Monday, December 21, 2015

We'll see each other again. I believe that.

I would have gushed over Titanic. Like a schoolgirl. Probably spread my arms wide and sailed around my dorm room.

Hell, Avatar, too. In fact, I told my wife as we were leaving the theater that day, something to the effect of, that movie just changed everything (to be fair, I was kinda on to something, as 3D was officially back). I probably would have changed the title of this blog to Two Na'Vi Cinema. Yikes.

But the number one movie that I would I have lost my shit/credibility over, had I had a blog after opening weekend? It would have been The Phantom Menace. Easily. I wasn't even the hugest Star Wars fan at the time, but I saw that bastard four times theatrically.

And loved every minute of it. Even the Jar Jar ones.

I only mention these films because as the years have gone by I've fully turned my back on some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. After wholeheartedly loving them, no less. But after walking out of the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and having seen it again less than 48 hours later), I want to nail this one down with as much permanence as the internet allows:

I loved this movie.

Not to the point where I'm calling it the best film ever, not even close, but I'm willing to say it just might be my favorite of the Star Wars films. J.J. Abrams has taken what could possibly be the riskiest directing project ever and for my money, knocked it out of the park.

Not that you need to know, but just in case, here goes: Luke Skywalker has disappeared, and with his absence, any real hope of a rebellion has too. A map to Luke is discovered, and before it can end up in the hands of the murderous First Order, it's placed in a droid for safe-keeping. This droid, the currently ubiquitous BB-8, ends up in the care of Rey (the flawlessly cast Daisy Ridley), a lonely scavenger living desperately and (perhaps?) foolishly awaiting the return of her family. Rey quickly realizes this droid is impossibly important (um, and adorable), and with the help of a nervous ex-Stormtrooper named Finn, makes it her mission to return the map to the good guys, aka the Resistance.

Simple enough, right?

Thank Yoda, it is, as Abrams' and Lawrence Kasdan's script is just about perfect for reintroducing that old far, far away galaxy to a new generation to geek-out on. Breezy, action-packed, and at times, hilarious, these guys use the Force to have fun and kick ass rather then having Japanese turtle puppets yammer on about trade embargoes and high midi-chlorian counts. Chewbacca combing the hair on his ass for two-twenty likely would have been more entertaining than the first two prequels, combined. That said, I cannot applaud the tone and pace of The Force Awakens enough.

Spoiler Alert: Kylo Ren is the best Star Wars villain. Ever. 
And as much as it may pain you die-hards out there, or assholes in general, the similarities that episode VII has to A New Hope make it even better. Remember, as much as this movie is something we've all been waiting for, it's also the first Star Wars film millions of kids are going to see in the theater. This is their New Hope. And the familiarity totally works in the films' favor.

Oh, and on top of all the fantastic new characters, we get another two hours with Han Solo, so is there really anything to complain about? No, the answer is.

