How do you take a beloved franchise that has not had an installment in 10 years and bring it back to the forefront of pop culture?
You give it to someone like J. J. Abrams, who successfully restarted Star Trek, another beloved science fiction franchise.
Not only did he direct, he worked on the script with longtime Star Wars writer Lawrence Kasdan. This gave him a depth of character insight that he would otherwise not have had.
Working off a solid script and given helpful direction, the cast turns in stellar performances. Be it the newcomers like Daisy Ridley or the veterans like Harrison Ford, the performances are spectacular. They really make you believe not only the story being told but also the relationships of the characters.
There are without a doubt a lot of callbacks and homages to previous Star Wars films, like the training droid from A New Hope or the flags at Maz’s Castle.
The New Hero
Daisy Ridley plays the new generation’s hero in her role as Rey. Brash, independent, and strong, she is one of the new characters that give us a different insight into this galaxy. Not knowing the true history of the conflict she inevitably gets drawn into, Rey is the perfect character that someone new to the Star Wars saga can come in and connect with.
Some have claimed that Rey is a Mary Sue. (A Mary Sue is a type of character that is competent in multiple specialty areas, like fighting or engineering, with little to no experience.)
I disagree with this generalization of Rey’s character. There are times at the beginning of the movie where she demonstrates a base knowledge of combat and engineering. Also, throughout the movie we see Rey’s character go from wanting to go back to her home on Jukku in search of a family that left her behind to building strength and confidence in herself.
Back to a Winning Formula
The film’s action has gone back to the more intimate settings of the original trilogy of Star Wars. It’s built more around character development rather than relying on action spectacle.
The Force Awakens revives the same base core as the original trilogy with more emphasis on character development and story, and less on grand special effects.
Fans of Star Wars old and new will love this film, as will anyone who enjoys character-driven sci-fi fantasy.