi skills develop throughout the movie and aid her in numerous ways in defeating the insurmountable odds stacked against her and the Rebel Alliance. Together, these two characters, along with the return of beloved characters from the previous movie, create a riveting movie that serves as a fantastic rebirth of the franchise.

Much like the title suggests, the Force Awakens has two meanings. The Force Awakens can refer to the events of the movie itself, in which the Jedi are poised for a return and the light side grows stronger with the enlistment of Rey. The second meaning represents the awakening of fans and movie connoisseurs alike who can congregate together and experience a rebirth in their love for this classic series. They can “awaken” their love for the Star Wars series. As mentioned before, this movie is very similar to other ones and is deemed by some as a derivative of the original series. But in my opinion, Star Wars is such a fantastic and incredible series that no matter what standards and goals we set for the movie in our imagination, the movie will never reach them. With that in mind I give this movie a great rating. Though it may not be the best Star Wars movie, it has succeeded in shunning the naysayers who believed it wouldn’t be possible to re-create the mystique and glory of the series without George Lucas. Star Wars- The Force Awakens has been awaited for almost two years now. Its release has been a grand and exuberant one, and in its wake, it leaves a much anticipated void to fill with the next movie: Episode VIII. Only sixteen more months!

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