I wanted to save watching STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS with the Day 1 Star Wars Marathon Audience at the Alamo Drafthouse South here in Austin, Tx. No premiere can equal watching the whole saga theatrically with a revved up and happy go lucky Audience. Folks were there from all over the country, there was a hands on a hard body style contest goers that would be watching STAR WARS THE FORCE UNLEASED serially until only one remained awake.
However, I had 8 seats. Dad and I were sitting together, then to my left was Ernie Cline, My sister & her boyfriend, then Rylan (childhood Star Wars best friend), then Comic Book John and then Lee, my Chewbacchian sized friend! The Hopeful 8 as I named us.
Hopeful, because we had all not seen JJ’s opus – and we all wanted to see the saga in the order that George Lucas intended. And seeing it that way told us all… the film would have a significant character death. Because each first chapter of the saga is emotionally anchored by the death of a major lead character. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and now… well you know, and if you don’t – I won’t be the one to tell ya. However it is a doozy.
Watching the Prequels and OT trilogies just fed my brain the exact excitement that I wanted. And man – once STAR WARS began, I began to feel electric. As EMPIRE STRIKES BACK started – I was in pure heaven. When RETURN OF THE JEDI started, I decided to take a bit of a break to miss the Special Edition musical number which I really really dislike. Lots. Though not nearly as much as I dislike that new BS Ending to Jedi. The music is terrible. The shots on all the different planets – horrifying. The young Anakin ghost though is the final nail in the coffin of the Jedi Special Editions. But it didn’t matter – I was so happy. Since I was 11.5 years old I’ve been waiting for it.
I was slightly annoyed at the electric hootin’ and hollerin’ audience as the LUCASFILM logo came up, cuz I was looking forward to the music, but as I discovered today on second viewing – there is no music for the LUCASFILM Logo anymore. So sad. But I forgot, before the lights in the theater went dark – a 20 piece band came out in Star Wars costumes just to play the 20th Century Fox Fanfare – cuz… Fuck it, Fox had nothing to do with this one, but it’s tied to STAR WARS in our hearts.
Then… STAR WARS and the crawl. The film that followed blew me away.
I’ve known about the Jakku Storm trooper attack and Oscar Isaacs capture for a very long time, but reading that information in text form, in no way, prepared me for the energy of that attack. THE FIRST ORDER is even more NAZI-esque than the EMPIRE was. The gathering of the village people and then mowing them down… harsh. But even more so – when Adam Driver’s KYLO REN stops a blaster blast in mid-stream – while also freezing Oscar Isaac’s POE DAMERON – but even more – Poe is shaking as though Kylo Ren’s Force clutch is a violent and terrible thing to be held in. This is different from all previous uses of the force – and I was loving it.
This is something that a few in fandom are going to struggle with – because… this isn’t entirely the FORCE or UNIVERSE we’re used to. The Original Trilogy gave us this galaxy far far away, and like how in the PREQUELS, Lucas himself enhanced the powers of the Jedi beyond what Obi-Wan and young Luke or even Yoda, Vader or Emperor. But those 5 characters are the only ones that really demonstrated Force sensitivity other than Leia’s “I know where Luke is” moment in Empire.
In this film, we’ve moved on the gigantic solid state hologram usage, but then, that’s already been demonstrated and will be changing our reality in really cool and massive ways. But how STAR WARS uses it to great a ginormous version of Andy Serkis’ Supreme Commander Snope. Then there’s the Ship tracking abilities that Han talks about, and how they’ll need a “clean ship” to deliver BB8. Then later we hear the First Order talk about tracking the Rebellion Transport back to their home base – and damn – traveling this version of a Galaxy Far Far Away means you would need to switch vehicles all the time. Or have some kind of scrambler device, perhaps a ship projecting a changing solid state hologram around it changing its appearance.
