STAR WARS - EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (SPOILER-FREE) REVIEW....and yes, we promise it's SPOILER-FREE
What Is It: The Force Awakens is the seventh film in the ongoing Star Wars saga. It picks up 30 years after the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi where the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker has gone missing and the First Order has taken over and they are desperate to find and destroy him. General Leia Organa has the help of the Republic behind her as she sends her best pilot to the desert planet of Jakku in search of her missing brother.
My experience: Yes, I'm one of those people who saw this movie in costume on opening night and I had been waiting for this momentous occasion for years. In case you haven't already guessed from our entire episode devoted to Star Wars, it is one of my favorite movies of all time. Seeing this movie opening night with all the fans is truly an experience that cannot be described. From cheering filling the theatre at the sight of the opening logos to the genius music of John Williams and the opening crawl, excitement never dwindled. There were cheers for the return of old characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca as well as excitement for the new characters like Rey, Poe, Finn, and little BB-8. By the time the climax of the movie happened, the entire theatre was at the edge of their seats, anxious to see what would happen next. And, of course, when the film finally ended, no one wanted it to. Now we just can't wait for the next one.
Why You Should See It: The Force Awakens is already smashing box office records: most tickets sold on Fandango ever, biggest opening night, fastest from $100M to $200M, and, of course, highest grossing opening weekend. It blew the record previously held by this summer's Jurassic World out of the water and is now poised to be the highest grossing movie of all time. It has currently made $238 million in the US alone and $517 million worldwide. If that's not impressive enough, just talk to your friends, co-workers, and fellow nerds and they are sure to tell you that it will not disappoint. The Force Awakens had so many hopes riding on it and in my personal opinion, J.J. Abrams did his best to please the fans and it has been well-received. We were not only flocking to the theatre this weekend, but some of us are already going back for our second, third, and even FOURTH viewings of the movie. Suffice it to say that this holiday season, this is the movie that everyone at your family dinner will be talking about. If you haven't seen it yet, you're bound to get it spoiled or be shunned at family dinners.
The Future: Disney has really taken the Star Wars franchise and run with it, promising to release a new adventure every year until at least 2019. The first spin-off film Star Wars: Rogue One is due out next year on December 16, 2016. It is directed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), and Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler). And in only 521 days, Star Wars: Episode VIII will be released on the 40th anniversary of the release of A New Hope. It will be written and directed by Looper's Rian Johnson. We wish him the best of luck. J.J. Abrams really hit it out of the park. We can also look forward to Episode XI and a Han Solo origin story already in the works.