Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Force Awakens: A Belated Non-Review

Oh, Star Wars, how you hurt me! Against my better judgment, I went to see your new movie last month, only to have my heart finally steeled against caring anything about any of your installments ever again.

No, I don't intend to review your feeble attempt to recover from the embarrassing prequels, through which I continued to hope against hope that one day things would be like they were in the beginning, fool that I was. I won't give you that much time. In fact, I won't even take the trouble to insult The Force Awakens, except to say that it's an imbecilic retread of the original Star Wars (or whatever you're calling it nowadays) with a monumentally stupid, contrived plot (um, no one has a complete star map? really?) that serves as the thinnest of excuses (see right) for Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher to mug the camera, winking and simpering like idiots and prancing about in their old costumes, while giving in-character endorsements as though doing product placement spots for poorly conceived, inconsistently drawn, shallow, whiny, adolescent non-characters who run around shrieking like fanboys/girls and to whose further adventures and shocking familial revelations we will no doubt be subjected in the sequel, though it matters little to me since I'm certain never to put down the money to see another of these idiotic attempts to cash in on my childhood ever again.

Man, I loved you, Star Wars. It hurts me to say this. But it's true. You think I'm being too harsh? You should be thankful that I at least waited until all the people who were going to go see The Force Awakens went and saw it, so that I wouldn't ruin it for any of the poor benighted souls, even though, deep down in their hearts, they know the truth. You think I'm exaggerating? You know what? It's got 3.7 stars on Amazon right now, as opposed to, say, The Fifth Element, which has 4.4. Ouch. But you know, when I come to think of it, I too would rather slog through two hours of Ruby Rhod and that blue singing alien lady than The Force Awakens again.

Wait, what's that? Oh, you think this one is different from the original, because, instead of having a Death Star destroyed by a ragtag group of resistance fighters, it has a Starkiller Base destroyed by a ragtag group of resistance fighters? Sure, I guess it's different, in that the latter has pine trees growing on it, and, instead of immolating millions of innocent people I don't care about except insofar as their deaths make me feel like the bad guys are really bad, man, it immolates billions of innocent people I don't care about except insofar as their deaths make me feel like the bad guys are really bad, man. But then again, the first Death Star is handled in a dramatically effective way, whereas the Starkiller Base is…not.

Eh? What's that? You think your Storm-Trooper-turned-hapless-hero is pretty clever, eh? Yeah, I can just imagine the moment he was conceived in the writers' minds: "What if, like, we had this Storm Trooper, but he, like, turns out to be a good guy. And he's, like, all goofy and clumsy. That would be really cool." I especially appreciate how he has an utterly unmotivated change of heart because Blood! and rescues that Rebel Resistance guy because it's "just the right thing to do" and then gleefully blows away scores of his former fellows who presumably were kidnapped as children and subjected to the same brainwashing he was.

What? No. No, listen. This is it between us. Never again am I going to let you hurt me. If you really still loved me, you would at least have the decency to release the original trilogy on DVD, with the original special effects and no added scenes. But you won't, will you? You're just going to go on pretending that the insertion of that awkward computer-generated conversation between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt was a good idea. Yeah. I thought so.

I don't do this lightly, Star Wars. I remember how we first met. It was the Eighties. Those cool long-haired denim-jacketed teenage boys who lived next door had practically every single action figure and vehicle ever made, including the Millennium Falcon, an X-wing, a TIE fighter, and an AT-ST walker, with all the characters stored in a set of snap cases, and they let me and my brother play with them when our mom went over to smoke cigarettes with their mom, who had one of those little trees with gold leaves in her living room, which isn't really relevant but helps set the scene. And then I saw The Return of the Jedi, which was somewhat bewildering, since I had no idea who the characters were, but also really, really cool. And in time I saw the others, and, after that, whenever we got to rent something from Videoland, it was a Star Wars movie, over and over again, so that we might as well have just bought the tapes for ourselves.

Well, listen, Star Wars. I've been seeing other sci-fi movies from the seventies. Movies like Silent Running and Escape from the Planet of the Apes and Logan's Run. Movies like The Omega Man and Soylent Green and Westworld. They aren't always great. Actually, sometimes they're pretty bad. They could never be as awesome as the original Star Wars. But they'll never break my heart, either.

Where the real money is made!
Stay tuned for my review of two more science fiction gems cult classics items from the seventies.

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