I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Actually, I watched it twice, because I wanted to make sure I knew it well enough to actually comment on it.
It was really good! This was a pleasant surprise, because most of the time, I hate things everyone raves that hard about.
Things I like about the movie:
- The writers managed to find that perfect line between assuming everyone watching knew the world and the characters, and explaining EVERYTHING in case people who haven’t watched all the previous instalments were confused. As I writer, I recognize how hard that is to do, so there’s some pretty sophisticated world-building and characterization going on in this film. I like it when movies treat me like I’m smart enough to keep up.
- The sense of humour. I think the favourite moment in the film was when the medic treats Chewbacca’s rather minor wound while dryly complementing him on his bravery. I giggled a lot.
- Han Solo. Because Harrison Ford is hilarious.
- That women and people of colour take centre stage next to white men. Where they belong. And no one in the film questions their right to be there, because they have every right to be there.
- And while we’re on the subject, how much do I love the moment when Rey informs Finn that she is perfectly capable of running away from danger without a man to hold her hand? A lot. I love it a lot.
In fact, I liked pretty much everything about the movie, despite the glaring hole in the premise. Namely, if Luke Skywalker has gone into seclusion to brood in a manly fashion, exactly WHY would he leave a map to his location? Not the actions of a man who doesn’t want to be found. If you can explain this to me, you get digital cookies, because I watched the movie twice and I still can’t figure it out.
So, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed The Force Awakens. But I still don’t get it. I still don’t get why THIS franchise is a global phenomenon, when, let’s face it, there are plenty of other movies that are, by all objective standards, a lot better. And that is not the comment of a genre snob. I love genre. I just don’t love Star Wars – at least, not with the kind of devotion so many millions harbour towards the films.
I suspect this is a nostalgia thing. I suspect that these movies captured the imagination of a generation of kids (because they were revolutionary at the time?) and that those kids have grown up and passed the love on to their kids. And that I do get. Star Wars wasn’t a part of my childhood, but plenty of other movies were… and I still love them, despite my adult ability to recognize their flaws.
Am I on to something with this theory? Whether you are lukewarm on Star Wars or own Death Star bed sheets, I would love to hear what you think.