I had to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens just because. This wasn’t just a movie. It was a life event. I did not grow up enamored by Star Wars – I don’t think I’ve actually seen the original one from start to finish. It’s more of a cultural thing for me – I know the key players, and the whole “Luke, I am your father” thing. Just to participate in water cooler chat, I had to see this movie. And I did see it – I paid matinee price of $4.75 for regular digital cinema. I did not pre-buy. Instead my husband and I walked up fifteen minutes before show time on the opening Friday, and purchased seats. Theater ended up full enough but not packed. Folks stayed hushed, and I was entertained. Has my life changed? No. Will I need to see this again and again? No – once is enough. Could I participate in work conversation on that Monday? Yes, and I brought a different perspective for the young men who had such high expectations.
I understood the plot line without knowing the previous six movies. I enjoyed Harrison Ford as Han Solo – he seemed amused himself, like a kid who could lighten up and ultimately collect a large paycheck. General Leia (Carrie Fisher) has lived her nine lives and more. Our new heroine, Rey, played by Daisy Ridley is excellent. She has energy and chutzpah. Stormtrooper, hero Finn (John Boyega) is interesting as a conflicted warrior. Chewbacca growls. The new droid, BB-8, is very cute and a star. I won’t go into the story – it’s the old good vs. evil interplanetary style.
One problem, according to my guys at work – Adam Driver as Kylo Ren is a weenie. He’s in all black with a helmet and the breathing voice thing, but he’s NO Darth Vadar. Yes, there’s a light saber fight that’s shocking, but then what?
Ultimately, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not overpoweringly new film making. J.J. Abrams, the director, stayed true to the franchise and delivered a solid meal, but not a flight of fancy. It has potential with Rey and Finn, and maybe it can fly in some new directions. But for now, after all these years, it awoke, yawned, and stretched but did not soar.
P.S. I realize I am not the target audience. The box office $$$$$$$$$$ are making Disney very, very happy.