Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets back to its pulp roots


No spoilers here. I won't even discuss the plot like I usually do when I review a film. Hell, this won't even qualify as a review. I just wanted to put down some random thoughts. I'll keep it vague because I knew surprisingly little about this movie going into it—I thought the bad guy's name was "Ken Rylo" in case you're wondering how little I knew beforehand. But trust me: the less you know, the better. 

Here goes...

  • It's good, maybe even great. Probably among the best popcorn flicks I've ever seen. 
  • It's several times better than any of the prequels, too... and keep in mind I'm a guy who actually liked the prequels.
  • It's not as good as any of the original three. I don't think Star Wars would have grown to be such a phenomenon if this had been what released forty years ago. Having said that, this is probably as good as a modern Star Wars can possibly be. It feels fresh (for the first three-quarters) and 100% authentic.
  • So yeah, I'm really bummed out to report I didn't really feel a rush during the climactic scene. Maybe I'm dead inside, but it sure felt just a little too familiar.
  • The music just wasn't "John Williamsy" enough. The two trailers I saw had a lot more familiar cues than the entire film did.
  • There was a lot of weird, pulpy stuff in the original Star Wars (the chess monster hologram things, the garbage compactor monster, the sinister-looking background aliens) that Lucas seemed to move away from as the series became increasingly family friendly. J.J. Abrams goes out of his way to cram a lot of that stuff back in, so hopefully we'll see more of that from the upcoming sequels.
  • The film is even more of a spiritual successor to A New Hope than The Empire Strikes Back.
  • There's a lot of metaphorical imagery (think along the lines of old war and propaganda footage). The crucifix saber is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • I liked the new characters so much (especially the rebel pilot and the new droid) I wouldn't have felt cheated if the old characters hadn't returned at all. The new characters probably won't ever be as iconic as the original characters, but seeing the old characters come back really wasn't as thrilling as I imagined. Chewbacca seemed out of character, too.
  • I think this movie is going to get better with age, particularly when the next two in the trilogy are completed.
So yeah, I can't wait to see the next one and since all my complaints are directly related to spoilers, I'll keep them to myself. I'm sure bigger fans than I will have a lot to argue about in the coming years.

Oh, and don't worry about showing up a little late if you already have your ticket and your theater has assigned seating. There are so many trailers the audience began to groan each time a new one began.

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