Zaki’s Assessment: Star Wars: The Power Awakens
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Pressure Awakens is the seventh Star Wars installment (although “Episode VII” has been curiously absent from the advertising and marketing), the primary to be released by the franchise’s new minders at Disney, and the first to follow on from the events of the beloved unique trilogy that concluded with 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Whereas I’ve been aware of this film’s impending arrival ever since it was first introduced simply over three years in the past, the import of what it represents hit me out of the blue and early throughout my screening.
Like all the chapters before, it began with the instantly-recognizable Star Wars logo and the equally-iconic blast of John Williams’ theme music. However as I began to read the crawl of text catching us up on the established order, I abruptly realized that it was a crawl I hadn’t read countless, innumerable occasions before. It was new. Completely new. And although that is an understandably exciting feeling for any longtime fan (and my understanding is there are a number of), I have to admit there’s additionally something just a bit bittersweet about it too.
After all, with this release, Star Wars has now entered completely uncharted waters. Because the main edge of a deliberate all-out onslaught by Disney over the subsequent few years, The Pressure Awakens represents the collection’ transition from something that is finite — six films and executed — into something that’s a fixture. Additionally, as with Creed last month continuing the Rocky story by handing it off to a brand new lead, with that transition comes the realization that the Star Wars torch must, of necessity, be handed from one generation to the subsequent.
It wasn’t presupposed to be like this, of course. Ten years in the past, with the discharge of Revenge of the Sith, writer-director George Lucas introduced the curtain down on his much-debated prequels, in the process giving a clean beginning, middle, and end to his “Long time In the past” multigenerational epic. Whereas the advertising and merchandising juggernaut that’s Star Wars the franchise was destined to continue for time immemorial, per the needs of its creator, Star Wars the saga had come to a very particular conclusion. And as the man himself made clear repeatedly as much as and after Episode III, this was it. Accomplished. The top.
That each one changed once Lucas made the momentous choice in 2012 to promote his multi-billion dollar child and walk away. As soon as that deal with the Mouse Home was finalized (for a cool $four bil), they wasted no time in announcing a brand new batch of sequels to choose up a number of many years after Return of the Jedi neatly wrapped issues up in a bow for Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and firm. For some reason, my thoughts was drawn to creator Andrew Kaufman’s quote, “The only difference between a cheerful ending and a sad ending is the place you resolve the story ends.”
For thirty-two years we have had that joyful ending. Our heroes within the Rebel Alliance had brought down the evil Galactic Empire, Luke Skywalker had redeemed his father, hero-turned-villain Anakin Skywalker. There was dancing, fireworks, it was fairly great. But as we be taught in the Drive Awakens, that victory was only a prelude to a different stretch of conflict, as the Empire gave approach to the primary Order, the Rebellion gave way to the Resistance, and the battle between the light side and the darkish side of the Drive continued unabated.
Nonetheless combating the nice combat are Han Solo (Harrison Ford), back to his smuggling methods with previous chum kaylee firefly t shirt 720 Chewbacca, and Princess — now Normal — Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), who leads the Resistance from a hidden staging floor. The script, by Abrams and Star Wars vet Lawrence Kasdan, neatly weaves in familiar faces, settings, and scenarios to set nostalgic hearts aflutter, but in addition focuses the spotlight on the next era of Star Warriors: Rey (Daisy Ridley) a scavenger on a desert planet, rogue stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), and daring Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
You’ll word that suspiciously absent from all of it is a sure Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), whose disappearance some time in the past has made him into an intergalactic McGuffin as a number of totally different factions are racing to track down the missing house hero, who’s identify has passed into legend in the interim. Foremost among those on the hunt is the mysterious masked Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who might or might not be a Sith Lord, but who actually has a mad-on for the Jedi and an affinity for all-black ensembles and pink lightsabers.
What struck me most about the Drive Awakens is just how tactile it kaylee firefly t shirt 720 all felt. There was a physicality, a realness, to the entire thing that recalled the “lived-in” aesthetic that Lucas made his mantra on the 1977 Star Wars (a.ok.a. Episode IV – A new Hope), but which sadly received lost in the CGI wonderland of the prequels (most especially in 1999’s Episode I – The Phantom Menace). Abrams has spent the last a number of years toiling on that other “Star” franchise across the best way, and begged off this movie a number of instances before relenting, but if his skill to seamlessly make this feel of a piece with the original trilogy illustrates something, it’s that you cannot struggle the decision of future.
On the efficiency facet, all three of the new leads make very strong impressions (Ridley and Boyega especially, with Isaac’s Dameron extra idea than character at this stage of the brand new trilogy). However, so far as anchoring the proceedings, that is all Harrison Ford. While the actor’s previous antipathy toward the role that launched his career is well documented, he will get to do some stuff with the character that absolutely takes advantage of our a few years of attachment to him, and makes you lengthy for all of the adventures we missed out on within the intervening a long time.
After all, the inherent drawback is that this movie has to service both itself and the wants of the extended franchise. One thing comparable happened with Episode I, actually. The primary of the prequels put numerous balls in play that (we assumed) would pay off meaningfully down the line. As I said in my overview again in ‘ninety nine, “Phantom Menace is absolutely designed to set us up for the latter two installments, with the promise kaylee firefly t shirt 720 of things to come back bringing us along for the trip. It serves this purpose effectively, but standing by itself deserves, the movie seems curiously looking for a cause for being.”
Provided that this episode is tasked with inaugurating a complete new Star Wars era, it is understandable that a couple of plot threads are left dangling. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the 1977 unique from being a completely enjoyable experience on its own. Right here, it has the effect of constructing it difficult to guage this slice of the story by itself, since a lot of the stuff being teased or built-up depends on a payoff we won’t see for two, possibly four extra years. In hindsight, I believe that’s at the least partly to blame for why some fans were so generous with their initial assessments of Episode I.
In spite of everything, it was only as the subsequent entries got here out that folks realized their questions were either not going to be addressed effectively or in any respect. I am pretty certain the franchise’s current creatives have learned these lessons. The Power Awakens does at instances feel less like a fully realized experience by itself than a promising setup for future developments, but the distinction is that not like with The Phantom Menace, when the lights came up I felt each satisfaction and anticipation, which has to depend for something. Star Wars is back, and there’s something undeniably exhilarating about having no concept where issues are headed next.