The Force Awakens really was more or less like a Happy Days reunion. With all the right, nostalgic touches to make you feel right at home in a galaxy far, far away. (See my other, previous post about reboots). But not much more. Yeah, it was entertaining. It was fun to watch all those fancy little, repetitive touches. But, like a wise Marsh named Randy said, it wasn’t good. Until he was thrown up on with ‘Member berries by Caitlyn Jenner.
Sound confusing? ‘Member berries are those nostalgic little talking fruits that take us back to the days of way back, reminding us of Ghostbusters, Chewbacca, and Jurassic Park. Basically all the shit we need to see rehashed a thousand times. With little creative tweaking. Just a Falcon here, a Death Star here, and everything else that made the same movie great thirty or forty years ago.
For starters I enjoyed The Force Awakens. Really. I was entertained thoroughly. But only for reasons all too obvious. Like everything else it was exciting to see old characters return to screen. My heart jumped at the first sight of Han and Chewy, wondering how my Mom who was sitting next to me in the theater felt, since she had gone to see the original back in ’77.
I know every reason why I enjoyed The Force Awakens. Which is why it was more like a Happy Days reunion, rather than a new and fresh take on sci-fi’s most lovable franchise. When you stop and think honestly, a lot of things match up to the original. First off: the plot.
You’ve got the evil empire who we thought was destroyed attacking a rebel base in search of hidden plans (Wooooooooo!) They basically recycled all those helmets the ewoks were banging on in Return of the Jedi and polished them up with a few alterations. But not too many to make you forget that famous scene in A New Hope.
Anyway, getting back to the plot. You’ve got a droid who escapes an imperial invasion with information vital to the rebellion, which just reset itself thirty years later. The droid ends up on a desert planet, of all places, in the hands of a teenager who escapes the desert planet with a runaway stormtrooper (new addition) on the Millennium Falcon. Sound familiar? Well the two young protagonists meet up with a wise, elderly character who teaches them about the Force and convinces them to accompany him on his mission to
Alderaan the forest planet of Endor Takodana. Sorry, ya’ll. The deciduous trees had me all fucked up. That J.J. Abrams is slick with all these little insertions.
And who do we have as the villain: another evil, galactic empire, led by a bratty sonuvabitch (hold up-can’t talk about Leia that way) in a black helmet and cape. Good thing they threw in the lightsaber cross guard or I would have been totally confused. They have another Death Star. A bigger one, by scale. And they have to blow it up the same way as before.
Once they get to
Endor Dagobah Takodana, our heroes meet up in a cantina with a dwarfish alien creature who tells them more about the ways of the force. Later, Princess Rey is captured and taken to an imperial base on the planet of Hoth Starkiller Base. In the process of rescuing her, the wise elderly character is killed (sparing Harrison Ford the hassle of having to grind out any more of these films), an epic lightsaber battle ensues, and the bigger Death Star 3.0 is destroyed.
Sounds like the ‘Member berries decided to organize a high school reunion. I really did enjoy The Force Awakens. But for all the reasons listed above. It was good for what it wanted to accomplish: a trip down memory lane. But other than that, not much in the way of innovation. You can’t really blame them. J.J. wanted the fans, who were thoroughly disappointed in the shit show of episodes I, II, and III. So, what did they go for: exactly what we wanted. A Happy Days reunion.