Anyone who ran relay races on the high-school track team knows the importance of smoothly passing the baton during transitions. It is now safe to say that J.J. Abrams “coached” his team well — the “blaster” was seamlessly passed from one generation to the next.
Director J.J. Abrams created a Star Wars movie with heart and soul. He created a Star Wars movie that fans can embrace. He created a Star Wars movie that fans do not need to make excuses for, which is a nice way of saying The Force Awakens will open more eyes to the horridness of George Lucas’ prequels.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens begins, as usual, with its iconic scrawl across the screen. The announcement: Luke Skywalker has vanished. Within minutes the action starts and fans are introduced to the droid BB-8, ace-pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac), the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and the soon-to-be ex-stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega).
Poe gives sensitive information to BB-8 and instructs him to flee as Kylo’s Ren’s forces close in — reminiscent of R2D2’s mission in Star Wars: A New Hope. From there we meet “scavenger” Rey (Daisy Ridley), and the mystery unfolds. Everyone is looking for Luke, and the fate of entire star-systems will be determined by who retrieves BB-8’s data first.
One of the most welcome surprises of The Force Awakens is Han Solo’s role, played admirably by a grizzled Harrison Ford. Solo and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) could have been given throwaway cameos, but Abrams chose instead to make them extremely relevant to plot.
There isn’t too much more one can disclose without getting into spoiler territory, other than to say Abrams made a movie with a little something for everyone — but he did it well. He was asked to juggle the Star Wars universe for everyone’s amusement, and he didn’t drop a single ball.
In some slightly sad but wonderful way, Abrams is now a better “George Lucas” than George Lucas.
Perhaps the only two criticisms The Force Awakens may be susceptible to are: 1.) Many of the situations these characters must overcome are rewrapped versions of events from the original trilogy, and 2.) Certain scenes seem a bit rushed. I, however, am inclined to dismiss the first critique since history does repeat itself and, more importantly, Abrams’ script and direction were superb.
The second observation has merit, but it does not change the fact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a legitimate return to form after the embarrassments that were Episodes I-III.
If you haven’t seen J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, then I would suggest doing so sooner rather than later. There is one major spoiler that will not remain a secret for much longer, and it’s better to go into the theater without that knowledge.
Editors Note: I refrained from including spoilers in the review, but the comments section are fair game. Do not read the comments section if you want to avoid spoilers.
The new trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’ was released on Monday night — and it delivered. Unfortunately, JJ Abrams’ political activism also has awakened the kind of Grade-A trolling one can only find via Twitter.
Harrison Ford’s narration for the new trailer is incredibly interesting when it is juxtaposed with his thoughts on The Force in ‘Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.’
A young Solo once said:
Luke Skywalker: You don’t believe in the Force, do you?
Han Solo: Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen *anything* to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. ‘Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
Now, after years of experience, Solo sounds like a former atheist who has experienced the metaphysical first-hand.
Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.
‘The Force Awakens’ looks like it will have something for everyone. If successful, it will be a beautiful bridge between generations of fans.
The only possible obstacle to enjoyment could be Abrams’ penchant for political activism, which helped inspire the #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag Monday night. The top-trending hashtag included the following tweet from an account identified as End Cultural Marxism:
“#BoycottStarWarsVII because it is anti-white propaganda promoting #whitegenocide. A friend in L.A. said #StarWarsVII is basically ‘[Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson] in Space.’ Jewish activist JJ Abrams is an anti-white nut.”
While it sounds far-fetched for ‘The Force Awakens’ to be “anti-white,” it is not hard to believe Abrams would allow politics into his films — because he has done it before.
‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ courted controversy when its writers and star actor Benedict Cumberbatch explicitly said it was social commentary on the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
It was also just over one week ago that Abrams helped raise $750,000 for the Democratic Party at his Pacific Palisades, California, home.
Deadline Hollywood reported Oct. 10:
After a praise-heavy intro by the Star Wars director, Obama spent about an hour and 15 minutes “passionately” talking to around 20 guests about issues such as gun control, prison reform, voter turnout and the economy, according to one source. The event was estimated to have raised over $750,000 for Democratic Party war chest, say insiders.
In town for the afternoon, Obama was speaking in the living room of the Pacific Palisades home of Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath at a $33,400-a-ticket roundtable. The event at the Star Wars director and longtime supporter’s pad to raise cash for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was the first of three fundraisers POTUS will hit while in Los Angeles for less than 7-hours today.
It is highly unlikely Disney would allow its first ‘Star Wars’ movie to get too heavy-handed with politics, but it is not unreasonable to believe Abrams would stitch his own activist politics into the finished product.
My prediction: ‘The Force Awakens‘ will be a fun movie that people of all ages and ethnicities can enjoy, even if there are subtle instances where JJ “I -hold-huge-Hollywood-fundraisers-for-Democrats” Abrams tries to sneak his own brand of activism into the finished product. That is par for the course in Hollywood. The key thing is to simply be aware of it when it happens.
George Lucas became the Emperor Palpatine of the Star Wars universe long ago, but many people still won’t admit it. I believe that a large segment of those in denial are people who allowed themselves to be Jedi mind tricked by his shots at George W. Bush while in attendance at Barack Obama fundraisers, and his willingness to fawn over the president during media appearances.
George Lucas is the kind of guy who wants you to believe he’s “one of the people,” the “99%” as they say. The truth is, George Lucas built an empire, and when he ran out of creative building blocks to expand it he mined his principles. And when his principles were gone he drilled deeper into his soul, and the brick and mortar of the Lucas Empire became shame. And when the shame ran out he burrowed even deeper and found that he had an endless supply of ego and hubris.
The result: Star Wars Kinect.
Yes, you saw that correctly. Han Solo dancing to the kind of Auto-Tune that may have actually come from the gates of Hell. I wouldn’t even mind, but George Lucas goes around bashing capitalists when he’s one of the most successful capitalists on the face of the planet! He’s the kind of guy who would lecture you on corporate responsibility, when the fact is he lost track of the mission statement and vision-thing long ago. It’s all about cash for George, and when a company becomes all about cash you know they’ve lost their way.
I respect George Lucas’s ability to make a buck, but I no longer respect him as an artist. As an artist, he’s more machine now…than man. A money-making machine.
George Lucas’s one saving grace is that he intends to donate half of his fortune to charity as part of The Giving Pledge. If he actually follows through, it would be something to be proud of, but then again it begs the question: For someone who claims to believe in the power of Big Government, why would he choose to donate to specific charities instead? The answer is quite simple. The world’s liberal millionaires and billionaires never just hand over extra wads of cash to the federal government because they do what sane people do: they look for reputable organizations where they know the money will be spent efficiently and appropriately. The next time you hear George Lucas demonizing conservatives (i.e., the people who want you to be able to keep more of your own money), remember that. And then go watch the original trilogy so you can see what the Dark Side can do to a man.