* * * B
If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend watching the new Star Wars film in the theater. The effects are great, and there are plenty of spectacular action sequences. Use of CGI outside of the space battles is generally subtle, with only two of the minor characters obviously computer generated. Some of the effects were clearly practical, making the film look much more like the original trilogy than the prequels.
The character of Finn, well played by John Boyega, is the most original and interesting. Rey, played by newcomer Daisy Ridley, is engaging, but less believable. Villain Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, is interesting, as is the mysterious Supreme Leader, voiced by the protean Andy Serkus.
What about the plot? Less to like here, as it is largely a retread of the original films, replete with a new Empire (the evil First Order) who have a Death Star like planet busting weapon, the Starkiller Base. The new Rebellion, the Resistance, will be destroyed if they are unable to stop it by blowing it up.
Han, Leia, and Luke all appear in the film, as do Chewie, Threepio, and Artoo. The older generation take on new roles of mentor, general, and master. New minor characters like droid BB-8, pilot Poe Dameron, and helpful alien Maz Kanata, fill out the cast. There are a few call outs to the original films, and overall, the new film is a worthy follow on to the original trilogy.