Through the years, I have written of my love for Star Wars. I was six when the first Star Wars movie came out, then I was nine when Empire came out, then twelve when Return (not Revenge) of the Jedi came out.
I can still recite huge chunks of the Star Wars dialogue after watching the videos over and over again in my youth. The Star Wars films inspired my imagination and got me excited about creating stories in my own universe. They have energy and fun. The good guys have banter, and the bad guy gets redeemed. Then there's Han Solo. Ah, Han.
This Christmas, I spent a lot of time explaining to family why I had not seen the New Star Wars movie. It was something from my childhood, and it was time to move on from it. I didn't like the idea of a Disneyfied Star Wars even if JJ Abrams had directed. I was busy with other stuff in my life---like sailing boats.
Why was I so hesitant about New Star Wars after my facebook friends described it in ecstatic terms? Why did I feel alienated by this phenomenon? Then I realized that the New Star Wars characters covered two generations: aging baby boomers and twenty-somethings. Where were the forty-somethings? They were going to new Star Wars and taking their children. One of my facebook friends proudly posted a photo of three generations at a Star Wars showing.
Still, what happened to my generation? We were the Star Wars generation. Forty-somethings could feel the force although all the forty-somethings in Star Wars land were probably busy keeping the computers working for the rebels and empire (or whatever they are called now). Still, the billion dollar phenomenon was calling to me.
Jen, go see New Star Wars. See it for yourself.
So on New Year's Day, I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Once again I got to watch characters frolic around the galaxy far far away. It was fun, it had action, it had Han Solo.
I am going to give away big plot points, so if you haven't seen it and don't want it spoiled, stop reading now.
You have been warned. There be spoilers ahead.
Okay, here I go.
That is one fucked up intergalactic family in Star Wars. Okay Kylo Ren, so your father is a smuggler who doesn't give a shit and hangs with a wookiee. Your mother is busy with the rebellion/resistance. Your uncle is a crazy Jedi warrior with a mechanical hand. Granddad was a destroyer of planets. Which way are you going to turn? Granddad? Seriously? Fine. You get the trophy for most alienated kid in the galaxy. But must you destroy computer equipment with your light saber when things don't go your way? You know, some poor forty-something has to clean that up.
Absurdity of the Skywalker family aside, I enjoyed watching the ex-Stormtrooper and Scavenger girl have adventures, and I wanted to see more of the ruggedly handsome pilot with a nice leather jacket. I question Scavenger girl wanting to go back to Jaku after she had stolen a space ship from there, but who has time to think in Star Wars. I hope Scavenger girl is not in the Skywalker family. Her days will be numbered.
It was nice seeing Princess Leia again. She is older and in a more practical outfit. As I develop lines on my face, it's nice to see women on film with lines on their faces. And her hair looked good. And Carrie Fisher did a nice bit of acting at times. So yay!
I didn't like the scenes in woods covered with snow because I'm just not a winter person. Also, is it possible to write dialogue that is not Star Wars referential? Still, the moment when the Millennium Falcon flew for the first time gave me a little lump in my throat.
Finally, I was glad to see old Han Solo in his cool leather jacket with the wookiee by his side. Han made some mistakes that turned out to be fatal, but he can come back in the next film as a hologram. It was nice seeing Harrison Ford play Han Solo again, but I want to see him move on and play other roles.
As I watched new Star Wars, I realized I had moved on. Star Wars might have inspired me when I was young, but I am simply entertained now. I'm not going to watch these movies over and over again. I have other things to do and see. They can bring Star Wars back, and that's fine. They employ a lot of folks and make people happy. That's fine too. Everything is fine—until it's not. Usually when that happens, I have a bad feeling about it.