Spoiler alert- The following is my reflection on the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie. I got to see it downtown with just a 42% sold seating so good seats no line ups! I want to start out with my background. As annoying as I think it is to start out with a background (I think its condescending at times- i.e. Reddit- “As a registered broo haha”…and yet I’m sure I do this too), I think its helpful to understand where I am coming from in this reflection. I think its important because it’s a huge reason why I loved the new Star Trek reboot movies from JJ Abrams, as a non-Trekkie. I love Star Wars. Not as much as I used to love Star Wars. When I was a kid, I walked around with a backpack with 6-7 issues of Star Wars Insider (long since discontinued) magazine, lots of 5-6 inch action figures and at least 2-3 Action Fleet ships…and some Micro Machines. I was obsessed with Star Wars. Primarily I was obsessed with the wars part, the machines, the vehicles, the combat. My first star wars toy was the TIE Bomber Action Fleet vehicle that I got in Los Angeles for a hefty sum that I’m sure is closer to 30 dollars CDN in today’s money. I remember walking back and forth to the drug store, staring at this incredible piece of Imperial force technology and being mindblown about all the little details on it. The sensing scope. The concussion missile bay. The sliding cockpit hatch that differed from the popping hatch in the TIE Fighter/Interceptor/Advanced TIE Fighter/Vader’s TIE Fighter. When I finally convinced my mother to get me it, I was elated. I hid it under the couch because I knew my father would go nuts if he knew I got mom to spend that kind of money. I shot the missile secretly and watched it skid across the floor, pretending it was bombing the asteroid belt where the Milelnium Falcon was hiding in a giant space worm. Knowing how special this ship was, that being its only scene in the entire movie series. That it as created by being inspired from two hot dog buns side by side. And then buying 90% of all the Action Fleet vehicle line up because it was that freaking awesome. That’s what it was like for me in Grade 7 after being exposed to Star Wars in the novel format in Grade 5. I remember in Grade 5 first reading it past my bed time. Holding it up to the street light in my basement room window, and being absolutely amazed by the turn of events. Being super blessed with these used novels from the old book store by my elementary school. Just losing myself in these books and escaping the harsh reality of Grade 5. Oh and then sprawling on the ground with my plasticine and making entire fleets of ships based off their verbal descriptions in the books (mostly some Y-wings).
That ship above by the ticket? That’sthe Rebel’s B-Wing starfighter. Its a single seat starfighter (expanded to two seats for Admiral Ackbar in the expanded universe that Disney killed off) that was designed solely to bloody up the nose of capital starships. In a sense, its among my favorite of favorites- it sits amongst ankylosaurus (that I brought to Jurassic World), the Hulk, the A-10 thunderbolt, and the P-38J Lightning. Brute force and power. The B-Wing had a heavy armament designed to shoot well past the typical weapons systems of a starfighter and it just straight up beat the shi* out of everything. It was a difficult machine to drive and costly to produce. It required a lot more skill than a typical X-wing/Y-wing pilot would have. It sat amongst the elite starshps that were specialized to do more than a vulnerable X-wing. It was a beast and it was ugly as shi*.\
Why am I blabbering about this? BECAUSE THERE WERE NO STARSHIP BATTLES. Just little bits and pieces here and there. You finally got to see an elite Rebel pilot in an X-Wing but that was it really. I was really hoping for more. Even the final battle scene at the Star Killer base was pretty meh- been there done that sort of thing. Make it huge, bigger than before! Shoot an impossible missile shot to destroy a tiny target. Tiring stuff. There just was no OMFG ITS HAPPENING moment, like when the fighters lock their s-foils into attack position like in Return of the Jedi above.
I much preferred the battle scenes with the stormtroopers- they finally showed real tactics and being elite ground troops. They weren’t just canon fodder. I quite liked that. Like in the above picture by Richard Lim, the movie showed Stormtroopers suffering. It showed them having anger and rage at being betrayed. One of the best scenes was when the stormtrooper duked it out with Finn in blade to blade combat. Just really solid. I just wish they did more of that with the starfighter battles. And more than that, I wish we got to see much more different vehicles. It was a really big patronage to the X-wing and the TIE Fighter. Classic, I guess, but nothing that I really appreciated as much. I was really hoping to see the B-Wing mess things up here, but that didn’t happen. However, I did do some post movie reading and I realize why they weren’t there. The new republic demilitarized after defeating the majority of the remnant Imperial fleet and so there was no need for an elite fighter like the B-Wing. The core fleet would only need to consist of a well rounded fighter- the X-Wing. Disappointing for sure, but it makes sense. It also makes sense why we don’t see big capital ship fights in TFA. No Star Cruisers, no Rebel Blockade Runners.
I HATED KYLO REN. I just hated the whole teen with angst approach. Him taking off his mask just killed it for me. I hate to be the dick that laughs in the theater but I definitely was the dick that laughed in the theater. He just looked the very opposite of intimidating. THE VERY OPPOSITE. And in retrospect I think that’s what JJ Abrams was trying to do here- to build a new empire of Star Wars. If they had created a super villian right at the beginning, it wouldn’t be necessary to have a range of new films. The point of the movie was to show how it all started and to build a foundation for years to come. Which is why I thought it was a bit of a waste to destroy the Star Killer right away I thought it would have been nice to keep this around to keep instilling fear and dread, like a Lord Voldemort of sorts throughout the series. I guess that’s what Kylo Ren was supposed to be but I can’t see him as intimidating at all.
I want to show a prototype image of Darth Maul from Episode 1. HE LOOKS CRAZY. Like crazy eat your family crazy. This is the very opposite of what Kylo Ren looks like. Kylo Ren looks like a teenager struggling between Speed Stick Active Fresh and Old Spice Lumberjack Cool deodorant. Really really unintimidating. Like struggling with BO and not the weight of the dark side of the force intimidating. UGH. I get why hes like that now, because he needs to be developed but really really meh overall for me.
Oh and also I didn’t think the spoilers I saw about Han Solo being the dad and dying were true because that seemed far fetched to me. Totally wrong. Totally wrong. And yet I don’t think I cared that much. I didn’t get the sense that this was the terrible atrocity committed by Kylo to show how bad he had become. Instead I saw it like when they kill a character off because they have to kill a character off. It seriously was not that big of a loss to me. It was much much much more of a loss when Chewbacca died after the Yuzhan Vong sent a moon to crush him in the expanded universe that never happened according to Disney. Meh.
Other than that I think it was exciting to watch. Just not really a classic like I thought the originals were. And maybe that’s because of age. Its just that much more immersive and fantastic when you are younger and unsullied by age. Reading about the amazing star battles under the dim streetlights past my bedtime is a totally different time from when I watched it now. I hate being that person that says the original trilogy was better, but I guess that’s what it is for me. It just happens to be that way because I watched the originals when I was younger and had that special magic for me at the time. However, I am absolutely happy they have brought it back, and did a much better job than Episodes 1-3 ever did. I’m excited to see what’s next. I’m guessing that Star Wars Rogue One will be more my taste. I hope I will fall in love with the new vehicles as I did with the original triology (I can’t get over the new Star Destroyer design- I was so happy to see the older model in the desert, even though it was dead. I’m so used to the Victory and Imperial class Star Destroyers).