Do I like Star Wars? Eh. I mean, I have seen all the movies. And I attended the opening night of all of the prequel films. I have even read most of the comic books Marvel has cranked out in the last year. (Sorry, Chewbacca.) But I have never really been a Star Wars fan. J.J. Abrams however, him I will get up at two-thirty for and get my butt to a four a.m. show.
So it was that I was surrounded by about four hundred people for an early show on Saturday. I was skeptical that folks would dress up that early. Usually the overnight shows are pretty low on costumes. (Have you ever done make-up at one a.m. then tried to wear 3D glasses? It can be a bit much), but there were still one or two Kylo Rens in attendance.
Here is the curious thing; when Star Wars- Episode I opened, it kept making news that folks were camping out for a movie. We were supposed to point and look at the lone nerd sitting excitedly outside a theater, complete with electrical-taped glasses and high-tech gadgets. Fifteen years later? It is now a cool thing to do.
Three women and a guy huddle together four hours before their movie starts. They were perfectly sociable and even friendly. That’s right, they had people skills! In case you were in doubt, nerd culture really has taken over. I still find that curious. Rest assured though, there was still some hefty body-odor in the theater. Some things never change.
Parents had their children in tow. Grown men were eating popcorn and soda for breakfast. I do not think that I heard a single complaint the entire time. This crowd may have been a little sleepy, but it did not show. Excitement and anticipation will do that to a person.
As for the movie itself? I do not like spoilers, but I will sprinkle a few pieces of information. Harrison Ford is the scene-stealer. He smirks, he shoots, he hollers. It is all great. The man has grit and charm in equal amounts. He came to play, we came to watch him, and everybody is happy.
Probably the most interesting character for me is Finn. He serves as one of the main entry point/ next generation characters. But instead of putting role B into slot B7, they gave him an impressive storyline. It makes sense, is original, and makes me want to know more. Put him in the next movie, darnit! He is my clear favorite.
Rey is the hero that I wanted my nieces to have. She is smart, capable, and yet will put her well-being on the line for the sake of a droid. Compassion and competency go a long ways with me, and she does not disappoint. Granted, I was distracted for much of the film because she looks like the little sister of Kiera Knightly and Olivia Wilde. That is not her fault though, and she does much in the film to reassure fans that the newest trilogy is in good hands.
Kylo Ren? Eh. He’s no Darth Vader. Nobody ever said he would be. He is much more emotional. Sure, unbalanced can be fun to have on screen. There is an outburst in the movie which is hilarious and one which is unnerving; both as they are meant to be. But he is thwartable. (I don’t care; I’m making it a word.) And I’m a skinny guy, but he just looks reedy. He needs a thicker cloak or costume or actual mass on his torso. You feel like you could ask Chewie to deal with him and our resident Wookie would simply snap the sucker in half.
For the record? Once you have actually seen the movie? I totally called that R2-D2 bit. I really did! So you can deal with the barely-resolved plot point in your own way. I found it annoying, but I realize that it is better for the rest of the trilogy their way. It gives them more to do in the next two movies. I do not need that much resolution in my movies so it did not wreck it for me. And you can feel it coming about two-thirds through. Whatchya gonna do?
Mostly, and not surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the Abrams additions to the films. Two of his LOST actors were there, along with a Star Trek/ Mission Impossible friend, and the composer of his previous endeavors. It made me happy, knowing he made space for his friends to come play in his movie.
He also shot a script that put character before action. Several times you find a character whose surroundings dictate that they should be a certain way. “You are only good at fitting into this sort of life, so go that direction.” At least three characters take the measure of their situation, poke at it, and set their course on an existence that works best for them. There may be resistance, but they focus on the choice that seems to resonate best with their souls. Nature versus Nurture played out on the big screen. Take that, prequels!
I enjoyed it. I would like to see it again. Will it make me rush out and check out six movies from the library? To repeat myself, “Eh”.
I want to believe that the fans will be happy. There is plenty to like about it. There are even lightsabers. No true epic duel scene, but they come close once.
Hey, you are on holiday. What else are you going to do with all your loved ones? Might as well go see a fun movie with exploding planets, right?