We also see how the Force has evolved. When Rey touches Luke Skywalker’s Father’s Saber – she VIBES out like Cisco on THE FLASH and see’s her past, immediate future and far future. In EMPIRE, when Luke vision quests, we hear about it from Yoda… but also in Rey’s sequence you hear what I could swear was Alec Guinness’ voice saying “Rey” – THEN – there’s the mind raping stuff that Kylo tries on Rey & Poe in the film. I mean, when Han is being tortured on Cloud City by Vader, and he tells Leia, “They didn’t even ask me any questions,” I always assumed that was how Vader baited the trap for Luke – by putting out massive friend hurt – that Luke would come running – and I still believe that’s how the Force can and does work, (See Leia’s reaction in the 3rd act of THE FORCE AWAKENS) – but more so – what if Vader was mind raping Han too? The possibilities are there. Just like in THE FORCE AWAKENS, when Kylo Ren stops the blaster blast. Vader did that in CLOUD CITY when Han shot him – and he did it at a much shorter distance – and the energy dissipated before his gloved hands. But holding a blast – and you converse… so dynamic. Some may call bullshit, but I’ve always felt Vader needed to be shown being more and more powerful. CHRONICLE style… I mean, you know Vader could pull a Revok on someone and make their heads go boom.
And before you rage, “That’s not Star Wars,” I’m going to stop you right there. STAR WARS is what we make of it. It’s what the filmmakers do, what the fans do and nothing anybody does is going to take our STAR WARS away, cuz it pulses and throbs throughout our geekselves and it is awesome!
What I LOVE about this movie above all else is… This IS JJ ABRAMS’ STAR WARS Movie. His version of tech, his version of upping the ante viscerally with the Force. I’ve always heard that George Lucas’ key verbal direction was “FASTER AND MORE INTENSE” – but that’s exactly what JJ did. JJ’s STAR WARS is FASTER AND MORE INTENSE – But he does that at so many subtle ways – like having intensely bright light sabers so you can see the blades lighting the characters and their ambient environment, but by returning to more Samurai and Crusade hacking styles – you have HOLDS with the characters’ faces – and it’s great. But the sound design, the hissing popping angry sound of Kylo Ren’s saber just is pure music to my senses. My fave is that Flash Forward shot in the rain surrounded by SHADOW TROOPERS. Oh man, Can’t wait for Ep 8 & 9 and see where that shot came from and its context. THIS IS SUCH GREAT STUFF! The blistering intensity to Ren’s sword is just…
Well, it’s exactly like KYLO REN himself. So we know he’s the product of Han and Leia. We know she’s a stuck up Princess that has a power complex – and we know Han would like to get drunk in cantinas and go off on adventures worth having and is most definitely not a kept man. They’re both headstrong – and neither would back down from a fight – and growing up in that house had to be tough. Then you have LUKE as your master – and fucking Luke – he loved his DAD. Cuz, fuck it. He’s my Dad man! Sure he killed at least one PLANET load of people that we know about – and then all those Baby Jedi and your pal Obi Wan… BUT… in the end, though EVIL – he did the right thing. Obviously – this idiot SKYWALKER family that turned Vader into the EMPEROR SLAYER HERO IN THE END revisionism… Well, that makes you at the very fucking least SITH CURIOUS.
And that’s what KYLO REN is, he’s fucking SITH CURIOUS – and that’s awesome. I’m a little evil, and oddly HOT. Sith Babes at Conventions folks! It’s gonna be awesome! His skin glows, but you can bet he gets that from his mom! Princesses always get the best skin treatments in the galaxy. He wears the mask so people don’t get crushes on him. And in turn, it’s a great seductive technique. I mean we saw how that shit worked on REY… That bondage Mind Rape sequence where she took his psychic mind balls and crushed them over his Vader Envy! FUCKING YES!
