(Cross-posted to my other blog)
So I finally saw Star Wars! Granted, this is not like me “finally seeing Mad Max” which happened around Thanksgiving 2015, when the rest of my friends saw it last May. I actually saw this movie in the same month it was released, friends. The only way this was possible was due to my loving husband, who watched Baby E while I gallivanted around town–or rather, drove hastily to and from the movie theater, checking my phone at stop signs–like a carefree single-ladies lass.
Spoilers ahead! I’m not sticking them behind a cut because I have a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck and I am nice and toasty already. (Husband holding baby. Yay, husband, a thousand times yay!) And also because all of my friends have already seen the damn movie so guys? I’m not worried about you.
And in addition to the spoiler warning? My feelings on this movie are mixed with a capital bag of Steve Martin-style mixed nuts. So if you’re squeeful about the movie and you don’t want your squee harshed, you might want to avoid. Onward!
- Okay, my favorite thing about the movie wasn’t the film itself, but the experience of going to the cinema. I was looking forward to seeing an Actual Film in an Actual Movie Theater as soon as A. proposed our movie-swap plan*, even though I’d be going alone, because I’ve always liked seeing movies alone. So I was all jazzed. CINEMA EXPERIENCE, cried I! And as I crammed myself into the doorway and stood in line behind ten families and a bitchy old grandma tried to sneak in front of me because her grandchildren deserved it, I thought, ah. What have I been missing.
- This lovely warm bliss continued as the SELFSAME bitchy old grandma actually DID cut in front of me at concessions. But I have been honing my passive aggression, so I smiled dreamily and let it all happen. (I was at the CINEMA. I was ALONE. Ahhhh.) I followed Grandma and her three exuberant charges into the theater and watched them sprint to the front, and then I jumped to the farthest back. Not five minutes later, two of the exuberant charges scurried back and sat in my row. ??? I said to myself, but not two minutes later, Grandma came hustling back. “IF YOU DON’T FINISH YOUR POPCORN,” she shouted over the tearful and completely erotic reunion between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, “DON’T THROW IT AWAY! WE’LL BRING IT HOME TO GRANDPA.”
- Exeunt Grandma.
The Main Event: The Movie
- I will just say it straight up: J. J. Abrams (Or do I say J.J. Abrams? No space between the Js? Or JJ Abrams? No periods? These are the things that keep me awake at night. These, and Baby E. It is tiresome) J.J. Abrams gives me hives sometimes. Like Zak Snyder, he gives great trailer and less-great full-length movie. (Really, I’m referring to the recent Star Treks I and II.) And Abrams banks, I think, on the fact that his audience for his last couple of films is ready-made. We’re emotionally invested. So I think he does less character work than he needs to — he expects us to fill in the blanks, he counts on our investment with these franchises. HAVING SAID THAT.
- I really enjoyed the storyline! I am expecting a trilogy now. I am the perfect bait, aren’t I? I really am that emotionally invested fan who watched the original trilogy on TV back in the 80s. Well done, me.
- I had some issues with Rey. On the one hand, she is fucking amazing and awesome and competent and a pilot/mechanic (it was as if millions of competence kinksters suddenly cried out in exaltation) and still scared and fresh and out of her depth. These were also awesome things. On my one hand. But on the other, she’s practically a fucking Mary Sue, because she’s amazing at the Force without even trying. She shouldn’t have been able to hold her own against Kylo Ren. I don’t care if he was wounded! I don’t care that he was [sekritly] [emo-ly] broken up about killing his dad! [KILLING HIS DAD ARRRGH] Swordplay shouldn’t be magically intuitive! And that’s what lightsabers are — sci-fi samurai sword stand-ins. Here’s what I would’ve liked: she brings trees, snow, animals (were there any on that weird mechanical snow/nova-star planet?, rocks, anything against him, in a wild fury of untrained force, maybe bashing herself a little, too, because she’s wild and uncontrolled. But a light saber battle where she holds her own? I didn’t buy it. I loved Rey. Daisy Ridley was amazing. But I didn’t buy that bit, even with the brief setup. Do not get me started about Finn.
- Okay, I will start in on Finn. I LOVED FINN. Talk about the launch of a million ships with him and Poe Dameron, am I right or am I right? (Hint: the first link on Google is currently: Star Wars Force Awakens: 10 Signs Poe Dameron May Be Gay. Aw shucks, Out Magazine, you’ve outdone yourselves! And really, I’m rooting for an OT3: Finn/Poe/Rey. But that’s just me. Until I search the AO3 and find probably 89,000 fics)
- But I loved Finn. Just to start this over again fresh. I think out of all the characters, I was most invested in his journey. John Boyega was amazing: charming, lost, befuddled, in charge, passionate, and WTF movie in a coma at the end? One of the reasons I’m excited about the prospect of a bunch more (or, you know, just two?) movies to follow. God, I want a movie just all about Finn. And kidnapping. And stormtrooper training. And stormtrooper hangouts. And betrayal grudge matches. Do stormtroopers hang out, after training? In bunks? In common areas? WHERE IS THE LIFE OF THE STORMTROOPER. But. But. I do not believe he could’ve held his own in a lightsaber battle against Kylo Ren. I did not WANT Finn to be decapitated, but that seemed the logical outcome. Unless………….. (dot dot dot!) Finn also has the Force? Please let Finn have the Force. That would be fucking amazing.
