ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – I took my kids and their friends to see Star Wars:  The Force Awakens this week while they were off on Christmas Vacation.  I have some thoughts on the movie:

#1:  I’ve seen this movie before.  The plot almost exactly tracks the plot of A New Hope, the original Star Wars movie from 1977.  We start out with the main protagonist, who turns out to be force sensitive, on a desert planet that looks a lot like Tatooine.  Our group of heroes escape from said planet in the Millennium Falcon.  There’s a battle in space.  Then there’s some slinking around on a giant Imperial Base.  Then the “Resistance”, a.k.a., The Rebel Alliance, attacks the planet sized Imperial Base that can destroy worlds—but not before commandoes land first to “disable the shields”, and then we have X-Wings flying down a trench and then the Imperial Base the size of a Planet goes BOOM!  But not before a sprinkling of light saber duals.

Yeah, I’ve already seen this movie.  But that’s what I expect from J.J. Abrams:  Slight cosmetic changes to things like TIE fighters and X-Wings, and Storm Trooper helmets, but basically just a total copycat to what we’ve seen before.  Ho Hum.

White Tie Fighters

TIE fighters with white panels now instead of black ones.  Cosmetic change or subtle race commentary?

#2:  I am Woman, Hear Me Roar, With Force Powers.  In Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker is turned into a girl.  A Super Girl.  A girl who has no idea she is Force Sensitive at all, but in two hours has more mastery over the Force than it took Luke Skywalker to achieve over three movies.  Why have a Yoda around?  Why train in the Force from childhood in a Jedi Temple?  Well, not if your name is Rey the Super Girl Warrior Scavenger Pilot Genius Engineer.  Picking up the Force is as easy as just repeating: “You will unfasten my bindings and leave the cell with the door open.” After saying this sentence just a few times, with no conviction whatsoever, you have Storm Troopers doing your bidding like puppets.  The Force is SOOO easy to wield in the JJ Universe!  Ugh!  So easy, in fact, that you can beat the Neo Darth Vader in a light saber duel the FIRST time you pick up a frickin light saber!

#3:  Dinosaurs Still Walk Among Us:  It is painful to look at Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, because they are so old now (Empire Strikes Back was 33 years ago!).  The producers seem to have opted to accentuate how old they have gotten, with Carrie Fisher now having a voice so deep, it sounds like she smoked a carton of Camels before filming every day.  Harrison Ford has lines so deep on his craggy, unshaved face, he looks like he dug a ditch with his face.  Gray hair, gray beard, and both he and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) who now walks with a cane in real life, limp more than run through their action sequences.  Harrison and Peter give a whole new meaning to the term “Imperial Walker”.  Likewise, JJ Abrams seems to have decided to do the same to Carrie Fisher, leaving her with thin gray hair, and a coif and outfit that is as far away from feminine as you can get and not look like you’re playing a Lesbian.

Carrie Fisher’s response to Han Solo dying was about as dramatic as if “General” Leia (no longer “princess”, but I can understand that because she looks like your cousin Fred now) was informed that her rack of tollhouse cookies had burned in the oven.  Or maybe “General” Leia just has Alzheimers now and she couldn’t remember who this “Han Guy” was?


#4:  Killing Han Solo:  No, this isn’t the title of the next Bill O’Reilly book; it is instead the BIG SURPRISE of the movie, that Alex Jones had already let slip out in a broadcast (thanks a lot, Alex!).  I can kind of see the sense of this, as Harrison Ford is just getting to old and creaky to do action movies, so it was time to write him out of the story. 

#5:  Women are shown being light saber duelists, fighter pilots, Rebel ground troops, Imperial Storm Trooper Commanders, and Generals.  A not so subtle nod to the Social Justice Warrior agenda to put women into front line combat roles.

#6:  Sweaty Black Dude:  The epitome of cutting edge originality these days in Hollywood is to recast characters with black actors, or to be sure to cast black actors in lead roles.  Thus, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four is now a black guy (never mind the optics of having a black man on fire).  At least they didn’t change his name to Johnny Lynch.  JJ Abrams and Disney are slavish followers of this trend, so one of the very first characters we meet is a black storm trooper who decides to go AWOL.  His guilty conscience makes him sweat.  Crash landing on a desert world makes him sweat.  Getting beat up by Super Girl and her techno Quarter Staff makes him sweat.  He sweats more than Marco Rubio on a debate stage.  He goes from Sweaty Black Dude, to Sweaty Black Finn, to Sweaty Black Rogue, to Sweaty Black Coward, to Sweaty Black Hero Who Sucks at Fighting with a Light Saber.  It is pretty much the exact same character arc as the original Han Solo, but with more sweat and more melanin.  But he does have some funny lines when he’s supporting Super Girl fight evil.


Wedge Antilles, now with New and Improved Chin!

Black audiences get to cheer for one of their own, even if it is just a copycat character.  Hollywood gets to tell themselves that they are Progressive and support Equal Opportunity as they go about their otherwise lily white work spaces.  Good Job all around, Hollywood!

#7:  No New Characters:  We don’t get a single new character, outside of a few cameos.

Kylo Ren is Darth Vader

Supreme Leader Snopes is Emperor Palpatine

Rey is Luke Skywalker

Finn is Han Solo

Po is Wedge Antilles

Leia is Mon Mothma (with the looks of Aunt Behru)

BB8 is R2D2 (who spends most of the movie in an electronic coma)

C-3PO is still his prissy, annoying self, but only gets a few seconds of screen time.

Captain Plasma is Boba Fett (without the testosterone).

Han Solo is Uncle Owen

Luke Skywalker is Ben Kenobi

Chewbacca is still Chewbacca, although now his Bow Caster is a Wonder Weapon.

And Admiral Ackbar doesn’t even get to say:  “IT’S A TRAP!”

The setup for Episode VIII at the end of the movie strongly suggests that it will be a repeat of Luke and Yoda on Dagobah, with the elder Luke training Super Girl (or will it be Super Girl training Luke the Elder?) on a Water World with a few rocky islands that were probably shot in Northern Scotland.

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