Star Wars at Forty

Note: I’ll not give any solid spoilers, but I will comment on a few things. I also can’t promise this will be coherent.

I can’t help it, even though I know it’s coming. That sequence of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”, the pause, and then the punch and scroll brings chills every time it happens and I always feel ten years old even though that first happened, well, a long time ago in a country far, far away.

Prior to seeing this episode of Star Wars I not only avoided reviews and any hint of spoilers, which was difficult as I couldn’t watch it on opening night, I also didn’t watch the Japanese trailers as they are notorious for giving away key details. My goal was to go in as unbiased and unprepared as possible.

All in all I liked the movie, although I’m glad I saw it at a discount. The popcorn was also good.

If you can take seriously the notion that the members of the misnamed resistance (they are actually the badly managed vestiges of the old order in a long running civil war) are supposed to take seriously the orders of a magenta-haired admiral in an evening gown who wears no obvious signs of rank, then all the rest of the movie falls into place. (A–How do I know she’s an admiral? B–Because I say so and because she looks fabulous.) Something like that.

Well, that and you have to accept the notion of space bombers flying in close formation. You have to accept that, too. (See “badly managed” above).

Oh, and you have to accept the notion of space bombers.

The main problem is there are too many characters doing too many things that ultimately contribute nothing to the final. There is some sort of message about sacrificing yourself or not and letting the past go or not but that gets lost in all the subplots.

Kelly Marie TranĀ  and John Boyega steal the movie in their extended, yet meaningless sequence. They have great chemistry and Tran actually looks like someone who works in maintenance and gets her hands dirty for a living.

Adam Driver is excellent and his personality dominates the movie enough that you wonder why anyone would take Daisy Ridley’s Rey seriously.

The rest of the movie is mostly fun, although it does drag at times. It is also highly manipulative in the way it puts main characters in harm’s way and then quickly rescues them.

There are also odd sequences involving the source of blue milk that are there to either show off a special effect, answer a question no one ever asked, or both. Also, the movie ends too many times.

That said, I’ll look forward to episode nine when it comes out in a couple years. I’ve stuck with it for forty years, I might as well give it couple more.


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