As some of you may know, I was not excited about Disney's New Pop-Star Wars. There has been a lot of hype and some people are going quite batty over it, so I have held my comments close. I very rarely go to the movies and I expected to see it some time later after it was out of theaters. Two things to keep in mind as you read this. 1) The Star Trek franchise is far superior to the Star Wars franchise. 2) I am in the minority that think episodes 1, 2, and 3 of Star Wars are much better than episodes 4, 5, and 6.
I fully realize that my position puts me in danger of never being allowed to join 501st Legion (Vader's Legion)
and the Jedi Academy of North Florida won't allow me to be trained (much cynicism in me, they sense). All that is fine. I must speak (or rather type) the truth, and if that truth is painful, well then, suck it up buttercup.
So the movie exceeded my expectations, but only barely.
First of all, the Star Wars universe needs an infusion of new ideas. Come on, really another Death Star, but this time it will be a lot bigger. This time it is a planet that way it would take a death star to destroy the new Super Planetary Star Eating Death Star (SPSEDS).
I know people are fixated on size, but give me a break.
|One Direction Logo|
|First Order Logo|
Once again the military industrial complex (First Order this time...what an awful name, I could not help thinking One Direction every time they said First Order) is looking for a small cute droid on a desert planet because it has information that could be dangerous in the hands of the Rebels(sorry Resistance). The droid ends up with someone who does not know they can use the force and this person decides to help get the droid back to those who need it. (This plot line is completely different from a droid taking a message from Princess Leia to an old man in robes on a desert planet, because this is an old man in robes on a desert planet trying to get a message to Princess/General Leia....totally different.)
Also the droid and the new
force wielder end up leaving the desert planet on the Millennium Falcon while being hunted by the military industrial complex.
So this was not at all like episode IV, I mean in episode IV Han Solo and Chewbacca pilot the Falcon....in VII it takes five or six minutes in space before Han and Chewy show up, to pilot the ship “that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.”Also there is some stuff about dangerous mouths with tenticles and Han going back into smuggling since there did not seem to be a future in rebelling after the take down of Death Star 2.
The dark side, which as we all know has been touting the cookies it has for some time, apparently also has more acne. So about 1/3 of the way into the movie we have Emo Solo and One Direction hunting for the droid with the schematics to the Death Star (sorry, map to Luke Skywalker) and we get a Cantina scene!! YES!! Finally...I mean in IV they left the cantina and got on the Falcon and now they fly on the Falcon to a Cantina..Totally Different.
The Cantina is run by none other than Edna Mode...(AKA Maz Kanata). In the cantina we get our Disney star appearance by Miley Cyruswho climbs off an ogre (talk about type cast) to call One Direction. One Direction shows up, lead by Emo Solo on his giant flying Manta Ray to blow up the establishment of ill repute. Meanwhile, Fin and Rey (apparently names with more than one syllable are unfashionable) are splitting up and Rey starts to run away from her destiny only to get captured by Emo and flown away.
In this movie, however, the Rebels.....(Resistance) fights back and the much awaited X-Wing fighters who chase away the bad people. Who shows up on the scene but Princess, or General, Leia who is committed to eating better and no longer carries her cinnamon buns with her on set.
But now, filled with confidence and rage, One Direction unleashes the SPSEDS ultimate weapon that fires a faster than light weapon (that you can still see on its way to kill you...meh...not sure how to explain that..) and that fires with a width of less than a planet (since that is what it is coming out of) and then is wide enough and bright enough to be seen from several star systems away and which the light traveling out from it would have to travel faster than light, so that everyone can see it....ouch...but which condenses back to less than planet size before splitting up and becoming an intergalactic shotgun blast which blows holes in the planets and the plot at the same time.) BUT IT WAS A BIG EXPLOSION. BOOM. To top that people would have to blow up a star, oh....wait, Star Trek already did that.
Now that the Senate is out of the way....which, by the way, who is funding these guys...The Empire funded the Imperial Army, which would have become the Republic's army again after Palpatine's death. How do we still have either the remnant of the Imperial Army re-branded and hostile to the Senate and have a Rebellion (sorry, Resistance) that is not the Republic's army...Is there no army for the Republic and the Senate? Do we really have just two rogue factions with the Senate in the middle? How do you fund planet sized super weapons without a stable tax base and a strong, growing middle class? Seems fishy.
