The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) brings back the overall story structure of Star Wars (Lucas, 1977) but makes the content new enough for it not to feel rehashed. The film follows Rey (Daisy Ridley), a lone scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku, who meets Finn (John Boyega), a rogue Stormtrooper, and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a smuggler with a heart of gold, and sets off on an adventure to save the galaxy from the First Order that plans to control it using their planet-devastating space station, Starkiller Base. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a high-ranking leader of the First Order, is trying to snuff out the Resistance against the First Order and tracking down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the peace-keeping Jedi knights.
As is expected with Star Wars films, The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) comes packed with tense sci-fi action. As a return to tradition and an homage to the original trilogy, this film uses plenty of practical effects from fully-built set pieces, to model miniatures, animatronics, real explosions, and more. When you see the Millennium Falcon flying over the desert sands of Jakku or an explosion on a battlefield, there's a unique feeling that what you're seeing is actually right in front of you. After the use (or arguable overuse) of CGI in the Star Wars films from The Phantom Menace (Lucas, 1999) to Revenge of the Sith (Lucas, 2005), seeing physical special effects in this film is refreshing and makes the action real. Production designer Darren Gilford spoke at a Comic-Con panel saying that Abrams' goal, "was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) should be a good time for anyone either casually or faithfully following the Star Wars franchise and a welcome new addition to the saga.
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