Do not read any further incase of unintentional spoilers!
I grew up with Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. They were a huge influence on me,fond memories and times! They influenced me in my art and creature creation, I suppose I was drawn into the overall creativity of the practical effects, creatures, acting etc. It really rubbed off on me from an early age. I remember making a Darth Vader costume. I made the helmet from cardboard and the eye sockets from old goggles. I made a control panel for my chest and a cape out of a black bin liner. I then went over to the video store where the "real" Darth Vader was making an appearance. I can only imagine it to be for the release of Return of The Jedi. The video store gave me a movie poster from the film for my effort, which I still have! I really thought I looked like Darth Vader that day haha!
I have tried to watch episode I, II and III and have never wanted to revisit them. They are a smudge of CGI and chaos for me, no space no place to breath! CGI can be marvellous and practical if used wisely and in the right places, something which is not evident for me in these films.
Now onto 'The Force Awakens'........
Many people are saying it is better or as good as the original 3! I have to disagree with that statement! Having said that, the whole package of the film came across much better than Episode I, II and III for sure but not the original Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The Force Awakens was a nice movie in its own right. They did use some practical effects but still included CGI in a few places that did not work for me! This was very apparent in one of the main creature characters called Maz Kanata! They really should have used practical effects in my humble opinion! On the other side of the coin, some of the battle scenes especially including spacecraft worked very well. This is an example of it also being practical and used to maximum potential!
A big disappointment was the storyline. It seemed to be nothing new, like the storyline mirrored the Star Wars story line. Also at times it was like the director was introducing the old characters, "here's Chewbacca and now Han Solo has entered the building". I imagine they are reintroducing us and wetting the appetite, but still...
Like I say, I did enjoy the movie but it comes no where near to the first original three that were made: Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, at least for me personally.
Does this matter, no not really. I was never under the assumption that it would be comparable. For that to happen it would need to be have created in the late 70's / early 80's! The actors, actresses artists, director all influenced by those times and involved at the ages they were, when they had the hunger and the explosion of creativity, creating techniques and working out solutions to bring us these spectacular never been seen before special FX. The creatives in the films were pretty much left to their own imagination.
Now everything is at our fingertips and easy.
My conclusion is, I liked 'The Force Awakens'. It had breathing space and some great scenes and some nice characters/creations. The story was heavily influenced by the Star Wars Storyline, which made it quite unoriginal in my eyes. You can easily compare the two and tick the box. I will buy the Blu-ray and I hope they include a lot of extra behind the scenes footage and insights!
All the above is just my humble opinion.
Below are a couple of links to behind the scenes videos for Star Wars and The Force Awakens.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!