As I sat in the theatre watching the introduction roll onto the screen with that classic background score rumbling from the surrounding Dolby speakers, nostalgia hit me like a punch in the face (a good punch though). Directed by J. J. Abrams, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the first film in the new sequel trilogy following the legacy created by George Lucas. And I must say:  met, expectations have been.

‘The Force Awakens’ is a mix of old and new in the most perfect of proportions;  Abrams has breathed fresh air into the film by timely introducing new characters but has still maintained the foundation set by predecessor films. The energy stays high throughout the film duration with references to characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, appearances of R2-D2, C3PO and the new BB-8. So though there is a feeling of ‘new’, you still feel ‘at home’.

Assuming most of you have seen the movie, there seems no harm in divulging the plot:  thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the First Order led by evil Kylo Ren threatens the galaxy and seeks to control it. One of the Order’s white soldiers, who calls himself Finn,  goes rogue and crash lands on a desert-planet. The rogue soldier meets Rey, a tough scavenger residing in the desert area and finds that the droid with her contains top-secret information regarding the whereabouts of the last of the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker, who disappeared after the destruction of the second death star. *chill runs down spine*. Rey and Finn, while on the run from First Order soldiers, run into…wait for it… Hans Solo and Chewbacca!! Together they all must get this top-secret information to the Resistance, the good guys head by (our once ‘Princess’) Leia Organa, to help find Luke. *fan girl screams*. There is a kind of weight in the relationship between the old characters like Hans, Chewbacca, Leia, C3PO and others. What is lovely is that the audience share in this relationship and that is what takes the them on an emotional ride once these characters come on-screen.

One can’t forget mentioning Maz Kanata, a dwarfish old character voiced by Lupita Nyong’o. Though her appearance is short-lived, Maz’s role is crucial and characterized splendidly. Oh, did I mention that the villain Kylo is Hans’ and Leia’s son? The depth to this character is somewhat overlooked in front of the nostalgic effect that the movie has on the audience. His stance, his speaking style and his whole aura oozes evilness and it is this trait that makes him a perfect villain. It is also interesting to see the good and bad in him battling each other – it only reinforces that he really is Darth Vader’s grandson.

Although there is the excitement of seeing new and old characters on-screen, the objective is the age-old ‘stay safe and out of harm’s way’. That is not bad but there could have been more nail-biting things about the movie. This is only a minor issue; the film on the whole didn’t disappoint and has even been nominated at the Oscar’s under five categories! Now that is a real treat for all Star Wars fans!

The visual effects are laudable and so is the performance of all characters. However there is a dearth of depth in Rey’s character- it just seems a bit dull for being one of the main people in the film and somehow lacks oomph. Perhaps the next film in the trilogy will bridge this. The movie ends on an awesome note with Rey finding Luke right before the credits come on-screen.

“Chewie, we’re home”, Hans said. He was right; the movie really packs a punch and takes us all back. Abrams weaves new and young people into the existing cloak of characters this franchise wears and the foundation has been laid wonderfully for the coming films. Of course, waiting for them will be tough. But as Master Yoda would say – “Patience you must have, my young Padawan..”

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