‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and the Art of Nostalgia

Returning to a galaxy far, far away in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. (Disney / LucasFilm)

The nostalgia is strong with this one. Also the stunning special effects (trippy new Force-choke makeover, man). Also BB-8. All the BB-8.

It was impossible to have too much hype for this movie. Not because it is just that good but because after a certain undefinable point, the hype for the movie morphed into the hypeof the movie. I mean, please. I was already mentally raving about the film by the time the cheesy yellow logo appeared onscreen. J.J. could’ve thrown in a lens flare or two and called it a day, and we all would’ve gone home happy.

He didn’t, though. Spoiler alert: plot happens. Although…not toomuch plot. “The Force Awakens” is all about setting us up for an infinitude of sequels, and it does so beautifully. New characters Rey and Finn and Poe Dameron are cute and snippy and great. BB-8 steals the show. Leia (ahem, General Organa) and Han are old and grizzled. BB-8 continues to steal the show.

“The Force Awakens” is also surprisingly funny. Of course, that could’ve just been the giddiness of finally being in the damn theater and seeing the damn movie, but there were lots of giggles, all of them heartfelt. Also, BB-8.

The one glaring issue is the villain situation. Adam Driver is not at all convincing as an evil Sith lord, and no one else (General Hux, Jar Ja– I mean, Supreme Leader Snoke, Captain Phasma) gets enough screen-time or backstory to pick up the slack.

That’s okay, though, because “The Force Awakens” is pretty much a rehashing of “A New Hope,” so it does its job by laying the groundwork of the new world order and introducing us to the characters we’ll soon come to love like our own…okay, like the other fictional characters we love more than anyone in real life.

And, again, nostalgia. The movie is a beloved jumble of in-jokes and call-backs that’ll send even the biggest skeptic into paroxysms of nerdtastic glee. It also makes “The Force Awakens” feel a bit recycled, but that’s okay– because it’s the greatest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

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