—-SPOILER ALERTS ABOUNDING—-
—-DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU—-
Along with most of the sensate world I’ve now seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The initial reception has been so strong all box office records are in danger of being obliterated by a girl virtually no one knows and the second black dude in the Star Wars universe.
The movie was an enjoyable re-entry to the George Lucas created world, albeit under the more steady hand of JJ Abrams. Everyone you would hope to see makes an appearance, and Jar Jar Binks has apparently gone on to his reward. And all God’s people said?
Here are a few thoughts in the non-serious movie review vein.
Making Han Solo the central legacy figure was the right move. Harrison Ford has been in dozens of movies since the original trilogy. Mark Hamill does cartoon voices, and is not a great actor. Mr. Luke Hoity Toity Skywalker, hidden from the entire universe on an Irish rock outcrop, doesn’t even have a line. Call him the Last Homeless Jedi on the Island of Misfit Toy. Carrie Fisher writes books and does interviews. She proves unable to conjure her annoyed princess look. Besides those co-star limitations, the boisterous, mouthy smuggler is the favorite character of many fans.
More screen time for Chewbacca? Yes, please.
Who cares if the story isn’t original? Neither was the original original. Star Wars (or whatever they call it these days) is a fairy tale set in space with creatures no one had ever seen before. Rescuing a princess was a major storyline. Covering familiar territory via a storyline still vibrant after nearly 40 years was a no-brainer. Anyway, this was not the first time the Resistance faced a bigger, badder Death Star.
Tai Kwon Do (or whatever his name was) came off as Vader-Lite, gained no sympathy points for his family heritage, and more resembled the 3rd runner-up in a Severus Snape Lookalike Contest than a movie villain. And what about that helmet from Goodwill?
And the dude can’t act. Every Dad has done better acting avoiding the truth when queried about Christmas presents.
As an aside, I fear the only construct left for light sabers is the pinwheel version.
JJ Abrams is a genius, and this is not news. Abrams understands what reboots are about. Neither Star Trek nor Star Wars needed to fill theaters with existing fans alone. Both of them needed new fans to buy into the franchises. It matters not whether every attendee of Comic Con, Dragon Fest, or Nerd-O-Rama buys a ticket. The filmmakers need money from people who weren’t born when Kirk and Spock were onscreen in the 1960s. They need moviegoers whose parents weren’t born when Luke, Leia, Han Solo and Obi Wan Kenobi captured imaginations in the 1970s. They need people who think he’s Jay Jay Abrams.
Some fans will have a problem with impurities in the water but it’s just business, and Abrams understands this. Put him at the helm of the 15th Spiderman reboot, the next Batman trilogy, and while you’re at it the reboots of Terms of Endearment and Fried Green Tomatoes.
I haven’t seen five episodes of every Star Trek TV series combined, and but one of the old theatrical releases. Just never got into it. I still cannot keep the order of the Star Wars installments straight, and have read none of the spinoff novels. Yet my wife and I both loved Abrams’ Star Trek, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Force Awakens. Abrams knows his craft, and the business of it.
Keeping the current theme of young, female heroes is fine, but the team of Finn and Rey played better. Yes, Rey was essentially Luke Skywalker re-told (desert planet, old beater hovercraft, family gone, interactions with cranky trader, mysterious droid, etc). But Daisy Ridley turned in a stronger performance than Natalie Portman or Hayden Christensen, who shouldn’t have survived a casting call for Anamaniacs much less young Darth Vader.
The supreme bad guy’s name is Supreme Leader Snoke? Just silly. Did someone pull Scrabble tiles out of a bag?
Next time, have a naming contest for free tickets to the World Premier. The Mom’s Basement Star Wars Alliance could not possibly do worse.