By Britt P
Edited by Jen P
December 17th, 2015. Star Wars day. A day many of us have waited for since December of 2014 when the first “Force Awakens” trailer was released. A day we’ve waited for since the ending of the “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. 32 years we have waited and it’s finally here.
I awoke excited. I had to somehow get through this day of work, only pretending to be productive.
I purchased tickets for “The Force Awakens” for my wife (Sister Geeks writer Jen P) and I when they were first made available back in October. We had prepared for the day in advance with brand new shirts hanging in the closet waiting to be worn and the original trilogy having just been marathoned over the weekend. It was time and we were both ready. We planned to arrive at the theatre at 4:30pm for the 7pm showing. I decided to drive-by the theatre on the way to my office, just to scope the goings-on. I found a small crowd of fellow geeks tailgating in the parking lot around 9am. Wishing I could join the fun, I continued on with my day vowing that I would be as productive as possible on this day of ever-growing excitement.
3:30pm finally arrived. I drove home in a daze. There, we panicked, rushed with last minute details- Wardrobes. Check. Popcorn bucket. Check. Tickets. Check. The babysitter arrived right on time, and finally, we were out the door and on the way! Every vehicle between mine and the theater called to my dark side, but somehow, we made it. When we finally arrived, I felt like I’d arrived at a spaceport- these were my people. The theater buzzed with excitement. In every open space, children battled each other with light sabers. I took my picture with Obi-Wan, Kylo-Ren, and Anakin Skywalker. And finally, we sat in our seats in a packed theatre. The final countdown had begun- only 2.5 hours to go.
The lights dimmed. The screen widened. The familiar music began, and the familiar stream of historic backstory streamed across the galaxy. The crowd erupted in cheers. It was finally time. 32 years, and it was finally time!!
WOW! Just WOW! As the credits rolled and the light came up, no one wanted to leave. We all stood in awe, hoping, praying for a mid or end credits scene… but no! No matter. I needed at least the length of the credits to recover from the daze “The Force Awakens” left me in. So. Many. Emotions.
No doubt this movie will break all records imaginable. It was truly everything we hoped it would be and much, much more. With 450 strangers in a packed, dark room, we shared something that day- tears, laughs, and a memory. It was amazing. A warning to you all that if you haven’t seen the movie yet….stop reading now. I have no regrets after this point if I ruin it for you!
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. TURN BACK NOW**
I definitely recommend re-watching the original trilogy if you haven’t in a while. While this new installment introduces a new generation of characters that stand-alone, there are many points, jokes, etc that you’ll miss without the originals fresh on your mind. Especially for those fans who have not memorized much of the classic dialogue.
“The Force Awakens” has a similar feel to “A New Hope”. In fact some would say it is an exact copy of the first movie. Viewers follow Poe, a badass resistance fighter pilot, Finn- a storm trooper turned good, and the orphan girl, Rey, who lives as a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku, not to be confused with Tatooine- it’s much less populated than Tatooine as far as we can tell. Apparently Poe wasn’t supposed to survive the film, but JJ changed the character’s arc later on, hence some oddness when he and Finn crash on Jakku and we think he’s dead… but he shows up later. More on that here.
And of course the real reason we come is the oldschool cameos. All of the original beloved characters are back in action- Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker connecting the two generations together. The moment that Han and Chewie made their appearance the crowd erupted in cheers and happy tears. There they were- the pilots of the fastest ship in the galaxy, aged, but otherwise, just as we remember them. JJ Abrams does a phenomenal job of throwing all sorts of easter eggs for the geek fan in this new installment. Everything from old quotes, to the old favorites like Admiral Ackbar of “It’s a trap!” fame. In fact, Finn’s trooper number, 2187, is a salute to the cell number that Princess Leia was kept in during “A New Hope”. One of my personal favorite things is all the wreckage on the planet of Jakku from the fall of the empire in “Return of the Jedi”. I LOVE wreckage and discovery of forgotten things (thank the hours spent playing Tomb Raider and Uncharted). During early film sequences we get to see major wreckage of Star Destroyers, AT-AT’s, and Tie-Fighters. It is an awesome nod to the fall of the empire and the legend of what happened 30 years prior.
