For anyone who hasn’t seen The Force Awakens yet, I’m going to do my best to blur out any spoilers, but keep in mind, I’m judging you harshly, as the film has been in theaters for weeks now. What gives? What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m deeply disgusted by you, and feel that you can’t be trusted to do the most basic of tasks.
I’ve read several reviews, both celebrating and criticizing the film. If you are a stick-up-the-keister movie snob, you’ll probably want to point out the deus ex machina moments that often steer the plot, or a couple less than fully fleshed out characters. The movie isn’t, so to speak, the perfect film. Sure, we’re going into this with a megaton hype-cannon big enough to take out a whole star system, and I understand why you are a little butt-hurt over a couple of feathered edges getting in the way of your 136 minutes of masturbatory bliss, but let’s remember where we come from, and what Star Wars: The Force Awakens could mean for the future.
Let me begin by stating that I was late to the Star Wars party growing up. I didn’t start watching the films until around 8th grade. I didn’t get to experience the shock and awe of Darth Vader admitting to be Luke’s father – someone told me. Star Wars wasn’t about big reveals, politics, or the perfect story. Instead, it was about a moisture farm hick tumbling his way into a world much bigger than himself. It was a coming to age story with cool technology and mysticism and this nobody found himself becoming the hero of the galaxy. It was, of course, filled with cheese. There were prophecies, magical powers, evil rulers, princesses, foam rubber aliens, and lots of model ships pew pewing at each other. It was fucking fun and that’s why it was such a big deal. Who cares if the science wasn’t totally fleshed out, or if it didn’t make sense to blow up a Alderaan?
As soon as I started getting into the films, I bought into the now defunct Expanded Universe. This includes the games and many of the various Star Wars novels. This is where Star Wars really hit the mark. It made the films look like they barely scratched the surface to just how rich the Star Wars universe was. Authors took the tiniest details and fleshed them out, built stories around them, and created something so much bigger than the original trilogy (or even a dozen movies after) could even begin to caress.
Of course, then we have the prequels. I’m not a Star Wars Prequel apologist. As big-name, high-budget films go, these were not so good. I think we’ve had far too long to hate them to really give them the justice they deserve, as from a Star Wars fan, they all bring a lot to the table, even if it isn’t through solid writing, acting, or story-telling. They continue to reinforce the Star Wars universe, even if they only account for a small sliver of it. To reiterate, the films are only a small piece of what Star Wars is to me.
So, What About The Force Awakens?
It was great. Go see it. That’s all. I should end it there. Get out of your lame excuse for a dwelling, go to your local theater alone, and see it by yourself. Or bring a friend if you have any. If you haven’t seen it yet though, I’m pretty sure you are stuck going alone.
Since Disney quashed the Expanded Universe, determining anything not in the films to be outside of cannon, a decision I am, as you might guess, none too pleased with, the plot of The Force Awakens takes some of the familiar and reinvents it.
Where in my mind, Han and Leia have three children, and Luke and the possibly non-existent Mara Jade have one child, things turned out a little differently in the new film. It leaves plenty open for in-between adventures, but we won’t know how that goes for a while. I’ll try not to drone on about the details that Disney force-ripped out of my mind, but I wouldn’t be content not bringing it up at least this one time.
So it’s been a while since we’ve seen Luke Skywalker. After the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the second Death Star (and a bitchin’ Ewok celebration) he went on to reestablish the Jedi Knights. It doesn’t give us much information on that, but I’m assuming he formed the New Jedi Order. It’s been decades, so it’s safe to say that many of the adventures and characters that I fell in love with could still be canon. Who isn’t to say that Luke didn’t meet up with Mara Jade, slip to the Dark Side, and back again between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens? Maybe we’ll get a Pixar film about that in the next few years? Sorry, I’m getting off track, I just REALLY want to see Mara Jade in a film.
Okay, here’s where I start talking about the movie. I’ve blurred out anything that might be a spoiler, so to read it, just click on the blurred text.
[spoiler mode=’inline’]The Empire is no more, and the Republic has grown in it’s place. The Galaxy is still gritty and dangerous like it always should be. We don’t even get a look at the smooth, CGI-shiny surfaces of Coruscant or whothefuck cares. We are introduced to a new evil, the First Order. Honestly, there’s not much of a difference between the First Order and the Empire. They both fill their ranks with Storm Troopers, they both fill their docking bays with Tie Fighters, and both organizations include a guy ranking towards the top who wears a dark helmet and dons a voice modulator. I haven’t read all of the bylaws, but it’s possible that might be a requirement to be an evil organization in Star Wars. One thing is for sure; the First Order are pretty evil, and they definitely hate the republic for some reason. [/spoiler]Hey, isn’t that all that matters? Nobody talks about how or why Hitler rose to power, but everybody remembers him for hating Jews.
The Prequels tried to explain the politics behind everything, and all it did was confuse and bother people. Evil doesn’t need that. Evil can just be evil because it’s evil. They hate something for some reason and they are the bad guys. It’s as simple as that. Even as someone who loves the details, history, and reasoning behind everything in science fiction (seriously, why hasn’t Yoda ever been given a species?), sometimes evil can just be evil.
