by Aksinya Kichigina
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” had a startling and tremendous impact on me as a viewer who had never seen any of the other episodes of the “Star Wars” movie before. As soon as the seventh episode of the film saga was released on Dec. 18, 2015, I rushed to a movie theater to watch the blockbuster without any background that would familiarize myself with the movie. Overall, the film astonished me by its fully shown details, remarkable computer effects, strong characters and well-built plot. Due to these reasons, I was able to enjoy and understand what the movie was about and its connection to the previous episodes.
If you’re a person like me who hasn’t seen a “Star Wars” film before, the short version is that in a galaxy far, far away, a band of likely and unlikely heroes are a part of a rebellion battling to defeat the Galactic Empire, depicting the ultimate struggle between good and evil. But there’s a good chance you already knew that.
“The Force Awakens” picks up 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star and what appears to be the fall of the Empire. However, all is not well in this galaxy far, far away, as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the sole remaining Jedi, has disappeared. In his absence, the First Order has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire, throwing the galaxy into turmoil once again. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), now a general rather than a princess, leads the Resistance to oppose the First Order and also works to find her missing brother, Luke.
Even without seeing previous “Star Wars” installments, the nostalgia in the room was often evident when old characters appeared onscreen. When Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) showed up on the Millennium Falcon, I was able to observe astonished reactions of people who were sitting next to me and watched that joy persist until the end of the film. And even though I did not know Han and Chewie’s background and what role they played in the movie, I still was pleased to see their positive intentions throughout the film.
While I was watching the movie, it was impossible to get distracted by something or leave the theater due to the gripping plot. The story that was developed throughout the film made me to keep watching and see what would happen next to the characters. What are Finn’s (John Boyega) intentions? Will the resistance find Luke? What is Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) role in all of this?And just who in the world is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and why has he turned to the dark side?
Even though I saw the film in standard format, I still was amazed. An IMAX 3D is also available for an even more engrossing experience. In addition to my first exposure to the “Star Wars” universe, the theater was full of parents showcasing the universe on the big screen to children for the first time and nostalgic adults who remember seeing the first trilogy and/or the prequels in theaters.
I felt that Daisy Ridley’s character Rey introduces a strong new female lead that is likely to inspire many, and John Boyega’s character Finn is immediately likable and intriguing. I may even show up as Rey at my next Halloween party, and I bet I won’t be the only one.
I can confidently say that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is worth seeing and pleasant to watch, even if you haven’t seen “Star Wars” before. If the reaction in the theater was any indication, and you’ve already been building toy X-Wings and reenacting lightsaber battles with your friends for years, you won’t leave disappointed. The new blockbuster brings a welcome jolt of energy, warmth and excitement. It has certainly motivated me to travel to a galaxy far, far away a few more times to discover this loved universe in its entirety.