I hold that was a particular brand of STAR WARS awesome that I’ve never seen before. Kylo Ren, I bet you want to be her teacher, but she learned JEDI JUDO during your interactions and now that perfect face MR VANITY, she fucked up your face cuz she loved your father better than you and to tell the truth, your Dad preferred her. Kylo Ren, your Dad even let Rey ride Shotgun! Poor Kylo Ren! Bet Chewie sensed something wrong about you. Never let you on his lap. But KYLO grew his hair out cuz he totally had WOOKIEE ENVY too!
I LOVE KYLO REN. Fucking love this guy! I can’t wait to see how SNOPES completes his training! Hope Rian wrote the fuck out of that stuff! I love that’s ROCK STAR and he’s on Space Ships and at a control and he hear’s disappointing news and he just TRASHES what could very well be a vital piece of equipment. I like to imagine an entire level of the ship losing oxygen as a result of it. What did that shit do? Temper Tantrums with light sabers is nothing new to the world. All you have to do is give a toddler a LIGHT SABER and watch them go! But leaving behind glowing melty metal marks is just super cool. I also love that he keeps fucking up, throughout the film. Bet that went all the way back. He was never the boy Han wanted. Perhaps coddled by his mother. Or the other way around, never smart enough for mom, I could see Han excusing everything with, “Leia, he’s just being a boy, when I was a kid you should’ve seen the trouble” I can’t wait to talk to friends endlessly about this stuff.
Ok, so we were talking about the opening sequence of the film, but I had skipped… THE OPENING CRAWL!
Wow – THE SEARCH FOR LUKE SKYWALKER – abso-fucking-lutely – let’s make this movie! I told you people this was the fucking point of this thing! And making LUKE SKYWALKER the HOLY GRAIL… A full on QUEST movie – that’s all about this stupid little thing, that probably could have somehow been securely transmitted a million different ways. And I want you monkeys reading this to put this one in your hat.
R2D2 went into LOW POWER MODE when Luke Skywalker went away. They even covered him with a drop cloth. Then one day… out of the blue he comes on and the only thing missing is this thing that MAX VON SYDOW had. Is MAX VON SYDOW Luke’s best friend WEDGE ANTILLES? Ok, that isn’t my point, but I love that the rest of the map is in R2. What if – blowing up a Giant StarKiller Base and multiple planets in the galaxy, and that this REY girl beat his brat of a fucking student… And he’s fucking LUKE SKYWALKER standing upon a cliff upon the site of the first JEDI TEMPLE – and he turns on R2D2, who comes on….
Sure – it may be easy to bitch about this shit and yell PLOT HOLE, but dude… Really, he’s LUKE SKYWALKER – he’s been spending years communing with at least Yoda, Qui Gon, Obi Wan and let’s not forget fucking ANAKIN – who really shouldn’t be there. And in this First Jedi Temple – we might discover some pretty jawdropping shit! I’m just saying. We see how powerful his Voldermort is – but Luke probably has way more of Anakin’s Holy Blood in him – and what if SNOPES has the ability to commune with ex-Sith Lords? Man, so many what ifs. We know in the past, Luke has somehow triggered R2D2 to launch a light saber, I bet Luke had a way to activate R2 – cuz it was time to meet this student.
And WHO IS REY? I love not knowing, She heard OB1 and Yoda’s voices – does that mean anything? PROBABLY, do I know what? NO, but I bet she’s gonna meet them in BLUE GHOST ACTION FIGURE Style!
OH – and how about that silhouette of the Star Destroyer blotting out those planets! Loved that.
Before the STORMTROOPER RAID – BB-8 gets the KEY TO FINDING LUKE SKYWALKER and wanders off into the desert. AND… THREEPIO knows BB-8… Poe Dameron calls the droid a special ONE OF A KIND… and I love that out in that desert, BB-8 befriends REY. This is STAR WARS – nothing is by coincidence. KASDAN is involved and JJ loves his mysteries. But what if this whole movie – Luke is controlling everything. There’s more to this. Where did she learn EVERYTHING about ships. Sure knowing what parts to get to eek a living on this Galactic Junkyard is demonstrated. But she wasn’t pampered. She counted the days. But she had to learn to dream of adventure. When she was ready, she wouldn’t be rescued, she’d fly the Millennium Fucking Falcon into the Galaxy! And who knows, maybe the rest of her life. All I know is that Girl has the Jedi Excalibur, R2D2 and Chewbacca and pilots the FALCON – and she’s now gonna learn some amazing things from Luke Skywalker.
