The Force Awakens Review
By AD Plif

This past December after the last edition of the newsletter was released, we got our first new installment in the Star Wars Saga since Episode III in 2005. Titled The Force Awakens, the events in Episode VII take place 30 years after the Battle of Endor, which itself was 4 years after the Battle of Yavin. 30 years is now the largest time span between two Star Wars movies, so there was a lot of room to change things up.

We learned that the galaxy in 34 ABY has a very different set of circumstances than where it was in the previous movies. The Empire was defeated at Endor but still holds power in Outer Rim and the New Republic took over as the primary galactic government. The First Order has risen up to challenge the New Republic and a new organization of resistance fighters has assembled to foil the First Order's plans. The heroes of the Galactic Civil War are still around, but only one of them is actively engaged in the fight. Luke Skywalker himself is missing after his failed attempt to train a new generation of Jedi. The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa has turned to the Dark Side and is one of the leaders of the new threat to the galaxy. As usual in the Star Wars universe, its story has remained one of constant upheaval and reversed fortunes.

The storyline of the movie follows the same major plot points from Episode IV. A young human that grew up as an orphan on a desert world learns that they're Force-sensitive, the bad guys have a superweapon that needs to be destroyed, the superweapon is used to destroy a significant world and then turned towards the good guys' base, and the good guys destroy the superweapon. Director J.J. Abrams had this to say about the story: "We inherited Star Wars. The story of history repeating itself was, I believe, an obvious and intentional thing, and the structure of meeting a character who comes from a nowhere desert and discovers that she has a power within her, where the bad guys have a weapon that is destructive but that ends up being destroyed -- those simple tenets are by far the least important aspects of this movie, and they provide bones that were well-proven long before they were used in Star Wars."

Despite the similarities to A New Hope, there were still plenty of new things going on. We're introduced to several new characters on both sides of the fight that will be leading us through the next two chapters. We saw some new technology being used that will help shape the future of the galaxy. During the events of the movie, we saw a significant political shift that changed the entire landscape once again. TFA does a lot to set up Episode VIII, which will be coming to theaters in December 2017.

Personally, I really enjoyed the movie. I saw it several times while it was in theaters and felt like there different things I noticed each time I saw it, which speaks the time that was spent figuring out every detail that was put into the movie. The script was great and had plenty of fun moments that worked really well. This felt like the first part of a trilogy that's going to be fantastic, which I think is exactly what Episode VII needed to be.