In so many ways the Star Wars films have always been relatively review-proof, say what you want about them (especially the original trilogy) but you either enjoy them or you don't. They have never apologized for being what they are, Space Opera in the grand pulp tradition. They borrowed from so many genres that they sort of invented their own genre, neither truly science-fiction nor fantasy - but something that combined elements from across many pieces of art, nostalgia, pulp-science, Samurai films, and more.
That is the strength of Star Wars and why it has resonated across the decades. And why it managed to survive the miss-steps of the prequel trilogy. This is not an easy task, just because we understand the DNA of a thing, doesn't mean we can replicate it. Many have tried and most have failed miserably. So how then does one start another chapter and take that DNA in a new direction, while maintaining a connection to the past? It is, and was, a very tall order.
I freely admit to having my doubts that JJ Abrams was the right choice to make that leap. It helped that Kathleen Kennedy was involved, it helped that Lawrence Kasdan was brought along to help write the script. Practical effects, John Williams, the news about the old cast returning, everything seemed to be pointing in the right direction. The band, such as it could be, was back together again. Would they be able to pull off a nearly impossible task? Could they bring magic back into Star Wars?
I'm here to tell you that they nailed it.
Star Wars The Force Awakens is more than worth the price of the ticket, in whatever format you choose to see it. I saw it in 3D on a huge screen and it was glorious. I promised I wouldn't spoil anything and I won't. In my opinion if you don't enjoy this film you must be dead inside. Granted it isn't perfect, nothing is. Certainly not the original films. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and the pull is strong. It is difficult to measure a contemporary expression against the power of that nostalgia, and few things pose that challenge more than Star Wars does. But if you can let go, sit back and let it flow thru you, you'll have a blast. I promise. I did.
I'm going to see it again over Christmas break and I'll probably write more thoughts about it after a second viewing. I left the theater today with that old Star Wars feeling churning in my guts, and a strong urge to see it again as soon as possible. That doesn't happen much these days. And it should.
I'm very excited about where this new adventure will take us. And really looking forward to the stand-alone films. Exciting times.
Until then, May The Force Be With You.
PS: Let's try to keep the comments SPOILER FREE ok?