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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 21, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens- It Exceeded Our Expectations

FANS OF the Star Wars series will not be disappointed with the newest episode, “The Force Awakens”, now produced by Disney (who bought the franchise from original creator George Lucas) and now written and directed by JJ Abrams. It’s definitely more exciting (with more awesome and spectacular action sequences) than the last three boring episodes that are prequels involving Annakin turning into Darth Vader.

The Force Awakens, Episode 7, is a direct sequel to the first Star Wars trilogy of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Series fans consider it an event and rightly so. Credit should go to Abrams (who also did the successful “Star Trek” reboot) for coming up with a new version that not only pays homage to the original but also comes up with some new characters and fresh ideas to give the franchise some new life and excitement.

The evil Empire now has a new Supreme Leader in Snoke (played in motion-capture technique by Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in “Lord of the Rings”). His chief henchman is a Darth Vader lookalike named Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, who looks like Albie Casino). His task is to locate Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the Jedi who has disappeared. A map showing where he hides is kept by a robot droid called BB8 who gets separated from his master, a pilot named Poe (Oscar Isaac.)

Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scrap metal scavenger in a desert planet, meets BB8 by chance and her life changes dramatically as she gets hunted by Ren and his stormtroopers. She joins forces with a renegade stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega), who pretends he’s a member of the Resistance. Together they drive Han Solo’s spaceship, the Millennium Falcon, chased by Ren’s men. Han (Harrison Ford) catches up with them with his friend, Chewbacca, and help them fight. Later on, we also meet Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) of the Rebel Alliance, plus robots R2D2 and C3PO, and the concrete connection between the first Star Wars movies and this new one is established. We won’t reveal any other spoilers and it’s up to the viewer to discover and re-discover the series.

The feelings of nostalgia will engulf the viewer who has seen the very first Star Wars in 1977, which later got the subtitle “A New Hope” after its sequels came. The moment the familiar Star Wars theme music by John Williams is heard, the viewers swoon. The old characters may have aged, but the appearance of Harrison Ford as Han Solo was greeted with a round of applause. And yes, it’s nice to see Leia once again, Chewbacca and the old robots. No more Yoda, no Obi Wan Kennobi (but there’s a lookalike, Lor San Tekka played by Max von Sydow made to look like Alec Guiness as Obi Wan), no Jabba the Hutt, but they won’t be missed.

Among the new characters, Rey is the most likable. She’ll give Katniss Everdeen (and Jennifer Lawrence) stiff competition. British actress Daisy Ridley is definitely an amazing discovery as the heart and soul of the movie. She’s exciting to watch on the big screen and can definitely act. Seems like she’ll have a good future in Hollywood. Her character obviously hold some other vital secrets about her mysterious parentage that we will discover in future Star Wars episodes.

Another villain to look forward to is Domnhall Gleeson as the snarling Gen. Hux, who seems like he’ll be a more formidable villain than Ren in future sequels. All in all, “The Force Awakens” exceeded our expectations to make us feel that, yes, the force is with us.