Long ago, in the final days of 2015, in a cinema not that far away, I saw Star Wars; The Force Awakens. The Rialto has opened their café, and they have a liquor license. They haven’t changed any of the seats, at least not in the big theater I was in, but plenty of folks cheerfully carried in their glasses of beer, which fit into the cup-holders. I almost went out to order one but it was too late and the movie was about to start. I enjoyed the hoppy, yeasty smell, though.
On a Tuesday of a holiday week, the theater was about one-third full. I categorized three distinct groups; old singletons like me; families with young children; old people with young children, probably racking up points with the grandkids. Plainly a small number of the movie-goers had already seen the movie at least once. There were several extended family groups, some of whom arrived in clusters and at different times, so there was plenty of “Mel! Mel! Up here!” from the audience before the previews started.
And the movie. I liked the movie. I would like to see it one more time, to spend more time looking at things in the background and around the edges, and just enjoying the dialogue, the subtext, and the awesome action scenes.
I really liked the two new-generation characters, Rey and Finn. I think they both have interesting stories, and the actors are perfectly cast for the roles. I like the new villain, too. BB8 is a charming entry into the droid contingent, and Rey’s kindness to him early in the movie was charming too. There are stunning visuals; there is a scene where we see a scavenger swing down on a rope for the first time, in a vast vista… that scene was awesome. The close-up, a moment earlier, on that character with goggles, was also awesome.
I don’t think this is a spoiler; several reviews and commenters have said that the story is a lot – a lot—like Star Wars; a New Hope; confusing called Chapter Four, and known to people my age as “Star Wars,” or “The Original Star Wars.” There are a lot of similarities. That didn’t bother me. That may actually be a thematic point, in fact. Also, the similarities made it easier to pretend that I’d never seen any of Star Wars Chapters 1 -3. The Force Awakens was a clean slate, a starting over, a rehabilitation of the story, getting back to basics; the nature of good, the nature of evil and the nature of the choices we make.