What is all of the fuss about the new movie, Star Wars - The Force Awakens?
I've only had my ticket for the last month (for the December 18th opening day showing ) so I believe that I can answer that question. Regardless, I can't give a review of a movie that I've never seen before so let's instead take a look at what all the buzz is based on.
Back in May 1977, I saw a new movie at the drive-in called, Stars Wars - A New Hope - Episode IV. It was advertised as a shoot-'em- up Western in outer space. Reviews were good, it was popular for months and I thought that would be it. A great movie but then again, there was a lot of other great movies.
As the year progressed, every child had some toy and/or model related to Star Wars. Even some adults said craziness like, "I wish I had a light saber." This is from a movie that was numbered "Episode IV". How could a movie that skipped the first three chapters be so successful? It took three years but I found out.
In May 1980, when The Empire Strikes Back was finally released, there was an adult following that shocked more than a few people. As the movie began, the same theme music as in the first installment sounded and the rolling credits again impressively stretched across the screen. In unison, the crowd gave out a loud and resounding "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaa."
There were a lot of happy people who finally got their fix. Not to mention the big shocker about Luke's father (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who doesn't know).
Return of the Jedi (May 1983) was also a good movie because of the established relationships of the main characters and the exciting resolution to George Lucas' story. Carrie Fisher's good-looks helped a bit also.
But what didn't help episode VI was creating the furry little Ewoks. Those fuzz-balls were just too childish but I guess the kids in the audience appreciated them more then I did.
Apparently, Lucas did something very right because even though it took another sixteen years (May 1999) before Episode I - The Phantom Menace finally premiered, young and old were still in a high state of excitement.
Fascinating story building amazed all but there was one character that almost single-handedly destroyed the show. Yes, it was Jar Jar Binks. This creature was more than just childish; this thing was just plain stupid. He served an important function in the plot but his role should have been given to a tree or something that could keep its mouth closed. But, the movie was successful in spite of that creature's antics.
By May 2002, Attack of the Clones premiered and it was an instant blockbuster. A great love story and even greater shockers. To me, the biggest success of the movie was the decision to give Jar Jar Binks just a few lines (sorry, just a joke).
And finally we arrive at Revenge of the Sith - Episode III, which is a truly remarkable achievement of a movie. Since its premiere on May 2005, I've seen it more than a few times but the exciting plot blended with the inevitable sadness and tragedy that Anakin must face to become his future self holds up every time.
The story-writing decisions to connect a 2005 film to the original that premiered in 1977 must have been more than difficult. I've heard that George Lucas had a great deal of the entire story in his head from long ago. Overall, well written scripts, amazing stars, remarkable direction, stupendous musical scores and ever-increasing CGI effects have made Star Wars a memorable part of our lives for nearly forty years.
Hopefully, Star Wars - The Force Awakens - Episode VII will not disappoint but signs are good that it too will be a winner. Its actually premiering Thursday evening, December 17th even though the commercials say Friday. Rotten Tomato (movie reviews) has already given the film an average rating of 97%.
I hate standing on long lines so I'm thankful that some theaters now have reserved seating. Along with quite a few others, I will be having more to say about this film. Oh, almost forgot. May the force be with you.
I love my New York home. Its diversity inspires me. I would not for the world trade my multitude of experiences there.