Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Phil sees STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in 3D from Walt Disney Studios-December 21, 2015

When George Lucas sold his company LucasFilm to the Walt Disney Company back in October 2012, Disney wasted no time in announcing that they were going to make the next trilogy installments to the STAR WARS saga. The legendary episodes VII, VIII, and IX were finally going to be made after all. At first I was kinda hesitant. Lucas had created this universe that has been loved and cherished my millions of fans spanning generations. It seemed very odd to think of seeing a STAR WARS film that he wasn't involved in. However, the prequels that he released between 1999-2005 didn't exactly live up to audiences' expectations. So maybe it was a good thing that he sold his company and walked away. Now a new generation of filmmakers who grew up watching the original trilogy will be able to continue to tell the story that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The first to take on this task was J.J. Abrams, the man who relaunched the STAR TREK franchise, would be the man who would direct the highly anticipated next chapter of the STAR WARS saga. For the past three years fans have been waiting impatiently for the movie to hit theaters. And now, the moment has arrived. This past weekend, I took my family to our local theater to finally see STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in 3D.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2015)
The film's official synopsis: The Galactic Empire was defeated thirty years ago. The Galaxy is now facing a new threat: a new faction named the First Order. Their main mission is to rule the Galaxy and destroy all who oppose them. Their commander is a ruthless, mysterious, powerful Sith, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Kylo has an ambition to find and kill the last Jedi who is able to restore order and revive the Jedi ways, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Luke's unknown location is also a main concern for Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), a General from the Resistance that now trying to find him too. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) meet some new companions: Finn (John Boyega), a defective First Order Stormtrooper, and Ray (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger from the Jakku planet who acquired Luke's location through a BB-8 rolling droid. This unexpected team is forced not only to fight and resist the First Order, but also to find Luke Skywalker.

Also appearing in the film are original trilogy cast members Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and new cast members Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Lupita Nyong'o (Maz Kanata), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Bill Hader (BB-8) and special guest appearances from Simon Pegg, Judah Friedlander, Daniel Craig and voices from Frank Oz and Ewan McGregor.

First let me state that this is a SPOILER FREE REVIEW!! I will not reveal any part of the story or any of the surprises if you haven't seen the film yet (which begs the question why are you reading this and not going out to see the movie?). So now that I've made that announcement, let me take you all on a trip back in time for a bit. I will return to my review of the film after this important message.

When I was a small child in May of 1977, the world that I was growing up in was, how do I put it, still in a state of chaos. Nixon, Watergate, and the Vietnam War was still fresh in the minds of the American public. The gas crisis crippled this country for a bit, and the Jonestown Massacre shocked people into a state of disbelief and sadness. The United States, at that time, looked like it was about to spiral out of control. It was during this period of disenchantment that a little, low-budget, sci-fi film caught my eye and took me on an imaginary ride that forever changed my life for the better. Little did I realize, that same film would also inspire other people from all walks of life to shake off the shackles of responsibility, and for about two hours, let them feel like a child once again, to experience the wonders of the imagination. That film was STAR WARS, and it gave people the chance to feel free, and to feel inspired to create a whole new world for themselves. The STAR WARS saga defined a whole generation of people, and helped create a bona fide pop culture phenomenon that will last for as long as mankind exists. For myself, that night in 1977 forever ingrained that sense of wonder and hope.

Now I am older, wiser, and have responsibilities. Work, bills, the usual adult baggage that most of us have. A lot of my friends have children, and this new generation's world is in a sorrow state as well. The September 11 attacks, global warming, cutbacks on public schools while higher tuition costs for college students. Most recently, the Paris bombings and the unbelievable lack of gun control in this country has lead to an unfathomable amount of gun related violence and deaths. It seems that history does repeat itself, which is where this generation's imagination and hope resurfaced in a big way.

After the forgettable prequels left a bad taste in our mouths, J.J. Abrams came on board to do something to the STAR WARS franchise that hasn't been done in a long time: he brought back the magic, the imagination, and the wonderment that we needed so desperately. He made STAR WARS fun again. By telling a simply story of good versus evil but layering it with mythology, family issues, amazing characters, epic space fights and the power of the Force. And the use of real sets, practical effects combined with some CGI made it feel and look more like a real movie. That part I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing again. Suddenly, it was fun to go to the cinemas and be transported to another world in a galaxy far, far away. Watching this movie was like reliving my childhood of watching the very first film.

This now brings me to my review for the last film in the series. All I'm gonna say to all of you is this: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is one of the best films of 2015, and in the end, will be loved by audiences everywhere! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in now playing in 2D and 3D in theaters nationwide. Check your local theater to see if it's playing near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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