STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Movie Review by The Commander


3-1/2 (out of 4 stars)
A long, long time ago, in a city not too far away, someone got together and said, “Let's make another billion dollars.”  Let it be written, let it be done, may the force be with us.  And so it happens. 
What else can you say about a multi-billion-dollar franchise that wants to reboot itself more than 30 years after its initial release?  Star Wars was a groundbreaking film, taking us into other worlds like never been done before.  Even the trailers were fabulous.  The whole idea of whisking around the universe, good versus (very) evil, was a fabulous explosion of the Saturday afternoon serials that your grandparents saw when they were kids.  And since it was a serial, each chapter would continue where the last one left off.  After three successful episodes, they created the prequel to show how we got to the original episode (now the 4th episode in the series).  
Now with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we continue where we last left off at the end of the third film (which in the timeline of space is actually the last film) and we find the Empire has been destroyed, but the new evil force, The First Order, will rise up and attempt to rule the galaxy.  I know, sounds like every other episode, but hey, this is a Saturday afternoon sci-fi serial.  What else would you expect?
I liked this movie, but then again, I'm prejudiced.  I've always been a Star Wars, Star Trek, sci-fi fan.  The director, J.J. Abrams, continues the franchise with the same basic fundamentals as the previous films and brings back a few old favorite characters, so that the new audiences can connect with the previous films, even though they may not have seen them.  Unfortunately, there was nothing really new in this film.  It was just more of the same with lots of great action sequences and weird alien characters.  Abrams even recreates the famous bar room scene.  Other than one twist, which I will not reveal, the film took the same path as the original.  I felt that more could have been done, but I guess they decided just to play it safe and do what works, but do it well.  
For me, this was a fun movie, great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.  And to see it in Imax 3D was even better.  I would see it again just for the great cinematography, action sequences and CGI.  If you're not familiar with the series and you’re not a sci-fi fan, this movie may not be for you.  You may find the whole thing confusing, shallow and simplistic.  However, those of us who were anxiously awaiting the release of this film were not disappointed, especially with this episode's ending.  I will definitely be there for the release of the next film, providing the force is still with me.

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