The spoiler-free post about The Force Awakens.

§ December 22nd, 2015 § Filed under star wars § 8 Comments

(NOTE: no spoilers, but I will be discussing The Force Awakens in general terms that you may not want to read if you want to go into the film completely cold.)

So a few years back, given that Douglas Adams had managed to avoid producing a new installment in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by being conveniently deceased, it was decided that the sixth novel would be handed off to another author. That book, as it turned out, while being entertaining enough, sure felt like someone took elements from the previous novels, threw ’em into a blender, and printed the results. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it all sure felt familiar.

Which brings me to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Okay, now hold on for just a moment, before you get a bunch of ants in your Corellian Bloodstriped pants and come after me with your torches and lightsaber pitchforks. I really really liked the film. It felt like classic Star Wars, with plenty of action and just enough genuine emotion because one actually cares about the characters.

But that said, I’m certainly not going to be the first person to point out that there are a whole lot of very familiar settings and plot points and character types and so on between The Force Awakens and the Original Trilogy. You can do some one-to-one mapping if you so desired…here’s one of those scenes, here’s that battle, here’s another character like that guy. And so on.

It’s not quite as bad as all that, though. Yes, there are a lot of familiar elements, but it’s what is done with them that’s important, and that we’re given a handful of new characters that we immediately sympathize with certainly helps carry the story. Sure, we’ve seen some of these sorts of scenes before, but we haven’t seen how our new friends deal with them, and that’s enough to grab our interest. Plus, we’ve got our old friends back, too — a bit older, but still pretty much how we remember them — and that sure doesn’t hurt.

I hope I’m not making it sound like it’s nothing but “Star Wars Remix” — there’s plenty of new stuff, too, particularly in character motivations and interactions, and…well, I’m beginning to see the downside of trying to be as spoiler-free as possible. I’d love to shout “CAN YOU BELIEVE _______ DID _______ AND THEN ________” but that’ll have to wait for any eventual spoiler-full review I might do. Suffice to say, even if you do sit through the film ticking off the parallels that exist, it’s its own movie with its own story to tell.

Some of the background aliens are going to make some awesome action figures, too. …Look, I’m only human.

One of the odder responses I had to this film is having to deal with the fact that this is the post-Return of the Jedi continuity now. All that Expanded Universe stuff I’ve been reading for the last 25 years (if you start with Heir to the Empire, or longer if you include the Marvel comics or Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) is now relegated to the Star Wars of Earth-2, never to be seen again until the eventual Crisis of Infinite Star Wars. I mean, not that I was sitting there thinking “but what about Mara Jade?” or anything like that, but there was that small fanboy tickle at the back of my mind reminding me that Things Are Different Now, and as Yoda says:

Another topic that came up in talking with some friends is in regards to The Force Awakens tie-in comics. Unlike A New Hope, which left things up in the air enough to allow for some funnybook adventures to kill time ’til Star Wars II, as we all were calling it, was released, The Force Awakens…well, doesn’t. I expect we’ll see a whole lot of “prequel to the sequel” comics over the next year or two.

But that’s neither here nor there. Today’s topic is the film, and the film is just dandy. It certainly feels very much in line with the Original Trilogy, as well as giving us new characters to enjoy and mysteries that will keep us hanging ’til the next film comes out in a couple of years. Why, y’all have it easy that you only have to wait two years for the next episode, instead of the three like in ye olden times. Of course, the sad part is at my age, those two years will go by like nuthin’.

The good part is that the film made me forget that I am at my age.

8 Responses to “The spoiler-free post about The Force Awakens.”

  • Tim B says:

    personally I don’t have an issue with the ‘It’s just New Hope re-mixed’ because that misses the whole Joseph Campbell hero with a thousand faces thing – You’re going to be telling the same kind of story over and over again. It’s sort of like complaining that a character called Phoenix keeps on getting killed & coming back to life.

    As to SWE7:TFA when the story is told with the panache that Abrams et al manage I ain’t complaining.

    Oh and BTW when is the spoiler embargo lifted, because I too am dying to talk about that scene where ______ and ________ with ________ in a _______ and _____________ appears.

  • Corey says:

    “The good part is that the film made me forget that I am at my age.” likewise, sir, likewise.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    This one felt like a real movie, instead of people walking about (or sitting) in front of green screens.

    The fact it reminds us of “New Hope” shows how much Lucas lost the ability to direct between the first three and the second three.

    The next two will be called:
    “The Force looks at the bedside clock”
    “The Force decides he can have another 30 minutes in bed”

  • Wriphe says:

    Let’s not pretend that the new “All Old, All the Same” STAR WARS is an artistic decision made by storytellers or mythmakers. It is for-profit nostalgia mining enterprise crafted largely in response to market demands for a well-established brand. Personally, I was hoping for something exciting and new (The Millennium Falcon as a Love Boat?), but Disney went where the money was. We hated the prequels, so they gave us what we said we wanted: STAR WARS again. Judging by box office returns, it appears they made the right decision.

  • Jack says:

    Actually, given how much the EU went with “The Empire Resurgent! Giant Superweapons! Jedi Betrayed!” I felt right at home with this story. If anything, it followed enough of the EU template that I can’t feel I’m gonna miss out on much with the EU gone, and this comes from a guy who made his mom buy him Splinter of the Mind’s Eye the day it came out.

  • DavidG says:

    The comparison between TFA and that 6th Hitchhiker book is a very apt one. The best bits of the Colfer book were the bits where he did something new, rather than try and continue the stories of the old characters, and TFA was best when the new characters were front and centre. That said I really liked the movie and the Han Solo bits in particular.

    Of course, I also quite like the prequels. I like Attack of the Clones a lot more than Return of the Jedi for instance. Friggin ewoks bore me senseless.

  • Touch-and-go Bullethead says:

    Hey, why are you bothering with this, when the really important George Lucas-related news is that HOWARD THE DUCK is coming out on Blu-Ray?

  • Jack Norriss (Ed) says:

    The big difference as far as the Adams comparison goes is that Adams was much more of a distinctive, hard-to-replace-or-replicate singular talent.
    Not to be unkind to Lucas, but that just wasn’t the case with him to quite the same degree, sorry.
    Setting up a fake-Lucas-movie factory is a much more straightforward task than trying to write a satisfactory synthetic Adams novel, even if it’s more expensive and involves more people. At least it’s a problem you can solve by throwing money and talented people at it.