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By Heinrich Domingo

The newest installation of the Star Wars saga certainly lives up to the title, The Force Awakens – it is a refreshing comeback that presents a dyad of both old and new, of depth and lightness, and of expectations and surprises. For fans who waited for 32 years (dismissing Episodes 1-3 as part of the franchise), the new Star Wars film is worth the wait.

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In a galaxy far far away, the lives of the people are still endangered by the presence of the dark force. The First Order battles with the Resistance group led by Leia Organa in a race to find the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker. The quest towards finding the map leading to Luke was filled with refreshing glances of familiar war ships, a bittersweet reunion of friends and families, and a roller coaster of hope and farewell. The Force Awakens is a two and a half hour journey that requires utmost attention. With a blink of an eye, one lax viewer might miss significant story transitions.

The film starts with images of characters new to the world of Star Wars. This marks the end of the first trilogy and promises a fresh storyline. Yet, towards the middle, the filmmakers cannot help but succumb to the longing of fans for the original cast such as Hans Solo, Princess Leia, R2-D2, and others. While the movie recognizes familiar faces, it allows the viewers to wander off in the storyline with new personalities. This is helpful with the film’s plan to expand in the coming years. As the franchise caters both old and young markets, it must retain, dispose, and acquire characters.

For viewers accustomed to the action-packed signature plot of Star Wars, they will surely not get disappointed. Fight scenes involving spaceships and light sabers maximize the relatively more advance technology in film editing. Cinematography is flawless and the image per frame is one that could be admired in the big screen. Aside from these elements on the surface, the film digs deep in its story. It tells the subplots of child rearing, notion of goodness, and the subjective nature of justice.

Along with the introduction of new characters in the story, The Force Awakens includes bits of surprises. Untimely death, reappearance of almost forgotten characters, and plot twists are reasons for movie fans to update their Star Warspedia. Despite these new offerings, this film is still seen by others as a mere continuation of the already established film saga. It is a piece that is best appreciated by fanatics and avid followers.

Moreover, others think that George Lucas’ Star Wars has reached the point where viewers are mere spectators than participants. This saga has proven itself, and today, ideas served by the moviemakers are always good and outstanding. In this phenomenon, fans are no longer critics but mere moviegoers waiting for the next spectacle to be shown. Yet, I differ.  For those who have loved the story, there should always be a balance of restoration and innovation. Some elements in the movie are to be kept while others are to be let gone. And this is the story of Star Wars- a story of finding balance to the Force.

4.5 stars

 

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