If you don’t care about Stars Wars, I suggest you stop reading. If you’re one of the few who haven’t seen it yet and don’t want any spoilers, beg off as well. How about a piece of my artwork to gaze at as your last opportunity before I spoil the shit out of this movie?
First the set up: My brother is a big huge Star Wars geek. With his profession, he’s able to buy toys–lots and lots of toys. The picture to the right is him last Thursday where he treated the entire family to a 3D spectacular. That choice of costume becomes epic later.
We make plans that I’d pick up my sister-in-law and her son plus my sister. So, including myself and my son, that’s five people to fit into my sporty Ford Focus SEL. How we managed was a bit of skinny in the back and making sure my usual backseat mess was cleaned out dutifully by my son.
I was a kid in the candy store on the way, my sister and I reminiscing about 25 May 1977 when the first Star Wars movie came out. She was 11 and I was a mere 7 years old. My dad had already seen it and when he brought us, I wanted to sir up front. He said okay but he’d save me a seat in case I changed my mind. When those Destroyers started blasting? Boom! Back with dad I went.
Flash forward and we’re sitting in the theatre. First I panic because I wear bifocals and the screen is looking blurry to me with the 3D glasses. I know I can’t not wear my glasses because my eyes will hurt. False alarm, thankfully. Unlike some friends who have talked about it, the theatre couldn’t just start the movie. A billion-six previews had to be thrust down our throats first. To get through the pain of how many there are, my son and I play “The Preview Game”. We guess how many previews there will be. Closest without going over wins. There were eight, by the way, my guess. Very annoying but the game takes away the angst of having so many previews. Seriously, stop it theatres!
One thing is for certain, nothing beats being in the theatre with like-minded fans. No assholes on their cellphones and cheering for the good parts. My last good experience with this was The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I went to a showing with the first two–extended cuts–that ended with the last one at midnight. Epic. Highly recommend it.
The opening sequence brings you back to the first Star Wars with the scrolling storyline–info dump for your writers–and a view of a planet. Alas, no blasts from the Destroyer but it was still a beautiful opening scene. This movie had the original all over it and I didn’t mind. Now that I started and didn’t finish this blog post, I’ve seen the movie twice. The magic of the first showing wasn’t there because, though the theatre was packed, the ambience wasn’t present. No cheering as all the old characters make their first appearance or anything. Real letdown but it happens.
So onto my impressions. At first, Kylo Ren was kinda an awesome bad guy. Stopping a blaster shot in midair? Holy fuck, dude! Then the unmasking happened and we see this young-looking dork. A real nutcase. In fact, his temper rules his world. His lightsaber is used a few times as a focusing point for his bitch boy moments. What a delight it was for my brother, who also owns a Darth Vader costume, to wear the costume of someone built up to be a bad guy only to be this brat that needs taken over a knee and spanked. Seriously, I don’t know how he got fucked in the head but that comes full circle when he kills my most beloved character Han Solo. Who is, BTW, his dad. The one singular point I hated this movie and so did my dad. You want to think he’s alive yet when a shot of Leia comes across the screen after Solo’s demise? Her looks say it all. He’s gone and I think she might have sensed it in some way before that.
Chewbacca goes apeshit over the death. He owed a life debt to Han for him saving his furry butt way back when. The comic relief between Chewie and Han is great. On Starkiller, Chewie remarks he’s cold which is chuckle worthy because he’s covered in fur. I really liked the comedy elements to the story. There are repeats in dialogue that just fit.
One more point that’s interesting is Kylo Ren’s obsession with Darth Vader. The only one to walk out alive in the final fight was Luke. So, unless he reveals the secret, people can assume he single-handedly killed the Emperor and Vader. I can’t see another scenario because of the way Kylo Ren wants to finish Vader’s work. Vader redeemed himself, showing that he still had good in him. I can’t wait to see this one play out.
A lot of wailing and gnashing was made over the main character Rey. The term Mary Sue was thrown around which pissed me off. Like we can’t have a strong female character without her being called that ugly name. Ever see a male character who can’t do anything wrong being called a Gary Stu? Yeah, nope. It’s like women can’t be strong and independent and need that over-bearing alpha male character to save them. Enter Rey grousing about Finn holding her hand as they run. Without an info dump, everything that Rey can do–pilot a ship, fix said ship, and kick ass is all possible. She lives on Jakku–a desert planet–and survives by finding scraps in the carnage from a battle later trading it for food. I see a survivor that learns. As we learn later, she’s Force sensitive. Throughout the movie, she becomes in tune with that fact and accepts it in the final battle with bitch boy Kylo Ren. Everything she’s done is very plausible. She was not without flaws. They were ones that you had to see through her actions and emotions instead of being spoon fed.
I also loved Finn’s growth. To be part of the First Order because he was kidnapped and trained and to break free of his conditioning in his first battle ever? Fear ruled him and by the end, he found his courage.
This whole movie is shrouded in mystery. Not enough that makes me wonder WTF. The fact I have to wait until 2017 to see the next installment is irksome. Now that’s a COME ON! moment.
The one thing you have to pay attention to is facial expressions. They tell a lot. For example, I think Han Solo had an idea of who Rey is and when she journeys to see Luke Skywalker, his face shows a lot to me. Like he’s seen a ghost from his past. Leia’s embrace with her though they had never met before that moment in the film. Someone left Rey on Jakku with the promise they’d be back. The New Republic, for all its bureaucracy, couldn’t do anything to stop the rise of the First Order out of the ashes of the Empire. So much that there is still a Resistance. Think about that for a moment. It’s my belief Rey was hidden for a reason. Whether she was one of the surviving children in the massacre of Luke’s school for jedi via Kylo Ren, or hidden away because of her lineage–someone knows who she is. Lor San Tekka was also on Jakku and he said he’d been all around the universe yet he’s there on a desert planet. I think not only did he have part of the map to find Skywalker, he was there because of Rey.
I have to admit that I love that Rey is a strong character. Star Wars, to me, always broke the barrier. Leia was kick ass in the original films. Truly there are more questions than answers for this 7th movie in the franchise. Still, I like that we weren’t given everything at once. Now I impatiently wait for the next one to come out. Until then, I’ve got Deadpool in my sights.