Doing Silly Things
So the other day I said I would be doing a spoiler free review today, since I was in theory seeing it ahead of a good deal of the potential folks that will eventually see it. As a result I am leading off my post with the single line tweet that I sent out last night after getting home. Now I am going to talk about the day and night itself for a bit. I was not one of those first day ticket scroungers, in fact I ended up waiting at least a week before trying to find any. We have a smallish theater in town within walking distance of the house… however last night it fell in the “too damned cold” territory to even consider walking. For Lord of the Rings I was able to simply walk in on opening night and get tickets, without any pre-order… so I had no real doubt that I would be able to see the movie this weekend without much fuss. The original plan was to eat dinner at Plaza De Toros a Mexican place that I like quite a bit that just happens to conveniently border the parking lot of the movie theater. Just to make life easier… so we could meet up at 5pm and then walk over and start standing in line around 6pm for the 7pm show. This at least was our plan… our plan changed.
I went home over lunch yesterday to pick my tickets up, since pre-orders still need to be printed at the theater in our setup. I ended up having a lengthy conversation with the worker that was manning the booth, and he told me that they were seating for the 7pm show… aka the first showing as early as 4:30 so that we could go ahead and get seats. So when I went back and talked it through with my boss, we agreed that we would simply meet at the theater around 5ish instead and either eat at the theater… or like I did and grab something really quickly on the way home. The positive of both options is our theater has unlimited refills on both soda and popcorn, so my boss went with that option. The only negative is that I didn’t think to warn him not to take one of the Highways that is notoriously hell to travel on during the evening rush hour… so this meant it was running about 30 minutes later than planned. Luckily about this time another friend popped her head out of the theater and hollered at me, and saved us some seats near her, her husband that I work with, and their son who was completely amped about the experience and wearing and Ezra Bridger costume. So there we sat in the theater for an hour and a half ahead of the start time… chatting away and killing the time.
I had a lot of hope riding on this movie… but at the same time I kept trying to prepare myself for the potential of it being just as disappointing as the prequels. In fact a good deal of my conversation with my friend was that both remember how excited we were for Phantom Menace and how disappointed we were immediately after. I have to admit… I was not immediately in love with this movie. Not saying I was disappointed in any fashion… but the movie has a look that is significantly different than the traditional “star wars look” for lack of a better term. JJ Abrams simply has a different design ethic than George Lucas did… and this is perfectly okay… but I spent the first few moments of the movie “adjusting” to the style. However at about the twenty minute mark… I was hooked and from that point through the end I was completely drawn into the world and believed that I was in fact watching a new Star Wars epic. The characters are all excellent, and more importantly than that… their interactions… are also awesome. There are jokes and quips… and not in a way that takes you outside of the picture. Much of this movie had to be about passing the torch from one generation to the next… and feel like we are now firmly introduced to the conflict through the eyes of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren. Not really going to delve into characters outside of the group, because those are the ones we already know quite a bit about thanks to the trailers.
What I like the most is that each of these characters is their own “new” character… and not “The New Vader” or “The New Luke”. They are each their own person and don’t really fit any predetermined molds in the Star Wars universe. The conflict that is set up… is one that I cannot wait to see resolved over the course of the next few movies. In fact I am hungry to see what happens next…. which is something that never happened during the prequels. This is the first “new” story that we have had from Star Wars on the big screen in a very long while, because the prequels had a fixed beginning and a fixed end point… and we were simply seeing how the details worked themselves out between. This time with Force Awakens… we have no clue what is going to happen in the beginning, middle or end… and in spite of all of our machinations and predictions… we know that we know next to nothing. There are certain aspects that I think seasoned veterans of Star Wars and the Expanded Universe might guess at…. but those guesses are never justified with a firm answer. This movie feels very much in the tradition of A New Hope, and also feels like this grand Star Wars pen and paper adventure… played out on the screen. The critics are more than likely not going to like it… because this is absolutely a “Star Wars” movie… and not something that is trying to get an Oscar. That said… the costuming and use of practical effects absolutely SHOULD get an Oscar.
The little kid in me is alive and happy. There was a period of time after the prequels where I doubted if my memories of Star Wars were really genuine. I wondered if the universe really was as cool as I remembered it. I am happy to say that yes… this setting still has amazing things to show us. Now stop reading this shit and go get tickets to see Force Awakens.