Star Wars: The Force Awakens returns adventurers and moviegoers alike to a galaxy far far away, and what an exhilarating experience director J.J. Abrams has orchestrated masterfully in Episode VII of the philosophical space myth series.
There will be no Spoilers in this review, but if you do not want general aspects described in their incredulity, then please look away from your screens now.
Only in our wildest dreams could space battles achieve such heights!
The ship-to-ship sequences carry the brilliant innovations of George Lucas, who based much of his scenes on actual military footage taken from the air, and evolve to another level.
The X-wings are back, along with the TIE fighters, and their weight, speed, and scratched up exteriors resonate on adept realism and stunning impactfulness.
The acting here is phenomenal, from both the fan favorite returning cast and the newest stars in the franchise.
On the old school side, Harrison Ford brings Han Solo back to the same shoot first anti-hero we all know and love, who is kick ass and snide, albeit a bit weathered with a few more years than he had in 1983 with Return of the Jedi.
Ford steals the show for much of this film.
Forget his last portrayal of Indiana Jones, who was left looking and feeling old, not because of the man but because of the poor writing and story.
Meeting Ford stride for stride is Peter Mayhew reprising his role as Chewbacca, whose excellent acting is too often overlooked and is not easy, as he accutely portrays much of the wookie’s feelings with movement and an unintelligible language.
Adam Driver storms the scene with a twisted and powerful young Sith, whose anger is realistically felt and feared, as the human in him drowns in dark power.
And then there is the amazement of Daisy Ridley playing Rey.
She is smart, tenacious, and endearing, and has a great dynamic with the conscience-laden traitor Finn, played to perfection by John Boyega.
And let's not forget BB-8, the amazing spherical droid that chirps its way into our hearts while paying homage to R2-D2!
The story is remarkable in that it plays on the foundation from Episode IV and yet covers wholly uncharted ground.
The start has some clunkiness about it as a whirlwind of storylines and character introductions take place, but like in any great story a little time is needed, a small investment, to get into the stark world that has been created and feel for those figures whose paths determine where the story goes.
In many ways Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the new Episode IV, the new start of the series, of another trilogy.
This is by design, and this is a damn good thing.
Like Lucas before him, Abrams understands the tropes of myth and the standards of drama.
Nothing will ever be as good as the original Star Wars trilogy. They are classics of film.
But Star Wars: The Force Awakens far eclipses the prequel sequels (Episodes I-III), enough to forget they ever existed, and goes beyond to make something totally new and vast where anything is possible once again.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the start of something great.
And we have not seen anything like this in a long long time.
REVIEW GRADE: A+
"Rune Works Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was written by R.J. Huneke
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