The Empire of the galaxy is trying to crush the rebellion and destroy the Republic, unless a droid can get a message to the only one who can help them.
Wait, isn’t that the original Star Wars? (episode IV for you fanatics)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is like one big homage to the original Star Wars. Or is it a remake?
And that’s coming from a fan of the original and Empire Strikes Back (except for the godless worldview :-).
All the other four movies were horrible boring pedantic wastes of precious time.
Oh, yeah, I know, I’m “an idiot” because this one will be the biggest box office phenomenon in movie history, so what do I know? But I think there are two main reasons why it is a hit:
#1. And pretty much the biggest reason. All of us want to see Han, Chewy, Luke and Leia again. Period. That alone will draw gazillions. But that doesn’t make it a great story.
#2. The original story was successful, so Abrams ditched the dead end self-indulgent narcissism of Lucas’ prequels and remade the original. Cleverly and ruthlessly calculated for marketing formulas.
The sad and ironic truth is that much of Hollywood’s success in sequels is simply retelling the same exact original story in a new context. People want more of the same, over and over again. And that is why many tentpole movies and other mainstream movies recycle the same stuff over and over again.
It’s not always bad. I mean that’s why genre movies work: formulas. Formula isn’t always bad. And I could give a million examples of great stories in history that are refurbished or rewritten versions of previous stories (Empire is arguably better than IV). So, I’m not saying it doesn’t work or that it’s all wrong. The goal is to reinterpret and add unique twists that clothe that success with a fresh take. Disguise the homage, don’t trumpet it.
In this case, I thought the redux was uninspiring and forgettable. Okay, I loved to see Han and Chewy again. Even though poor Han at his age can barely fight anymore. And a few lines were kinda funny. And I do love a story pitting a Republic against an Empire.
So, this movie replays so many things that were reminiscent of the original. And I’m sure Star Wars religious fanatics could list off more than these:
Spoiler Alert (But not really, because I already revealed everything in the headline)
- Luke on a desert planet who doesn’t realize his own greatness. New twist, he’s a girl, and he wants to get back home instead of leave home. Gender equality!
- An “almost love interest” between Lukess and her helper (like Luke and Leia). Wait for the second movie on this one too. But there is a twist: The taboo of them being brother and sister is replaced with an interracial romance.
- Lukess finds a droid that has a hologram message to get to Obi Wan Kenobi to save everyone. But this time, It’s to Leia. Help us, Leia Organa, you’re our only hope.
- Luke is now Obi Wan Kenobi. But he’s a little better at hiding than Obi was.
- The Millennium Falcon as a central hot rodster. The coolest spaceship in all movie history. Of course it has to be there. It’s all good. Except for the ridiculous fact that after years of unused storage, it can instantly jump into hyperspace at a moment’s notice. One of the original things that was cool about the original was how the ship had a lot of mechanical problems, so this new twist works against it.
- The Cantina scene with alien musicians playing jazz, and monster suits (ok, better CGI this time). New twist: Han doesn’t fire first! Han doesn’t fire at all.
- A Death Star that is just about ready to blow up a planet of the rebels. But this time, a unique twist! The Death Star is TEN TIMES BIGGER!
- A Darth Vader again. And he wears a helmet and speaks through a distorted speaker again. But the unique twist is, this time, he doesn’t HAVE to wear the helmet that allows him to speak through a 1960s quality audio microphone, he wears it JUST TO LOOK SCARY!! I kid you not. And there’s a double twist. The reason why he wears it to look scary is because he is not actually scary at all without the helmet. He’s just a soft metrosexual Millennium kid with long feminine flowing hair. Maybe he went to the dark side because he has gender dysphoria and blamed his parents.
- Luke flying down the canals of the Death Star to hit the one part of the ship that will blow it all up. Different guy this time. The twist, no “wombat” line.
- Oh yeah, they blow it up.
- A father/son good guy/bad guy confrontation where one falls from a great height. (Okay, that’s Empire, so an homage to the best of Empire too)
- A description about the Force uniting all things and through all things, blah blah blah. A virtual lift from the original script of Star Wars: A New Hope. I guess the twist is that they wanted to get away from that biological miti-chlorians or whatever that materialist construct was and back to the spooky spiritual version of the Force.
- There are lots more, but I don’t care to waste more time on this.
Probably the biggest disappointment was the feminist angle on the action genre. It just doesn’t work.
In homage to the gender confusion of our culture, Lukess is a girl, but given a male name, Ray.
The ridiculous absurdities that proceed to pile up by making a female action heroine are too much to bear, even for my suspension of disbelief, which is pretty dang tolerant.
MOVIE FANTASY: It’s all about “women are no different from men,” and “women can do anything men can do.” So of course, Lukess can be a scavenger just as well as the original Luke could! (Which was funny watching her struggling to drag a small pile of scavenged pieces. Even then, I bet the pieces were made of plastic). And she is a brilliant mechanic who can fix and fly anything. She doesn’t really need a man to save her. She learns the force instantly and can wield a light sabre with the skill of a trained Jedi, all without having to be trained (Wow, better than a man! Luke needed to be trained by Yoda for that!). She can fight and shoot and climb anywhere just like a man! The height of ridiculousness though was watching her equal another Jedi in a light sabre match, having never used a light sabre before, AND she was equal in strength as they wrestled for control. It was ludicrous, this skinny little woman in a physical standstill with an experienced Jedi two feet taller than her. Except for the fact that she was fighting a feminized metrosexual Millennial with soft flowing hair, so maybe it wasn’t all that far off the mark.
SCIENTIFIC FACT: The Army Rangers, the Marines, Air force, Fire departments and police departments all over the country are lowering or working on lowering their historically validated standards to allow women to be able to meet the “basic requirements” of serving in combat or other physical duties in civil service. Even then, most of the female Ranger cadets couldn’t make it. Hey, I thought gender was a social construct?! The latest study has proven that this lowers the fighting skill and quality of the forces and will result in many more dead soldiers and citizens. But that doesn’t matter. Science deniers care more about social engineering their Brave New World of ideology than about biological reality.
I guess our culture doesn’t worship science as god anymore.
So, while the notion of a female action heroine may be a fun, and often funny, and ironic twist for the movies, in the real world it is quite literally killing people.