I feel bad even getting on here to write this. I mean, it’s been months since I’ve written a single word, and I have tons to write about, including several book reviews that I need to get out. Besides, I don’t have time for this, I’ve got a whole ton of stuff to do during these very limited moments of free time before Christmas is upon us…
But I watched the new Star Wars last night…and I just can’t get it out of my head.
Before I go any further, I do not promise this will be a spoiler-free post. If you’re sensitive about such things, you should probably go ahead and watch the movie already, you know, like the entire rest of the world, based on box office records being smashed left and right. Or…you know, just don’t read any further. But, really…you’ll find that the movie has already been spoiled for you, because you’ve already seen it.
What? you may ask. That’s right, because Star Wars 7 is, in actuality, Star Wars: A New Hope, Super-Special Edition.
Okay, so, another disclaimer before I go any further, I both loved and was severely disappointed by this movie. I absolutely don’t think it needed to be made (unless Episode 8 uses the remake and does something actually fresh and new with it), but it’s a really fun look at the world of Star Wars, a really great way to see how the movie would have looked if it were made today….which, I suppose it was.
Let’s get down to the synopsis for A New Hope:
An evil empire, filled with Storm Troopers, attacks a group of rebels. During this attack, a member of this rebellion hides important information within a little droid who only speaks in bleeps and bloops. This droid makes it down to a desert planet where it meets up with a plucky orphan with a severe interest in mechanical parts (that may or may not come from Tosche Station). They’re quickly found out and are on the run from the previously mentioned evil empire, so they find the Millennium Falcon to escape the desert planet, aided by a dude with a questionable history and an issue with shooting first.
Side note, this evil empire, forever known as the Space Nazi’s, are being led by a dude who has an affinity for black clothing and masks that make him sound all spooky and scary. Oh, and they have a giant device that can be used to destroy entire planets.
Anyways, back to the Millennium Falcon. Turns out, they’re with this old dude who knows all about the mystical history of the universe that everyone had been led to believe was nothing but myth. He tells them its all true. All of it.
From there, the group, including Chewbacca, of course, gets together with a bunch of rebel folks who like the color orange, and set off to destroy the planet killing device, involving a need to let down the shields and bomb one very specific area.
Oh, and there’s a stand off between father and son which ends in one of them falling down an impossibly long chasm (or was that Empire? :-)) Oh, and the need to go to a planet of green to find a long lost jedi master for the purposes of training. And an evil mastermind who is puppeteering the whole thing while looking ancient as hell and preferring to appear through holograms…And…
Look, the similarities could go on and on. If you’ve seen the movie and haven’t noticed how much this movie strayed from homage to become a direct rip-off of the original, well, you’re obviously not paying attention.
Here’s the thing. I was promised a NEW Star Wars movie. One that looked and felt like the original trilogy but actually told me a new story. This looked and felt like the original trilogy, which was instantly loved by this armchair director, but that’s mostly because it WAS the original trilogy.
I appreciate that it wasn’t like the prequels where the movie spent all its time explaining the inner workings of the magic and majesty of the originals, but I really wanted a new story, one that moved things forward, not one that rehashed the movie that I’ve already seen way too much.
Now, of course, this could be part of the plan….Could be. The original trilogy definitely focused on the cyclical nature of the force, and Force Awakens does a bit of that as well, noting how there is always some evil brought on by the dark side, while also requiring the heroes of the light side to come in and save the day. There’s always and apprentice and a master and all that. So, maybe…just maybe…this is leading to something completely fresh and new, something that won’t feel like I’ve seen it before. Something where I won’t see two people standing on a thin bridge overlooking an impossibly long chasm and know exactly how it’s going to play out. Where the big twists and turns of the film aren’t completely obvious simply because I’ve seen the movie they are ripping off.
I hope so. There are enough differences to this flick to allow it to happen. In fact, the differences in this film SHOULD cause episode 8 to stray quite heavily from the story told by the original trilogy.
Of course, so should episode 7 in general. I mean, seriously…couldn’t they at least come up with some other method of bringing back the bad guys without it looking exactly like the previous bad guys? And sounding like them.
Anyways, here’s the whole gist of what I’m trying to get to here…The movie’s great. It’s a ton of fun, it’s what I think George would have loved to have done with his special editions, while also showing a little bit of Abrams’ flare <sp intentional> (heh…see what I did there?). It’s a thoroughly enjoyable flick. As well as it should be, considering how enjoyable the original movie it is remaking was/is. But in the end, it still is a remake…and I’m tired of remakes. I’m already a little worn out on the sequels themselves, but if you make a remake and pretend it’s a sequel…well…sheesh Hollywood.
I still have high hopes for where the series is headed. I think it could still tell a fresh story that delves deeper into the action and adventure that Jedis don’t seek. But I don’t need remakes of the original trilogy. Those movies are brilliant, and just Lucas shouldn’t have made the special editions to try to make them better, neither should anyone else. They’re brilliant. Leave them alone. Tell a new story!
But still…you should probably see it, if not for any other reason than to see a truly kick ass female lead. And, to be completely fair…the movie stands well on its own. If I hadn’t ever seen A New Hope, I’m sure it would have done what that movie did to me way back when. And it was still great to delve back into that world with a palate cleanser like this (considering how fresh the prequels still are in my mind). And I still wanted to cheer and figure out the unanswered secrets, and blab incessantly to my wife about all the background information that was being alluded to and…Look, I geeked out. As a Star Wars fan, this was a great little reminder of what makes them so great, and that it’s still possible to make a great Star Wars film. As a lover of fresh and unique stories, I was quite disappointed that they didn’t really go anywhere with it that hasn’t already been done.
Luckily Rogue One and the Han Solo solo-flicks are some pretty fresh territory…so here’s hoping they keep the look, but move forward with the story.
Final answer: You should see the movie, in the theater. It’s beautiful, brilliant, and will make you incredibly happy.
Then you should watch the originals and remember that they’re still the best.