For young people (the Millenial Generation and younger), Star Wars: The Force Awakens might be the highest quality Star Wars released in their lifetimes. The second trilogy does not compare to the original trilogy, and the original Star Wars movies have not aged well. What was cutting edge in 1977 looks cheesy and ancient to much of the young audience today. This is speaking broadly, and I know there are young people out there that enjoy the first six movies as much as I did. I think the latest installments of Star Wars will be a massive success—this has to do with the fact that director; J.J. Abrams has captured the essence of the original Star Wars milieu while bringing a 2015 flavor to the proceedings.
The Skywalkers are by far the most dysfunctional family in the universe. Quickly recapping the first six movies: Anakin (dark side) begat twins Leia and Luke. In the spirit of rebellion, Leia and Luke Skywalker decided to join the good side just to spite their old man. Leah fell in love with a hunky smuggler named Han Solo and their romance heated up as The Return of Jedi ended (last of the movies chronologically speaking). From here the proceedings begin in Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, and we find ourselves on a sandy desolate planet that has dust storms which are a bitch on android parts.
Rather than discuss the plot, I wish to discuss why this movie works in ways the last 3 movies did not. I believe that the last three movies had the unfortunate predicament of being too close to Lucasfilm. Gimmicky decisions to license toys affected the story and the casting turned out to be less than ideal. It’s ironic that the licensing titans at Disney had to be the ones to make this movie more palatable for the wider audience. I’m sure Disney intends to sell us every Star Wars plush toy, video game and amusement park attraction conceivable, but somehow the Mouse House managed to do it without pandering with a character as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.
I recommend Star Wars 7, because it captures a certain texture and playfulness the original films had. My only quibble with this movie is that it spends a lot of time wallowing in nostalgia. Anyone who follows entertainment at all knows certain actors from the original 1977 film appear in Star Wars 7—the movie poster features the names of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, after all. I don’t know whether they were emotionally invested in the film or just had some condo payments to make, but the 2015 reunion is mostly enjoyable.
An entire platoon of effects warlocks from Industrial Magic and Light ensure this movie is a treat for the eyes, whether you see it on IMAX, 3D or flat screen, J.J. Abrams has given the scenery an expansive and busy quality that is appealing. Its rating is PG-13, but the film should make safe holiday viewing for most ages, and the licensing gurus at Disney will make sure they milk every last dollar from nostalgia-smitten sci-fi afficionados. I’ve already bought Chewbacca coasters for myself and Boba Fett mouse pads for the white elephant party at the office.
Photo credit: Disney
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