Fascinating or Indicting?
Your reaction to this 4-minute shot-to-shot comparison (below) between Episode’s IV and VII – aka A New Hope and The Force Awakens – will directly coincide with whether you thought the callbacks were intentional by thematic design (a good thing) or unoriginal fan service (a lazy thing, as argued here by Collider’s Matt Goldberg – and the vitriolic comments thread).
I’ve argued for the former, at length (here and here), that the callbacks were a part of the structural and spiritual fabric of what George Lucas established in the first two trilogies, and that J.J. Abrams came up with inspired – at times superior – versions of how this galaxy’s history and time loops in an eternal, poetic circle. You can see a similar side-by-side edit showing how the Original Trilogy and Prequels mirrored each other, in the same fashion, linked here.
Anyway – here’s the new edit, from Zachary Antell. It’s titled “A New Awakening”, and it’s fun to watch. (I also dig the “Rey’s Theme” music choice.)