“The Force Awakens” – a new “New Hope”?

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I was born the same year as Star Wars.

A good chunk of my formative years involved helping make George Lucas INCREDIBLY rich by playing with Star Wars toys, watching the original trilogy at Napier’s grand old State Cinema (with the “tangy fruit” spheres coming out of the wall), re-enacting all the major battles with my friends in the school playground (everyone wanted to be Han Solo – he was the coolest by far!), wanting to make my own epic space movies and dreaming of going places “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”

I remember seeing a “behind the scenes” documentary on TV one weekend showing how they did the special effects for Return of the Jedi and in particular the Endor speeder-bike chase.

Here I was – young and impressionable, watching how the most awesome movies ever made were created using what they called “models”, but to all intents and purposes for a five year old were TOYS!!!

My. Mind. Was. Blown!

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I got older and the pull of The Force dwindled. I still have some of my original Star Wars toys and a souvenir Return of the Jedi cup from either the movie theatre or Pizza Hutt and the dream of making epic movies is still there but, I fear the opportunity and timing has passed me by.

The prequels came and went. I saw them all, but they were aimed at a much younger, even more commercial audience than even I could stomach.

Like Yoda, my love for Star Wars found its own nice, quiet corner of the Dagobah System and kept to itself for many, many years.

But then the Force awakened.

Watching the trailers, I got chills.

J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job reinvigorating the Star Trek franchise. New cast members breathing a younger life into characters that first “boldly went” almost half a century ago.

In the trailers for The Force Awakens, while still managing to reveal very little of the movie’s actual plot, Abrams has brought a similarly fresh breath of air to the Star Wars universe by returning to some original themes as well as new aspects for old favourites.

We see the character of Rey taking a moment from her job at hand to stare at a distant craft launching into the sky.

It’s very much like Luke Skywalker gazing across the sands of Tatooine as its setting twin suns sink slowly to the horizon.

That same wistful wanderlust. The dream there must be something bigger and better out there. If only we could depart our current situations and get there.

And while Rebel X-Wings and Imperial Tie Fighters were usually only seen battling it out in the depths of space in the original trilogy, in the new episode trailers we see Tie Fighters attacking a desert camp out of the setting sun and X-Wings skimming the surface of a lake in an attack run – much more fighter planes than spaceships.

Throw in the Millennium Falcon being pursued across a planet’s surface and into the hulk of crash-landed Star Destroyer, light sabre battles, the latest evolution of the iconic, white Imperial Stormtrooper suit, Han, Chewie, R2D2 and that magnificent score by John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra and suddenly it feels like I’m a little kid all over again!

Even Toddler in Frame is getting hyped up for it – she wanted me to play the trailers I showed her again and again and again… or she might have just wanted to play with my phone…

But the best reaction I found was that of Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the new movie.

She watches the latest trailer wide-eyed, before sobbing “..It looks amazing!”

The fact someone involved in the making of a movie can be so blown away by it speaks volumes of the power of the movies.

I can’t wait until December to become a kid again, The Force is strong in this one!

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