Friday, December 18, 2015

Wookie Wookie Why Wookie Whiney Woe

I don't know if anybody else is coming out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens thinking that their favorite scene is the one with the screaming ginger in the funny hat but then, I have particular tastes - give me Domhnall Gleeson or give me death! That moment with Domhnall taps into everything right about JJ Abrams' new hope for world-domination, franchise-speaking - it's clearly borne out of the original world that George Lucas created and it clearly echoes things from those films (give me Peter Cushing or give me death, ya know), but it is its own thing too. Episode VII works best when it manages to tease and twist itself into newfangled knots of goofy goodtimery, and there are plenty of those moments. Plenty! 

So why is it that the moments that don't work, that feel lazy and redundant of what's come before, are shredding my lightsaber boner so bad? I'm working overtime to avoid spoilers here but I don't think this counts since it's on the damn poster, but still, avert your eyes if you must -- I can't entirely explain why I hate Deathstar 2.0 so much but good god did I groan over that sucker. It started out okay enough - the scene where they project the hologram of the original Deathstar and are like, "But dude, this one's like twice the sack that shriveled thing was" is funny! But then everything having to do with it after that plays out less like a rollicking good cover version and more like a Wookie singing "My Heart Will Go On" - My ears! My eyes! Just be your own Wookie, for god's sake.

But the things that work work very well - Daisy Ridley (especially - love her!) and John Boyega are immensely appealing, and I'm already mentally prepared for two more movies worth of time spent with them. (It was also a kick-ass and heartening moment hearing a room full of mostly boy nerds screaming and cheering the sight of gasp a girl holding a lightsaber.) Oscar Isaac is fun too, although he's in it less than I thought he would be, and he ends up saddled with my last paragraph's chagrin. 

And Adam Driver brings some of the snivel of Hayden Christensen but slashes it up with genuine menace and one gloriously lustrous mane of hair. (I can only hope he carries over whatever magical product the Star Wars people gave him on the new season of Girls, where he's always naked, but now he'll be naked with that hair, that beautiful hair.) And seeing our original trio (Chewie makes foursome!) on-screen was every ounce as warm and wonderful as we thought it would be from the glimpses the trailers gave. 

The film also looks fantastic - Abrams took his forearm to George Lucas' toy cabinet and pushed half the junk to the floor, simplifying the visuals to stark and iconic scenes of pure Jedi wonder. (The lightsaber duel in the forest is probably my favorite, with the colored lights flashing in the snowflakes like a scene from that Star Wars Christmas Special - if only the ghost of Bea Arthur could've made an appearance!) All said there is a lot of good, just squeezed into a bit of a claustrophobic container. The walls of the garbage chute, you can feel 'em pressing in. Let's hope the next one really learns to fly on its own.
A photo posted by Jason Adams (@jasonaadams) on


jack said...

La, la, la
not reading...not reading...covering my eyes...
YOU really should start all Star Wars related posts
with SPOILER ALERT! at the front.

Jason Adams said...

Aww I didn't really say anything spoilery. It's not like I gave away the fact that Chewbacca is Yoda's father, DUN DUN DUN!

Adam said...

Death Star 2.0 was in Return of the Jedi. This is Super Sized Death Star 3.0. (Seriously, what a turd this movie is.)

jack said...

i got as far as "screaming ginger" (which i am looking forward too)
before i realized what i was doing.

more my fault than yours.

Anonymous said...

I agree! Without giving away any spoilers, this movie, as entertaining as it is, feels as it's relying too much on its predecessors, which I was expecting since this is a continuation, but in its attempt to make an homage it ended up mimicking the originals form and content -JJ did something similar with Star Trek. Create something new, JJ, don't just make it look cooler!!
The first half of the movie feels mostly its own creation; the newcomers ares specially good -Oh, Daisy Ridley is particularly good,- and I would watch a BB 8 spinoff in a heartbeat; the second half, with some exceptions, feels predictable and repetitive within the scope of the Saga.

The Bad-Ass Penguin said...

Totes agree with everything you said...and still I saw it three times opening weekend. The first step is admitting you have a problem! It was worth it, even only for the angry screaming ginger.