So again. At the end of this movie – we have the two FORCE folks that we know of – each about to get training… KYLO REN from whatever SNOPES is – and REY with LUKE SKYWALKER --- and then we know there’s a dark stormy night in her future with KYLO REN backed up with scary.
And all that – that’s hardly any of the movie.
Let’s talk about Lupita Nyong’o’s MAZ. This is a new favorite character kind of thing for me. I love that she’s got the hots for CHEWBACCA, I love the centuries of pennants outside her galactic legendary drinking hole. I love that she’s older than YODA, not adept with the Force, but can tell you all about it, cuz… trust me, this lady has been around the block one or two times. I hope if we ever get a young Yoda adventure – for them to have had a thing. Then thinking about how badass Maz is for hooking up with Chewie and Yoda – over a distance of centuries! Have her eyes always been bad? I love that she has a twinkle to her eye and a sweetness to her every move. Also, I love the affection she has for Han Solo, women that run bars love this guy! And that’s exactly the kind of man that Kasdan’s version of Han Solo is! You know in the Lego Guys’ young Han Solo movie that Kasdan wrote we’ll get more Maz! I hope!
Then there’s Domhnall Gleeson’s GENERAL HUX – who I again, LOVE – you won’t see hate from me anywhere on this damn masterpiece of entertainment for me. Don’t you feel bad for HUX? Remember when Princess Leia met Tarkin and she talked about him holding Vader’s leash? It’s pretty obvious that Hux holds KYLO REN’s leash for Snopes – takes him out on walks and then has to clean up his immature shit heaps. I can feel his annoyance with Kylo – and even more so – his fear. Kylo Ren is a creature of mood swings. But when the Force Sensitive well groomed lap dog of the Supreme Leader Snoke is sitting around placing his helmet in the ashes of Vader (my take, unconfirmed) and talking to the fucking helmet – and you do a little Imperial light reading – and you read about Vader killing off career military men for the most minor of infractions… It’d keep you up at night, and Hux looks exhausted.
How about the pure happy of the film – like JOHN BOYEGA and OSCAR ISAAC?
Watch Boyega’s Storm Trooper… it’s a completely covered performance, but you can see from his body that this is not what he signed up for. We hear what he’s supposed to be, the corporate line about Storm Troopers – specially bred to be perfect in everyway – but what’s the reality of STORMTROOPERS – they’re bad shots, Ewoks can defeat them… and the first STORMTROOPER, that wasn’t in disguise, that we ever sees face – and get to know… We learn, he was taken from his family, never meeting his family, he worked in Sanitation upon STARKILLER BASE… And you can bet, he dreamed of being a Storm trooper. But like Charles Chaplin in THE GREAT DICTATOR, when faced with the slaughter of people, he’d rather run. That’s the correct thing. He’s a pacifist inside, unless it is to protect the person he loves… an emotion he’s never felt before. In Edgar Rice Burroughs’ PRINCESS OF MARS – you get the idea about John Carter that the reason he didn’t single handedly win the Civil War was because… his heart wasn’t in it. He’s only been taught fear and obedience – and with free choice, individual initiative – he can be more than anyone could imagine. Boyega is fantastic in this movie. Electrifying – when he charges into combat with KYLO REN – it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in a while. We know KYLO is crushing on this total Force Sensitive babe, and she’s into this traitorous garbage man coward of a Storm trooper… so he doesn’t force freeze him and slice him in half. Instead… he lets him fight. Too me, this whole exchange feels a bit like Bakshi’s FIRE & ICE – when Nekron’s arrogance allows a fight with Larn, a simple barbarian – and like Larn, FINN tags this Sith Douche. We’ve no idea how extensive Finn’s injuries are – looked like he ought to be paralyzed for life for taking a Saber slash down the back, but I bet these doctors could Six Million Dollar Man the hell out of Finn. Only time will tell.
