WARNING: Major Spoilers Ahead
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
Whenever I see those few, simple words appear on a screen, I know I’m about to be taken on a journey. Sometimes the journey is through the devastating Clone Wars, while others times the journey is a battle with Darth Vader and the vicious Empire.
“Star Wars” was something I had stumbled upon when I was about 6 years old when I watched “Attack of the Clones.” Yeah, the first “Star Wars” film I ever saw was a prequel, but they can be enjoyable, especially if they drew me into the “Star Wars” universe.
It probably took me about a year to watch the other films in the series, and my imagination would be forever captured by George Lucas’ brilliant work. My life was changed forever.
When I heard Disney was making new “Star Wars” films, I was filled with dread. As a die hard fan I should have rejoiced, but to be honest I was scared. I was scared that the new filmmakers would destroy the story that I loved.
I also had a deep fondness for the expanded universe, stories of what happens between and after the six films, and knowing that it would all be thrown away crushed me.
But as soon as the first trailer arrived, I finally saw hope. When the last trailer surfaced, I wept tears of joy.
Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 were back. I had spent my entire childhood, teenage years and young adult years looking up to these characters. They were my friends when I felt alone and my light when the world around me was dark. Seeing them back in action was indescribable.
I sat in the theater opening night and for the first time I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that my beloved series had returned and a new journey had begun. And before I knew it, the tears started and they didn’t stop until the end of the film.
I cried a total of 10 times during my first screening (I’ve now watched it three times). It started as soon as “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” popped up on screen.
Tears flowed when Han and Chewie took back the Millennium Falcon. I lost it when Han and Leia reunited because they have always been my all-time favorite fictional couple. I sobbed when Han died. Let’s be honest, who didn’t cry when that happened?
I was absolutely in love with the movie when I first watched it, but there were a few things that I really didn’t like.
“The Force Awakens” was definitely nowhere near as good as the three original films, but in my opinion, it was on the same level as the prequels. The story of the prequels was brand new and complex while the “The Force Awakens” story was unoriginal and was a recycled version of “A New Hope.”
Although I enjoyed the nostalgia at first, I was a little irritated by the end. We’ve seen battle stations that can destroy planets and rebellions battling against evil empires. It’s time to move on.
I hope that this was just an introduction and that the next two films will follow a different path. As a fan, I don’t want to see the same story over and over again.
I was, however, thrilled with the use of CGI in the film, but that still doesn’t make up for the fact that J.J. Abrams decided to play it safe with somewhat weak character development and sub-par dialogue.
I also found that the writers missed a huge opportunity to use a few awesome plot points from the expanded universe. I guess I’ll just always be a little hurt over Disney’s idea to do away with all of that.
I may be the only person who feels this way but I also missed Lucas being at the helm. Lucas’ films were always filled with a fantastic plot, and maybe if Disney used a few of his ideas the film would have turned out a better.
“The Force Awakens” did, however, give rise to a collection of fantastic new characters. Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, and Kylo Ren. I loved every single one of them and how they, despite everything that was going on around them, were able to retain their humanity (yes, this includes BB-8).
The new cast was incredibly interesting and I’m eager to see what else the galaxy has in store for them.
As a huge fan, it felt extremely nice to be back home in the galaxy far, far away. Despite its flaws “The Force Awakens” is a movie worth watching; I’ve watched it three times, after all.
This article is dedicated to Han Solo. You will be missed.