Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - A Spoiler Free Review

Star Wars has always held a special place in my heart. It's one of the first movies I remember seeing and watching until I had it all but memorized before I was in kindergarten. And my mother still tells stories about our first winter in Kansas, snowed-in for several days, and how I amused myself pretending I was Luke Skywalker.

That love became muted in recent years. The prequels made me jaded, failing to live up to my expectations. And it wasn't because I was staring through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. It was because they were honestly flawed.

Still, I would occasionally find glimpses of the world that captured my imagination as a young boy. The occasional Star Wars novel or comic would capture that elusive spirit. But there was nothing that felt exactly the same as what I remembered.  Until now.

This was not a film. It was an experience. A good one.

Yes, it's clearly a J.J. Abrams film. But it's still a Star Wars film in the the same way that a Timothy Zahn novel reads differently than a Karen Traviss novel... yet both are still Star Wars. It is the same universe with a different storyteller. And the story is told well.

I can't say I found myself feeling like a five year old boy running around with a wrapping paper tube making humming noises again. That magic was denied me. But I did enjoy a good story about heroism, bravery and good conquering evil. And in these jaded and cynical times that's magic enough.

I'm not going to talk about what is in the movie. There will be no discussion of plot, character and theme here. There will be time enough for deep analysis in the months to come. What I'm going to talk about, instead, is what I didn't see in that crowded theater on opening night.

I didn't hear any small children complaining they were bored.

I didn't see any teenagers throwing popcorn and poking fun of the movie.

I didn't see any bored hipsters checking their phones or tired senior citizens checking their watches to see how much longer until the ending.

I did not hear one person talk during the entire movie, except to laugh or cheer.

I saw a crowd of people enraptured.

And, more than once, I forgot that I was sitting in a theater and was instead in a galaxy far, far away.

In short, I loved it and would recommend everyone see it.

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