The Dark Side Slumbers or Stumbles

Like many other Star Wars fans, I was seduced into a dark movie theater this past weekend to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  My husband and father accompanied me to the show.   But all was not unicorns and rainbows even from the start.

I recently learned that my favorite movie theater complex for the past ten years, the Legends 14, changed hands.  Almost mirroring the movie I was about to see, the Phoenix rising from the ashes of better distribution contracts fizzled before the dawn of AMC, which is anything but “amazing” (a snide reference to their marketing mantra).

If I decide to leave my home theater behind and venture forth and part with actual money to view a new release, I prefer to take advantage of reserved seating, previously available from the Phoenix Theaters, which also excluded children from the area since it provided food and adult beverages via wait staff.  AMC nixed that immediately.  Strike One.

I decided to purchase the tickets in advance to avoid any hassles and/or waiting in line, something I very rarely do.  I installed the AMC app to my smartphone and bought three adult tickets, grumbling at the inconvenience fee.  I printed my confirmation, which included a QRcode which I assumed (wrongly as you will see) that the gatekeeper at the entrance would scan to allow us admittance.

We arrived in the lobby with ten minutes to spare.  Less than ten people were waiting in line to get their tickets torn.  I showed the person my printout, and she told me “You’ll have to take that to the ticket window to have tickets printed and dispensed.”  I immediately replied “Why the hell would I buy my tickets in advance, if you’re going to make me stand in line to get tickets?!?!” Strike Two.

I marched over the ticket window, waited in line behind a half dozen people who couldn’t make up their mind if they were actually in the line or not.  Once I reached the ticket window, I promptly told them this would be the LAST time I attend this theater if you were going to require me to get tickets printed when I’ve pre-purchased them.  She half-heartedly apologized and printed my tickets.  Strike Three.

I returned to Terry and Dad, who were standing in the lobby, but not in the ticket line.  Another ten people were again ahead of us.  We finally got our tickets torn and entered Theater 7 just as the previews started (so right on time at 1:15 p.m.).  By this time, of course, seats were hard to find (in the dark and with the noise of the previews in the background hard to discuss options with others).  We found three open seats in the middle near the walkway that splits the theater top from bottom and settled in for twenty minutes of previews and advertisements.

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can start muttering about The Force Awakens.

Does J.J. Abrams have an original creative thought in his head?  Or can he only regurgitate other people’s ideas?  I didn’t like what he did with Star Trek and I’m disappointed in what he’s done with Star Wars.

As far as I can tell, this is almost identical (plot-wise) to the original Star Wars, but just done with bigger/badder equipment and explosions but poorer performances and a less compelling story.

If the Empire fell and the Republic triumphed, how is it that in less than a couple of decades, the First Order has risen to monumental proportions, far outstripping the previous Empire?  Is the galaxy an unending sea of evil people that can’t wait for the chance to oppress others?  The resources to produce the ships and weapons are literally mind boggling.  Is this the post-scarcity utopia we’ve all be waiting for?

Neither the Supreme Leader nor the Darth Vader wannabe instilled any sense of menace within me.  Cardboard cutouts and two-dimensional characterizations come to mind.  The Supreme Leader, voiced by Andy Serkis, reminded me too much of Gollum pretending badly to be Sauron so I had a hard time taking him seriously.  The casting for Kylo Ren seemed off.  I didn’t care for the actor or the performance.  It just wasn’t a good fit nor was he convincing me of his pursuit of the Dark Side.  Yes, perhaps that’s the point, but he still fell flat with me.

Kudos to Daisy Ridley and her performance as Rey.  She did an excellent job from start to finish.  Finn, played by John Boyega, was also well done.

By the way, is anyone else wondering who Rey’s parents are?  It was the glaring unasked and unanswered question that kept bugging me throughout the entire film.  In fact, I have my suspicions.  I really wish I had the DVD or BluRay right now so I could confirm my hunch.  Here’s a clue:  Did R2D2 wake up when Rey first set foot on the same planet he was on?

The Force Awakens wasn’t a complete waste of my time.  It was fun.  I new it would be.  I could have done without all the nods to the original movie(s) but they were cute.  I loved, absolutely loved, seeing the Millennium Falcon fly again.  O how I’ve missed thee!

I’ll give it three stars for now.  Once I can watch it again at home with subtitles and the ability to pause and rewind as necessary, I may up my rating a bit.


One thought on “The Dark Side Slumbers or Stumbles”

  1. Yes, a lot of it was recycled, but that is part of the appeal of such franchises.

    I agree that Kylo Ren wasn’t impressive. I liked the other castings.

    No, R2-D2 didn’t come to life when Rey first steps on that planet, but shortly thereafter. All the foreshadowing about her departed parent(s) has to pointing toward … something. I agree with where I think your reasoning is pointing. We’ll find out in seventeen months.

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