So, one of the lessons I learned this year is about over-committing myself.
What does that have to do with the new Stars Wars movie? Not a damn thing. However, I promised my fellow Purple Ink Writers that I would write about what I thought about Star Wars and I have just had to admit… this is the best you’re getting from me. Not a smooth, polished bit of pop culture analysis, but a stream of consciousness!
Here there be spoilers. You’ve been warned.
First – so many tears. When the words “A long time ago…” popped up on the screen, I started tearing up and when that iconic scroll started, a tear rolled down my cheek. I never thought I’d see that scroll again.
About the time the first set of tears dried up, we saw the Millennium Falcon. And I cried again. And then we saw Han and Chewie. And I cried some more. I could go on, but I think you get the point. I had feels!
And I loved the new characters. Rey, Finn, and Poe. And BB-8 – the Jar Jar antidote!
And, yes, I loved that it was formulaic. I knew – as did the entire theatre – as soon as we saw the new, bigger, better, improved Death Star, that thing was going to blow up.
Let’s keep in mind that Star Wars has always been a campy space opera. That’s what it is. That’s what we love about it. Of course the Force Awakens was as well.
But, of course, people complained about things.
It’s too much like A New Hope!
Seriously. You guys.
There’s this thing called an homage. It’s where you pay your respects to a thing by making something reminiscent of that thing. Force Awakens is a nice homage to a New Hope. Yes, there are striking similarities. That was on purpose. It was the filmmakers way of saying, “Yeah, we loved Star Wars, too! Here! Here’s something else to remind you of that thing we both loved!”
Rey is a Mary Sue!
OMG, you guys. Seriously.
First, a Mary Sue character is defined as an author insert. Lawrence Kasdan may be many things, but a young, skinny, British chick, he is not.
Second, have you guys ever heard of Luke Skywalker? Han Solo? Anakin Skywalker? Was there anything these guys couldn’t do? And you were OK with that, right?
Yes, Rey accomplishes a lot of remarkable things. Since one of the mysteries remaining after A Force Awakens is “who is this chick?” I’m pretty confident that many of the things people point out as being “Mary Sue” are actually intended to emphasize the mystery of who she is and where she comes from.
And I’ll say it again, unless you spend a lot of time talking about how Luke, Han, and Anakin are Gary Stues, I don’t even want to hear it from you.
People complain bitterly that a girl, untrained in the force, defeated the mighty Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel. NO WAY! they say.
You guys. Listen.
Kylo Ren is not Darth Vader. He’s the Darth Vader analogue, yes, but he’s NOT Darth Vader. One of the last lines is a demand that Kylo be brought to Snoke for training. So, it could be argued he’s not even finished with his training. So, that’s thing one.
Thing two is that Kylo had already fought Finn. And whatever you want to say about Rey, it cannot be argued that Finn doesn’t know how to fight. He spent his life being trained as a storm trooper. Sure, he’s not trained in using a lightsaber, but he’s trained to fight, so that was not an easy fight for Kylo.
Thing three – There’s actually some pretty good arguments that Kylo’s not even really a bad guy (which I will not rehash here, you can google as well as I can). That’s he’s sort of a double agent. And the BIG SPOILER thing he did, he had to do. And he had permission to do it (Yes, anything). So he went into that fight on the heels of committing an act that would distress anyone – even a bad guy. If he actually is a double agent, then it had to be massively disturbing.
Thing four – HE WAS INJURED. He’d been shot by Chewie’s bowcaster, and we’d spent an awful lot of screen time being shown that the bowcaster is a serious weapon. He was bleeding. He could barely stand up straight.
It would have been more remarkable if he DIDN’T lose that fight.
Carrie Fisher aging
It’s been thirty-five years. Of course she looks older. One of the things I love so much about this new movie is that she does look like it’s been thirty-five years. Thirty-five hard years.
And let me point out, Harrison Ford looks rough. And Mark Hamill? He’s showing those thirty-five years as well. Why isn’t anyone bitching about how they look?
That’s right. They’re men. Men are allowed to get old.
But also, they were never sexualized in the original movies.
I don’t have a lot of the same problems that people have about the Slave Leia bit, and part of it was because it was Leia, still in that bikini and still with a collar on her neck, who killed Jabba – with the same chain he’d used to enslave her. I have no idea if it was supposed to be a feminist statement, but to me it always has been. Leia took back her freedom and she did it with style.
Nonetheless, she wasn’t just sexualized, she was fetishized by it.
So, I think the complaints are not just because of double standards, but because a couple generations of people for whom Carrie Fisher in a metal bikini was the ultimate fantasy, just got a dose of reality in the form of a woman who looks like thirty-five years have passed since she wore that bikini.
I think she looks fantastic. I don’t think her looks are what are important anyway!