- Poe Dameron was hardly in it but I loved him, too. Even though his name is ridiculous and difficult with autocorrect. But as a reader of sci fi and fantasy, I really shouldn’t complain about names ever.
- Gwendoline Christie and Lupita Nyong’o were amazing, and you never saw their faces. Big hearts to both of them.
- Big hearts, too, to the “sanitation” line and the “trash compactor” line. HAN. AGGGH. And OF COURSE Finn knows where that is! What a delightful setup to a joke that I didn’t see coming.
- LEIA. LEIA. LEIA. I will always LEIA, because LEIA and LEIA and LEIA. Goddamn, Carrie Fisher. You still got it. You never lost it. You still got it. I love you, you husky-voiced brunette. (I find I am unable to emote here without emoticons. Goddamn you, IPhone and champagne.)
- HAN. HAN. Ahhh. My only quibble? No kissing for the olds! Come ON, Abrams! Give us a kiss! I did not shout, “KISS HER” or “KISS HIM” at the screen. But it was a close call.
- Chewie was all right.
- Ha ha ha ha ha, just kidding. Chewie, my cherie. If anything should satisfy Star Wars purists, it should be you. (Although judging by certain of my friends’ Facebook posts, that was not the case. Ah, well.)
- LUKE/AKA the most melodramatic ending of All Time on the Cliffs of Despair/Hope, with a Beard
I am sorry, I am verklempt. I am so happy to see Mark Hamill, I can barely type. And that brings me to the things that J.J. Abrams does right. He isn’t afraid to bring back the original actors — he’s not bowed to any pressure to, say, replace Mark Hamill with a more, I don’t know, marketable Luke stand-in. I don’t even want to mention a possibility. Hush, brain. Hush, whatevers. I MISS Mark Hamill, Mark Hamill on the screen Mark Hamill (aka not just voice work Mark Hamill). And I Approve of Mark Hamill with a Beard. Despite the inevitable comparisons to Obi-Wan.
Anyway. I suppose I should note a few other things.
- Finn should have the Force. Oh wait, I said that already.
- Big Spooky Bad (Snoke? What an odd handle) was Andy Serkis! Who is directing a Jungle Book movie that is not the Disney Jungle Book movie. I am going to see it.
- Who is Big Spooky Bad? Do I have to start reading Star Wars extended canon, or whatever you call the myriad licensed books? I do have a sweetass collection of short stories called Tales of Jabba’s Palace, but that’s it. But I will DO IT. Talk to me, super Star Wars fans.
- The battle scenes were awesome. The best was the first one, Rey flying the Millennium Falcon. That was A-MAZING. Seriously. Glorious. Abrams! Good work! See, I don’t censure you completely! I have complaints, like any jerk fan, but I do love some of the stuff you do!
- Hearing a John Williams score brought me to tears. I stayed through the end credits to hear it all, because I was by myself and I COULD DO WHAT I WANTED, WOOOOOOOO
- I think film appreciation classes have ruined me — I love to stay through the credits now. Ushers hate me, movie-going friends hate me, it’s a hard life.
- Speaking of Han, I’m not sure I think the death scene was well-conceived. I think Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher (and Adam Driver) played it fabulously, it made sense and it didn’t feel completely unexpected. But it also mirrored the Obi-Wan death scene from A New Hope. But it felt hollow in comparison. Thoughts? Are they turning it (the whole Joseph Campbell hero journey) on its head? Is it a sacrifice? Useless? A villain’s redemption?
- Adam Driver did a decent job of playing a whiny pissy Sith. I especially enjoyed how he smashed up consoles/whatevs when he was mad. Toddler! Perfect.
What am I forgetting? Tell me. Yell at me. Please. I am excited and annoyed at this movie. I both loved it and found it mediocre. What is wrong with me? I’ve had champagne. It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m an old lady, and a mom, and probably going to go pick my baby up in an hour or less. What do YOU think is up with Star Wars? And if you didn’t like it, tell me what you DO like, I have a movie day to blow!
Happy New Year, everyone! Smooches to you all from afar.
* I go to see Star Wars while he watches Baby E, he goes to see The Hateful Eight while I watch Baby E, and if it’s good, I go see The Hateful Eight soon after while, shock and awe, he watches Baby E. This plan is unfairly biased in my favor and I’m fine with it.