“There has been an Awakening.”
Woo hoo! NEW STAR WARS! So… a while back a tapper on the site asked whether I was going to write a post about the new movie, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and while I really wanted to do it… I didn’t want to post any spoilers about a movie I cared so much about. Well, I think since over a month has passed since the premiere of the movie, it’s finally time for the Wookiee to awaken and share some thoughts.
Just because I don’t want to read comments about tappers being upset about the movie being spoiled… SPOILERS FOLLOW THE PAGE BREAK. SPOILERS as in I plan to write about the movie and WILL discuss things you may want to witness on your own. SERIOUS SPOILERS FRIENDS!!!!!!!!
In case you didn’t read what I said… SPOILERS! Now enjoy a couple funny Star Wars pictures from The Simpsons while you scroll to the SPOILERS and rambling thoughts of yours truly.
Good times… I love a good Star Wars reference in my favorite cartoon. Of course, in a post discussing Episode VII, I sort of have to point out that the Simpsons did it first. I thought it was only right to start a post on a site dedicated to The Simpsons by pointing out an image from “Homer the Whopper” (S21:E1). When Comic Book Guy’s Everyman comic is purchased by Ginormous Pictures, there’s a funny shot of the entrance to the studios. The posters outside are for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Apology and an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. Too funny that this happened in real life.
Way too humorous and just another chapter in predictions of The Simpsons. Of course, some might argue that this movie was foretold in “Steal This Episode” (S26:E9).
Of course this isn’t true and while I’m always up for a debate about the merits of the prequels, that’s not what this post is about (save it for the comments lol). This one is about the newest movie. Without further ado and with much aplomb… here I go…
Wow… wowza…. And wow-wow-wowza do I love this movie. Can you believe that we live in a world with new Star Wars? I could probably just geek out big time over all the amazing geek stuff that is available in entertainment but adding new Star Wars (and not just one but at least six over six years) is grrrrrrrrreat! I’m writing this presently after going to see Ep. VII for my third time with my oldest kiddo. I have to say that this movie has held up each and every time I’ve watched it. What a great time to be alive.
Some said Disney was going to ruin the epic space opera but having seen the amazing things that Marvel has done under the mouse’s banner… I wasn’t worried. I’m also a bit of an optimist though so maybe it’s me. Also probably too soon to talk about the final result of Lucasfilm being absorbed. I was as surprised as the next fuzzball when Wookiee coffee creamer became available but I love my lightsaber spatula so what can you do?
It probably doesn’t need to be said for those that know me, but I definitely watched the movie on it’s premiere (December 17th at 7pm). Just one of those things an uber Star Wars nerd like me has to do. The theater didn’t let me cosplay for the event but my lady came through with matching “I Love You” and “I Know” t-shirts. The Force is strong with that one. I’m sure a lot of you who have watched the movie can empathize with all the excitement and tingles and laughter and heartbreak I experienced in that theater. I saw it in regular format the first time, 3D Imax the second, and regular just today. Oh the feels. The magic was there. It’s all so surreal but I love the first words in the crawl besides the title.
“Luke Skywalker has vanished.” After all the nerd and geek theories and uproar about Luke in the posters and ads, they went right out there and let you know this wasn’t a Luke movie. Nuff said, now move on to Jakku and the murder of an entire village. Poe Dameron (yes ladies, I know why you think he’s so dreamy) is obtaining the secret location of one previously mentioned Skywalker. Literally, Luke is the MacGuffin of this movie. Seeing the shots of Stormtroopers flying to Jakku and then actually hitting targets was mesmerizing. I mean, one has a frakking flamethrower! Enter Kylo Ren and he’s powerful enough to literally force freeze a person and blaster bolt? Whoa. And then you get comedy too. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked someone whether they talk first or I do, I’d have a whole bunch of nickels.
