Seeing as I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday, it seems appropriate that my second post ever is about that. I grew up on Star Wars. I can’t remember the first time I watched it, but I think I was introduced to Darth Vader and the gang around the same time as Whinne the Pooh. Case in point, I had a Barbie Darth Vader doll.Makes sense then, that I thought Jedis were way cooler then wizards for a long time. (Major spoilers don’t read if you value your life)
I am also of the generation who was young enough when the Phantom Menace came out to think it was cool, epic and worthy of my love. Later in life I came to see that those were placed in error. Still later in life I have let go of all the hate and come to accept it as part of the universe, filling an important role, some good story points, acting and animation aside. (Much like the doomed Anakin, the prequels are the “Chosen One” with a destiny of betrayal and disappoint to fulfill.) In fact, I think that there was an amazing story to be told without changing much of what was already done, Lucas just followed the wrong character as his lead. (More on that later)
With all of this in mind, I was excited to see the newest installment. Now, it should be noted that I am not one of those fans who spends hours re-watching the old episodes, is immersed in the theories and game of figuring out what is going to happen next. Look. There are no conspiracy theories. Someone, somewhere (presumably the writer and producers) already know what is going to happen. They have it all plotted out or at least some ideas. So why worry, stress and obsess about it when someone is getting paid to do those things for you. Just sit back and enjoy the ride and then move on until the next one.
So here are my thoughts on the film, from someone who enjoys movies. Has worked on a few tv shows and tells stories.
- It was predictable. Perhaps that was because I predict a lot of films (reading and writing stories and understanding how they go together will spoil movies forever. Don’t do it!) It could also be because it followed the same plot line as Episode I, blow up the big bad guys in space. Episode IV, blow up the big bad guys in space, or Episode VI, blow up the big bad guys in space. It seems that after experimenting with the plot in Episode II and III, LucasArts decided that they should stick to the tried and true formula that made the original series so great. I still loved it! But there isn’t a lot left to question when I know where it’s going.
- Put two people together, the obvious main character and the character who is the vehicle for the main character to get involved and one of them has to “die” or go away. How else was Fin going to get to the droid? As soon as the rescue mission started it was obvious Fin was the only onecoming out of it alive…for the time being.
- Any time people walk through a door into a underscore devoid, erie black and red room with a thin railless bridge over a chasm, someone was going to die. (Or at least get severely injured) Phantom Menace -Qui Gon Gin, Lord of the Rings – Gandalf. Indiana Jones Quest for the Grail – Nazi chick.
- People apparently don’t learn from the past. I guess having both flying moon sized weapons of mass destruction destroyed by a small army of rebels in old broken down ships and a few well placed explosives isn’t enough to make you say “Gee – you know what would be great? A bigger weapon of mass destruction!” No wonder a few rebels with old broken down ships and a few well placed explosive was able to bring down Starkiller. Just flip the order of the words and Vola! A new weapon. Even the name isn’t original. Now, I am alright with this. I mean there are people today that still want to build a wall, even though the one in China didn’t keep the Mongals out, the one in Scotland didn’t keep the Barbarians out and the one in Berlin had a hard time keeping people in. But you know what? A wall across Mexico probably won’t keep the Mexicans out either so I don’t blame the First Order for thinking their weaponized planet is going to be better.
- Hitler isn’t the only Bad Guy. I get it that Hitler was terrible and worthy of our contempt, but I do grow tired when all other huge darkness filled killing institutions in films are not so subtly referencing Hitler and Nazi. There were other terrifying men and women and empires in the world besides Hitler. When you gather your First Order army, in front of a menacing balcony with a red and scary black symbol banner hung threateningly behind, the army giving the strange familiar salute, of course everyone is going to be reminded of Nazis. Okay, so the flag wasn’t an old converted Native American peace symbol and their hands were in fists and not straight, but you think maybe one of the world other villains could be used? What about Genius Khan? Vlad the Impaler or even Stalin? Getting a stake shoved inside of you alive is pretty evil if you ask me and worthy of some First Order recognition. I will give them credit, taking children at a young age and turning them into your slave army is something that empires did before Hitler, like the Mamluk Dynasty in the 13th-15th centuries.
- The First Order is an Ayran Race. Well a humanoid race at least, as was the Empire before. It would appear that clones are so 50 years ago, but the First Order doesn’t seem to recruit anybody into their ranks that isn’t humanoid. Maybe some of the troopers are different races, but I doubt it. Or if they are, they are masked and can’t be seen and thus not the face of the Order like the officers on the bridge. Its good to see that racism and species-ism still exists in space. I wouldn’t want to much diversity or open-mindedness.
- I loved all the women! seriously the best part was seeing women x-wing pilots. Even though they had no lines, they were there.
All in all I enjoyed the film. Was it the best film I saw all year? Not by any means. The plot was all over the place, and left a lot of holes. Some emotions felt a little forced as well as some of the epic-ness. Did I find myself immersed, laughing and crying? But was the original A New Hope the best film ever made? No. It had plot holes, stereotypical characters, forced emotions but held to a plot that has appealed to the humankind for centuries and generations. The Force Awakens lives up to the franchise and heart of Star Wars. It tickles the fancy of those who grew up on it, and those who are just introduced. I sat between my cousin and brother in the theatre and when the x-wings fly to the rescue for the first time they were both hopping up and down in their seats and clapping excitedly. It made me smile, because it’s like getting to see an old friend after a long time and to know that they haven’t changed.
I love that the story continues to inspire and thrill people, from my parents to my friends small children. Even though we have heard it all before, I love that we are excited to hear it again and again. The Force was awoken in me, an excitement for the series I haven’t felt in a long time. I look forward to seeing where the newest generation of Star Wars storytellers will take the saga.