THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.
A 3:30am screening of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a very scary proposition due to the fact that there was so much riding on the next installment of the most epic franchise of all time. Could J.J Abrams breath new life into a franchise that spluttered along aimlessly through the backstop of Episode 1, 2 and (insert snooooooze emoticon) 3. Could he hit a home run and set the franchise up for the next decade of planned sequels and prequels. Well the answer you have all been waiting for is a big, fat, YES!
Right from the opening few frames you feel like you are back in the world that George Lucas did such a good job at creating although with a few great new twists and turns around each corner. From the start you are drawn into our new heroes of the force in Rey (played by the alluring Daisy Ridley) and Finn (played by the refreshing John Boyega), who do a great job in getting you into the action and into their characters without too much of either. For the first time in a long time, since 1983 to be precise, the people behind the scenes have mixed just the right amount of comedy into the intense, action packed world we have come to know and love.
Old friends will join us not far into the piece in Han Solo and Chewbacca. This is also a refreshing slice of cinematic pie in the fact that the characters are played by the originals 30 years on. Add to this Princess Leia and the looming presence and final reveal of the one and only Luke Skywalker and it feels like walking into your 30 year high school reunion, just without any of the people you didn't care for.
There are a few things that may irk some viewers, one of those is the apparent similarities to a lot of the older movie. I believe JJ Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan did this without particularity meaning to. But there are family conflicts, droid buddies, lightsaber upon lightsaber duel and death starish looking planet destroying thingys that will make some viewers draw too many simiaitiries to the old movies, but for me, this was a noticeable non-issue.
The franchise is now set to take off and shoot us all over the cosmos with new antagonist Kylo Ren (played extremely well by boyish, yet evil Adam Drivr) at the helm of the 'The First Order', a remnant of the Empire that remains a looming threat to the galaxy and its inhabitants.
All in all I think this was a fantastic re-boot to a series that has the potential to grow in leaps and bounds with the countless stories we can draw upon from our friends the Jedi against their ever evil enemy in a galaxy far, far away.