There is nothing that I can write to change anyone's mind about seeing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ---  nor would I want to! "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is everything a fan could hope for --- it's thrilling with unbelievable special effects --- and best of all, it's laugh-out-loud funny in many scenes.


It has been 30 years since the Galactic Empire was defeated. But now there is a new threat to the galaxy, an evil organization known as the First Order. Ace pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) has received a piece of the puzzle regarding Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) whereabouts from Lor San Trekka (Max von Sydow) just as Stormtroopers from the First Order attack.


Poe stores the information in his ever-faithful droid, BB8, and insists that it leave immediately and seek refuge until he can return to retrieve it. Junk scavenger, Rey (Daisy Ridley), rescues BB8 from a more ruthless collector and keeps BB8 safe. Meanwhile, Poe is captured and tortured by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), commander of the First Order, who is seeking the same in formation about the secret location of Luke.


A disillusioned Stormtrooper, whom Poe names Finn (John Boyega), helps Poe escape and they crash land on Jakku where Poe is lost and Finn encounters Rey and BB8. Together they protect the droid and the vital details it possesses, eventually teaming up with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) along the way.


As far as I'm concerned, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the best film of the year. Fans have been clamoring for years to see these beloved characters again, and director J. J. Abrams has delivered. Abrams, who co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan from the first three films in the series, and Michael Arndt, made the decision to select unknowns for the parts of Rey and Finn, and thankfully he chose well.


Ridley has a huge job on her hands, and she is definitely up to the task. Boyega is a stellar choice, also, because if either of these two newbies choked, the film would have suffered irreparably. But, they are both terrific and possess a sense of comic timing to boot.


It is great to see Ford and Carrie Fisher as Princess/General Leia again. It's obvious they share a special bond, and I think it's quite evident in their scenes together. Han Solo and Chewbacca, though, will always remain one of the greatest movie pairings of all time, and to watch them go through their antics again is pure joy.


I'm not going to write anything else because it won't matter --- and I don't want to divulge too much. Suffice to say, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is an exciting, fantastic moviegoing experience, with John Williams again providing the awesome score. 'Nuff said!


Opinion: Strong See It Now!




This much-anticipated release of a new "Star Wars" film should please just about everybody, whether you enjoy dressing up as a Stormtrooper, or just remember fondly the premier in 1977. Enough of the original cast are present in "The Force Awakens", but rather than attempt to recap the plot and inextricably or unintentionally reveal something that shouldn't, let me just say this --- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is as entertaining as always.


Complete with the great John Williams score, dazzling special effects, lots of good humor -- and of course, the creatures, it's a real crowd pleaser. It also features several newcomers to the franchise who manage to thrive even under the pressure of maintaining the excellence of the past performers. And for the super "Star Wars" buffs, there is a major surprise, or two.


The returning cast members, 38 years hence, are like an ageing rock band that keeps going and going, and no one seems to care. For the record, here they are with their age in 1977 vs. their current status:


          Harrison Ford   (Han Solo)           35 then,  73 now

          Mark Hamill     (Luke Skywalker)  26 then,  64 now

          Carrie Fisher   (Princess Leia)     21 then,  59 now

          Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)        33 then,  71 now

          Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)             31 then,  69 now


Composer Williams, one of the most prolific and revered musical figures in history, was 43 when he first introduced the familiar theme of "Jaws" to Steven Spielberg, who introduced him to George Lucas. Two years later, Williams had penned the "Star Wars" theme, and is listed as conductor for "The Force Awakens" at age 83. Williams has been nominated an astounding 43 times for Oscar's Best Musical Score, winning on five occasions.


Back to the new cast members: leading the pack are Daisy Ridley as Rey, a young beauty who sells scrap metal to survive, and John Boyega as Finn, a disillusioned Stormtrooper. They are dynamic, both in their speech, and the physical demands of their roles. Other newbies are Oscar Isaac as crack pilot Poe Dameron, Domhnall Gleeson as First Order General Hux, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. Isaac shines and seems to enjoy himself immensely in the cockpit of the Resistance starfighters.


A new robot emerges called BB8, performed by the duo of Dave Chapman and Brian Herring, and Bill Hader is a voice consultant for this good-natured R2-D2 successor. BB8 provides much of the laughs throughout the film with its infectious sound effects. Chewbacca is a hoot, as usual, with his mannerisms, grunts and groans. But best of all are the creatures who populate this strange land. My favorite is the huge beast who nudges Finn away when the ex-Stormtrooper tries to drink from its water supply. This is just one of the many lighter moments of humor which affirms none of this should be taken too seriously.



Opinion:  See It Now!