I won’t pick through the entire plot, but in short, [spoiler mode=’inline’]a new, adorable droid has a map to Luke Skywalker, and a couple of unlikely heroes need to get it to the
rebels resistance. Sound familiar? That’s because in A New Hope, R2-D2 held the Death Star plans and needed Obi-Wan to them to the rebels. [/spoiler]Oh no! I sense the collective gasping of smug, self-proclaimed film thespians crying out in joy because they have something to pinch their nipples to. WUT IS DIS, A REMAKE? MOAR LIEK DA FORCE COPY/PASTE AMIRITE? LOL. Seriously, just shut the fuck up.
We’re looking at a bit of a cycle, but that’s not a bad thing. In order to tell a good science fiction (or fantasy) story, you need elements to relate to your audience. If all was peaceful on the planet Zoombodd until one day the Squarshmics came and gave everybody Zickpies, you wouldn’t have any kind of commitment to the Zoomboddians. You wouldn’t feel for them, and you wouldn’t understand how bad (or good) Zickpies were, until you saw how they made the Zoomboddians bleed from their rectums while the otherwise docile Squarshmics laughed maniacally. If you haven’t seen it before, in terms that you are familiar with, you won’t be as engaged. That isn’t to say that the entire basis of the plot for The Force Awakens is the same as A New Hope; it surely isn’t, but for the new direction of Star Wars, it’s extremely important to showcase the cycle.
We are introduced to Fin, [spoiler mode=’inline’]a former Storm Trooper, programmed from birth to be the perfect minion. Fin decides that the First Order aren’t the good guys, and quickly, almost too quickly, chooses free will over his life of servitude. Fin is a great character, but in my opinion, he builds his character far too quickly, and is far too ready to run off and be his own person. The Force Awakens doesn’t go too far into what Storm Trooper programming looks like, but I’d imagine for it to be effective, he isn’t taught about concepts like boyfriends/girlfriends and enthusiastic expletives. My imagination says he’s too witty and too deep, considering his entire life has been 2-dimentional. I would have liked seeing a bit more of a transition for him. I also hope to see that he has the force, which would explain why he’s so different. Oh, and that he’s related to Lando. That would be killer.[/spoiler]
Fin eventually meets up with Rey, my new love interest. Seriously, Daisy Ridley, I’d like to groom you. Rey is essentially [spoiler mode=’inline’]the next Luke Skywalker. She is alone on a shitty planet, not utilizing her potential, and fully unaware of what the universe has to offer her. She’s a little too talented – one of the flaws that a plot critic might lick their lips over. Together they bring BB-8 into the vastness of space where they accidentally bump into the beloved but now geriatric Han Solo and the ageless Chewbacca. It was a beautiful thing, watching Harrison Ford lunge onto the set of the Millennium Falcon, blaster out. [/spoiler]Call it fan service if you want, but Han Solo can’t be replaced.
I Need To Stop Writing
The screaming nerd inside me wants to hit each and every plot point, but I digress, because as the Steam Winter Sales unmoored my wallet, I owe it to myself to indulge in my (unrelated to Star Wars) bounty.
Listen, just see this film and go into it remembering what Star Wars is for you. Ignore the hype and the merchandise and remember how fucking cool it was to watch a bunch of rag tag rebels blow up a giant space station that in turn was trying to blow up their planet. Remember how awesome it was that Darth Vader could force choke any douchebag that tried to tell him he was wrong. Remember how Yoda went from being a goofy little muppet to a Jedi Master in just a few minutes.
The Force Awakens brings the balance back. It reminds us that Star Wars isn’t about complex politics or CGI robots fighting CGI amphibious bunny rabbits on the desktop background that comes with Windows XP. It’s about unexpecting characters becoming bigger than they are, gritty cantinas, and the underdog winning in the end. It’s good verses evil, with a lot of adventure and quips along the way.
To me, The Force Awakens passes the torch and reopens the long disheveled Wonka factory with a fresh start. The characters that we know and love were there and accounted for, almost as if to give their blessing. It’s not the Universe I grew up with, but it’s going to be exciting to see where things go.
[spoiler mode=’inline’]Okay, I teared up a bit whenever they pulled themes from John Williams’ original score – Han and Leia’s theme especially. How fucking cool was it when Rey started to realize she had the force? To me, that was one of the most powerful moments in the film – Rey is going to be the one carrying the Star Wars torch, and she earned it.[/spoiler]
[spoiler mode=’inline’]I do wish they didn’t reveal Kylo to be Han and Leia’s son until the moment Han confronts him. I think that would have made the reveal that much more meaningful. The only hint I would have given was when he called Darth Vader his grandfather – that leaves it open to him being Luke’s son, which would have made sense, since Luke and Mara Jade originally have a son named Ben. Of course, the confusion at such an emotional point of the movie could also hurt for us nerds who knew that. It may have been better to not swap names.[/spoiler]
[spoiler mode=’inline’]Okay, and how great was C-3PO? After some of the most cringe worthy lines throughout the prequels, I think they nailed him. The chemistry between Fin and Rey was fantastic, BB-8 was adorable. The cameo of Admiral Ackbar… Fuck. [/spoiler]
Seriously, stop what you are doing and go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen ANY of the Star Wars films, do yourself a favor and binge them. Then go see The Force Awakens.