Lor San Tekka basically sums up this movie well in the first scripted dialogue. “This will begin to make things right.” This is a Star Wars movie and totally felt at home with Episode IV thru VI. One of the things I wondered about is if the movie would feel like it fit with previous episodes. Not only did it do just that but I stopped even thinking about it shortly into the movie. I mentioned prequel haters briefly and I think this movie truly made up for any loathing that might have lurked in the souls of fanboys. There will always be detractors but a 93% on rotten tomatoes indicates this movie is loved by many. Also nice that it is a stand alone movie that can be enjoyed and loved without any knowledge of anything Star Wars related. Bring on the next generation of fandom.
I realize that I’m rambling all of a sudden and must admit one of the reasons I wasn’t quite sure if I should do a Force Awakens post is I wasn’t sure if I’d have anything to write that was worth reading. I considered doing a recap of sorts but it’s too daunting and what follows is just me writing stream of consciousness style and then going back to make sure it’s semi-readable. I guess I just say this to warn you I might be jumping around a bit as thoughts strike me.
One of my favorite parts of the entire movie is Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. She is definitely a great actor that I’m sure has a lot of fanboys in love with her right now (a little young for me but I have a teenage daughter). Not only was she a strong, female character but it made me immeasurably happy that there is definitely a Star Wars characters that young ladies like my kiddos can look up to. I love seeing my youngest daughter rockin her Rey pajamas and battling her brother with a lightsaber. I love that so much mystery surronds this brave, talented, and mesmerizing young force user. While any new Star Wars movie would excite me, I wait with baited breath for her story to unravel.
But what about the villain? Man did I hate Kylo Ren when I first watched the movie. Growing up with Darth Vader and Boba Fett, I wasn’t quite prepared for such an angsty bad guy. I definitely made some jokes about emo Kylo to friends or hit my left side as I passed them at work. Said side hitting has become a sort of secret code among my geek friends as we waited for everyone to see the movie.
I spent a week after first seeing the movie complaining about Ben Solo and his tantrums and theatrics but then had an epiphany. Why did I dislike the character so much? Was it because he wasn’t Vader (love when Rey points out this very fact)? Was it the angst? Was it his pretty boy looks in contrast to his masked viasge? Well a little of all of that but really it’s because this movie wanted you to despise its villain and it succeeded. He’s tortured and we really still don’t know all that much about him other than he once was a kid strong in the Force, something went wrong during his training, he turned to the dark side, is having issues staying completely dark, is super powerful in the force but a cruddy lightsaber builder/wielder. Pretty sure any structural engineer/builder in the First Order is not a fan of his mood swings. Also funny to me that the main times I really don’t like him is when his helmet is off. Put the mask back on Kylo… you’re making the dark side look bad. Cue the Dumbo crows… I’ve bee dut seen most everything, when I see a Sith Lord fly… with the ears….
Anyhoo… I don’t really hate Kylo as much for my original reasons and now just despise him for being a true villain who acts like a toddler on occasion. I truly attribute most of his exceptional displays of the force with his anger just like how my own toddler can hurt you if he’s really mad. Beware the power of the Dark Side. Truth be told… you should know why Ben Ren really gets my goat… HE KILLED HAN SOLO!
We now live in a world where there’s no more Han and one of my real-life sons is named Ben. Cue the Vader scene from the end of Episode III. Harrison Ford was amazing in this movie reprising his iconic role but his son (if you didn’t catch it earlier Kylo is Ben Solo) offed him. Wow J.J., patricide. It’s set up so you think Kylo might possibly turn back to the light but I know I’m not alone in being someone who knew Han’s time had come the moment he shouted “Ben!” A buddy of mine actually predicted this when the news broke on how much Ford loved the movie but I refused to believe it then. I can say that the death hurts every time I watch it and I would be just like Chewbacca if my bestie was killed before me.
And Chewie… oh my lovely, amazing, funny Wookiee pal. Chewbacca shines in this movie and not just because he shoots Kylo after witnessing his best friend getting impaled. Some of my favorite moments of the movie include Chewie who got what felt like much more screen time. Only downside is I’m no longer in a minority of Chewie fans. Bonus is lots and lots of merchandise to send this fuzzball to the poor house. I still cheer and laugh watching my favorite alien from Kashyyyyk throughout this gem of a film. While this movie is certainly about Rey, Finn, and Poe… the new heroes… it’s also a Han Solo and Chewbacca movie. I love seeing those two together which makes Han’s demise that much more bittersweet. Also a bummer that Leia and Han were no longer sweethearts but the love was still there. People grow apart… even in a galaxy far, far away.
