My wife and I saw the new Star Wars film yesterday. The half mile walk and several hours in a theater seat didn’t do my back any favors, but that isn’t why we’re here today. If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading here. I won’t be offended. On the other hand, I may do some offending beyond the spoilers.
I liked the film and it has everything I’ve come to expect from a Star Wars movie. That means some good and some bad things. Before I delve too deep, let me qualify this. I saw the very first movie when it was released in the theater. I went to it eleven times that summer, with a variety of dates, because youth.
It was so new and flashy; no ships on wires in front of a black sheet, no claymation characters either, or those reptiles with things glued on them. (Okay maybe one that stormtroopers rode around on.) I also fixated on how poorly it was cast. Harrison Ford was great, Americans knew Alec Guinness because he blew up that bridge etc. Even recognized a few of the old horror actors as various generals and such. Luke and Leia however were not great actors. I defend this by checking their careers beyond Star Wars. As characters, Leia gets a pass because the damsel in distress works. We got some buy in, and the fact that she participated in her own rescue was cool. That fake accent was awful. I wanted to throttle Luke, but maybe that’s just me.
Down the road, Lando was blah. Liam Neeson was awesome. Child Anakin was awesome. The teenage version sucked. There is a theme here. In the Star Wars universe, the actor has a large part of whether the character sells. My thought is that some of this comes down to the writers. These weren’t parts where you couldn’t fail to love the character.
In the modern version, we have the familiar three pronged group. The overbearing pilot, the female is the Jedi wannabe, and the reformed stormtrooper guy. I don’t love them from the first appearance in the other movie. They have the role and I went with it.
And then there is Rose. I love me some Rose and want more of her. This is because the writers gave me something to like. Her sister is prettier, shapelier, and has a more heroic job. I would have liked to know her, but she croaked too soon. However, this is what motivates Rose. Rose is like the parental disappointment. She mourns her sister, and takes action. Rose isn’t deadpan either, she has and shows emotions. Sometimes in unexpected ways. This is a character I can get behind.
I don’t know if Rose croaked or not. We saw her die, in another emotional moment. Then we saw her on the ship under a blanket, and her face was uncovered. She did not move or speak. What does this mean. Either pull the blanket over her face, or have her move so we know. In my mind she is the best character in the film.
Oh, and Del Torro was awesome, even if his appearance was short.
I always thought it was smart to have so many masked characters in the Star Wars universe. It’s tough getting actors to stick with a part, but anyone can dress like Chewbacca or C3P0 and you can continue with them. They were all in the film, but pretty minimal. If fact their presence felt kind of forced, and they didn’t seem to matter to the plot.
We now have a situation where all of the original characters are dead. Two actually, and one because of Carrie Fisher that’s going to have to be. Star Wars is in an unenviable position, because you have to acknowledge what came before. This includes the performers who debuted these roles. Then again, they are holding you back from new things. Every minute dedicated to Luke Skywalker is not dedicated to someone else. I’m curious to see where the story leads from here. That and more Rose.
It also feels like we’re coming full circle in some ways. Now we have a random kid who can use the force. Will he be a hero or the new Sith apprentice? Very last few minutes of the film.
How do you guys feel about the Star Wars films? Do you want to defend the casting choices? Maybe Hayden Christensen is your favorite actor. What would you do to pay homage to what came before? Did you like this movie? Tell me your good and bad. Maybe I need to stop watching as a writer myself and just enjoy all the flash.