Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) heads to Jakku to retrieve some intel that will lead them to the location of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last Jedi who disappeared shortly after the destruction of the Death Star. His mission almost fails when First Order warrior Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) lands on the planet and captures him, but not before he entrusts the map to his droid, who flees to safety. Amidst the chaos, FN-2187 (John Boyega) suddenly grows a conscience and decides that he wants to be a Stormtrooper no more. Ending up in a wasteland, BB-8 ends up with scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), who gets entangled in the whole Resistance versus First Order skirmish when she steals the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca trace and intercept their ship and joins the fray. With the help of Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), now general of the Resistance, they band together to put a stop to the First Order’s atrocities. But their days are numbered and they must race against time before the enemy charges their weapon and blow them to smithereens.

Perhaps the biggest question here is Rey’s identity. She can pilot the Millennium Falcon. She is strong with the force. Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber likes her. Who the hell is she? Is she a Skywalker or simply Luke’s last remaining student? All we know about her is that she was abandoned on Jakku when she was young. The role she will play in this new trilogy is obviously that of Jedi of the Year, but it’s the revelation of her lineage that will surely keep us on our toes, speculating. For now, it’s good to see a woman wielding that blue lightsaber. Witnessing her beat emo Kylo Ren on her first try is just the icing on the cake.

Oh yes, Kylo Ren. He is probably the best Sith lord descendant to represent the new generation, a privileged millennial who throws a lightsaber-assisted tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants. That Sith tag is controversial, though, because a lot of diehard fans would argue that he isn’t one. Well, fantards, for the unacquainted and the clueless, he is. It’s that red lightsaber. Many would find cool, albeit not at all pragmatic because of its design. In any case, one could always defend its usefulness if you want to cut your wrist. And isn’t that a tad too appropriate for the emo kid that he is? Come on now, kid, make your grandpa proud.

The nostalgia in seeing almost all of the surviving characters from the original trilogy is just too much to handle, which is why J. J. Abrams deserves some kudos for not having them appear all at once. The intended impact has been so effective but quite well-paced, and the feeling of welcoming an old friend is so overwhelming that it just makes you smile. And you know that you’re not the only one.

Watching Star Wars is always tedious. The universe George Lucas has crafted has grown so huge that there’s a lot of backstory that you should know to fully appreciate each film in the series. As such, you might want to go on a full-day marathon of the last six movies before you see this one. Or you can always do so afterwards. If anything, The Force Awakens is actually a good material to lure new blood into the fandom. From here, they can just retrace the whole story and get filled in with whatever they missed out on the way. Even though the plot seems to just repeat itself with every part of the installment, it’s still a captivating world full of interesting characters that has enamored generation after generation. The success of this latest feature guarantees that it will continue doing so.

This film has broken a lot of records and so far, it seems as though this is the only franchise that really has that kind of power. Almost a billion dollars, and that’s just for the North American box office alone! The magic surely relies on this trilogy of trilogy’s intergenerational appeal. Your parents and their parents saw the first one. You also did, more or less, although the one that really belonged to your generation was the prequel that came out in the early 2000’s. This new set is intended for the current generation, and isn’t that such a uniting factor? It’s a movie universe that everyone in your family can relate to, and seeing the original cast return after more than three decades of absence in the big screen is like watching everything go full circle, bridging whatever gap among the three generations that have grown up with the narrative.

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