A few days ago, a nice young man came into the unnamed office where I work, wearing a Rogue One T-shirt. At my boss’s request, I went over to make light small talk, while nervously avoiding eye-contact with his shirt, because I . . . have never seen Star Wars. I twisted the conversation to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, a bit of Game of Thrones (the few parts I’ve seen of it). I almost managed to avoid exposing myself as a fraudulent film geek, before he asked:
“Oh hey. What’s your favorite Star Wars movie?”
Not, have you seen the new Star Wars trailer? Not, have you seen the latest movie? Not, have you seen Star Wars? Just, which one is your favorite?
I know enough Star Wars trivia to get by. “Luke, I am your father,” the “I love you” and the “I know.” I know that Princess Leia and Luke are related and they kiss once and understandably never speak of it. I also am fairly certain that Yoda is my favorite character, but I guess I can’t prove that just yet.
So here is my completely delayed review, for a franchise that has already established itself as a beloved classic through multiple generations.
That weekend, my roommate and I sat down for an epic three day marathon. Which didn’t pan out, but I have now seen two Star Wars movies: A New Hope and The Force Awakens. If you’re thinking, ‘That’s a weird order, why’d you choose those two?’ well my roommate rents all the movies so . . .
A New Hope (1977)
(Obligatory warning: spoilers up ahead.)
All of my trivia is rendered useless in this one. No professions of love. No galaxy-shattering “Luke, I am your father!” No Yoda?? He’s the only character I was looking forward to seeing, and he’s not in the first one?
At least I didn’t say any of that to the Rogue One guy. I don’t know how I would’ve fumbled through that conversation.
In all seriousness, I enjoyed the movie. It starts off slow, especially since the whole R2D2/C3PO desert adventure eats up a good chunk of time before we get to Luke. I still enjoyed C3PO’s sass, and the movie picks up once we meet Princess Leia.
By the way, Leia is an unappreciated badass if there ever was one. Her whole planet gets blown up, and the girl doesn’t get a moment to grieve. She even comforts Luke after Obi-wan dies.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone.” Her whole planet is gone, Luke!
It’s a shame because I definitely feel like I missed that impressionable era in childhood when most people get into Star Wars. I lived in a Harry Potter household, sorry.
Anyway, I’m glad I finally got to see the pop-culture classic everyone’s been talking about. Even if I’m thirty years late to the party.
The Force Awakens (2015)
Sooo . . . I’m just gonna say it, I liked Force Awakens more than the original.
Before we start an internet fight, let me just remind everyone that I am a newbie to the Star Wars fandom. I don’t have the same life-long-love influencing my opinions. Also, I’m definitely not arguing that Force Awakens is a better film, I’m just saying that I personally found it more entertaining.
First of all, the action sequences are ten times better in this movie. 1970s CGI just can’t compete. The chase scene with the millennial falcon was one of my favorites. There were some really dynamic shots in that sequence, coupled with the pressure of Rey and Finn having no clue what they’re doing, which really raised the stakes for me.
From the beginning, I was attached to Finn and Rey as characters. It’s just nice to see a woman kicking ass in a Star Wars movie. (Listen, Leia was great in New Hope, but she’s only in parts of the film.) Finn has great chemistry with everyone, and his personality really shines through in these little moments of humor.
In defense of my controversial opinions, I’ll say that I’ve read a couple other Star Wars reviews, and they all barely mention Luke, focusing instead on literally anyone else. Obi-wan, the wise, badass mentor. Leia, sassy, intelligent, a queen among women. And Han Solo, literally the coolest guy ever. Luke, in contrast, is a pretty bland protagonist. In Force Awakens, Finn and Rey just feel more compelling. And on a real simple level, they’re just funnier characters.
That’s my defense, simple as it is. Unbound by the nostalgia factor, I naturally gravitated to the modern sequel. If it makes anyone feel better, I too was completely heartbroken when Han died. I’d only been with the guy for two movies and I was floored, people.