Star Wars: The Force Awakens (only slightly spoiled)

I started getting excited for the new Star Wars sequel as soon as I heard it was green-lit. When I read an article that said Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt were writing, JJ Abrams was directing, and Adam Driver had been cast, I got even more excited, and I immediately implemented Media Black Out, wanting to be absolutely surprised by every element (I did this for Star Trek in 2008 and it was awesome). I made it absolutely spoiler free until the first week of December, when I was waiting for a bus to work, and said bus pulled up in front of me with a GIANT Force Awakens  movie poster on it. It just ratcheted up my excitement about 800 levels.

We didn’t make plans for opening night, because we were both working the next day, but Joel planned a big night out for us last night. Nice burgers for dinner, and a 9:30 showing in the Gold Class theater. So yeah, I was pretty damn excited.

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I miss the days of real ticket stubs

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First, nothing makes a movie better than seeing it while sitting in a reclining lazy boy with the option to have food and drink served to you. The theater was small and polite, so much so that I had to corral my urge to clap and cheer whenever something awesome happened.

Second, I didn’t like the movie nearly as much as I thought I would. It was awesome to look at, and I was never bored, but I left the theater feeling a bit underwhelmed.

I should say that while I love Star Wars, I’m not a die-hard know it all. So maybe my critique is mis-guided. I love Star Wars because I love listening to the story, and all the background stories that are told throughout the episodes. It’s the narrative that gets me excited more than anything. Yes, George Lucas writes terrible dialogue, but he’s made a captivating universe and some badass characters. And while this movie was really awesome to look at, and there were plenty of funny parts and YES!! parts, the story as a whole felt lacking, like it was rushed. Characters were introduced but not much else happened. And there was so much story to play off of! The empire rose again after it was defeated without explanation. A whole new generation of Jedi was massacred by Han Solo’s son and only one line of dialogue was devoted to it. Rey’s past was shown as one shot in a rapid fire flashback. Who the fuck was the 50 foot tall holographic Voldemort Supreme Being?

I think I just expected a different movie. Maybe I was thinking it would pick up closer to the end of Jedi, with Leia and Han and their children, and the unrest growing within the new republic. Something closer to what was described in the opening credits. Basically, the fall of the rebellion, massacre of new Jedi and the rise of this new dark side would have been a lot more exciting to watch, even if it does sound similar to the plot of Episode III. But it’s not like this movie didn’t recycle some story lines – another Death Star? What, 3rd time’s a charm? Another brother and sister who were separated and hidden so no one would hunt them down and one of them doesn’t realise they have Jedi powers? With all that’s happened in the extended universe, I’m surprised the writers took an easy route.

Who knows, maybe it’ll all be explained in episode 8.

And I’ll be there to watch it, in my giant lazy boy.

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