Being a Star Wars fan is not easy. With the franchise spanning theatrical films, video games, comics, novels, animated series and a bajillion toys there are a lot of ways you could have originally fallen in love with Star Wars. Now that Disney acquired Star Wars from Lucasfilm and premiered the 7th installment in the film series the Force Awakens, some may have the gut reaction of NO. These are not the droids we were looking for – this ruins our collective childhoods etc.
We tend rose colour our childhood and the nostalgia factor is in play for many that grew up with the original trilogy. I would love to tell you to go back and watch a New Hope that you saw in the theaters in 1977 but guess what – it doesn’t exist anymore! Maybe if you bought it on Betamax when it was first released or have a pre-1995 VHS copy, because since then the films have been digitally restored and remastered several times. STILL if you watch A New Hope (and forget what happens in the second half of the movie) at the 30 min mark and Luke is still playing with droids on Alderan, yes ultimately it builds up to the amazing film we love BUT it takes time.
The Force Awakens has a lot of momentum in those opening scenes and doesn’t waste time before introducing all the new characters getting them wrapped up in a galactic battle. We were very lucky in a lot of ways JJ Abrams is a huge Star Wars fan and kept the themes and tones of the original trilogy while updating the story and keeping it fresh. A great comparison is Star Trek (2009), which JJ did admittedly just to make Star Wars, this is evident by the fact that the Trek adaptation is more Space Fantasy than Science Fiction. A lot of people have complained (spoilers) that The Force Awakens is plot similar to A New Hope – to which I say why is that a bad thing?! SWTFA has enough new stuff – characters, planets, story line – (SPOILERS) particularity with Kylo Ren’s near seduction to the light side to keep it interesting and enough parallels to keep it connected the original trilogy. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT
Now that they have made The Force Awakens and it is objectively a good film (and a massive financial success) they know we will come out for another so there is less pressure on getting the next one right. Seriously the director of Looper – why?! I propose we enjoy The Force Awakens as much as we can because now that they have revived the cash cow that is Star Wars movies they know we will go to the theatre no matter what-so why would they try. I hope that Disney knows what it is doing and really makes the effort so the next films to make sense and are enjoyable (very high bar, I know) but with one Star Wars film spin-off / tie-in to be released every year seems like we might sacrifice quality for quantity.
We can scroll through a million articles calling out the flaws in the Force Awakens, we can hate on any minuscule detail if we focus on it for long enough, but honestly WHY? Would anything have been good enough, to truly live up to the original? The answer is no, when A New Hope came out in 77′ no one was expecting anything, so they just enjoyed it for what it was. I suggest you let go of all your preconceptions of Star Wars, drop the hype and watch SWTFA (in 2D, with out all that distracting BS) like you are just going to the movies to be entertained.