Certainly not the droids you're looking for, here are the Yays and Boos for The Force Awakens. The first time we saw it, well, they were certainly pretty busy. But the second time? I left them in the car (which was incredibly liberating, let me tell you). Spoilers to follow, yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  • I'm not a 100% sure if it's the first line of the film (but I think it was), but it doesn't get much better than This will begin to make things right. Brilliant.
  • The score. Loved it. In fact, my son asked if we could buy it. He's six. And he wants to buy a score. (though if he keeps this up, that's one thing he'll probably never do, huh? [score])
  • There will be blood. Honestly, I thought that was so rad as everything about that scene was fantastic.
  • Even though Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron is kind of...underused, whatever screen time he had was a lot of fun. The whole who talks first? bit had me rolling. Oh, and bonus points for Isaac rocking the shit out of yet another badass jacket.
  • Speaking of not doing anything but looking fabulous um, not doing anything, put your hands together for Captain Phasma. Apparently she's Abrams favorite character. Maybe one day we'll find out why. 
  • I used to think Wall-E was the most adorable little robot in the history of cinema. Then I met BB-8. (I almost died when he gave Finn the thumbs up)
  • I've gone on far too long to not mention the badassery that is Daisy Ridley's Rey. Has there ever been a cooler chick than her? Not only is the character impossibly likable (she's soooo enthusiastic), but Ridley seems born for the role. I'm sure her parents are real proud of her, assuming they ever come back to from outer space.
  • The garbage'll do. 
  • As a parent, and an educator, it's increasingly rare that I see a temper tantrum that makes me want to stand up and cheer. But when Kylo Ren gets bad news? I'll start the slow clap now.
  • Dude. The Raid crew shows up. In a Star Wars movie. Can someone die of too much awesome?
  • Which leads me to my next point: A Stormtrooper. With a flamethrower. Has someone been reading my dream journal again?
  • You have to respect an opening night crowd. These people clapped when Han Solo showed up. Yeah, that's kind of silly. But it's fantastic, too.
  • Too bad. Chewie kind of likes you. Oh, Uncle Han.
  • Speaking of, Han totally no looked a guy. Though, I guess when everybody's aim is so shitty, it's probably the best way to blast a dude...
  • Escape now. Hug later.
  • Man, did I love the ending. Is it cool if I take a nap now? For two years.
  • John Boyega. I didn't know that he was the dude in Attack the Block [review] until just recently, but somehow, this dude's become even cooler. His Finn may be a little too silly at times, but holy shit did I enjoy all the things poor Finn goes through in this one. And when he takes on Kylo Ren in the forest? Just...yes.
  • Adam Driver. Never have I felt such love for a character that I hate. Whoever the Hell this Driver guy is, he was f--king perfect as Ren. I could listen to that voice for the rest of my life. 
  • And finally, even though I want to end the cheering with a double thumbs-up for Abrams (and Kasdan), I'm instead going to tip my cap to Harrison Ford. Years back, I was shocked that he would even agree to do something like Star Wars 7, but to see him back on the big screen as Han Solo was pure movie magic. Ford often comes off as a guy who f--king hates being a movie star, but it really seemed like he enjoyed every single minute playing that loveable a-hole one more time. I can't wait to see him again in Episode VIII! Please? 
Phew. Good thing Finn was there to help her out.
  • Look, I just have to say it. Holy shit do the first two movies suck. Like, they had Portman, Neeson, McGregor, Christoper Lee and Samuel L. Jackson...and they're painfully not good. 
  • Thanks, Mr. Ren. How about, next time, we wait seven minutes before we execute a group of huddled innocents? You know, for the kids.
  • Sliding down a giant sand dune. This isn't exactly a Boo, per se, but making me, at 36, desperately want to do that, is.
  • Oh, and now my house sucks, too. Thanks for that. I'm pretty sure when I call my realtor, there aren't going to be too many listing for toppled over AT-ATs, but that's the only thing I'm looking for now. Jerks.
  • Poor Finn. Even if I was that thirsty...I'm still not drinking out of that f--king dish. Nope.
  • One-quarter portion? What the shit, man?
  • Hey, I'm only from this galaxy, but even I'm smart enough to know that maybe we shouldn't roll into the club with the droid that everybody in the f--king world is looking for. Just saying.
  • Supreme Leader Guy. I love Serkis, I do, but that character was kind of lame. If you have a kid who plays Skylanders....well, that's a Boo, too...but also? This dude looks like Kaos, the stupid final boss of all those damn money-grabbing video games. (one of which is currently under my tree...grrrr)
  • One benefit of going back and watching the original trilogy? Carrie Fisher is hot as Hell. For real. But seeing her now? I don't want to be a dick, but...she looked weird. 
  • That final ten minutes that it takes for the big thing to do the bad thing? That was the longest ten minutes ever
  • And finally, that one thing that happened. Yes, that was ballsy, and actually just about the perfect example of staying true to the dark side. But I'm not going to pretend I'm happy about it. Not for fourteen parsecs. Not even for twelve, dammit.
There's a chance that years from now, I'll read this post and shudder at how stupid I was to fangirl all over myself regarding The Force Awakens. There's a chance that after seeing it again, the spectacle will have faded and the film's flaws will reveal themselves in soul-crushing fashion, leaving me to feel stupid and - wait. 