Then there’s Oscar Isaac’s POE DAMERON – just wow. BB-8 is his. And he flies and fights like a bat out of hell in that X-wing of his. Wow. That ground shot where Boyega is seeing Poe kick so much ass in a beautiful flourish of maneuvers punctuated frequently with some real FIRST ORDER deaths! Give me a BLACK LEADER movie with him now! I want to just watch Poe being Poe with BB-8.
The classic actors are all great. And to the people that say this movie is nothing without the nostalgia… I want you read the 300 words I wrote that isn’t even getting into the fucking mega-awesome of Han & Leia & Chewie. This Han is bleeding fantastic. I feel it gave Harrison Ford everything he’s always wanted for the character. And it is exactly correct. If you think about the 3 characters that have now died in the third acts of the first films of trilogies in this Star Wars Saga… We’ve been fondest thus far with probably Obi Wan. Now, that’s cuz we haven’t seen the prequels to the prequels with a young Padawan Qui Gon is being trained by Jedi Master Dooku, who was trained by Yoda – and if that trilogy goes well, maybe I’ll feel more ache for Qui Gon. But this one. I’ve known it was coming for a very long time and yet the entire time I’m watching this movie, I can’t help but not want this to fucking happen. Really, EMO SITH SON OF A SOLO? BUT – I love it. LOVE IT. For Leia. That woman finally sent him to his death. But maybe that’s what she needs to “HELL HATH NO FURY…” the fuck out on her son!
The vintage performance that killed me was Carrie Fisher. I love this woman. Her book, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE helped me understand my alcoholic mother and hate what booze did to her, but not her. And that there was hope. I try to catch everything that the original Star Wars actors have done – and without that inspiration I wouldn’t have had UNDER THE RAINBOW in my life so early – and god that movie rules! I love how Leia handles Finn. The heart felt thanks and acknowledgement of his bravery to just break loose of the indoctrination process and propaganda of the FIRST ORDER. Because it is absolutely heroic to recognize the evil that has raised you into one way of thinking to become a faceless, nameless THX-1138 serial number toting goose stepper. Then, LEIA turns into Tell Me Everything You Know mode – and I just had to clap.
As for the whole MAP TO LUKE SKYWALKER thing… this is what happens when you split up twins at birth, the make out as grownups – and now they’re fucking playing HIDE & GO SEEK cuz Leia raised a fucking PROBLEM CHILD with Han – and Luke had it up to here!
How was the score? SUPER GREAT! I’ve been sleeping to it and writing to it. Rey’s Theme gives me goose bumps. If ever there was a nominee for eternal life, it’s John Williams.
I’ve been waiting for this moment in life specifically since the end of JEDI. What’s next. I also genuinely wanted the prequels – and I’ve always loved them, because I’ve always been curious what GEORGE LUCAS thought was important about those films. And while emotionally it doesn’t serve my nostalgia about the way it was, I love they kept STAR WARS alive, I love the adventures of OBI WAN KENOBI, cuz I don’t believe George quite has evil as down as most. He’s a Wookiee. JJ Abrams worships Snake Plissken & Reggie Bannister & Han Solo – he loves Dick Smith movies and that led him to discover all sorts of awesome, that wasn’t necessarily George’s thing. BUT GOSH DARN I love that kind of kid playing in this sandbox.
I’ve been wanting the Children of the Force to grow up and make STAR WARS movies and we’re in that age now. Fire off the fireworks and sing the original Ewok Song folks, they’re just getting started… I get the idea we haven’t seen anything yet. So fucking exciting!