Star Wars Kinda Review

Was too loud. OK, now for the movie. 🙂

I’ll try to keep this spoiler free, since there are a few people who have not had a chance to see the film. If you are waiting for the third installment so you can binge, I admire your patience but question your sanity a little.

I really, really liked the movie. Really liked it. Not love it (yet), but really liked it. It was like stepping back into a favorite hang-out after many years and finding the same good friends, a little greyer, a little wiser, but still the buddies you remembered, with a few new faces who fit right in. I can hear grumbling that there were a few too many parallels, but come on, we’re dealing with Han Solo here, the guy who can single-handedly lower the class of the lowest dive in Mos Eisley just by walking in the door. Of course he’s going to find a bar. And the Millennium Falcon is going to have a systems burp. If she doesn’t, it ain’t a Star Wars movie.

So the movie starts and I let myself sink into it. Good, pretty good, cool, good, yup. And then the Falcon shows up and the theater went wild, self included. I had tears in my eyes. And that’s what was funny about the whole movie. I was tearing up for the vehicles, the Falcon, the X-wings, all my old friends. Yes, the people were cool, but it was the vehicles that brought a memory lump.

The relationship between Han and Leia . . . was well done. Kinda awkward, but familiar and sweet without being gooshy. A lot went unsaid because it did not need to be said, in my opinion, and Ford and Fisher let body language do the talking. I’m not certain if it was a nod to the book-series-that-is-no-longer-canon, but Leia has taken on a lot of Mon Mothma’s gestures and gravitas. It could also be the years and miles: below Han’s eternally young bad-boy behavior, there’s a depth and weight of years. And it fits both characters and the passing of time.

Did anything throw me out of the movie? Besides the people in the front of the theater who cut loose with wild cheers every. single. time. an original character or vehicle appeared, you mean? Two moments, neither of which were the film’s fault, really. One was a scene where the historian’s voice muttered, “Dang it, they just had to go 100% Leni Riefenstahl, didn’t they. Geeeeez, quit laying it on so thick.” I was waiting for the chants of “Hail Hydra,” among other things. Yes, those of you nodding know exactly the scene. But again, I’ve been spending too much time (mentally) in Central Europe in the 1930s, so I’m sensitive to that kind of borrowing. Or in this case, dang near outright copying, but what film maker in the past 30 years hasn’t taken from that film for epic bad-guy moments?

The other drop out instant was at the end, when my writer brain started wondering about escape velocities and the gravity well of a planet during energy release. The rest of my brain said, “Stop that, this is science fantasy. Just watch the film!”

The effects are great, the flying scenes . . . well worth seeing it on the biggest screen possible. Oh it felt so good once more to see the Millennium Falcon pulling off the impossible and making it look easy. The aliens are wonderful and there’s a very good balance between CG and models and puppets. Unlike during the “Lucas fan-film trilogy,” I was not playing spot-the-CG.

I know some people have fussed about Ray being too competent. Eh, I’m not so certain. I’ve always assumed that there’s a certain standardization of design for hyper-capable ships ever since the Corellians patented hyperdrive, with allowances for species-specific needs. And  recall Luke in the first film had his hyper competent moments (and screw ups. “Oops, wrong circuit breaker” is such a wonderful understatement.)

The one thing that chewed on me a little toward the end of the film was that it felt smaller than the original trilogy. I’m not certain how to describe exactly what gave me that sense, but I couldn’t quite lose myself as deeply? A few transitions were missing so I blinked and wondered how so-and-so got there? Perhaps it is just age and experience. I’m not a child and these are not my first taste of science fiction. I’ve seen the films everyone borrows from, read space opera and imagined it myself. And more lights stayed on in the room than I recall from the past, so I couldn’t quite forget for the entire film that I was in a theater. The cheering section down front did not help.

So I give it two paws and a tail up. Highly recommend.

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars Kinda Review

  1. $HOUSEMATE wanted to see the movie while it was still in a theater, so we took the hour drive to a larger town where it is still playing. I think you summed it well (for someone more into it that I am – but then that’s almost everyone). Yeah, that scene was blatant. And I can see one character’s over-reaction scene(s) being used in a very abbreviated version of the “Hitler learns…” parodies. At least this time the person (not the same one) who wanted to see the thing didn’t feel a need to apologize to me as we left the theater. That happened with Phantom Menace.

    • I rented the “first three” and laughed in alllll the wrong places. And when you are matching costumes to a 1980s TV sci-fi show that was a remake of a 1930s sci-fi movie, well, the film is chugging down the failroad track at full speed.

      It’s a fun film. It’s not ground-breaking like the HolyTrilogy, but it’s a cool, fun film. I’m glad you and $HOUSEMATE had a good time.

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