Following the triumph of the Republic and the Death of Darth Vader, the tide has turned back to the Dark Side. Now the newly arisen First Order, led by the malevolent Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) searches the galaxy for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last remaining Jedi, whose whereabouts have been stashed in a droid by an ace Rebel pilot (Oscar Isaac). Now General Leia's (Carrie Fisher) only hope lies in the hands of a rogue Storm Trooper (John Boyega), a fiery junk collector (Daisy Ridley), and some old allies of the Republic (Harrison Ford, et al). Disney's cash cow or J.J. Abrams' continuation of the Star Wars saga is made with regard to the original series and great craftsmanship in terms of cinematography and special effects. Although this reverence is probably what fans want following the much maligned prequels and what seems like unanimous acclaim this past week, The Force Awakens is so derivative and so self-referential, essentially playing like a point by point remake of A New Hope (the finale is particularly dull and recycled) while tossing in many other elements of and references to that hallowed first series. The inclusion of old characters serves as distracting asides while new cast additions are charasmatic and welcomed.
** 1/2 out of ****