December 18, 2015 Force Awakens
Star Wars The Next Generation. I mean Star Wars The Force Awakens opened yesterday. Easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year—perhaps even the past few years. The mystery surrounding the plot was a part of the hype, no one quite knew what to expect. I caught the end of a show called Undatable and one of the guys was praying, “Please don’t let the new Star Wars suck.” His prayer, I think, was a collective one. And it did NOT suck. (SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ A DISCUSSION OF THE PLOT IN DETAIL)
I took Ana and Sebastian to see the 12:50pm showing of Star Wars. The movie did use the original series as a template. There were many parallels. If a formula works, you might as well use it—right? It was both new and old. From the opening credits to the big star destroyer and from blowing up the new larger Death Star to the confrontation on the bridge–it was echoing the original trilogy. There was a nod to when they got stuck in the garbage compactor in a New Hope and a nod to when they landed inside a creature and the Millennium Falcon was attacked in The Empire Strikes Back. Not to mention a Cantina scene and a little Yoda/Edna like character named Maz Kanata, The planet Jakku is similar to Tatooine and the droid trying to find its master is not unlike R2-D2 trying to find Ben Kenobi. Only this time around, Han Solo seems to be the old master struck down by his pupil. Well, in this case it was his own son who killed him. It is what Darth Vader could not do to Luke in the original trilogy.
Some notable difference was the new Han Solo-type character Finn. He was part of the First Order (A Nazi like Establishment at the beginning of WWII) and a Storm Trooper who had a conscience. He was torn from his family and forced into the army, but he had a good heart. Though his defection was a bit chaotic, it had us rooting for him right away. When we first meet Rey, we see her scavenging over the ruins of an old battleship. She is also a pilot and can hold her own in a fight. It is interesting to see a woman in a what was formally the male role of the Luke-like protagonist. Daisy reminded me of a cross between Jennifer Garner and Kiera Knightly.
I also loved the mini-Lost reunion with Greg Brunberg and Ken Leung. And the fact that Game of Thrones actress Gwendolin Christie got to play a female Storm Trooper and that Kevin Smith provided some voice work in there somewhere is also cool.
Adam Driver as the dark and tormented Rylo was great casting. His role as the sensitive but very strange boyfriend in Girls seemed to help him prepare for the tortured son of Han and Leia. Though, as one critic pointed out, he did seem to be more of a wannabe than a real threat. But I think now that he has killed his own Father that he will become a real threat in the next two movies.
The kids loved little BB-8 the most I think. He is like R2-D2’s mini-me. lol. Did anyone else realize that JJ Abram’s company was called Bad Robot and that his signature stamp on the new Star Wars movie was a new robot? How cool is that?
Anyway, the new Star Wars most definitely did not suck. Yeah, it wasn’t perfect, but most critics ranked it above the Prequels but still below A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back. That, plus the millions of dollars in pre-sales means that JJ Abrams succeeded!
I thought of how the movie was about the next generation and how sharing it with my children paralleled the movie in a way. If each movie represents a phase in my life then this movie is all about the process of my children beginning their own journeys.