Friday, January 22, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Is Awesome

Can you hear the music just by seeing the logo?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas brought us Star Wars: Episode I IV: A New Hope. And lo, it was awesome. It inspired a generation of fanboys, the likes of which haven't been seen before or since (except for Trekkies). It inspired millions of pages of fanfiction, and websites, and enyclopedias. It inspired countless actors, directors, and writers, and it changed the face of American media as we know it. It was, in a word: Epic. From this epic, Lucas made five other movies, some good, some not so good, but all of them good enough to make him billions of dollars. In case you've been living under a rock for the last two decades, a lot of fans feel that he ruined the franchise by releasing the ill-advised prequels (which wasn't even a thing before Lucas created them). While I count myself among those fans who hated the "first three parts of the story," I was a little concerned that the new movies wouldn't have him at the helm. I wasn't so sure that someone else would be able to see the vision, and anything less than the vision just wasn't acceptable to proceed with the story that Lucas began. And after LucasArts got bought by Disney? God, this was all just setting up so horribly. A movie series with recent criticism for being too toy-pandering and kid-centric is being bought by the kings of all things kid? It was all set up for a ridiculously over-the-top cheese extravaganza, and was clearly going to be another cash-grabbing attempt to ruin everything we've held dear from our childhood.

Holy shit was I wrong. Episode VII was a tour de Force (see what I did there?) of brilliance, from writing, directing, acting, special effects... It was magnificent. And, interestingly enough, I haven't heard many people say otherwise. I've heard a few naysayers here and there, but for the most part, everyone ate it up on its way to becoming the largest grossing movie of all time. And while it's certainly not Gone With The Wind or its ilk, it was exactly what you want a blockbuster to be. And the best part? Every original cast member (that mattered) showed their faces in the new one! That's what the prequels were missing, the nostalgia factor... and action, and writing, and a plot... but that's for another time. The Force Awakens had that in spades. All of it, actually. 

And that's what was so spectacular about SWTFA: It pandered to its fans like nobody's business, but still had enough to draw new and younger fans. The prequels were a money-making machine, but there just wasn't anything of substance there. And holy shit Jar Jar was annoying. I actually tried to watch the prequels shortly before watching the new one, and I couldn't make it through the first one. The new one? I could watch it a hundred times, and never get bored. Which is just like the originals... which is what made them so powerful and popular.

Here's the best thing, though. My wife hates Star Wars. Well, hate is too strong of a word. She's just not a fan, at least not like I am. Sure, she's seen the original movies, and she loves the "little bear things" (Ewoks, goddamnit), but she just didn't see the magic in it all. And she's 6 years older than me, so she's just the right age, as I was, although she's more A New Hope and I'm more RotJ. She gave me a wonderful present by surprising me with tickets to go see The Force Awakens on opening night. Not ticket, ticketS. Plural. She went with me. I was shocked, because I really didn't think she'd see it anytime soon, but she agreed to go with me. And she loved it. She's talked about it several times since, she's held conversation about Star Wars with me for one of the first times ever. Her favorite part? She loves how you didn't have to have loved the originals to enjoy the new one.

So in one fell swoop, the newly Disney-aquired Star Wars franchise was somehow able to appease almost 100% of the existing fanbase while drawing in new fans, some of whom were just never particularly thrilled with the originals. That's amazing. That's something that just doesn't happen. 99 times out of 100, if you made a classically-loved movie series again, it would either be loved by fans and hated by newcomers, or loved by newcomers and DESTROYED by the fans of the originals. Not this time. Not this time at all.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was absolutely awesome. It was everything I hoped it would be. It set itself up very well for future installments, and it's given a world full of fans A New Hope for the future, one that was completely depleted and ruined by the prequels. And maybe, just maybe, than can actually pull of a logical, coherent, and mind-blowing trilogy again. I, for one, can't wait to find out.

Bottom Line: It's hard to believe that anybody reading this hasn't seen it yet, because everyone has seen it at least once already... but if you haven't, you need to. Even if you're not a fan of the original (like my wife), please, please check it out. The Force is strong with this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment