Spoiler alerts. Though with this many dumptrucks of recycled repetition poured in your lap, who cares? The music’s the same, the font’s the same, so yawn from get-go. It’s got a trail of sickly boomer-focused nostalgia thicker than the plume of plastic bags rotating the Pacific Gyre. Plenty of reviews (see www.rottentomatoes.com) have listed them better.
What the original Star Ways did was meld moral force and erotic propulsion with high technology visualization. That’s the benchmark for a new Star Wars film. That’s why it remains the superior sci-fi benchmark, ever.
For you young-uns who didn’t feel the societal impact of the first film, this is what it did. It set alien worlds to be ordinary, in which families lived and struggled like any farming family. It put non-ironic females centre-stage. It deployed new technological fixes not as swaggering Star Trek wankery, but as the worn tools of everyday life for everyday people just trying to do their jobs, and with those tools salvage and fix machines to keep things going, like people still do from Ouagadougou to Otarahonga. And amongst all the ordinariness of life, to look at the stars and imagine whole realms that made life worth living, more exciting.
And the politics and idealism was simple and liberating. Underdog. Boy+Girl=Freedom. Shiny Uniform Fascism loses to rag-tag heroes. Post-Vietnam and post-colonial virtue wins over Empire. Light beats darkness after cosmic battle. David and Goliath. All of that good freighted stuff, wrapped tightly into one bouncy ball. Good people versus the Soviet meanies, you name it, project your ideals away and it worked.
The only good thing this new movie does is stick a light sabre through Han Solo’s gut and throw him off a bridge good and dead.
People know when they’ve been played, with an endless recycle of stories that get weaker and more preposterous the longer they drag out. But Disney has just turned Star Wars into Days of Our Lives. OK, new female central figure. OK, new pilot Just Might Be Gay. Whatevs. Star Wars should aspire to be the groundbreaking film that the original was. If that creaking, jiggling vaudeville of overtanned cleavage known as the Bond series can reinvent itself with Casino Royale and Skyfall, hell, these guys could make an effort.
So kill Star Wars now. Lightsabre it through its middle-age gut and throw it off a bridge. Even a second helping of moralistic, sexless, humourless, sermonizing Avatar would be preferable.