I had a difficult time choosing today’s post. Not because I didn’t know what to talk about, but because I had originally planned to write about the books I read this year. However, we saw the ‘new’ Star Wars movie over the weekend and now I can’t get it out of my head.
* Warning — Spoiler Alert *
Star Wars is our thing. It really is. If my husband could have had a Star Wars wedding, we would have. We met playing Star Wars Galaxies (pre-combat expansion). We have a bookshelf full of the books. We have Star Wars Christmas ornaments, underwear, pajamas, coffee cups, decals, games, miniatures, wrapping paper, and a dozen other random things. Star Wars Lego contraptions, built by our little master builder, litter our home. Our son’s name is based on a Star Wars character. At pre-school each kid gets to choose a special word and the other kids have to learn all about it. Our son chooses words like ‘droid’ and ‘star destroyer’ and the poor teachers are pulling me aside asking me what these things mean.
If a new movie comes out, it’s a big deal for us.
So when Farmor (Grandma) offered to babysit and we suddenly had a date, of course we chose to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My husband loved it. I sat there wondering when we were going to get to see the completely new stuff everyone raved about. And maybe you saw a different movie than I did, but here’s what I saw:
- Desert planet. Okay, so it has a different name.
- Heroine instead of whiny hero. I’ll give you this one — big change.
- Droid hiding things inside his rusty innards, albeit this one is round instead of tall and boxy with a domed head, and running away while the owner, who just happens to be a member of the resistance/rebellion, gets captured.
- Guy in black mask and black cape marching off space shuttles to dramatic music.
- Resistance led by Leia, who remarkably hasn’t changed much over the course of 40 years, or however long it’s been. No training as a force sensitive. No extra battle training. Or negotiation skills. Or new allies. It’s as if they plucked out the same girl from the first movies and gave her grey hair.
- Weapon that blows up planets. Huh.
- Sneaking around a giant weapon that blows up planets to rescue a prisoner.
- Just-met mentor struck down by evil guy with red light saber while heroes watch. Hmm.
- Evil creepy guy hologram with scratchy voice. Okay, so maybe this hologram is twenty feet tall, but just making it bigger doesn’t make it different or original.
- All of Han’s witty lines are the same witty lines he said in the first movies.
- Frantic X-wing flight down narrow corridor to hit target that will save us all.
- Evil guy proclaiming to newly awakened force user he can train her.
Don’t get me wrong. Cinematically, the movie is great and if I were to list the order I’d choose to watch them again, this one would be at the top of the list. But I’ve seen this movie before I even walked into the theater last weekend. And I can’t help but wonder at words tossed around like ‘creativity,’ ‘originality,’ and ‘something new’. Because this movie wasn’t those things.
I don’t even want to talk about continuity issues or authenticity issues — Why does a storm trooper show an extraordinary amount of annoying chivalry? Did his CO teach him that? How does Rey know what things the force can do, like the Jedi mind trick? Or let’s talk about the name choice of Leia’s child. Everyone is going to buy how this man you’ve never met means so much more than your own adopted father so when it comes time to name your own child, your precious bundle of joy, let’s not choose any family relations who were all blown up on our home planet, but the guy who fought in the Clone Wars with your father whom you refer to by his formal name, the same guy your husband calls a crazy old fossil. Or why does a scavenger wear clothes with long dangly bits that can get stuck in transport engines and metal hooks? Or why does the prodigal son look nothing like either of his parents, specifically with regards to the size of his nose, which is quite a striking feature? Or how valuable can a weapon/planet that destroys a sun could be long-term . . . how many suns does a planet have?
Argh! There I go, drifting down this path I didn’t want to go down, especially after only seeing the film one time.
So, my husband loved the movie. I thought it was a ‘cover’ to use a musical term, but a well-done cover and maybe that’s where my disappointment lies. If someone had told me, ‘Hey, they’re re-doing the Star Wars movies!’ then I would be like, ‘Wow, this one is great!’ But I was under the impression this was a new movie. And it wasn’t.
Like I said, though, I enjoyed the movie.
What I liked about it —
I loved Rey and Finn. Both fantastic characters. I also loved Maz. And I think the graphics and cinematography are amazing. I really enjoyed that more than one stormtrooper had personality. Like the two who come upon the miscast evil teenage kid in the middle of a tantrum and turn the other way to avoid him. I liked Poe and thought he was a perfect pilot. Can you tell I’m a character person?
My husband ranked the movies like this:
IV, V, VII, VI, III, II, I
If I were to order them, I’d have a hard time. I like this movie and would probably put it first, but only because I liked the characters and it hinges on the other movies. This movie didn’t feel like it had its own story at all, other than ‘find Luke’. Why? He whined all the time (He’s still whining, isn’t he? Oops, messed up the Jedi training thing. Better disappear). And everyone’s so angry about Jar-Jar, but I liked some of the Clone Wars movies because they had different elements. Geonosis was different. It wasn’t the third Death Star, as if there is no possible weapon or danger you could present other than a weapon that blows up planets. And I’m having such a hard time believing Kylo Ren. But then Rey and Finn are fantastic. So I don’t know. Today I guess I’d rate them like this:
7, 4, 5, 6, 2, 1, 3
But if you took Rey away, then I would rate them like this:
4, 5, 6, 2, 1, 7, 3
And if you replaced Luke with Rey in all the earlier films it would be:
4, 5, 6 only because the other films wouldn’t even hold a candle to them.