Friday, December 18, 2015

851. I have seen The Force Awakens (SPOILERS)

I have seen Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  And I love it.

A storytelling geek like me, and not just a Star Wars geek, is bound to love it.  It's cyclical in the best tradition. 

That's all I will say before I again warn you I have SPOILERS in mind as I continue talking about it.

The least spoiler I can say is that it's very reminiscent of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies, in a good way, mind you, because I loved them, especially the original trilogy (the fourth is basically for anyone who might want to just experience one of them, because it's mostly unrelated).  I say this not just because Daisy Ridley's Rey ends up reminding me of Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, but because of a few other elements besides, like the pirates hideout (more or less) where our heroes meet Lupita Nyong'o's Maz Kanata, which clearly evokes a similar haunt from the Pirates films.  The treasure hunt, so to speak, is right out of them, too.

You'll find, in my Episode VII label, two previous posts I've written concerning my speculations and expectations, which ended up being exactly what happens in the movie (from a certain point of view).  I loved that.  I thought Kylo Ren being revealed right away to be Han Solo and Princess General Leia's son was brilliant.  Because it probably sets up something even greater, which is how the movie ends, very strongly suggesting that Rey is Luke Skywalker's daughter.  It's a strong twist, and an ode, to the original trilogy, in two different ways.  First is pretty obvious.  The second is that the big fight in this new trilogy will be between the offspring of the original heroes, who often were at odds with each other anyway.  And still are, come to think of it.

I love how John Boyega's Finn transforms from a stormtrooper to reluctant hero.  He helps make the whole thing more rich than any previous Star Wars (yes, I just said that).  I love how Han Solo continues the tradition of veteran hero dying in the opening film of a trilogy (even if I'm sad to see him go).

J.J. Abrams is once again true to form.  (Big Red Ball 'O' Doom?  Check.  Greg Grunberg?  Check!)  I've been fascinated with his work since Lost.  (Also, hello, Ken Leung!)  He's got such a strong creative track record at this point, it's only appropriate that he next gets to become the next Christopher Nolan, a guy with the ability to unleash big ideas on the big screen as big as he wants.  The next Star Wars is in very good hands with Rian Johnson (check out Brick and Looper right now!).  So it's great that Abrams got to set the ball rolling, and will be able to what he wants now.  Because we are all in for further treats.

The best part of The Force Awakens?  That it's got its own massive payoff, from the lightsabers duels Ren fights with Rey and Finn after killing Han to Rey's meeting with Luke.  This is the best ending of any Star Wars.  It's dramatic payoff that's so good you don't even care that they just destroyed another Death Star-type weapon and completely downplayed it in favor of the human drama.

The worst part?  Carrie Fisher's acting.  But there's always a stiff actor somewhere in Star Wars.  The good news is, the saga is always filled with enough spectacle where it doesn't matter, from the originals to the prequels, to a whole new trilogy. 

And it's just beginning...


The Armchair Squid said...

Just watched. Still chewing on all of it. It's an excellent movie, punting the prequels to the curb with a vengeance. I do hope that in the future, they get away from the need to destroy the Death Star all over again. Now that I know everything that happens, I need to see how it all holds up to a second viewing. Mind you, I want to get to that second viewing ASAP.

Pat Dilloway said...

Nooo spoilers!!!!

Tony Laplume said...

Definitely a movie that demands further viewings, Squid.

Pat Dilloway said...

Yuck, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were terrible. Other than Super 8, where basically he was aping Speilberg, I haven't been a fan of anything Abrams has done. It probably helped him that again he just had to ape someone else's work, in this case the original trilogy.

It was a really good movie because unlike the prequels it actually seemed interested in building up the main characters, except Poe but apparently from what the actor said he was supposed be killed off early on before the writers changed their minds, so it makes sense that he didn't have as much development. I think Han's dying was more the practical idea that Ford is probably too old for another two of these. Though I'd have rather they killed Leia; she looks terrible and sounds even worse. Poor Mark Hamill having to grow a beard and stuff and he's only in one scene and doesn't even get any lines! I kept waiting for him to say, "Rey, I am your father," but I guess they're saving that for the next movie.

You were at least half-right on Kylo Ren's parentage; you just had the wrong Skywalker. Hahaha


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