That New Movie That's Out.

december 21st, 2015

i share the consensus that the new Star Wars movie was a very fun time and a return to form. i'm just gonna write about what i loved, followed by theories.

Image courtesy Dylan Kowalski - Deviant Art

Image courtesy Dylan Kowalski - Deviant Art

i LOVED all the jokes about male ego:

Finn about to rescue Rey, o woops, she can handle herself, now Rey rescues Finn
Han to Finn: “Ok, 'Big Deal'.”
Finn to Rey: “It had me, but then the door closed!”  Rey: “…”
Rey to Han: “I fixed it!”  Han: [sulks]
Medic to Chewie: “Yes, you were very brave.”

i loved Rey's rescue of BB‑8 and the implication of normative robot civil rights, tho somehow compatible with the idea of robots having “masters.”

i loved Kylo's monologue to Darth's helmet. A Dark Side character tormented by the Light! Fresh!

i loved the humor in 2015 vernacular:

Po: “Who talks first? You talk first or I talk first?”

Finn: “Did you SEE THAT?!!”
Po: “Yah I SAW THAT!!”

Maz: “Where's my boyfriend? I love that Wookiee.”

i loved the early shot of Rey polishing her Star Destroyer scavenges, looks up at a dessicated old woman polishing her own scavenges. No exposition or interior monologue, it's all in the shot. “Is this what my life is going to be? This, for‑fucking ever?”

i loved the reveal that Snoke is a projection, and we don't know how big he is. Full‑size biggo? Teeny tiny Wizard of Oz? Fresh.

i loved that Han and Leia broke up. That felt real. That felt like, “this movie isn't here to suck your dick.”
[except for all the parts where it sucks your dick]
[cf battle chess]

i loved Adam Driver playing Kylo Ren as Adam from Girls. Tantrums. Vulnerability. Sexual threat. “You know I can take whatever I want.”

i loved Kylo Ren pounding at his side wound during the final battle. Disturbing, fresh.

i loved Sad Luke Skywalker on Lonely Island, too sad to even say hello.

i loved that it felt like a re‑telling of the original trilogy. i love the original trilogy! Yah, go for it, re‑tell it!

i loved that it didn't withhold reveals in order to build tension. Like: it didn't do that narratively insecure thing where the entire plot hinges on two characters withholding information from each other, refusing to have an adult conversation. Like: it didn't build and build and then last shot [dunh dunh dunh!] we find out Kylo Ren is Han and Leia's son.

It also didn't do that thing where all the tension comes from characters refusing to be mature and coöperate. Friends are everywhere! Just like in the original trilogy. Here, the story begins with Po and Finn coöperating, becoming friends. And lovers*.
* in my imagination. i know, i know: no movie could be that good.

i suspect that memory erasure will figure big in the coming movies. To me The Force Awakens was unambiguous that Rey is Luke's daughter. But many in my watching party found it highly ambiguous? So now i feel like one of those imperious Internet dudes who starts sentences with “I fail to see” and ruins everyone elses good time?

But definitely: unambiguous to me. Rey's flashback‑visions. That Maz identifies Rey in direct lineage of the lightsaber's masters. Rey's Force sensitivity and natural ability. And Kylo's line from probing Rey's memory: “[Han Solo] is the father you never had. He'll disappoint you.” i.e. Han is not her bio‑daddy.

A friend said he was annoyed by Rey's untrained natural ability. But we don't actually know that Rey is untrained. She might have had many years of original gangster Jedi training from birth, Knights of the Old Republic style. She might have had plenty of experience fixing the Falcon with surrogate daddy Han. Then Luke wiped her memory before he split for Lonely Island. Wiped Leia and Han and Chewie and C3PO's memories, too.

i suspect there's a major reveal coming on Finn's back story. His origin as he tells it doesn't make much sense. Like: unbeknownst to himself, he's a sleeper agent. Or a regular sleeper agent. (break my heart)

Maybe! Or not! This is me assigning narrative logic to a genre and franchise unconstrained by airtight plotting.