Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars: Episode VII is So Much More Than Just a Movie

How can I even put this into words? Star Wars is where it all began for me; my spiral into this life of nerdiness. This passion for all things ridiculous and strictly out of this world. This obsession with things from other galaxies, other dimensions, other realities. This fiery passion to feel something intensely human from something that, on the surface, is so un-human. All of this started with Star Wars.

I remember sitting on the carpet of my childhood home some twenty odd years ago. My parents handed me a toy Millennium Falcon and told me we were going to watch a movie they thought I would enjoy. As they sat on the couch behind me and pressed play, I was flying the Falcon around backwards believing the bright blue exhaust beam to be the front of the ship. Then it began. The words STAR WARS burst onto the screen accompanied by John Williams' score that can still riddle me with chills to this day. From that moment on, I was powerless to resist. It was the first time in my life I experienced the feeling of wanting to go to another world. I NEEDED to fly an X-Wing, to fire a blaster at a Storm Trooper, to wield a lightsaber and feel The Force flowing through me. Something changed in me that day, and I believe it was for the better. That was when I fully understood the power that a story can hold. The power to take something, no matter how bizarre, and give it those human elements that drive us; good vs. evil, war, deceit, love, family, hope. This is what makes Star Wars special, at the heart of this science fiction movie with aliens, space ships, laser swords, and Moon sized battle stations that can destroy an entire planet, you find a boy trying to make his way in the world and stand up for what he believes is right. In the middle of all this chaos, you find these characters that think and feel like we do. It's not the special effects, it's not the exotic planets, it's not even the Jedi, it's the people. The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars movie since 1983 to realize that; because in the midst of this gorgeous, harrowing, dark tale set in a galaxy far, far away, we once again have a movie that is about the people.

I'm actually going to keep this extremely brief because my next couple sentences are really all that you need to know. Go see The Force Awakens, regardless of whether or not you give a Womp Rat's ass about Star Wars. Find out as little as possible about the story and characters and walk into this movie with a clean slate. That was how I first experienced A New Hope in the living room of my childhood home, and that is how I experienced The Force Awakens. That is it, go see it.

The Force Awakens is not flawless and may not hold up with A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back in the grand scheme of the Star Wars canon. The ending is a bit rushed, and some interesting characters don't quite get the screen time they deserve. There are more questions than answers to be found here and that can be frustrating for some. But The Force Awakens lays the foundation for what I truly believe could end up being the finest three entries in the Star Wars saga. These are once again characters that we can care about and a story that is intriguing and dark.

The Force Awakens is a masterpiece in that it reignites that feeling I had so many years ago. It gives me hope that a new generation of children can fall into this wonderful life of nerddom that I have enjoyed for so many years. 

There has been an Awakening. Star Wars has returned.

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