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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ also awakes our imagination


Wherever a dragon, Grendel or tank stands, a St. George, Beowulf or man stands up to it. During a time when people are killing other people for one reason or another and when hatred is being sputtered out by the mouths of villains who masquerade as saviors, humanity continues to seek light in darkness.

Like the Force, the immortal power and magic of “Star Wars” is forever present. “Star Wars,” at its most primitive, is a battle between good and evil. Armies of thousands brawling across the universe as warriors partake in a duel of fates is what has captivated audiences since 1977.

Warning: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop reading, for spoilers abound.


The Sith has reincarnated as the First Order who are more ruthless and fascist than ever. But instead of the cunning elders from the last six episodes, its leaders are young and foolish which, when combined with darkness, is a poisonous cocktail.

Luke has vanished after his only student, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), turns to the dark side. To put it lightly, Ren is a Darth Vader fanboy not unlike Syndrome in “The Incredibles.” The mask he wears over his pasty white face and his curly black hair makes him seem like even more of a wannabe. As a result, his fits of rage when things do not go according to his way come off more like temper tantrums when a child is scolded for having to share his toy.

But the darkness is still present. Ren’s facial expressions are strikingly similar to those of a mass shooter, which creates a deeper evil within the character. Yet the resentment that he will never be as feared as Darth Vader will always loom over him like the ghost of Banquo from “Macbeth.” He’ll make up for it with ruthlessness.

The images and locations of “The Force Awakens” are near copies of the original trilogy, even going as far as appearing in the same order as in the films. The first is a desert planet called Jakku and it has more similarities with Tatooine than differences. Then there’s a lush jungle planet like where the first rebel base is located. The planet where the First Order has built its superweapon is like Hoth with its freezing landscapes.
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Of course, “Force Awakens” adapts the Star Wars universe for a new generation of fans which is present in the droid BB-8. He’s smaller and more mobile than R2-D2 who in this film has been sleeping since Luke’s disappearance.

The politics in the galaxy mirror those of reality. The Resistance is funded by the Republic to fight against the First Order like how world governments have funded rebel groups to do the same, with an example being the Soviet Union funding and training the Vietcong.

Director and fan J.J. Abrams understands the universal love for the saga in its seventh episode along with every cast and crew member from the insignificant extra all the way to composer John Williams.

Speaking of Williams, the legendary musician revives old themes from the past trilogies that would be nothing without them. Yet he has crafted a score with an intensity and passion that only an artist near the end of his run can create.

Now for some reflection: Sitting in a crowded theater with my 10-year-old sister on one side and my 40-year-old parents on the other, when the iconic blue text reading, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.…” I heard all three of them gasp.

It was this moment that I understood what mythologist Joseph Campbell meant when he said, “Myths are public dreams.” And in the case of “Star Wars,” the dream belongs to all of us.

The Force is with all of us.


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