But, now the real challenge. How to you destroy the SPSEDS before it can eat a star and recharge and blow you up? And this time they fixed all the flaws of the previous Death Stars. You can't blow up the shield generators on the planet, because the planet is the Death Star. They already eradicated the Ewoks so you can't get stone age technology to beat back the defenses. They built buildings over the exhaust ports, so you can't just shoot into it with the force to blow it up. How do you overcome this? Send Han and Chewy (along with Fin, the ex Storm Trooper Janitor) and plant a few IEDs (like any good Resistance fighter) and blow up the building before the SPSEDS finishes its star lunch and rescue Ren in the process.
Ren, is not a weak character to be pushed around by Emo Solo and his interrogation of her AWAKENS the force within her. So the big bad, overly emotional, Sith gets scared of a young girl in restraints. Ren quickly uses Jedi mind tricks to get free and runs into her rescue party as they are trying to figure out how to blow up the SPSEDS.
The foreshadowing of a “I know there is good in our son” moment by Princess, or, General Leia resolves as Han tries to turn his son back to the light side. Emo is not having any of that and kills dad, making Chewy and the audience gasp. Chewy shoots the Emo and wounds him, apparently his blaster pause did not work this time. Everyone else tries to escape and blow up the building to destabilize the planet er...space weapon..or whatever this thing is. But it is not over without an epic lightsaber duel between a Sith and two different people who have no training in use of the force or saber techniques. No matter, the epicness of the battle cannot be denied as the Sith is able to singe the shoulder of the janitor trooper and get beat by a girl only to be saved by an earthquake.
Meanwhile, back at the Death Star trench scene from episode IV, the explosion does not do the job so a new Rebel (Resistance) star pilot has to fly through a trench(not at all looking like Luke from IV) and into a large open space (not at all like Lando and Chewy do in the second Death Star from episode VI). But this is quite different because when this SPSEDS blows up it becomes a star again. (Somehow a planet sized contraption absorbed the energy from a star, the size difference should be immense, and then became the star again when it blew up, but moved over a little bit.) Someone should have talked to Abrams about the difference in scale
between a star and a planet. It only looks like a small disk in the sky from here on Earth. From the perspective of a star the size of our sun planet is very small. So now all the gravitational pull in the surrounding systems are out of whack because One Direction's concert hall blew up and moved a star.
Now for the celebration...or not. Returning to the Rebel base (er...Resistance headquarters) and we tell everyone Han is dead. But R2D2, who has been so depressed at losing Luke that he has been catatonic, wakes up and has the larger map that the small piece held by the cute new droid fits into seamlessly. Now the Resistance knows where Luke is. They have been looking for him since he left the note telling them where he went. How could Luke know that C3PO would knock over a glass of java juice and ruin the instructions of how to get to where he was going. Everyone this entire movie has been looking for the map to Luke. We assumed it was so that they could go and get Luke to battle One Direction and Emo Solo. But, that is not the case. Apparently it was just so they could have a completed map. Whew...what a relief, our map is complete.
The only person interested in actually finding Luke is the newly awakened Ren and she takes Chewy along as copilot of the Falcon.Will Ren find Luke? What will she do when she finds him? What does the original Jedi temple look like? Will we find out. Yes we find out. The Jedi originated in, wait for it...Ireland. Yes it is Ireland, Skellig Michael to be precise. Just in case you want to go there for vacation. If you do, watch out for the puffins. At long last, Luke Skywalker is found and Ren gets to meet the Jedi legend. What suspense. What drama. What will he say. Will it be a wise “I've been waiting for you.” Or an inquisitive, “why have you come?” Or even a sarcastic “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
And still the pregnant silence awaiting a word from the long lost Luke.....and we are still waiting. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he didn't speak. There was probably a clause in the contract that doubled his pay if he had a spoken part. He needed to save his voice for that new animated batman series, the Joker has a lot of lines after all. They didn't want to hang out on Irish island and wait for him to get his part right. I get it. In fact, I think Mark Hamill should be given an Oscar for best extra in a Disney Film.
My young girls liked the movie. I thought it was yet another in the series that doesn't offer much except cool special effects. Not sure where things go from here. I hope they get better.