Saturday, January 09, 2016

star wars: the force awakens [2015]

millions of words have already been used on this new iteration of the legacy built by george lucas.  a couple weeks ago disney, the parent company of lucasfilm, announced a new attraction to be built at disneyland, star wars land.  construction is to begin this month and is expected to be completed in 2017.  star wars land will reconfigure swaths of frontierland and the rivers of america and toontown and so on.  based on these soon to be made changes at disneyland star wars the franchise is a huge deal.

what could i add to the discussion?  i liked the film, yes.  director j.j. abrams makes a grittier, more brutal, version of the star wars mythos.  the evil empire is gone.  in its place is the first order.  the rebel alliance is now called the resistance.  and there is only one jedi knight left, luke skywalker.

skywalker is the macguffin for all the action that takes place.  that's all i'll say about the plot.  i'm not going to spoil this flick for those who haven't seen it yet.  consider this piece of writing an anti-review.  i am amazed by the staying power of the star wars franchise.  i was nick's age when i saw the first star wars movie.  it blew my preteen mind.  my brothers and i seen that film at least half dozen times in 1977 alone.  we were puzzled by a couple of our friends who were not crazy ga ga for the flick.  i mean, not digging star wars was a real headscratcher.

sure, i would like to visit disneyland again.  i'm a sucker for theme parks.  i hate crowds and disneyland is one crowded place.  when star wars land is complete you won't be able to squeeze in a guppy between the packed people.

be that as it may, it will be hard to resist visiting star wars land for this old fan of the franchise. however, i hated the last batch of films directed by george lucas.  they were awful.  abrams has in his quiver a shitload of brilliant fx.  the action set pieces are spectacular.  the writing is crisp and the photography and editing are first rate.

the characters are wonderful too.  han solo has a huge chunk of screen time.  rey, played by daisy ridley, is crazy smart, brave and terrific.  she's like an intergalactic macgyver, able to fix a time transponder -- whatever that is -- with some shoestring and spit.  finn, played by john boyega, is my favorite character.  he's funny, flawed and simply believable as a reluctant hero.

what i like about this movie is its grimy details.  you can see the chip marks in armor.  you can see the blood on a storm trooper's helmet.  you can see the grime on the millennium falcon.  you can see the massive size of a star destroyer as it rots in the desert sand of a harsh planet.

but does the movie amount to much?  well, if you want deep meaning seek it elsewhere.  if you want to spend close to three hours sitting on the edge of your seat you would do worse than watch this film.

anna asked how i would rate this flick.  i am usually hesitant to rate anything with the standard measure of 1 to 4 stars.  but she insisted.  from a one to a 10, she said.  i give it a 9.2.  abrams reinvigorates the franchise.  there are lots of nods to the generations of fans who grew up on the franchise.  there are lots of inside jokes too.  from the opening crawl to the final image if you are a fan of star wars you will are delighted by this movie.

nick and i have seen scores of movies together.  this is the first movie we talked about right after seeing it.  even know, as i type this anti-review, i stop and discuss the star wars mythos with nick.  he's asking me about darth vader's lineage.  the importance of the force.  kids, i think, are more sophisticated today.  for example, the thrust of engine makes no sound in space.  soundwaves need an atmosphere to travel in.  nick, and j. [we saw this movie with our good friends, b., c, and j.] know this as a matter of common knowledge.  yet, star destroyers, x-wing fighters, tie fighters, the millennium falcon, all make noise in space.  but j. and nick reminds me to check my brain at the door when i watch science fiction.  for it is fiction first and science last.  to be critical of scientific inaccuracies of this film would mean a fuddy-duddiness of the viewer that takes that viewer outside the realm of the imagination, and cinematic enjoyment.  just watch, listen, and dig.

i did that.  i look forward to the next installment in the star wars series.  may the force be with all of us.


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