Star Wars Forty Years On

It is nearly 40 years since I saw the first Star Wars movie. The new Star Wars is in fact only the second of these movies I have seen on the big screen.

The first Star Wars movie was one of a handful of films that convinced me when I first saw them that they were something profoundly new and exciting.

So, what did I think of the latest Star Wars movie?

On the whole I liked it and would give it 8 out of 10.

There were some wonderful sequences and the effects were excellent and varied.

It still had that wonderful immersive feeling, that you are just thrown into an alien world and expected to take it as a given. The geology, the zoology, the sociology, the technology, everything … there is no exposition; nor a character who explains every new thing; nor is there a voice-over.

The new characters are good, although I had the funny feeling I had seen similar characters before. Much has been made of Rey, the female protagonist. I didn’t find Rey an objectionable character. She has a lot of power because of “the Force”. But she was referred to as “the girl” all through the film. I think we were meant to like her as much as be impressed by her. She is a serious young woman, but she has a lot to be serious about.

One thing I definitely agree with is that it is VERY like the original movie. There were many repeated themes. I thought there were some good new and – perhaps – memorable and quotable lines: e.g. Han Solo, “the longer we stay here, the less luck we will have.” There were also a few, isolated moments of humour, but I think the film suffered from that tendency of later entries in a successful series to take themselves a bit too seriously.

The new – rolling – robot is very cute.

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Bring Home Your Own Star Wars BB-8 Droid, Thanks To Sphero

In a sense, Rey is like Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter (and Matilda from that Roald Dahl book – and, no joke, like Anastasia Steele from 50 Shades of Grey.) That is, an apparently normal young person who turns out to be extraordinary. It is probably a universal childhood or young adult fantasy (“perhaps I am really a princess”), that one is somehow special, and this must explain some of Star Wars’ popularity with audiences.

 

People who are determined to see Rey as some kind of breakthrough female character forget that Princess Leia (who appears in this latest film too) was meant to be “feisty” in the very first film.

(Nor is every prominent female character necessarily a sign of female “empowerment”. I have written previously about what I believe is the very antifeminist character of Rachael in Blade Runner.)

“Judgybitch” has written about the character of Rey:

5 ways Rey kicks feminists in the face

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim on January 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    “On the whole I liked it and would give it 8 out of 10.”

    You’ve got to be kidding. It was dreadful and loaded with Leftist political preaching. Rey is a Mary Sue through and through. This is the first time I’m willing to say that you’re blind as a bat.

    And hell, how many times can you blow up yet another Death Star. BORING.

    My rating? 1/10. More Hollywierd vomit. Glad I didn’t spend my own money on it.

    And after reading her article I think Janet Bloomfield is a fucking idiot. Oh well. Some people just like being blind I guess.

    Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on January 21, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      I am not sure Judgybitch read everything correctly but it wasn’t (except perhaps in one or two places) a feminist film. As I said at my piece on Rachael from Blade Runner, good directors want to make nuanced films whatever their personal politics.

      One could make a case that Rey is emotionally driven. She wins fights but she has specific powers and is not, after all, an Earth woman. (I believe that one of those TV scientists has said that the BB droid could not move over sand, making the same kind of earthbound assumptions.)

      Rey loses too and makes mistakes. She forgets to take the “safety” off when she goes to fire a weapon. At one stage she is knocked out and is carried in a “bridal carry” onto a spaceship.

      As to the black character Finn, I thought he showed some negative stereotypes of bravado, deceit and even cowardice.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 8, 2016 at 7:09 am

    http://akinokure.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/star-wars-already-forgotten-sequel.html?m=1

    I have found myself quoting one line from the movie, so the film was not a dead loss for me.

    ” The longer we stay here the less luck we will have. ”

    And the new droid is terribly cute.

    Reply

  3. […] Women being carried, including in the “bridal carry” is a common cultural trope. Even Rey in the latest Star Wars movie is carried like this, as I noted here. […]

    Reply

  4. […] The character of Rey in the recent Star Wars movie. I have written about the movie and the character here. […]

    Reply

  5. Posted by Julian O'Dea on September 28, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Matt Forney was not impressed. Worth reading. The guy can write.

    http://mattforney.com/social-justice-wars/

    Reply

  6. […] Matt Forney has just reposted a review he did of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is pretty negative. My more positive impressions are here. […]

    Reply

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