We quickly learn that Rey and Finn are something more….something special. While trying to escape from Storm Troopers they run for a “hunk of Junk” aka the Millenium Falcon!!!! They jump inside and take off with Finn at the guns and Rey the as the pilot. They amazingly fly in and out of the wreckage trying to escape the First Order. Oh yes…..they are running because they have a cute little droid, BB8, who protects a missing piece of the map to Luke’s location. We soon learn that Luke has been MIA for quite some time.
We are taken through twists and turns throughout the entire film. The biggest twist being that Kylo-Ren is Han and Leia’s son! Say what??! Luke of course was raising a new generation of Jedi and it was decided to send Kylo-Ren, AKA Ben, to Luke to train as his apprentice. Unfortunately, Ben had some dark side issues, and he’s a massive Darth Vader fan-boy. Ben somehow gets Darth’s molten helmet and speaks to it, and wants to finish what he started. Doesn’t he know that grandad was a good guy in the end? SMH.
Apparently Ben then tried to kill all the new Jedi and go after Luke. Luke disappears and Han and Leia split to deal with the loss of their son in the least healthy way possible. Come on people! Don’t you know it’s better to stick together? Here’s hoping for more backstory in the next flick.
Kylo-Ren now reports to the Supreme Leader Snot or something like that, whose identity is still unknown to us. But if you ask me, I’m pretty sure Gollum and Voldemort had a baby to make this crusty asshole. Snoke, that’s his name. Instead of a death star we now have a death planet thanks to this douche- it’s friggin’ gigantic. It literally harnesses the power of the sun for destruction. Ouch. Burn. Sionara ice planet. Fiii-yer. You get the point. So of course, a battle must ensue to stop this death planet- hello missing Poe, who “conveniently” woke up after all the shit went down on Jakku and just left without his super-important Droid. Again, shaking my head. We’re not stupid JJ. We know you messed up here. Anyway, Finn wants to rescue Rey, and Han wants to convince Ben to come home and be good. Rey’s force becomes extremely strong and she goes all Wonder Woman to best a weakened Kylo-Ren, though she probably will kick his ass for real in a later film. But unfortunately not before a face to face encounter between Kylo and Han. The hurt is evident in Kylo. The battle is there. But he gives in to the dark side and creates the single saddest moment in Star Wars history. We all knew what was coming- and those who didn’t knew something big was about to happen. The theater was completely silent in the moments leading up to the moment. No one chewed popcorn. No one slurped coke. No one even breathed. But even with all the anticipation, it hurt like hell. Kylo-Ren, in an effort to fully accept the dark side, kills his father, Han Solo. It all goes down in a set similar to the one where Vader (German, for “father”- we all should have known) tells Luke he’s his papa. NOOOOOOOO! That’s impossible!! So our favorite hero, Han, gently places his palm to his son’s face, forgiving him before he falls to his death in the open space below. Chewy screams and shoots. The packed theatre cries. Leia feels it. Rey and Finn see it. Awful. Just awful. I wait this long for this character to be back and he is gone just like that. I have no words…the emptiness I feel……. WHYYYYYYYYY??!!?
In the end, the death planet thing is destroyed. Rey makes it to Luke on an island she had dreamed about. We are left with the two of them staring at each other in a sort of revelation as she reaches out to him with his light saber she has brought to him. His saber. His father’s saber before him. But he doesn’t take it, like it belongs to her now. Like maybe she’s got a little Skywalker in her too? Or at least some Kenobi? I guess we’ll find out later. No words are said. The scene drags a little too long. The credits role.
Oh. My. God. I left the theater with a feeling of immense loss- like my chest would explode- yet elated at the same time. This is what makes good film. This is what makes people pay 10$ a ticket and spend the 30$ on popcorn and snacks for a night at the cinema. This is what we’ve waited for. As fans of anything- this is what a reboot should be.
And oh yeah, a “good friend” of mine spoiled the Han death for me about 40 minutes before the film started. Guess what? We’re not friends anymore. I’m not messing around. The Star Wars love is serious in my house.
Will I see the next one? Hell yeah.
Will I watch this one again? Double hell yeah. In fact, I’m taking my four-year-old to see “Star Wars Reddels” at “the dark place”. Translation: “The Force Awakens” at the theater. I know she’s going to love it.
So get out your popcorn bucket, take the cash you got from Grandma this Christma-kwanz-icah, and get your ass to the movies. This is the film you’re looking for. And may the force be with you!
What did you think? Have you seen The Force Awakens? Did you love it? Hate it? Comment below!