I already saw this movie again. With my son.

So..there's no way I'm not looking back fondly on it. 


  1. OMG, your son wants to buy a SCORE! That's awesome.

    And on that're pretty much dead on here. I haven't had a moment to compile my Star Wars related post, but DAYAM you hit a lot of nails on heads here.

    BUT, Vader is still #1 as far as baddies are concerned, my friend. LOL, I was at Walmart the other day and they had a Star Wars chess set and Kylo Ren was the King and Vader the Queen and something about that rubbed me wrong.

    That being said, Kylo Ren is clearly the bigger dick...although I doubt he has the bigger dick.

    1. Hahaha. I knew you would appreciate that.

      Hitting nails is what I do. No, actually it's what I wish I did. Anyway...

      Look, Darth is cool. Very cool. But under that mask? He's Anakin.


      And that's either Jake Lloyd or Date Rape Christiansen....thereby disqualifying him from anything awesome. Bigger dick notwithstanding, of course.

    2. BAH HA HA HA...Date Rape I have to Google this mess.

      Also, just imagine he's James Earl Jones (who, granted, was never actually behind the mask...but that doesn't matter) and all will feel right.

      I mean, Kylo Ren is...Adam Driver, and doesn't everyone hate him too?

  2. I love that you saw this with your son. It must have been so awesome! I saw almost entire original trilogy during the weekend as my Leia hating tweets made so evident so I'm hoping to catch this one next week.

    Why aren't there any evil chicks in this whole thing, though? It's kinda sexist that women don't get to play with the dark side

    1. Phasma is female, and she's basically the Storm Trooper Captain. She doesn't have a lot to do in this film, but I'm hoping she'll have a larger part in the next episode.

    2. Star Wars Rebels (yay for watching shows with my son) has evil chicks. They're pretty BA for cartoons.

      M - I love this review. The title is giving me so many feels. I love that you took your son, I can't wait until mine's a bit older so he can watch this with me.

    3. Sati - I loved your review. I owe you a proper comment, but it was very cool. so glad you dug this one like the rest of us.

      Fisti - Phasma better get some more screen-time somewhere down the road. She's like the hottest stripper in the club that never takes the stage. What the Hell is this? TAKE MY MONEY and SHOW ME SOMETHING. Uh, I guess. Carry on.

      Brittani- My boy loved it. Like, when are we going again, Dad? style. Even better? He's all in on the toys. So...naturally...I have to buy them. For him. Yes.

    4. Yes a whole bunch of people owes me proper comments, it would seem from my comment numbers lately :P

  3. I'm glad you liked this!! And I'm impressed that you liked the prequel with the inclusion of Jar Jar Binks! Lol!!

    Totally impressed that your six-year-old wants the soundtrack...he has great taste!! I highlighted John Williams in my post, because his score (and his resume) kicks ass!!

    1. I liked the prequel THEN. A lot. Now, they're insufferable. Like, I don't think Natalie Portman even puts those movies on the resume. Same for Neeson and McGregor. Ouch.

      Ha. I don't know if he'll ever really listen to it, but I'm totally going to get it for him. I've never owned a I'd be psyched if he got into one. And JWilliams work here is soooo good. The guy is the gold standard. It's not even close.

  4. The same thing happened to me with Avatar, and I haven't had the urge to watch it once since it left theaters.

    I loved The Force Awakens as well, and I have good feelings about its future value. For one thing, it's better paced and isn't nearly as long as something like Avatar.

    1. I totally agree. The runtime is going to be clutch moving forward, as Avatar is just too damn long...not to mention pretty f--king dumb, looking back.

      TFA should hold up...right?