Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 23, 2016

Email: Star Wars VII is fine

I don’t think I’ve rolled my eyes any harder at your website than I did when reading the previous emailer’s criticisms of the new Star Wars. The movie is probably as good (or bad) as Return of the Jedi for similar reasons, chiefly the fact that it revolves, once again, around a Death Star-type weapon and its destruction. The movie itself is fine and functions well enough as both a reboot (which Star Wars needed after nothing but Lucas’ prequels for almost forty years) and as a sequel that introduces us to a new cast.

The new characters are fine. They’re good, even. Kylo Ren is a spoiled, privileged brat who was radicalized because he lacked any real internal struggle and desperately wanted one (just like real radicals). The emailer doesn’t seem to understand that his whole character revolves around him being a dopey, whiney asshole. Like, that was sort of the whole point. Rey’s history is mysterious and hints at something greater than herself, but she’s afraid to move forward in life out of a fear of abandoning the only life she ever knew. Finn was a genuine good guy who was brave enough to defect, but too afraid to fight until his friend was captured. Poe is the least fleshed out, but we still like him because he seems like a genuine hero and has a humorous, plucky attitude. I really hope the next film features him more.

The plot is mostly a retread of the first film, I totally acknowledge that. I’m able to forgive it because it basically functions as a means to introduce us to the new characters and how they interact, while simultaneously trying to assure us as an audience that this new Star Wars is going back to the Star Wars we like. With this movie out of the way, and with one of the series’ biggest heroes dead, I’m certain the next movie will move forward into totally unfamiliar territory that almost entirely revolves around the new cast.

The emailer’s opinion deserves to be completely discarded if only for the fact that he ranked any of the prequel films before this one. The prequels are unspeakably awful (yes, even Revenge of the Sith). None of the characters are memorable, the story makes no sense, the script is cringe inducing and there are rarely any stakes for us as an audience to care about. Oh, and the overuse of CGI made them look really fake, which has only gotten worse with time. They are completely non-functional as movies, let alone Star Wars movies. The Force Awakens did play it safe, it had to, precisely because Lucas had done so much damage to the saga. I see TFA as functioning as sort of a First Aid kit for Star Wars; not a cure-all, but a good stop-gap measure to help reverse some of the damage.

If we’re doing lists, mine would look like this:

*Empire Strikes Back*
*Star Wars*
*Return of the Jedi* = *The Force Awakens*

And that’s it.

Also I think The Force Awakens would be most like the Wii, since it was deliberately made to be a callback to the classic Star Wars that everyone liked. The Wii and this movie both performed the exact same job, no comparison is more accurate.

The emailer also doesn’t seem to understand that Star Wars has pretty much been a commercial product since the second film. Oh, so now Disney’s supposedly milking Star Wars, but the endless novels, comics, games, toys, apparel, VHS/DVD rereleases etc sold since the ’80s wasn’t milking it? Get real. If anything I’m glad we’re getting a ton of movies. It’s a great universe and I’d love to explore it more. Isn’t that what movies are about? Exciting your imagination?

In defense of Abrams: I remember everyone in 2009 saying, “That was a bad Star Trek movie but it would have been a great Star Wars”. I believe that statement was so accurate it was literally prescient. Abrams was very much suited to take the helm of a Sci-Fi series that was less about science and more about high drama, and known for great visual direction. Everyone (except Lucas) knows Star Wars is a space opera. Abrams, who is great at dramatic, high stakes movies, was a great choice for a movie like this. James Gunn would have been great too.

Abrams’ major flaw is his tendency to be too referential, which I assume is precisely why he has no involvement in the next Star Wars films. He was suited to this film because it needed to be referential. Now TFA is done his involvement is with Star Wars is also done.

I agree that the trailer for the new Star Trek is one of the worst things I’ve seen in ages. Abrams has stated many times he doesn’t want to work on these movies any more, and it’s showing. Star Trek 09 was fun as an action movie, but Into Darkness was just plain terrible. I can only imagine what’s in store for this one. At least maybe the fourth one will be about Humpback Whales again.

Two points.

One, I do not understand the need for any reboots. Why didn’t George Lucas reboot Ben-Hur instead of making Star Wars? Why not do something new? I would like to see NEW shows, not retreads or reboots.

Two, I don’t think people today understand that Star Trek IV is the most popular Star Trek film ever made. It grossed so much in sales that its performance had Paramount give the go-ahead to make The Next Generation. And of course, The Next Generation’s success had Paramount do the go ahead on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. It is Star Trek IV that saved the Star Trek franchise more than anything.

But I heard a young 24 year old start quoting Scotty: “Captain! There be whales here!” I asked him about the movie. He said he had never seen it but saw what people said of it on Youtube. I asked, “You should watch it. You might like it.” Oh no. He refuses to watch it. He is a huge Star Wars fan which is fine. “Have you seen any Star Trek?” No. At this point, I’m just banging my head against the wall. How can you know if you like something or not if you do not watch it? I remember people liking Farscape. I watched it. BOY, did I hate it! But at least I watched it. It is extremely disturbing that people are allowing Youtube commentators decide their opinions. Why not watch the source material instead of what someone says about it?

I have a relative who commented, “Star Trek IV? That is a bad one.” Really? Then, what is a good one? “Star Trek V. The one where they search for Eden is the good one.” What! Did he watch any of these movies? No. I once said how the original Star Trek lasted three seasons before it was canceled (this is an actual fact). He was shocked. “I thought it went longer than that.” We have an information revolution with no information.

I don’t have much to say about Star Wars because I’ve never been a Star Wars fan.



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