I'm pretty sure that Abrams had this quote stapled to both his and fellow screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan's head, because that is one of the biggest guiding points to the Force Awakens.
Now be forewarned, massive SPOILER warnings. Please don't read this unless you saw the film.
Episode 7 has achieved what its prequel brethren could not. It felt like a Star Wars movie. The characters felt like Star Wars characters, the dialogue, the locations, and oh my god yes all the puppets; it was a technical wonder to behold.
Abrams clearly has shown his growth from his time doing the Star Trek reboots. This is a masterwork from a director who is clearly entering his peak. The lens flares have been died down and in their place is some fantastic camera work. We're constantly frantically running to keep up with our new-found friends, all while staying patient in other scenes.
And what new friends we have now, my goodness. Finn, Rey, Poe, and BB-8 are instantly likable. In part of the perfect casting of Harry Potter proportions, combined with a well balanced story, giving all three human heroes their time to shine, and goals to accomplish. They could not have picked a better three actors to be our heroes for a new trilogy.
On the flip side, we have some wonderful new villains, as well. The standouts being Hux, Snoke, and the instantly iconic Kylo Ren. Abrams & Kasdan really dropped the gauntlet in terms of making this villains as evil and misguided as Tarkin, Palpatine, and Darth. Ren's obsession with becoming the new Vader is a fantastic storyline to follow, with some memorable themes. Captain Phasma came out a bit underwhelming, seeming like she got lost in the shuffle of things.
For the returning cast, they all performed admirably, although a lot of it made me want to spend more time with our new characters, rather than our originals. C-3PO and R2 don't have much to do here, and are really just in there as glorified cameos. Harrison Ford seamlessly went back into Han Solo, finally getting his ultimate wish for the part.
The little nods and winks to the original trilogy ranged from great to unnecessary, but hating on the unnecessary ones made me feel like a curmudgeon. They were incredibly sweet to watch, and easily one of the best moments of the film was the ultra-clever reveal of the Millennium Falcon.
As for the story, it contains my only major problem with this film. While much of the plot was fantastic, I really took issue with its rushed ending. The victory against the new Mega Death Star or whatever catchy name we're calling it, felt no where near the victory of the original Death Star.
Abrams promised on record that this film would stand on its own, as its own coherent plot, but honestly, there was a bit too much left open by the end of the film. Felt like 10-15 minutes of a finale were missing.
In conclusion, Force Awakens is the type of film that leaves you thirsty for more. Its acting is great, effects are some of the best of the year, and the new story/characters will instantly hook you in for what is to be a new memorable trilogy.