Dec 212015

episodevii(No spoilers.)

I remember a lot of hand-wringing when Disney paid George Lucas $4,000,000,000 in cash for the Star Wars franchise. I never understood that. I thought Disney buying Star Wars was the best thing that could have happened to the franchise. “They’ll ruin it!” came the cries.


Paid any attention to what the old man himself’s been doing with it lately? And have you not noticed how effectively Disney cares for extremely profitable popular culture? No worries.

As I’ve said probably a dozen times on, I am not an opening weekend sort of fellow. I don’t enjoy hustle and bustle that isn’t largely of my own making. Wherever I’m going, I try to be there when you’re not.

That applied to the new Star Wars film. “No problem,” I said. “We’ll go see it maybe December 29 or 30, when the worst of the after-Christmas sales have abated.”

Then I started thinking: the longer I wait, the more likely it’ll be spoiled for me. This is the first Star Wars movie in 10 years, and the first one in 32 years for which I had no idea of the basic plot. Am I going to let that happen?

No. I didn’t. Lea, the boys, and I attended a 3D showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Monaco Pictures today.

It’s exceedingly difficult to say anything specific about Episode VII without giving bits away, so I’m not going to try. For Star Wars, the tiniest details of plot, character, or setting are spoilers to a great many people—even those who don’t normally tend to take offense at such. So I’ll stay with these three generalities:

  • There are several important casting decisions here, because this is a bit of a handoff picture, is it not? I mean, it’s not quite so blatant as Star Trek Generations, but you go into Episode VII knowing the need to pass the baton is there. We loved all of the new characters and can’t wait to see what they do and where they go. Conversely, familiar friends have grown older authentically and satisfyingly.
  • Now that it’s technologically possible to depict pretty much anything with CGI, the artistic aspects of things like spaceship battles are the only consideration. What you can do is no longer an interesting question. What should you do? There are three major battle sequences that will have you grinning like an idiot as you take them in. The 3D serves them well, though I’m also looking forward to seeing them brighter in 2D.
  • As the originals did, Episode VII gets the humor right. The balance is satisfying. Never too much; always appropriate for the scene.

Primarily for Aaron’s benefit, but also because we knew we’d enjoy it too, we watched all six of the preceding films before going today. We watched them in release order, so IV-V-VI-I-II-III. The prequels have taken a sustained beating since they were released, and their reputations certainly didn’t need this context. I’m not as hard on Episodes I-III as many, but it’s hard to imagine them not forever occupying the bottom three slots in Star Wars rank-’em-first-to-worst.

If you hear a knock on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s that it’s derivative. This comment is borderline asinine. Star Wars is a good narrative, but it’s certainly never been about plot novelty. Its excellence is built on relentlessly and fastidiously fleshing out its worlds and inhabitants; on bringing its universe to life within you. It may do so more effectively than any other story the human animal has yet told. It’s magical because you go for the ride so completely, not because it tells you something new.

(News flash: plot wasn’t the point of this guy either.)

I will see it at least once again, because I want to see it in 2D. I may even travel to see an IMAX presentation. I suppose a better seventh Star Wars film could have been made, but I can’t tell you how. The Force Awakens delivers on every level. Make haste.


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 Posted by at 4:34 pm

  7 Responses to “Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

  1. I totally agree — with several of your points — but that doesn’t surprise me. GREAT movie; I’m glad you didn’t hold out and went ahead and got to enjoy it! I’m ready to see it again . . . pretty much when it ended, I could have sat through it one more time, right then and there. And it leaves so much to look forward to, as well!!! 🙂

    • So much to look forward to is my favorite part! They’ve introduced the new primary characters just enough to make me really want to see how they develop.

  2. I, too, felt the need to go sooner, rather than later, so as not to hear spoilers. I am glad I did. This film pays homage to the original without over-doing it, and is a good movie in itself — Much like Creed’s treatment of the Rocky franchise. I was not disappointed by either film.

  3. I’ve not heard a single negative word about Creed. I need to check that out too.

  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is awsome I just see it the movie came with a lot of quality specials efects and action.

  5. Oh, and Mad Max: Fury Road was great. Although I don’t care if they trash the legacy of the old ones. Really.

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