So, now that I’ve finally seen Episode VII, I can return to the internet free from all danger of spoilers. Do all you want to me, you pathetic bastards! I know all the secrets!
Of course, a great many people haven’t been able to see the film yet, so I’m going to avoid anything that could be viewed as a spoiler myself. But I did just want to state my feelings on the film. If you want to be absolutely sure I’m not going to spoil anything, feel free to skip it, I won’t mind! The rest will be after the jump.
The CHILLS I got seeing the Star Wars logo on screen again were fantastic. Just like seeing Phantom Menace again for the first time. That said, the audience reaction was very different.
When I saw Phantom Menace, the audience clapped and cheered when that yellow text appeared on screen. This time, there were a few murmured exclamations of “yay!” and a LOT of people grabbing onto their partners’ hands for dear life. Star Wars fans have been burned before. Obviously that’s created a sense of restrained caution when it comes to new trilogies.
There was something magical that happened in that theater though. Something I didn’t even realized I’d believed could happen, even though I’d said it countless times in the months leading up to it.
We all got to watch another good Star Wars movie!
Now, I may not have stated it on the blog before, but in plenty of other outlets I’ve been very clear that, in my opinion, The Empire Strikes Back was the only really great movie in the Star Wars trilogy. Episodes IV and VI both had great moments, don’t get me wrong, and I love them to death… but Episode V was the only one where I felt like the film was actually taking me and the rest of the audience seriously. It took a lot of risks, and every single one paid off. Episode IV, on the other hand, stuck almost slavishly to the heroic journey formula to the detriment of its own pacing and at times plausibility while Episode VI was essentially two different movies forced together. And the prequels… well, we all know how that turned out.
But this new film… not only does it feel like a proper continuation of the more grounded and internally consistent universe we had in The Empire Strikes Back, it feels like it belongs with all of the original trilogy movies. The humor was spot on. The scale seemed more or less perfectly in line with what we’d seen for the original films. And the set design perfectly captured everything we loved about the rough utilitarian models that populated the universe.
It was the Star Wars we grew up with. The film that I was promised 14 years ago when I went to see the failure that was the Phantom Menace. And whatever restraint there may have been at the opening credits, there was none of it by the time the closing credits started to roll. There were tears filtered through laughter. Star Wars is finally back.