Welcome back after the holidays! I hope you all had a lovely time spent with friends and family. You'll be happy to know, I hope, that my holidays were happy in spite of the emotional turmoil I was experiencing at the start. Thanks for any and all prayers you may have sent my way during December, they were greatly appreciated and very much felt.
Now. STAR WARS.
Do you ever wake up to realize that you've had a void in your life for years only to find that it's been FINALLY filled? That's me and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I'm going to make a terrible confession to all of you. I don't like the prequels. I never have, never will. I tried to fool myself into tolerating them for a good many years, but, well, I might just as well admit my distaste for them. So my Star Wars life has been solely limited to the original trilogy for almost the entirety of my life. And it was chock FULL of unanswered questions. I mean, what happens after Vader dies and the new death star explodes and Luke is reunited with Leia and Han? I wanted, no, needed desperately to know more. True, I could have read some of the countless Star Wars novels that have been published over the years, but I never trusted them to be canon and it turns out that I was right. . . they're not canon. Big surprise there.
So I kept hoping and praying, impatiently I might add, that someday George Lucas would come to his senses and make movies about the story I wanted to know, what happened AFTER The Return of the Jedi. I'll admit, I didn't really hold out all that much hope he would do it justice if he ever decided to try sequels to his original trilogy, which is why when I heard he gave up the rights to the franchise and Disney took them, well, let's just say gleeful is a good word to describe my reaction. Because Disney doesn't just sit with a good idea, it runs with it. And I trusted that Disney would run with Star Wars before Mark Hamill got very much older. Because, let's be honest, Lucas was a fool to make prequels when his actors from the original trilogy were still young enough for him to make decent SEQUELS.
But, all Lucas bitterness aside, my dream was realized, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was born, and then came the mind-numbing panic that maybe I had built up my hopes for this movie too high. That NOTHING could be as good as the original trilogy and that I was setting myself up for stinging disappointment. NOT SO!
The Force Awakens is hands-down my favorite movie of the last 5 years!
And in honor of that placement in my favorite films, here's my top 10 favorite moments in no specific order in tFA (what I'll call The Force Awakens from here on). Be aware that I'm sharing some minor spoilers while keeping clear of any major ones. I hate it when people tell me spoilers so I attempt to avoid doing the same to others.
The Millennium Falcon Reveal
I love the Millennium Falcon even more than the Starship Enterprise, which is really saying something. So when the big Falcon reveal hit the screen in tFA, you should have heard the cheers and shouts in the theater, of which I gladly participated. Like I said earlier, you don't realize how much you miss something until you haven't seen it in years. I LOVE that ship!
Han and Leia
Because I was always rooting for their relationship to work, no matter how illogical it might have seemed for a princess to love a space pirate. But she did and he loved her, and guess what? They made it work . . . for the most part. It was lovely to see Harrison and Carrie reunited in their classic roles, and to see how much the characters, both of them, have grown over the years. How Han matured and how Leia developed patience with him. Seeing them again was like coming home.
New Kids on the Block
I know I'm not the only one out there who is uber-impressed by Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn. These two young adults are amazing! The acting in the prequels always disappointed me, even Liam Neeson's acting which I never even though possible. So it was refreshing to have such two lively young actors, practically no-names, be so successful in their roles. I mean, wow, who doesn't love these Finn and Rey?!
I'm a sucker for droids. Maybe not as much as my sister, but still, I love them. And so it was good to have a droid be a lead character again. Yes, I kind of wish that R2 and 3P0 had more screen time, but BB8 is the most adorable little droid ever, with plenty of spunk and spirit. And I loved how Rey understands droid speech so she was able to effortlessly communicate with BB8. This droid is loyal to its owner, Poe Dameron, and to the cause of what was once called the Rebel Alliance but is now the Resistance.
And since I just mentioned him, POE DAMERON
Played by Oscar Isaac, this guy pretty much starts off tFA, which meant he had a lot riding on his shoulders. Thankfully, Poe was an instant success in my book. Whether he's fighting against force mind manipulation or bending down to welcome BB8 back because they're buddies, Poe is a great character and casting choice. He doesn't get all that much screen time so I'm hoping his character will develop more in the next film, and I'm thrilled the actor has signed up for another round. What would Star Wars be without Poe Dameron flying the skies?!
The Lightsaber Twist
This, my friends, is a monumental moment in the story. Because I know what happens to this lightsaber, just as any self-respecting Star Wars fan does. This is the lightsaber that Obi-Wan gave Luke. The lightsaber that was Anakin Skywalker's saber. And it also happens to be the lightsaber that Luke lost when it fell, with his hand, from Cloud city, presumably to Bespin far below. Unless, of course, it didn't fall with the hand since if you look closely at that shot, you only see Luke's hand plummet. How in the world does Maz get ahold of it? There's a story here and it has given me quite a few hours of delightful discussion with similar-minded fans trying to crack the mystery!
For those of you who've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. And for those of you who haven't, well, I know better than to say too much. Only know that it's the most gut-wrenching moment I've ever experienced in in the fandom. I both hate and love it for its emotional impact and its allegorical significance.
A Female Jedi
Okay, so yes, I'm sort of giving away a smidgen about tFA. Rey is force sensitive and can wield a lightsaber, which she does with magnificent poise, strength, and focus. Developing such a strong, likable heroine was a brilliant move on J.J. Abrams' part and I commend him for it. That battle between Rey and Kylo Ren is dynamite.
What should I say about the villain? Not much, probably, except that he's brilliant and he will either die a terrible death and grieve many people or he will live and suffer guilt for a very lengthy period of time. He's complex and simplistic at the same time and I waver between hating and pitying him. Plus, he has a seriously scary lightsaber.
I kind of feel that's all I need to say about this one. And I'm including a classic photo of him because current photos of Luke are really hard to come by and regardless of appearance, he's still Luke. Luke was my hero for an entire decade, tying with Macgyver for first place on the heroic scale of measurement. I love him and I missed him and so to see him again was amazing. Of course, it also opened up an entire world of questions in my brain about his motivations, his character, and his reason for doing, well, all of the things he apparently did in between RotJ and tFA. And I would have killed for him to have ONE LINE OF DIALOGUE! COME ON, PEOPLE!!
Really, in order to capture the absolute awesomeness of tFA, go see it. Don't just take my word for it or anyone else's word for it, especially those who hate it, go see it. Make your own judgement call.
I'll say only one thing more, if you love the prequels more than the original films then this probably isn't the movie for you. This is a return to classic Star Wars, the way it always was until the prequels tried to reshape it into something different and inferior (sorry, yes, that's a bit of an insult to prequels fans, forgive me). The Force Awakens is Star Wars. GO! And may the Force be with you!
Btw, below is my sister's Christmas present to me! And yes, it's signed. BEST GIFT EVER! I am such a total Star Wars nerd and I make no apologies!