Star Wars: The Force Awakens does not disappoint

The Force Awakens, the newest of the Star Wars film franchise, was released on December 18, 2015.

The Force Awakens, the newest of the Star Wars film franchise, was released on December 18, 2015.

Josh Mortenson, MYP Journalist

The newest of the Star Wars Saga, The Force Awakens, has finally arrived in theaters, and it is easily the best film of the year.

The story takes place after the destruction of the second Death Star, where a new threat called “the First Order” led by the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) opposes the galaxy. A defector of the first order named Finn has crashed on the desert planet of Jaku, where he meets Rey, a scavenger. These two have little idea that they are now intertwined with the greatest struggle in the galaxy.

This new addition to the Star Wars movies has truly redeemed the poor expectation left by the prequels, which did not give the same feel of Star Wars as the original trilogy. What I feel gave this movie its great success was partially its writer–the legendary John Casden–who helped direct one of the best of the Star Wars films: “The Empire Strikes Back”.

To make the film as authentic as possible, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) was used to make the models , giving “The Force Awakens” a more realistic feel.

As well as miniature models, full-sized versions of the Millennium Falcon as well as one of the new X-Wings were constructed. The Millennium Falcon was constructed by Darren Gilford, the man who built the falcon in “Empire Strikes Back.”

As well as effect authenticity, the original cast of Star Wars completely returned. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) all starred in the new film while Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamilton) made a brief appearance. These old characters played roles as the mentors toward the brand new heroes, Rey and Finn, during the film.
The famous scene in the Millennium Falcon when Chewbacca plays holo-chess with R2-D2 was originally done by stop motion and by the creator and legend of ILM, Phil Tippett. It was recreated more than 36 years later in this film. The original characters of the holo-chess all those years ago were on a plaque in director George Lucas’s office. The models had deteriorated over the years, so they were beyond fixable. But with 3-D scans of the characters, they were all rebuilt to last. Some of the same techniques they used 36 years ago were used once again, including no use of any computers at all, as well as the exact same people who did all the original stop motion. Hard to believe that a three-second scene has almost 40 years of unique history!

A vast majority of the creatures seen in the new Star Wars were all handmade costumes. While some were just masks in cloaks, others were fully working and animated giant beasts. Pinewood Studios Creature Workshop was responsible for more than 100 of these designs.. The characters all started as clay miniatures  that get a 3-D scan; then the creatures became animated through digital and many practical effects.

All in all, by going back to the basics and reliving 36 years of one film franchise, I feel this is the film that truly brought the feeling of a real Star Wars movie back to life.