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    January 1, 2016


    The hype is real and its existence is now fully justified. The seventh "Star Wars" film, subtitled "The Force Awakens", marks the return to its great form and gives a much needed esteem for the franchise, which were once also enjoyed by the original trilogy some four decades ago. And it is in the hands of the acclaimed director J.J. Abrams, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, where this movie springs to life and excitements, even if it means to stuff it all over again with "A New Hope". At least the disastrous prequel trilogy is now far behind us.

    Sets some 30 years after the fall of the evil Galactic Empire in "Return of the Jedi", the remnant of the defeated faction rises as the new First Order. Once again they maintain their desire to rule the vast, vast galaxy; and that evil agenda presents an imminent threat to the newly restored Republic, established and lead by the old Rebels (now the Resistance force). The two sides have a similar plan - to find the last master Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who has gone missing after a terrible tragedy that affects him emotionally. No doubt, Luke may be the remaining one who will tips the balance of the Force. But there is also an awakening somewhere!

    Aforementioned, "The Force Awakens" is a strong return to the stuffs we all loved about from the original trilogy. The basic story template, as laid out by the writing trio, is heavily borrowed from the original trilogy. It is not easy to miss these familiar elements at all, and you will certainly find yourself occasionally cringed to almost all of the references and Easter eggs. As one might argue how it is a remake of "A New Hope" and "Empire Strikes Back"; but even with these formulaic approaches and constant recycle of materials being thrown into the mixing bowl, the result is still thoroughly solid, enjoyable and serviceable framework.

    After all, the new installment also feels more like an upgrade over the classics. The visual effect is stunning and breathtaking to savour, especially the one scene involving the iconic Millennium Falcon zigzagging around the tight corners trying to evade the enemies. There is also a notable scene when the Resistance arrives to attack, swiftly flying low over the lake of Takodana - that is equally majestic. The pacing is also much tighter and dashing, albeit that can be a bit difficult to follow at times. It certainly does not make for a strong case, considering how this new installment is perhaps, too secretive.

    One observation noted (also much of criticism) is how convenient certain part of the story is. Recently I discovered that these convenient parts of the story can be “answered” – thanks to the arrival of novelization and audio book. But the point being why left it so ambiguously in the movie for casual audiences?

    Either way, J. J. Abrams has conceived a very interesting continuation to the “Star Wars” franchise and it seems that “The Force Awakens” is going to ride the nostalgia with an excellent seventh installment. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is an awakening of the stuffs we loved about the franchise, with an addition of favourite new characters, and dazzling visual. Rating: A


    Info Dashboard:
    Star Wars The Force Awakens
    Casts: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
    Distributor: Walt Disney
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt; based on characters by George Lucas
    Rating: P13
    Release date: 17 December 2015
    Running time: 135 minutes
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