Monday, January 18, 2016

Star Wars: A New Hip

I finally saw the Star Wars Episode VII. Here is my review.

The Force Awakens is a fine workmanlike film. If it were the final project of a student, it would earn a B+. This is a good grade, really, though one that leaves ample room for improvement. Frankly, I, like many people, was relieved that it was not bad. Here is my new hope: the series will wipe the sleep out of its eyes, stretch, get out of bed, and go about its day without a yawn.

The two major themes of the Star Wars series appear to be (1) kids rebel against their parents and (2) bad guys are obsessed with death stars. The first of these is certainly universal, and, to be sure, the far more frightening of the two. Just ask any parent. The second must now have reached its physical limit. Having struck out three times, the dark force forces should really rethink how best to impose evil on the entire cosmos. Death stars are not the way. Things are now so bad for the bad that perhaps they should resort to the last of last resorts: management consultants. Surely McKinsey & Company could offer some innovative new approaches to managing evil change. How about more relatable names for Sith, such as Freddy, Diane, George, or Simone, or even new colors for lightsabers, like pink, pinstripe, paisley, or rainbow?  Rock stars, throwing stars, or even star fruit would be far preferable to Star Wars' apparent death stare decisis.

Now, what about casting?  It was fun to see prominent crossovers and veteran actors. One wonders if Kylo Ren will soon be joined by his partner Kylo Stimpy. What a brave decision to cast a Teletubby, Po, as the leading rebel pilot, when Tinky Winky would obviously have been a far safer choice! Including Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewbacca was a poignant reminder of the perils of an inadequate retirement insurance system. Finally, The Force Awakens provided a reminder of how universal British accents are throughout the universe, whether for baddies or goodies, though I question the quixotic decision that allowed actress Daisy Ridley to speak in her plummy native Westminster accent while fellow Brit John Boyega had to exchange the dulcet tones of his British accent for a less mellifluous Yankee drawl.

May the Force fully awaken in the next installment!