Star Wars Sans Spoilers

 

Don't ruin it for others! I mean it!

The nos­tal­gia is strong with this one.

 

 

I was 14 when Star Wars: Episode IV came out in May of 1977.  My father took my broth­er and me to the now-demol­ished Val­ley Cir­cle The­ater in San Diego.  I remem­ber being dis­grun­tled at hav­ing to go to a movie that Sat­ur­day, as I had a book I want­ed to fin­ish!  I had no idea what the movie was about.  Star Wars?  I didn’t want to see a war movie.  What­ev­er!  It wasn’t even a mys­tery or a musi­cal!

The Val­ley Cir­cle was a huge venue, and it was packed.  We stood in line for tick­ets, and stood in line for pop­corn.  The seats we found were about 3/4th of the way back in the cen­ter sec­tion, and over to the left.  I was cranky about that, too, because all the seats were on one lev­el, and I was very short.  Nat­u­ral­ly, a ver­i­ta­ble pil­lar of a man sat right in front of me.

The lights went down.  The now-famil­iar fan­fare start­ed.  The open­ing titles rolled.  The guy in front of me slouched, and I sat up straight, eyes riv­et­ed to the screen as a spaceship–A SPACESHIP–flew by, tiny lasers pew-pew-pew­ing back­ward at …

WHOA!

An omi­nous­ly dark behe­moth hove into view–a Star Destroy­er!

That was the moment my world changed.

Like many of my gen­er­a­tion, Star Wars ignit­ed some­thing in me.  A pas­sion for sci­ence fic­tion, fan­ta­sy, and orches­tral music lit up, and nev­er left. What’s more, there was a BAD ASS PRINCESS!!!!  I’d nev­er seen a girl kick-ass and take names the way Leia did.

Star Wars changed what I believed pos­si­ble.  A girl could be a princess and a spy and a rebel leader and a sen­a­tor and some­one who shot Storm Troop­ers with the best of them!  With one defi­ant look, Leia Organa rede­fined the roles women could have in any world!

The rest of the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy brought good fun, good adven­ture, and more of my favorite Princess, even though the ewoks made me a lit­tle crazy.  Then came the long, sor­row­ful years of the pre­quels.  Okay,  some of I and II were okay, but for the most part, wow, tru­ly ter­ri­ble.  I hon­est­ly tried to for­get III alto­geth­er as the end­ing made me furi­ous.

And now we have Star Wars, The Force Awak­ens.

Say what you will, I loved it.  Was it a great movie?  Hell no.  Was there great act­ing?  Mm-no, not so much.  Were there any amaz­ing plot twists?  Sor­ry, nope.  Worse, they used some old, crap­py tropes that could have been avoid­ed with just a lit­tle writ­ing.

So what did it have?

SW:TFA had a galaxy worth of nos­tal­gia. It man­aged to con­jure up that old Star Wars mag­ic despite (or because of) being most­ly uno­rig­i­nal.  It brought back old friends, and it set the stage for new adven­tures.  A woman and a per­son of col­or were the main char­ac­ters.  The cast­ing was more diverse than in almost any oth­er recent Amer­i­can-made show.  The CG wasn’t egre­gious­ly used, and I liked the action scenes (we can debate why in the com­ments, if you want).  More, it didn’t take itself too seri­ous­ly.  It was FUN.

And this time, a girl is hav­ing the adven­tures: a non-whiny, capa­ble, intu­itive, kick-ass, Force-sen­si­tive, prag­mat­ic-yet-com­pas­sion­ate GIRL.  This is huge.

I adore the char­ac­ter of Rey, and I’m delight­ed that she held cen­ter stage–right after Han Solo.  She’s been giv­en the cen­tral mys­tery as well as ample room to grow, and I’m look­ing for­ward to dis­cov­er­ing the secrets of the galaxy right along with her.  Thanks to writ­ers Lawrence Kas­dan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt for giv­ing us a young woman to go adven­tur­ing with, and for some­one a new gen­er­a­tion of girls can embrace as their own.

Now just give Finn his due, and we’ll be good.

For the rest of you, go see it, if you haven’t already!  Then come back and tell me what you loved or hat­ed about it.  I want to know what you think!!

Swanky -- in that 'the future is now' sort of way. The Valley Circle Theater.

Swanky — in that ‘the future is now’ sort of way. The Val­ley Cir­cle The­ater.

SPOILERS MAY BE IN THE COMMENTSREAD AT YOUR OWN RISK.

But please, do tell!!

 

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