Rey of Hope #StarWars #TheForceAwakens #NoSpoilers

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I saw the new Star Wars film last night with Kim, Connor, and my best friend’s youngest son, Kasey.

Don’t worry. No spoilers.

Star Wars had a huge impact on me in 1977. I mean, come on, I was eleven years old. Star Wars was tailor-made for my age group.

It was the first movie I saw on my own. Dropped off by my mom (she and my brother were driving across town to see, I think, The Rescuers), I stood in line forever it seemed. I was lucky enough to be the last one admitted and had to sit in the front row, far right, next to some old woman I didn’t know who smelled bad.

No Episode IV. No “A New Hope”. Just Star Wars and an opening crawl that sparked my imagination for years to come.

Let’s be honest. The Empire Strikes Back was a grand follow-up, and had the Ewoks been Wookies instead, Return of the Jedi would have been a perfect end-cap, but the Prequel Trilogy was a trainwreck.

There were things I liked about them. Ewan MacGregor, Liam Neeson, and Christopher Lee were brilliant. The special effects were epic. The lightsaber battles were superb. But the story was a jumbled mess and the direction all but absent.

Which brings us to The Force Awakens. This is the Star Wars movie I’ve been waiting on since the end credits of Return of the Jedi.

Abrams delivered a terrific homage to A New Hope, touching thematically on all of its bullet points while still managing to deliver something fresh and exciting.

While performances were top-notch all around (thank you Harrison Ford), the new leads (Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren) had to carry this movie and they did so brilliantly.

Daisey Ridley was the stand-out. Her portrayal of the scrappy scavenger Rey was delightful on every level for me. What a terrific role model for young girls everywhere. But, I promised no spoilers, so I’ll stop right there.

The Force Awakens was everything I wanted (and needed) it to be, critics be damned.

I can hardly wait to watch it again (and again and again and again and…)

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