‘The Force Awakens’: Star Wars revival or retread?


From raging space wars, to a soft love story and all that lies in between, Star Wars has captivated fans from all corners of the globe since 1977 when George Lucas and company released “Star Wars: A New Hope” which we now know as Episode IV.

As the original Star Wars movies gain critics love and admiration, the prequels (Episodes I-III) have been known to draw scrutiny due to a variety of reasons that include a sci-fi cheesiness and predictability, amongst others.

The newest movie in the Star Wars saga was released on Dec. 18, 2015. The movie was named “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or Episode VII. Critically acclaimed as one of the best of all the Star Wars movies, “The Force Awakens” drew high interest and box office sales skyrocketed, even surpassing James Cameron’s “Avatar” for record sales in the U.S.

In the movie we meet FN-2187 (later named Finn), a First Order (bad guy) storm trooper who was taken from his family as an infant and raised to be a stone cold killer. The only problem is that he’s entirely different than the rest and his compassion and intuition often get the best of him. In his first battle, he is ordered to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku. After realizing he can’t kill innocent people, he recruits the help of top-notch rebel pilot and first order prisoner, Poe Dameron, to leave the First Order.

After narrowly escaping the First Order ship, they head to Jakku to recover a droid that has a piece of a map to one of the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker. There, after losing Poe, Finn meets Rey and, long story short, they have to take the map-filled droid called BB-8 to the Resistance’s (Rebels in the old movie) headquarters in order to find the powerful and mystical Jedi Luke Skywalker. In the mean-time, the resistance has to make sure that their base doesn’t get blown up by a new age Death Star that can take out entire systems of planets at once.

Sophomore Ethan Huntley said, “Episode VII has almost the same plot-line as Episode IV and, while I like the new villain, Kylo Ren, and his obsession with his (spoiler alert) grandpa, Darth Vader, I didn’t like how similar the movies were.”

In Episode IV, “A New Hope”, newly-crowned Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker joins the rebellion and takes out the infamous Death Star, a weapon capable of destroying an entire planet (or star cruiser) in one shot. Ironically, a droid called R2-D2 carries an important message to long-time Jedi Ben Kenobi, very similar to the BB-8 droid that carried a piece of the map to Skywalker in Episode VII.

Huntley went on to say, “I really liked the new villain Kylo Ren and the new hero Rey. It truly was a good movie, I just hope the next episode is more original.”

While the special effects were far more advanced than that of its earlier counterparts, the tradition and “Star wars feel” was still entirely present, even in the new plants such as Jakku (Rey’s home planet).

While some Star Wars junkies were not-so excited about the latest episode, Star Wars “newby”, PLS Science teacher, Briar Scheutz felt the movie was “Very good because it had all of the elements of a good movie. It had action, external and internal conflict, and an added element of kids vs. parents in a twisted and large family.”

“Rey is a Skywalker no doubt in some way,” Jared Norblade, Senior, Star Wars enthusiast, and known force-connoisseur, said. Norblade has seen all the movies and is highly knowledgeable in the force. “I really enjoyed the movie and the new humor that accompanied it unlike the others which were far more serious. Especially the prequels.”

When asked about how he felt about some of the new changes that have been made to Star Wars in Episode VII, Norblade said he “loved the changes. This movie was definitely one of the best one and I liked the new mystery of Rey. I’m excited because it’s a new beginning.”

The only complaint from Norblade? “I was mad when it ended because I was so into the movie and it cut my brain off when it was happy.”

From Han Solo to Princess Leia and all characters in between, Star Wars has captivated audiences since 1977 and continues to knock it out of the park with Episode VII topping charts and breaking records in the U.S.

The choice is yours, whether you like the new Star Wars characters and changes that come with it, but one thing is for certain, as Norblade said,“there’s so much history, yet a long story ahead.”