Star Wars is pretty much in my blood. I went to the first one A New Hope while still in the womb. The third film, Return of The Jedi, happened to be one of the first movies I saw in the theater. If you do a search of this blog, you will find the phrase "Star Wars" mentioned in 19 previous posts.
When it was announced that JJ Abrams was kicking the new trilogy off with The Force Awakens, I had no doubt he'd do a great job. Putting aside the references made on Alias and his other shows, when Abrams was tapped to reboot the other space series Star Trek for the big screen, he made no bones about how he was really more a fan of the George Lucas-created world. It showed with that film and it shows here.
Regular readers of my blog know a few relevant facts that you might want to keep in mind reading this review/discussion:
1. Nostalgia and plot points that trigger creative thoughts or my vast storehouse of trivial knowledge will have me squee with delight.
2. I truly believe there is no completely original idea under the sun. Artists must either mix and match or use old ideas in a fresh way.
The Force Awakens does both spectacularly. Even nerds who loved the movie have pointed out the plot borrows heavily from A New Hope. My response? So what. Even I admit, however, the scene at Maz Kanata's cantina could have been located in a more original, or less used, setting like a clandestine meet-up in space. The scene itself was great and I love the fact she at least says she isn't a Jedi...
Another complaint I hear is that new character Rey's (played by newcomer Daisy Ridley) powers reveal themselves too quickly. These people have either never seen a Star Wars movie or they are these "welders" presidential candidate Marco Rubio wants more of. Both Anakin and Luke were very strong in the use of the Force. Hell, the prequels implied Anakin birth was an immaculate conception... My guess? Rey is Luke's daughter. A movie blogger dismissed this theory saying wouldn't Leia know she has a niece? Leia's facial expression when the two women hug could be interpreted to me that she in fact does know... Another suggestion is she's Obi Wan's daughter but that doesn't wash with me. Unless she's much older than she looks, he died like 20 years before she was conceived...
Things I want to know more about:
1. General Grievous in the prequels showed you don't have to be Force-sensitive to use a lightsaber but is stormtrooper training since childhood enough or is there more to Finn than meets the eye?
2. Fans know Chewie had been Han's co-pilot and friend due to a life debt after Han had freed him and presumably other Wookies from slavery. Chewie was understandably pissed when Han died but does Chewie feel any kind of Japanese-style failure or has the life debt expanded to Leia, Luke and the droids so he's OK? Of course, son Ben Solo is also out there in the evil guise of Kylo Ren.
3. Supreme Commander Snoke of the First Order. We know from the prequels and books, though the latter have been nullified as canon, Emperor Palpatine only outwardly had xenophobic policies and was secretly more than willing to use aliens if they served his purposes. Is it through this Snoke gained power or is there more to this story?
And finally, as a Star Trek fan, it was interesting to note that while is just as much a Jedi genetically as her twin, the Force seems to manifest itself in Leia like Deanna Troi's Betazoid abilities. I shrugged off the connection she displayed with Luke in Empire Strikes Back to "twin stuff" (There's no plausible explanation for Luke and Leia making out in A New Hope so I've stopped trying...) but she definitely had an Imzadi connection with Han...