Sunday, January 3, 2016

Star Wars: The Malarkey Awakens

It was a Star Wars film, even a good Star Wars film. Fun, entertaining, but perhaps a half-hour too long. And all about a map to the last living Jedi? Gimme a break!

For the longest time I’d forgotten about Star Wars except for a stray thought or two. I certainly registered the sale of the franchise to Disney and recalled, at the time, that Big D already’d gobbled up Pixar. Then sometime last year I learned – just when I do not know – that another film was about to drop. And then, at last, it was upon us.

The initial reviews surfaced. Seemed to be a good film, a not-awful sequel in a franchise that had a reputation for cranking out some real stinkers. Perhaps so. I’ve seen them all in original theatrical release. One or two on TV. But harbor no original and dearly held opinions on relative quality. I liked the Ewoks; I didn’t find Jar-Jar Binks deeply offensive; and I have vague memories of Yoda hacking away on a lava flow. And some bad guy with cool face paint.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan. Not an opponent either. Mostly an observer with a quasi-professional interest in such matters. And as a kid I saw the film, Forbidden Planet, where Lucas got that crawling script bit from at the beginning.

So, the force has awakened. It seems the next inheritor of The Force is a young woman. Good. And she’s attracted to a black man who defected from the Bad Guys in his first battle. Good.

Do I go see it? That’s the question, do I spend whatever it costs to see what I expect will be a good entertainment, no more, though now I’m reading reviews that say not so good, nothing new. Nothing New! Of course not. Lucas gives a interview to Charlie Rose in which he talks about how he didn’t want to do a retro film, wanted to do new things, new planets, new tech, but, he’s sold it and it’s now in the hands of the “white slavers.” No sooner did that one hit the net than a tempest apparently broke out in executive office suites and he had to walk it back in a press release.

And the thing sold tickets like they’re going out of style. Seems it’s pushing Avatar for some record. First time I heard that name in awhile. You remember, tall slender blue people, flying chunks of exotic jungle land? Do I add my 2 cents to the pot?

The thing is Star Wars: The Force Awakens is what someone once called an event movie. You go see it, not necessarily out of any expectation of pleasure or even enlightenment, but because it’s there. Do I see it because it’s there or, on the contrary, do I resist seeing it for that very reason?

On a more mundane level, can’t I save a few bucks and see it without the 3D glasses?

Well, yesterday I decided to see the film, 3D glasses and all. Nice to see Han Solo, grizzled old man, sad to see him go – gutted by his son with the light saber. Though why the kid keeps Darth Vader’s old mask around sure beats me; makes as much sense as that map business. Nice to see Princess Leia has a bit of gravitas as a general. Chewbaca’s still packin’ the same ammo belt. BB-8, cute little bot.

Do you think Luke will teach Rey the Drunken Monkey style?


  1. I liked the original. I thought this edition was the first since the original that had as much feeling.

  2. Disney now owns everyone's childhood. (Except for public domain, like Santa and the Easter Bunny, give 'em time). Episode 7 was a content round in the chamber from the Military/Industrial/Entertainment Complex, Episode 8 is in the clip.

    1. In 1954 Disney financed the construction of Disneyland by making a deal with ABC to provide it with a one-hour variety TV show. In 1995 it bought ABC.The Economist has a recent article on Disney: "Disney is making a fortune and safeguarding its future by buying childhood, piece by piece."