I have to admit something to you all, first, before I get this review underway. I am a bad fan.
And I don’t mean of Star Wars. I mean in general. Lots of Franchises I come in late too, miss episodes, don’t know lore verbatim.
Some of that is access. Does the channel always play reruns? Could we afford cable or comics? Do I have a good enough memory to remember all that I witness/experience or ability to find all the little pieces hidden away? Did someone challenge or change how I dealt with the franchise because of their feelings towards it?
The last one really hits me with Star Wars. I just seemed like someone else’s thing. Something that I wasn’t a part of. I like things, I disliked things, and respected it because it did have an impact in both positive and negative fashions in pop culture.
Yet, there was something about this movie.
The best comparison I have is the Avengers (please don’t beat me up and let me explain). I didn’t know all the lore, read every comic about every hero in the Avengers. But there was hype, there were separate egos that were going to clash, and with more drama than an episode of “Desperate house wives” or the cartoon “Totally Spies,” I had an exact idea of what I wanted Avengers to be. And what was Avengers? A bunch of ego maniacal, self righteous/self important (hero and villains a like) wind bags trading blows and one liners with explosions. It was funny, the characters worked off each other, action was good, and I got EXACTLY what I wanted from it.
And that’s how this ties into Star Wars. The Hype was different, how much I knew (though I DID know a lot for someone who is quite outside the fandom/franchise) and what I knew was different. But that’s just it. People may disagree with me on this, but:
This is, for fans and non fans a like, is the Star Wars movie to see. It delivers on what it promises, big time.
Some fans have critiqued it as just Recycling the old movies, and the have a fair point. This movie has a tie in to pretty much every movie that predates it, elements that will stick out to those who have seen any of the previous movies. And as much as that can be a draw back, I feel it addresses fans issues with the prequels: they seemed much more Star Wars in name than in story or lay outs.
But it does truly have something new to offer. It continues and fleshes out narratives that we wanted to see. It gives us the old, but it’s not without changes, turns. Some that, may in fact, be vary uncomfortable. Toy Story 3 gives a narrative that is targeted at fans who grew up with those movies, and those people seeing a shift in their world views and Identities. The Force Awakens shows the same, both metaphorically and realistically, time has moved forward in the Star Wars universe, in a way that can make a lot of sense, whether it is good or bad.
It was weird to me to see the ONE movie Lucas was so far removed from did a better (not perfect, but better) job of dealing with two central themes of the Prequels: Adolescence and ones embracing and embodying ones personal evils (“The Dark Side”).
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the movie drags, and even though they tried to make it less campy by being more practical than CGI, it sometimes can’t remove the camp element (Some times the storm troopers looked like Power Rangers, and if you don’t know who they are, Google them to see what I mean). Some times it will seem a little goofy or a little dragged on.
But I haven’t had such real connections with a movie in a while. And not just emotional ones. Sometimes it’s as simple as I feel like I am walking with the character, that I am not only observing their world, but a part of it. Especially in the last scenes. I felt a lot less like that I was watching someone on a journey, rather than taking one myself.
And that’s the thing. Part of me me wants to give this movie just a solid 3/5 just because it’s that: A solid movie. It stands out, flows well (for the most part) and just seemed well put together.
And then there is another part of me, and it feels like I didn’t watch a movie. It just, it made me melancholy, yet full of hope. Furious at things that transpired or should have been avoided, but ecstatic as to what was to come.
This wasn’t what the prequels were for me. It wasn’t “just entertainment.” It was what Star Wars was supposed to be. It’s a space opera. Dramatized, definitely. Unrealistic? No doubt. But its a story, a tale, a legend. A mythos in it’s own right, even if you don’t know the background lore. It was a story. An actual, factual, story. A beginning, a middle, an end, put well together that connects you to the elements of someone else’s imagination.
When you read a book, you watch the story be told. It unfolds for you, over time. It’s not forcing you to believe certain things (at least not out right). It’s showing you what happened, rather than telling it. It’s telling the story to you, who these people were. What they believed. What they did. And it does it such a way I don’t think you haven to even really like the concept of Star Wars to appreciate it.
Old friends come back, new people come in, friends leave, enemies are made. And I think THOSE elements are what make it accessible to diverse people, and not just the Star Wars fans.
And With that, I would recommend at least checking it out.