Star Wars: The Force Awakens

If you previously adored C-3PO and R2-D2, wait until you have the chance to embrace BB-8.

Star Wars The Force AwakensThere are times when a highly acclaimed film exceeds its praise and that is exactly the case with Director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unlike the recent James Bond film Spectre, it reintroduces previous characters without drowning under its own weight.

This is a film that can be simply classified as spectacular entertainment from beginning to end. Filled with excitement and suspense, there is not a dull moment in the entire movie.

Sure, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher reappear as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. However, only Mr. Ford makes any type of significant contribution, and the movie belongs to new heroes who are wonderful to watch at every turn.

This starts with Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, a scavenger who reluctantly joins the rebel forces. Ms. Ridley becomes a force of nature, and her performance in this film drowns out anything offered by Jennifer Lawrence in the last two The Hunger Games movies or Shailene Woodley in the Divergent series. Ms. Ridley joins Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road and Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation as women who don’t need to be rescued by men.

While the central focus of this film at all times remains Ms. Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac rise to the occasion in memorable supporting roles. Mr. Boyega plays Finn, an ex-member of the Dark Side whose desire to seek peace and isolation is thwarted by his commitment to Rey. Mr. Isaac plays Poe Dameron, a rebel pilot who smirks at danger. Hard to believe he was the twisted scientist in this year’s Ex Machina.

The only mild weakness in the film comes from Adam Driver’s role as Kylo Ren, a villainous successor to Darth Vader. Though his ties to Han Solo will grab your attention, he is a villain who is far easier to hate than fear.

However, the strength of this film does not rest with the actors but the story. It is once again a glorious adventure where decent people seek to survive, and the superb score from John Williams continually adds a dimension to the film that enlivens your senses.

Additionally, while the visual effects are outstanding, the heart and soul of the film is found with the reappearance of Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. But it is the appearance of a new droid called BB-8 that will capture your heart. He has the head of a bowling ball on top of a body resembling a beach ball, and every scene where he appears on screen adds glorious new meaning to the phrase “cute”.

In closing, please do not think that this film is little more than a lightweight trip through space. Danger threatens our heroes around every turn, and there is a real question concerning who will survive. This is a film that deserves its blockbuster label, so do your best to hunt it down once the massive crowds begin to disappear.