I’d have to be way more pretentious than I am to even attempt that trick. First of all, I’m not a theology major. I am a Christian. But Star Wars is not about Christianity: it’s science fiction with an alternative universe where we go to have fun. So don’t worry that I’m going to delve into “Satanic influence on the costume design” or some other nonsense. Nope, I’m going to talk about it as a kid (I still am that kid) who went to the opening night of the original movie, stood in a crowded lobby for three hours, on May 25, 1977, and totally frustrated the date I brought. She, by the way, is now a very well established and respected doctor. I’m writing reviews of movies on a smallish blog. Hmmmmmm…
I absolutely promise no spoilers.
Let’s get started by watching the trailer. Always a good idea:
This was a first in a couple of ways for me, and I think it may have been better if I’d only done one of them in a single outing. But lest I frighten you, I loved the movie in every way.
The big first was 3D. I’d never seen a movie in 3D before. I found out that dry eyes, astigmatism, and slightly scratched lenses are not a good combination with the rest of the 3D experience. It wasn’t bad, just that it wasn’t as good as it could be. I’m bringing eye drops the next time. I realized this when I shed some tears during the movie and the clarity on the screen was amazing – yeah, I’m just dumb enough not to have thought of that until that moment. The use of 3D in the film is pretty good, and there were a couple of WOW moments. But for those of you with less than optimal distance vision, have a good set of glasses that will fit around the 3D lenses and some eye drops. ’nuff said.
The movie. I could bore the snot out of you with a crippling analysis of the story from a writer’s perspective. I could discuss decision gates, multiple level meanings, foreshadowing, dialogue, and Mc Guffin’s.
Nah. Let’s get back to that 17 year old nerd that was so blown away by the movie that he ignored his date. (Again, is my wife a Saint, or what? I’m still that nerd and she’s stuck with me!)
The Force Awakens honors the original trilogy (episodes IV, V, VI – not that nonsense that came after them) and reignites the franchise. The only thing that could have made it better, in my opinion, would have been a sacrifice of the lame characters such as Jar Jar Binks in some sort of lava wave. A very slow lava wave. With lots of screaming. But I digress. Many of the characters you love are back in this episode. Most of the ones you could live for eternity without are not present – it’s a total win on that level.
The dialogue is vintage. Right out of Episode IV. That would be enough for me. But they managed to keep the look of the Empire in every respect. Yes, time has passed. But given the technological evolution of this universe, the stable elements would not change much. The passageways of a WWII aircraft carrier are not much different, at first glance, than on a new Ford Class carrier. So why should the way they design hallways in the Empire be significantly different than what we saw in 1977?
The worlds/spacecraft have the one thing that impressed me most in 1977: dirt. Stuff is used. It’s like real weapons, homes, basements, bazaar’s, etc. It’s not the perfect, clean, well maintained world that so much of science fiction used to show. I like that more than you can imagine. It makes me feel like reality is on the screen.
Into author mode for a very brief moment: the story was well paced in all but one spot. That spot was meant to convey a meaning and an homage to the original movie. Since I promised no spoilers, you’ll have to watch it to see what I’m talking about.
The new cast are all good in their roles. Old curmudgeons (like me) usually complain about new characters. I like them. I like them because it means that we will be seeing more action in the future. They all did a creditable job and hold so much potential. The thing to remember is this is essentially a new franchise with this movie, and the people debuting here are in for a lot of character development. I’m optimistic.
The photography, battle scenes, and wardrobe were all good. The “look” was on the money. I was enthralled, and sat like that kid from almost 40 years ago: riveted to my seat.
Dialogue. I heard what I expected from established characters. The way they should say it. At the right volume levels. Perfect. Couldn’t ask for more.
The story. I did promise no spoilers. Go see it. I will say that it was more than I expected. Lots more. Very well done. I will wait for the next episode with anticipation.
Part of my utter joy at seeing this movie was my careful avoidance of all the speculation before the release date. I know somebody made a big deal out of Carrie Fisher‘s something or another. I’m glad I didn’t delve until this moment into that topic. Carrie, if you’re reading this I’d like to thank you for an excellent performance. You’re three years older than I am, and you’ve aged just like I have. The 17 year old who watched that movie would be horrified by the 56 year old sitting at the keyboard. I suspect your 20 year old self would be equally horrified. They both would be so wrong. I still think you’re beautiful and wonderful and talented and … well, I’m a fan. Ignore them, Carrie. You’re amazing.
I think Harrison Ford was in the movie somewhere, but I never had a crush on him. I guess he was okay as well. All right, he turned in a great performance as well. He’s stood the years better than I have. Dang it.
Would I take young children to this movie? Yeah. Toughen the little buggers up for life. Violent? In places. Anger? Lots. Powerful stories of grit and bravery? Yes. Sad things? Yes. I don’t think most children (under 12) would understand parts of the movie in terms of motivation. But it never was about kids except the toys. We’re back to a movie made for adults. BB8 is there to merchandise but I’ll toss them the bone.
What was the best part of the movie? Sitting in that theater seat and experiencing the wonder I felt 39 years ago swell within my soul. I have hope for the franchise once again.
Thank you, J.J. Abrams for making me a teenager again.
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