Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Long, long ago (in 1983) in a galaxy far, far away (or maybe it was a movie theater in suburban Detroit, I get confused sometimes) a much younger Jimbo saw a movie called Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. It was the beginning of a love affair that has lasted for over thirty years now. There have been good patches (the re-release of the original movies) there have been rough patches (the Special Editions and the prequels) but it has endured on the strength of a strong story and a sense of wonder. As I look back over the better days of my life one of them will always be the day I sat in a movie theater with my mom and watched some dude lead his kid out of the place because he thought Jaba the Hutt was gross. (True story). So, when I heard that there was yet another trilogy coming, I got both excited and nervous. Excited because I wanted more Star Wars. Nervous because I didn't want them to screw it up again. And this time Disney made the movie. We didn't need another Jar Jar. Fortunately, we didn't get one. What we got was far better than any Star Wars product since ROTJ. I hate to say it, but Disney got it right where George Lucas didn't. Make no mistake about it. Star Wars: The Force Awakens delivers.

I'm not going to spoil the story. And granted, I don't get many comments but I will delete any comments that contain spoilers but I will say that I loved this movie. I loved this movie because it introduced new characters that I care about. I loved the story. I loved the twists. I hate the fact that maybe the biggest one was spoiled for me by some douchebag on Facebook, but I can't put that one on Disney. I can't get over the fact that I had a couple of theories about things going into this flick and they're right, well...probably... or uhhh...maybe...well... I'm still trying to work things out but there are all kinds of issues still to be resolved in the sequel and things seem to be going in a direction that makes sense but is still open to interpretation. I mean, I went to see The Force Awakens and walked out wanting to see the sequel. It was that good. Of course there was this one part, that felt like it confirmed one of my theories probably but then....

UGH!!! Yeah, I could still be wrong. I'll be waiting two years to find out if I'm right or not and I'll be suffering the whole time. Then again, it beats going to see
Revenge of the Sith simply because I had seen the first two and well, it was Star Wars... kinda. And yes, it was the best of the prequels but that's like saying it was the best tasting Brussels Sprout. The Force Awakens wasn't a Brussels Sprout though. It was a big honking steak.

Let's face it. My two favorite things to see in a movie or read about in a novel are a BAFF (Bad Ass Fuckin' Female) and a BAFF (Big Ass Fuckin' Fight). Yes, they have the same acronym. Sue me. This movie had both. Rey was a straight up ass-kicker. Of course there was a fight. I won't go into details but it was huge and things blew up all over the place. It's Star Wars. It's Space Opera. It's supposed to work that way and it did. It was like being a little kid again. I can give no higher praise.

If the Special Effects crew doesn't win an Oscar I'm going to call bullshit and never watch the Oscars again. Well, ok. I don't really watch the Oscars but that's because most of my favorite movies lose to artsy crap that sucks. Please, if you have a vote in the Academy or if you know someone who does or if you know someone who knows someone who does don't vote for anything else. I'm not asking for a win for best movie, although it probably deserves that too, but simply one for Special Effects that dazzled. Industrial Lights and Magic is the best for a reason and that reason is Star Wars. The Force Awakens is their best work yet.

I've always been more about the story contained within a movie than the music and story is what I've developed this blog around but I'm also a band geek who played John Williams's music in marching band in high school. Something the SW franchise has always done to great effect is using music to influence emotion and emotional reaction is what makes a good story. Williams once again knocked it out of the park. I have always hoped that one of my kids would play in a marching band someday. Should that happy day come to pass, I now hope that they get to play some of the music from this movie. It was that good. It reflected the music of the first two trilogies but had enough of a new sound to be distinctive. I was impressed.

As we've all known for months now, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are all in the movie reprising their original roles. I've been critical of Star Trek in the past for overusing old characters but that didn't happen here. Han, Luke and Leia were there and they played roles with varying levels of importance but they never overshadowed the new cast. It never felt like they were there just to be used as exclamation points. I remember DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy refusing to have anything to do with

In short, The Force Awakens was everything I hoped it would be. I don't say that about many movies. And, while I can't claim to have been there since Day One since I hadn't TURNED one yet, I've been a fan for a long time. I grew up with the toys and the games. I read the books with the record that went with them. This film was a worthy successor to those films in ways that the prequels just weren't. I hate to say it, but here's to the Mouse. Long may he reign.

Bottom Line: 5.0 out of 5 Stars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Lucasfilms, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not yet available for purchase, but here are some links to get the old stuff to tide us all over until it hits:

1 comment:

  1. Ah, look for The Force Awakens (Star Wars) by Alan Dean Foster. It is available and I got it. [Smile]