Star Wars: The Force Repeats (or The Power of Nostalgia)

Posted: December 22, 2015 in science fiction
Tags: , , seeing The Force Awakens this weekend, I couldn’t help compare the film to its predecessors. For those nostalgic for the original three movies (episodes IV-VI), the Star Wars fan bucket list was mostly checked off:

• Tie in with original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill (those three have visibly aged, but I guess Wookie’s don’t get old as fast, or perhaps Chewbacca uses hair dye).
• Destroy Empire’s massive weapon using X-wing fighters flying a gauntlet of tie fighters and laser cannons through a harrowing station-scape (but what’s left for the sequels? Will the Empire/First Order throw a black hole at the rebels and take out their entire galaxy?).
• Alien bar with musicians.
• Light-saber duel.
• Millennium Falcon battles tie fighters and wins despite its continuing reputation as a “piece of junk”.
• Cute droid companion carries secret plans/map (couldn’t they at least come up with a different McGuffin?).
• Scary guy in black suit and mask (except once he takes off his mask, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo isn’t that scary and somewhat resembles the Mad Magazine kid with big ears. They should have kept the mask on at least until the next movie IMO. Coupled with his defeat at Rey’s hands, he’s basically reduced to a failure. I’m sure he’ll come back in the next movie twice as menacing with his new scar, but for me, he’ll never be scary again).
• Someone kills someone else on a narrow bridge and that someone else falls into infinity.

Some additional observations:
• Why can people walk up and take a space ship in Star Wars, when I can’t even do that today? It would be one thing if they hot-wired the hyper-thingy to bypass the retinal scan lock, but they don’t even both with that. The Empire at least has the forethought to bicycle-lock its tie fighters with a cable. That’s more effective than some sort of key/ID/etc. apparently, although it obviously fails to deter Poe Dameron and John Boyega from simply shooting off the cable.
• Light-sabers are apparently much less lethal in the Force Awakens. You can get cut, slashed, and punctured with one and live. I’m wondering if they turned down the wattage to comply with new light-saber control laws.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this latest Star Wars installment as much as I’d hoped, although it did have some of that original magic. I just wonder what they could have done if they’d taken the same amazing effects and great actors, and instead of repeating all the old highlights, come up with a new, original story to match.

image credit: First Order Troops via free images (license)


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