The recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has dragged me out of my inconsistent retirement to write yet another movie review for you all. This may be pointless, since many of you have likely already seen the movie. And you aren’t the only ones – as of January 1st, The Force Awakens had raked in something in the realm of $1.3 billion at the global box office. Not bad for a movie that opened two weeks earlier!
Alright, let’s get into it. First things first…
Do you see this smug-looking motherfucker? Do you see how smug he is? Well, he has a right to be. See, there are basically two types of nerds: Star Wars nerds and Star Trek nerds. J.J. Abrams basically took a look at this whole nerd situation and said, “Nah, I’m going to make a new type of nerd,” and he produced LOST. And then the Earth gave him Star Trek AND Star Wars to take care of, and he knocked both of those out of the fucking park. All wearing those cheap-ass-looking glasses. Anytime you’re feeling smug this week, you think about J.J. Abrams, and you shut the fuck up.
Here’s the thing. Jar Jar Abrams takes a classic series like Star Trek or Star Wars and really respects that series. When he took ahold of Star Trek, he basically re-made two of the Star Trek movies as his first two installments. But he made them with 21st-century technology powering their visuals, he made them with his own lens-flaring style, and he ADDED to the series while building directly off of a very strong foundation. There is a serious art to what Abrams does, and he obviously pays attention to the details/tone/presentation of the pre-existing movies so he can make a PERFECT new one, not just a pretty good new one.
Let’s look at a few examples (bearing in mind that you should always give most of the credit for this movie’s success and general awesomeness DIRECTLY to Jar Jar Abrams, though some other people deserve credit too I guess):
Do you see this badass-looking motherfucker? This is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). His lightsaber has a GODDAMN CROSSGUARD. Also, he wears a mask, and he wants to “finish what [Darth Vader] started” by killing Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi. (Well. Sort of.)
What makes Kylo so awesome is that there is a real man behind the mask. He’s stricken throughout the movie by his “weakness” (his compassion for his father, who I won’t name here because it’s a MAJOR plot spoiler) and struggles to contain his frustrations and rage in several scenes where we see him slashing apart what looks like expensive and important radar equipment with his lightsaber (excuse me – his FUCKING AWESOME lightsaber). This is a crucial element of Darth Vader’s character (both in Jedi and the prequels – yes, I actually include those) and thus J.J. recognized that it should be a major part of Kylo Ren’s character as well.
Next up on the list of What J.J. Did Right is Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). This guy is a fucking joy on screen. Not only is he rakishly good-looking, he also adds crucially important comic relief to an installment of a series with FANTASTIC moments of humor. Thirdly, he’s the best pilot in the goddamn galaxy, and that leads to heroic moments (over the Death- er, Starkiller Base) and really awesome battle sequences where we get to see Poe blow many, many people out of the sky. In brilliant orange-and-black explosions, of course.
Who’s that? No, I’m not seriously asking that. How fucking dumb do you think I am? That’s Harrison Ford, the coolest guy in the goddamn world. Some of you might say “Oh, he’s looking kind of old. Maybe he shouldn’t be playing Han Solo anymore.” You raise a good point, but in reality you don’t, and you are STUPID and WRONG. Han Solo is the bridge from old to new in the movie, since Leia is sort of a tangential character (and doesn’t interact with the new characters much at all) and Mark Hamill doesn’t have a SINGLE GODDAMN LINE (sorry, spoilers, but WHAT THE FUCK). Han, while the other old characters are either meditating in Ireland, talking like Jodie Foster, or fucking ASLEEP (what the FUCK, R2-D2), is off mentoring the new kids (with the help of trusty first mate Chewbacca, of course). It’s through Han that we really see the weight of the galaxy shift onto the shoulders of new characters Rey and Finn. His guidance leads us from the beginning of the movie (“I’ve got a map to Luke Skywalker!”) to the end of the movie (“I’ve got a map to Luke Skywalker, and the new characters have to go find him!”). Sorry, those were probably more spoilers. At this point, I’m past caring.
Han also has the funniest line in the entire movie: “That’s not how the Force works!” And only Harrison Ford could make the face that accompanies it. Well, I hope they paid him lots and lots of money for his stellar performance. ALTHOUGH that would mean less money for my favorite guy, Jar Jar Abrams, who made a lot of great choices in this movie SUCH AS:
Rey grew up on a desert planet – just like Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker before her. So, without commenting on whether she’s related to either of them, I’m just going to say that she clearly is going to go on to do a lot of cool shit that will probably affect the trajectory of the entire galaxy.
“TRAITOR!” I’m sorry, I can’t explain this one without laughing too hard to breathe. You’re gonna have to Google it.
No, but, like, REALLY though.
Even Henry Ian Cusick is in it (listen closely during the Battle of Starkiller Base).
And, I mean, just LOOK at this. This isn’t some hacked-together too-soon reboot of a series; as the Dogg and Dre would say, this is just the next episode. This is Star Wars, in all its cinematic glory. This is the biggest cultural phenomenon of all time kicking off a new chapter for a new generation, for the old generation, for EVERYONE.
THANK YOU, JAR JAR.
As always, thanks for reading.