Tuesday, December 29, 2015
These Are The Good Old Days? (JRD's Star Wars 2015 Review)
Frankly I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to see the highest-grossing flick of all time. Though I hate to carbon-date myself, I must confess to having seen the original Star Wars trilogy in the 70s and the redux of the 90s. Being a Darth Vader fan, I liked The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith best. Obviously they would have to up the ante to keep me in, and somehow they didn't disappoint.
The trick was to have played the nostalgia card while coming up with some solid new talent. Director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) picked up where he left off with the best of the Trekkie flicks, knocking this one out of the galaxy. The shining star is Daisy Ridley as Rey, a scavenger on a desert planet who comes across a droid called BB-8. It's a R2D2 knockoff that is carrying a map to the location of fugitive Jedi Luke Skywalker. She is accompanied by a rogue Storm Trooper who puts her together with the legendary Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookie pal Chewbacca. Together they go up against the evil First Order and its fiendish enforcer Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Carrie Fisher returns as General Leia Organa, and she sends her top gun Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) out with her Resistance fleet to save the planet from Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his Starkiller Base.
Ridley, reminding us of her namesake in Aliens, comes off with an unforgettable performance. She is a female warrior who carries the entire show on her back. Rey is not only cute as a button, but she knows how to fight long before she discovers she has the Force within her. It sets her up for a climactic battle against Ren, a Darth Vader knockoff, and it comes off as Movie Fight of the Year (sorry, Creed fans). The icing on the cake is the reappearance of Ford and Fisher, who inspire nerd tears as advertised. Seeing them together again is worth the price of admission. Oh yeah, and Luke Skywalker shows up in the final reel. Can't touch this.
I'm thinking Abrams should walk away with a well-deserved Oscar. He got overlooked for his awesome work with the Star Trek remakes...but this is payback time.