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Movie Review

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is Nothing But a (Good) Popcorn Movie

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens offers little to those who care about plot and character, but evidence is that most Star Wars fans are not much concerned about things like that, and if you want thrills and action and the feeling that you're on some kind of a ride, it should be right up your alley.

The plot just about goes back to where the famous middle three parts began, with a new evil emperor and a replica of Darth Vader and the usual threat to civilization as a whole, but with a couple of new heroes to lead the battle. The new heroine is about the only person in the sizable cast who gets a chance to act a character, and Daisy Ridley shows enormous promise. She's the only actress I know of who can look like both an adolescent and a mature woman at the same time, she's apparently skilled as a martial artist, and she can register a range of emotions that make us identify with her more than anybody else, though everybody is perfectly satisfactory for what little is required of them.

Action sequences feature longer single shots that the usual montages of quick cuts, which is good because there are almost too many of them; Time magazine says the audience won't mind that they can't always follow what's going on because they'll be so much enjoying the ride. (There are a lot of obvious echoes of the events of the earlier episodes, but the changes wrought by time are consistent and not overdone.)

The new relationship between Princess Leia and Han Solo is surprisingly well-handled; I only wish other aspects of the script had been as carefully dealt with.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is nothing but a popcorn movie, but it's a good one.