I went from not caring, to patient curiosity after hearing good reviews, to almost seeing it in the theatre, to giving up again and waiting until Blu Ray after being disappointed by The Witch (I’ll save that for another post). And now I want to go back and find a place that is screening it in 3D. Because, damn, that was a fun ride.
The Force Awakens is the opposite of everything I criticized about Guardians of the Galaxy. Characters with personalities and development over the course of the film, desires for things to accomplish, a passion and eagerness to achieve their goals, comedic flair with the right level of camp, settings that piqued my curiosity and brimmed with life, and engaged my emotions when they were destroyed, and the right level of nostalgia and fan service. All the weird head-canon that my brain started to create as I watched, it’s what I live for when I watch science fiction. And just… force. Force, in the action, in the approach, in the camera moves and direction. I love when a swordfight feels like it’s taking some effort—people get pushed back, sweat, sparks fly. Just exciting, all the way through. It took me from being a casual “yeah, Star Wars is cool I guess” fan to being completely excited for the next sequel, and all of the spin-offs to come.
I won’t spoil much in this review. I just wanted to say how proud I was of J.J. Abrams for doing the Star Wars series justice, saying the right things about the new protagonists, and taking the reigns with a new-enough approach. I kept getting this impression that many of the characters’ lines and the dynamics between new and old members of the franchise really felt like a metaphor for Abrams’ anxieties and passion for taking on this larger-than-life series. There was this feeling of postmodern “Oh, is this what I should be doing? What happens next? Is so and so going to do what I expect him to do? Is this good enough? Does this work like this?” but not in an irritating way, just a little nod to the audiences and realizing how to operate the controls of the whole universe.
I just loved it. I became a little kid again, cranked this one up so that the tie fighters screeched behind my ears, explosions vibrating the living room and throbbing with bass. I forgot how much I missed a great action/sci-fi film with this level of classy camp. It felt so right.