There’s so much more that I could write. Poe Dameron is one BA pilot and in the near future I plan to own a replica of that amazing jacket he gave to Finn. Finn as the Stormtrooper who defects from the First Order was fun. Of all the characters, he probably talked the most like people you would encounter in your own life. I have a buddy who’s still mad that he used the word ‘boyfriend’ apparently sullying the universe. Maz Kanata says it too though so it seems to be a regular word in Galactic Basic. I love how diverse the Universe is displayed in this flick with minorities and females and tons of aliens. I even caught a female stormtrooper when watching today that I hadn’t previously. If anything, I’d love to see more and any fan of Captian Phasma is waiting for her to really get to be a warrior. I just hope she gets that trash compactor smell out of her Naboo-starship-plated armor.
BB-8 ended up being a fun droid to watch on screen. I was definitely one of the folks worried he might be a bit annoying (solely based on a cast member preview of the new Episode VII scene from Star Tours) but I’m happy I was wrong. Artoo is still my favorite droid right in front of R5-D4 aka Skippy (don’t you dare call him a bad motivator) but here’s two furry thumbs up for BB-8… now please return the gesture so I can laugh again.
There was so much action and Rey’s flashback scene including Yoda, old Obi Wan, and young Obi Wan was a delight. Who doesn’t like seeing all the starships engage each other and even better we got to see them perform within the confines of a planet. The X-Wings racing right above the water to Maz Kanata’s castle is still one of my favorite shots. Rey piloting the garbage ship aka Millenium Falcon poorly where you cringe with every scrape and misstep was delightful. Even the clumsy lightsaber battles were great. They made perfect sense to me since none of the fighters were well trained, even Kylo who I might point out to his fanboys was injured. Snoke points out at the end that his training wasn’t complete and anybody who makes a lightsaber that sounds and fizzles like that still needs a lesson or two IMHO.
It’s obvious that a lot of time and effort was put into this movie and J. J. Abrams love of Star Wars was present throughout. The dialogue was so on par with the other movies but I didn’t doubt that’d be the case once I’d read Lawrence Kasdan was co-writing the script. There was a very nice mix of practical and digital effects in the movie. You can always point out CGI but I felt it was done nicely. To me, CGI is now just a part of the lexicon, it’s just important that is done well and for a purpose. Could you imagine if everything was just Muppets? I love me some Master Yoda in practical form but not sure that would work all the time unless you wanted to make your own Jar Jar puppet to shove your hand into.
Hmmmm… what else to write about. I know some folks just bash the movie saying it’s a reboot of A New Hope aka Episode IV but I don’t feel that. Sure there are striking similarities but I’m okay with that. History has a way of repeating itself and there’s so much new to be found in the movie. Even the Starkiller Base makes sense to me. Last time I checked, evil despotic regimes tend to stick to the same modes of evil when they’re doing their dirty business. If the first thing doesn’t work out, it’s normal to decide to go bigger and scarier. Even my own government does this with machinery and weapons. Hopefully the lesson has been learned.
What else really should I write? I love this movie. I am proud Rebel Scum and happy to live in a universe where Star Wars exists. I probably could just write and write about the movie but the point would be that I really like it. Empire is still my favorite but this one ranks high on the list… probably third behing ESB and ROTJ. There’s so much that could be written but here’s where I’m actually excited. It’s your turn. Think of the comment thread of this post as a Star Wars Open Thread where all the Addicts here can discuss the movie. Provided you stick to our Guidelines, everything is fair game. Got a question for me? Ask it. Wish I’d dished on a different aspect of the movie? I’d love to. I purposely didn’t discuss any of my own theories here but we can in the comments. For once you can probably expect me to be more active in the comments. Might take a day but I’ll be watching. Have fun and may the Force be with you, just don’t force your opinion on anybody else. “That’s not how the Force works.”
TTFN… Wookiee out!