I saw The Force Awakens. And I have some thoughts on it.
Let’s get this out of the way, first. I loved it. In fact, I say this without exaggeration, I cried like a dumb little baby from the opening trumpet blasts and scroll all the way to the credits. It was such a powerful and moving experience, so much so, that I am fairly embarrassed by it.
Going into the movie, I was fairly skeptical. When I was younger, Star Wars was the Thing That I Loved. Star Wars was My Favorite Thing. We’re talking a true obsession. All my English class assignments were about Star Wars. I did presentations on it. I remember being asked after one of them, why I was so crazy about it. I engaged in lore debates with other nerds(I can say with some degree of pride, that I did not fail when challenged on knowledge) . I tabletopped Star Wars, I roleplayed it online, I played the videogames, I read the EU books.
The prequels and almost everything since had crushed my love of Star Wars. I was like a disaffected man of the cloth, who had walked away from the faith. The novels got stupid, all new media was solely about dumb Jedi and dumb prequel stuff. Of course, there were glimmers of greatness, like SWG(though that was ultimately ruined), Jedi Outcast, Rogue Squadron, and Battlefront 1 and 2. But, overall, it got so bad that I soon began to despise what I had once revered.
Then, Disney bought Lucasfilm. I read about their plans to saturate the market with Star Wars movies. I thought it was a bad thing. George Lucas stepped away from the franchise, which I viewed as a good thing. It’s not often that control needs to be stripped from the creator, but he’d proved that he couldn’t be trusted with Star Wars anymore. Then, JJ Abrams was announced as the director. I was not impressed. That dude who made Alias and Lost and a terrible Mission: Impossible- Shut up, M:I 2 is sweet- and a passable and then kinda dumb Star Trek? Whateeeeeeeeeeever. Dude is faaaar too in love with bad camera moves and lens flares.
The title was announce, and I thought, keeeeeripes, what a dumb title! And the Force is stupid! Saw a trailer, and while the opening shot of the Star Destroyer in the sand was hot, the spiraling shot of the Falcon was a turn off. I thought, no, JJ does not understand Star Wars.
But, I knew that it was going to be a huge movie. I knew that no matter what, it was going to have the biggest opening day in US history. And I knew that it could be worse. George Lucas could be directing it. Or worse, Joss bloody fartsniffer-not-a-feminist-worse-than-Friedberg-and-Seltzer-jokes Whedon. So, I could be good.
I’d originally planned to wait until January to see it, but I realized that I wouldn’t be able to avoid spoilers for that long, as per people on the internet are shit.
So, on the 21st, Haley and I bought tickets for a 1:50PM show.
I was completely blown away. As I said, when Lucasfilm faded up on the screen, I felt a bit of a flutter. As soon as STAR WARS exploded in front of me, the tears started.
Something happened. I was converting. I cried like a stupid crying baby child who cries. As soon the ship appeared on screen, I knew that I’d been wrong. JJ knew Star Wars.
I was in good hands. I trusted him.
The scene in the TIE Fighter with Poe and Finn was when I was fully back into the fold.
It’s weird, but I felt like this movie was made for me, personally. Like, it was the movie I’d wanted since 1998. Almost a do-over, or an apology for the travesty of the prequels. Everything had changed. Suddenly, I lived in a world where Star Wars movies can be good. Imagine what would have happened if TFA had come out instead of Episode One!
I may have missed some things, but that is about what I can remember. A couple things I didn’t like.
So, yeah, I really, really liked it. I even liked Kylo Ren. He seems exactly what he should be. The Dark Jedi version of young Luke. He’s untrained, wild, full of emotion, and very powerful. He’s play acting. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He prays to Vader’s helmet, he feels the pull of the lightside, and he wears a helmet, just like Vader. He idolizes the guy, but is like a rough and savage imitation. He’s young, he’s unfocused, he’s not respected by the military. He’s just an angry young kid, rebelling against his parents and lashing out. You can tell there is a lot of deep, deep hurt in the guy. So, yeah, I like him.
I just hate his stupid lightsaber.
As for the plot, I think it was a smart thing to do. It was familiar, kind of easing me back into a world I’d left behind, and allowing in some of the new. Like I said, I feel like this movie was made for me. I imagine the next will be much more new, but I needed something safe and familiar to bring me back. More Rey, more Finn, more Poe. More First Order and Resistance. I never thought I’d be sad that JJ isn’t doing the next movie. Dude’s finally earned my trust.
I’ve returned, old friend. May the Force be with me.