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December 16, 2015

Make room, Katniss and Tris—a new kick ass heroine has hit Tinsel town, er the Galaxy.

Daisy Ridley a.k.a Rey (below), the Brit actress at the center of J.J. Abrams’s new Star Wars: The Force Awakens is pretty, smart, sassy, sweet, tough, industrious, and adventurous. She can old her own in a laser battle, gun fight or at the controls of a wayward spaceship. She's that rare kind of girl that other girls will want to be best friends with and little (as well big) boys will have major crushes on.

Abrams has said that he didn't want to cast someone well known for her role because he wanted fans to get caught up in the character not the actress—and it works.

 Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

As a junk scavenger on the stark desert planet Jakku, Rey meets up with Finn (John Boyega), an escapee storm trooper from the “The First Order” (a.k.a the dark side) who strives to be one of the good guys. Together, and with a roly poly sidekick droid named BB-8, they get caught up in an adventure which involves searching for Luke Skywalker (who has mysteriously disappeared) and eluding The First Order who are tracking them. 

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Along the way, of course, they meet up with beloved characters from the first films—Hans Solo (a.k.a Harrison Ford who seems to be having a blast reprising his dashing role), Chewbacca, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and even cameos from C-3PO and R2-D2—which all adds to the sentimentality and fun.

But it’s the newcomers (Ridley et al) who really ground the film and set the stage for the next installments. Adam Driver is brilliant as Kylo Ren, a force of darkness with an intriguing back story. His facial expressions alone are mesmerizing. (I won't give away any more than that), Oscar Isaac is good fun as Poe Dameron, a daredevil fighter pilot for the resistance (the good guys) and Lupita Nyong'o is amazing (if unrecognizable) as Maz, an endearing bar keeper-spiritual guru. Let's just say she is sort of this film’s Yoda.

There's everything you want in a Star Wars film here and fans of the original will not be disappointed—spaceship battles, laser fights, wacky creatures, good vs evil, Shakespearean melodrama, a splash of magic, and a dash of romantic chemistry. Plus, of course, a soaring score by John Williams and fantastical sets. 

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At the screening I attended, there were laughs, cheers, crying and plenty of applause. This is a holiday must see, especially for those who love the original!