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 …


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.


But please, do tell!!


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