Sunday, January 3, 2016
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (live action movie) - at the movie theater
First, some background. I enjoyed the original movies but haven't seen them in a long time. The prequel or two that I saw looked nice and shiny but, for several reasons, didn't work for me, and I never did go see the most recent prequel. As far as the comics, books, and other entries in the franchise go, I haven't tried any of it.
All right, moving on to The Force Awakens. I was looking forward to it, not so much because of residual nostalgic feelings about the franchise but because of the fandom reaction to it, specifically people's fan art. There are folks out there who have done some absolutely wonderful fan art for this movie. I love how much people love the Rey, Finn, and Poe trio, and I love how much they love BB-8, the movie's new robot (who is adorable, although I still don't understand how its head is attached to its body).
Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where I feel that the fandom reaction is more amazing and wonderful than the work that inspired it. The Force Awakens was too weighed down by nostalgia to give its new characters enough room to breathe. Poe felt like a minor character who was inexplicably given more than the usual amount of screen-time. Rey felt like a minor character who snagged herself a main character storyline. Finn was the most memorable of the three, despite literally being a normally minor character who ended up becoming a main character (you can't get much more minor than “random stormtrooper”).
Too much time was spent on characters from the original trilogy – not so much them as individuals (Leia was only a slight step up from a cameo, and Luke was little more than a teaser for the next movie), but them as a whole. Add in all the references, of which I'm sure I only caught a tiny fraction, and it was just too much. A nod to the past is fine, but this movie was giving its past an enormous bear hug.
Then there were the villains. I really disliked older prequel Anakin, and Kylo Ren reminded me a little too much of him, although he maybe had an extra helping of emo man-child. (I've honestly blocked out as much of older prequel Anakin as possible, so I could be wrong. Maybe they have the exact same amount of emo man-child.)
All in all, this was okay, but not the awesomeness I was expecting based on the fandom reaction to it. On the plus side, I can now wallow in whatever fandom goodness I come across without worrying that I'll stumble across spoilers.