Monday, April 18, 2016

A Star Wars Nerd ... Awakens


You knew it was going to happen. First chance I get, off to somewhere to pick up a copy of the new Star Wars film as soon as it comes to bluray.

(Warning - this post will contain spoilers.)

Because I went in to this one with very few expectations, I really enjoyed it. It's a film that starts slow and gradually builds as it reintroduces you to the setting, the characters, especially the new characters and what'll be happening through the movie.

So far, we've met Kylo Ren, the new bad guy. He's not nearly as intimidating as Darth Vader and the Emperor were. I think this is partly the point of the character. Bit weak though in my opinion. Star Wars is usually about black and white opposites, it doesn't do too well when gray areas come in. He comes across as an absolute master of the force, doing tricks with it that we've never seen before in Star Wars. But that isn't backed up by the ruthlessness of the proper Sith or the wisdom of the Jedi.

There has been Poe Dameron, best pilot in the Alliance. Watch out for his X Wing at the start. It's the wrong colour compared to the various toy X Wings (including my Lego one !) ... Kinda tells you that he comes back later after disappearing for a while.

We've met Rey, who is spectacularly good in this movie. Daisy Ridley plays the part incredibly well. She starts as a very young adult, abandoned and scratching out a living on her own on a desolate desert planet. This character drew criticism because she could do pretty much everything. A pox on those who think that women aren't as capable as men. In my experience, women can do anything men can, sometimes better, sometimes worse. They usually have more common sense.

Yep. Rey. Living on her own, being self sufficient, looking a bit half starved, later on being an excellent mechanic. That makes perfect sense to me, even if the character were a boy and not a girl. Haha and now she's beating up a couple of aliens trying to steal her charmer of a droid. Winning too. She must have learned on the Mixed Hockey battle fields. Not for the faint hearted.

BB-8 is another highlight of the movie.
He's like an advanced version of old favourite, R2-D2. Everybody wanted a BB-8 after seeing this movie.

There are a few onrunning themes in this movie, one of which is the devastation that can be wrought by the Tie Fighters and other weapons.

Oh look ! It's the new Millenium Falcon. Let's hope they don't bounce it off the scenery. Oops !

That's one thing about this movie, it speaks to the Star Wars nerd, putting people like us into the shoes of the people on screen. This sequence with the Falcon escaping Tie Fighters is magic.

Here is another nod - a crashed and abandoned derelict Star Destroyer. They're never going to try flying through that. Haha ! There they go. Yep. This film starts slowly and then unleashes the magic. it definitely has its moments.

I think I'm going to settle in and watch the movie now if you don't mind. Highlights (and lowlights) I can remember from seeing it in December :

Awesome to see the old characters (including the ships) come back again. Han Solo and Chewie pumped in energy as per usual. Leia's scenes were touching and gave the movie heart. She didn't do that much but I thought she was better in this one than in 4, 5 and 6.

Rey is still being spectacular. She's adding bossy strength now. I'd actually forgotten how good she is in this one.

The Starkiller base. Very silly. Whereas the Death Stars were small (and slightly less small) moon sized battlestations that destroyed local planets with lasers, Starkiller base throws bolts of energy across star systems by eating a sun. The ridiculousness of this is beyond measure. But it's Star Wars and stupid stuff like that is kind of expected.

Ok - how would I destroy a planet if not with Big Fantasy Lasers ? I'd use a Big Fantasy Rock. Prime example - a rather good book (name withheld cos this is massive spoiler!) has an Earth that has been uplifted to some pretty advanced space scifi tech. The alien horde attacking threw everything they had at Earth and then gave up and threw one of Jupiter's moons at the planet. Game over ... if our heroes could not stop the moon.

Yep. Big Fantasy Rock beats Big Fantasy Laser every time. And that's without saying anything about trying to absorb and harness a sun.

I said something about concentrating on the movie didn't I ...

My reaction when I watched this in the cinema, was along the lines of "I really enjoyed that, I like what they've done with the place." I thought it was a shame that the Expanded Universe of books was summarily trashed and ignored. Some of those books like the Aaron Allstom and Michael Stackpole XWing books were outstanding. Timothy Zahn's best writing is in the Star Wars universe, both from pacing and from keeping you guessing. And Chewie's end in the books was legendary. He goes out screaming at a moon that is being dropped on a planet.

(See ! Star Wars can get it right sometimes ! Even if the rest of the New Jedi Order series ruined Expanded Universe for me)
On that note ... Cya !

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