What once was old is new again

So I woke my butt up early Friday morning to see the first non-midnight showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I am just so glad I did. I had not originally planned to watch it until Monday, as that’s my first day off this week, but for fear of getting spoiled, I went without some sleep for this.

First off, I want to tell you that I felt separated from the film at first.  You have familiar scenarios taken almost directly from the original movies (Episodes 4-6) with unfamiliar characters.Then the half hour mark hit and we met our first returning character, the Millennium Falcon. Maybe you don’t consider the super fast hunk of junk a character, but it very much felt like it was in this movie. Then as time went on, they continued rolling out returning characters (total of 6 at last count) peppered in with a whole slew of new characters.

Wait.. you're not looking for Ben Kenobi? My mistake.

Wait.. you’re not looking for Ben Kenobi? My mistake.

So lets talk about those characters and the repetitive nature of this movie. First we have FN-2187, quickly renamed “Finn”. A stormtrooper for the First Order, he refuses to kill innocents and defects, running into Han Solo Poe Dameron, self described as “the best freakin’ pilot in the galaxy”. Poe lets Finn in on his plan to return a droid to Ben Kenobi the Resistance (our new version of the Rebel Alliance) because it holds the key to finding the Death Star’s Weakness Luke Skywalker, who seems to be running from a past failure in the training of Anakin Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son, Ben Solo, who now goes by the name “Kylo Ren”. Luke Rey finds and saves the droid from Jawas another scavenger and they become quick friends. Darth Vader Kylo Ren wants the droid so he can find and kill the rebel base his former master, much at the behest of his new master, Lord Palpatine Supreme Leader Snoke. (Every time I hear that name I imagine Snookie as a Sith master and it scares me to the bone!) Madness ensues, Anakin’s Luke’s lightsaber is found and held by Finn (even though Rey is the Jedi, long story) and then they have to blow up the Death Star Starkiller Planet. A battle ensues in the middle of a base militarized planet, and Ben Kenobi Han Solo allows himself to be killed. Follow that up with a lightsaber battle won by Obi Wan, Luke Rey to finish off, for now, Vader Kylo Ren. We then end the movie by finding the hermit Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda Luke Skywalker (who proceeds to say or do nothing, I assume the first step in Jedi training is a staring contest).

Okay, in this one am I Indiana Jones or Jack Ryan? Wait.. Han Solo? Really? Okay…

As you can see they very much followed the patterns created in the first movies in this one, just sometimes switching peoples roles and timing, but essentially stealing from itself. You know what though? I am alright with that and they do improve upon the formula. For example Star Wars has more.. well wars.. In the original movies and even in the prequels they would generally have one major space battle or one major land engagement, rarely both. In the Force Awakens, there were constant battles on multiple planets that included land, air and space. There, for example, were a few cases of “you have blaster rifles down there, I have my ships blaster canons up here, I win!”. At one point in the movie though, where there was a battle covering ground and air, I was reminded of the game Battlefront and how those two fronts are not mutually exclusive, they do affect one another. This is kind of new information for Star Wars movies and it makes me happy to see it.

Overall, I feel that it took me a little bit for it to feel familiar, I am sure partially because I watched it in 3D. But once I did, I don’t think I blinked for the rest of the movie. It was amazing. Only bad I can say about it is that I am not a fan of the Kylo Ren character. He’s just too young looking to be scary and the fact that a Jedi that has had exactly ZERO training using a lightsaber beat him just presses the fact that he is as threatening as a single Ewok. He is the leader of the Knights of Ren, but we don’t see them in this movie, so how are they going to take it when they find out he lost to a girl who didn’t even know she had abilities until less than a day previous. (But damn she accepts and harnesses her abilities fast!) I also felt we needed more Captain Phasma, but maybe next movie. I will give this movie a solid 4 1/2 out of 5 Death Stars.