Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an Analysis

As many of you, my family went to see the new Star Wars movie this weekend.

We really enjoyed it! Then we came home and my husband delved into all of the "Spoilers" reviews we have been avoiding.

I found it interesting that people are so judgmental about a film that they all admit to liking. What is up with that? There were a couple of specific complaints that I felt I really needed to address because I felt that they were unfounded.

BTW, SPOILER ALERT!

The first one that really drew my attention was everyone complaining about Rey being a Mary Sue.... Because she knew everything there was to know about the Millenium Falcon, because she could fly despite not being a pilot... Because she always seems to be able to do things others can't. I promise, I am not going to use the argument "she has the force"  although, I think this does explain a bit.


But lets start at the beginning. Her main "Mary Sue" objection was her knowledge about mechanics. But she is a scavenger on her planet. She has to know what the parts are to be able to pull and fix the best parts and make a living. It makes sense that she knows about compressors and widgets and fuses and such. She works for the guy who stole the Millenium Falcon. She has demonstrated a curious mind repeatedly, so I have every reason to believe that she would ask about the ships around her, and sneak into them at night, and fiddle with them.

Nowhere does it suggest that she hasn't flown them either! I know, there is nothing explicitly to indicate that she has flown, other than her saying she has. But she does indicate that she is a pilot. Perhaps she has only flown short runs on the planet (as she repeatedly demonstrates a need to stay there waiting for her family.) We never saw Luke fly before he did, but there were references to it, just like she says she is a pilot.

Her knowledge of the Millenium Falcon, and the stories of the force are like a history buff knowing everything about the Battle of the Bulge or our general knowledge of the American revolution. These stories were talked about and told, to the point where she believed they were just stories, but it is common in human tradition. It makes sense.


Another common complaint is that it is just a rehashing of New Hope. And in a way, it does have very obvious parallels. But there has been a theme through all of the Star Wars series that history has a way of repeating itself. People didn't notice the parallels in 1,2, and 3. But they are there.
Here are a few examples:
1. Anakin didn't know his father, Luke didn't know his father, Rey doesn't know her father.
2. None of them were taught the force until they were older, and did not realize how their gifts mattered.
3. All of them are found in a time when the Empire, The trade federation, or the First Order, are committing atrocities against the people.
4. All are raised on distant sand ridden planets on the far reaches of the galaxy (perhaps keeping them safe until they are needed.)
5. All must leave the safeness of that planet to assist in a major operation in which the galaxy is in mortal danger.

Some may view this as a tired rehashing of the same plots, but it is simply history repeating itself. If you look at human history, you see much of the same. I think that the parallels drawn between The Empire and the british empire of our own history, the Trade Federation, and NAFTA, and the First Order and The Third Reich are a bit too similar to just be a "lazy re-hashing."

People complained about how Kylo Ren was a whiny little prat, but so was Luke in the beginning, and so was Anakin... which is why "everyone" hated him. I have a young teenage son, and I hate to tell you this, but they are kind of whiney little prats! It is a part of their growth process. Some are whinier than others, true. But those who are bucking against the parental figure tend to start by being whiny. It psychologically makes sense.


The last objection was Han Solo's whole... everything. From losing the Millennium Falcon, to not being with Leia to his abrupt end. But lets be real.  First off, who really saw Leia and Han working out long term? They are from completely different backgrounds, have very different values, and are both bull headed. I was more impressed that they stayed together until their son went evil. Of course, there isn't a clear indication of how old Ren was when he turned, so...  It is no surprise that Han went back to the only thing he was good at when he failed at being a father. Also, this guy is a huge gambler, the idea of him losing his ship is not a huge surprise.  I was disappointed by his rapid end. It felt rushed, but at the same time, I knew it was coming.


With so much going on in the story, I know why it got rushed. I think it is a shame, since Han is easily many peoples' favorite character. I do think that Han, Chewie and Rey did an excellent job in milking the emotional moment as half the people I spoke to admitted to crying when the scene happened.

All in all, I think that the geeks are being too harsh on the story. We have built up unrealistic expectations based around a trilogy that was our favorite new concept. But if you go back and look at the original trilogy, many of your complaints could be applied there as well.

Despite the complaints, I loved The Force Awakens as much as I loved the original, and as much as I loved the prequels.

What are your thoughts on The Force Awakens, or Star Wars? Share in the comments below.

Until next time,

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