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1.12.2016

Star Wars VII The Force Awakens

The last scene, filmed at Michael Skellig in Ireland, really captured my imagination and stayed with me the longest.  And from what I've seen on FaceBook memes I'm not the only one who felt this way.


To think that Monks actually lived out on this remote island and lived off eggs and fish.  In the 1500s.  Combined with my discovery of New Grange two years ago, Ireland's become high on my list of fascinating discoveries.  

But this isn't a post about the wonders of prehistoric and 16th Century Ireland.  Back to Star Wars.

After watching Force Awakens I watched A New Hope.  And have to agree with what film critics Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini said in this podcast; the special effects in New Hope seemed primitive and the acting poor to the point that it almost felt like a bad movie.  I'm amazed that this film became such a phenomenal hit.
Honestly, that final point bears repeating and italicizing.  To think that George Lucas created these characters just back in the 70s!  They're as indelibly tattooed into Western psyche as, let's say, the character in The Odyssey.  And perhaps that because of course Lucas based the story on the archetypal elements Joseph Campbell identified as elemental to all mythological hero stories.

Princess Leah has not aged well.  My sisters pointed out that her facial expressions rarely changed, indicating that she's been hugely botoxed.  Is that so?  I guess that young beautiful princess don't remain so forever, it's just a fact of life, but one that I found hard to accept watching the movie.  I wanted the pretty girl from days of old.  And it's hard to look at her knowing that Cary Fischer's gone through so much with cocaine addiction, and I wonder if that's contributed to her more haggard appearance.

And I'm not so sure about the story in Force Awakens.  Luke disappears due to despair over a fallen Jedi, and recapturing him is essential to the Force or whatever.  So the entire movie is basically trying to get Luke out of his funk, and help him to realize that he has a tremendous amount of potential.  That's the plot.  Kind of like dragging someone out of writers block or something.  Is that a compelling story?  Oh, and by the movie's end they've only barely initiated the process of de-funking Luke.  So this is going to take a good six more hours of film.

Luke fell into his problems of his own volition, correct?  Out of giving into an attitude of despair.  To me, that doesn't demonstrate someone who's really embraced the Force.  And so this idea that he's somehow totally vital--well it just doesn't seem dead on.  Maybe he's pretty weak, mentally.  As an analogy; consider, say a brilliant and successful writer who's written scores of successful books.  Who then writes one that receives abysmal reviews and some say his career is ruined.  The writer is shaken to the core and lapses into a funk from which he just cannot recover.  It's conceivable, but seems to demonstrate someone who's a little coddled, who expects that life should turn out just perfectly, and who can't accept the deep failures fundamental to any life.

And the way he escaped to an abandoned monetary and is wearing monetary garb....dunno.  Clearly trying to say that he somehow emulates monastic spirituality, yet these monks wouldn't say they left the world because life hit them too hard and they just had to escape.

Consider  this quote from Rocky
The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! 

And of course, Rocky hasn't embraced the Force.  But being on the light side of The Force, I think, indicates a power over the dark side; consider Rae's ability to made the stormtrooper drop his gun.  See, it just isn't consistent that Luke would have escaped into hiding if he really were so strong in The Force.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the movie, but it's really not my genre.  It's the kind of movie where I'd doze off for 5-10 minutes at a time, start making mental to do lists, have day dreams, and then force (excuse the pun) myself back into.

My mom actually did fall asleep for a few minutes at the beginning.  Hilarious.

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