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Star Wars: The Force...uh, Shaken?
A Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Body Knows
After our Christmas Day outing to see the new Star Wars movie, the five of us packed into the cold Ford in the parking lot without a single “Wow!” or “Meh.”
Unlike the sequels that included Jar Jar Binks and nine-year-olds racing extraterrestrial dune buggies, I’d hoped to be entertained.There had, after all, been rumblings of a genuine awakening of the Force.
My body often knows I’m bored before I do. Twenty minutes in, I felt a twinge in my back. I flicked at a rough fingernail. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by the middle of the second act, had put my husband to sleep.
Not Awful, Just Typical
It’s not that Star Wars is an awful movie. It’s not. It’s a typical sequel, which means it’s calculated for commercial appeal.
These days, movie blockbusters rarely break new ground. They re-plow tired soil, exploiting our attachment to beloved stories to generate fresh profits. Eight of 2015’s top ten grossing films were remakes or sequels. Only Pixar’s Inside Out and Fox’s The Martian were original productions.
- The Numbers - Top-Grossing Movies of 2015
Top-Grossing Movies of 2015
Re-heating a Hit Movie
Director J.J. Abrams’ recipe? Reheat the original Star Wars. While the script is painstakingly plated by studio sous-chefs, assemble as many original actors as possible. Gently toss plot points, add a touch of Lord of the Rings and a sprinkling of Indiana Jones…and spin for nearly two years (while selling merchandising and licensing).
The result? Another bland, yet explosive spectacle, served on a solid marketing platform. Open wide: there are at least two more courses.
To rekindle the Holiday spirit, I reheated something a bit more palatable (Christmas dinner leftovers) and suggested our family watch a classic Holiday film, Bad Santa.
As my husband, our son, daughter and her husband enjoyed Bad Santa for the tenth time, it struck me that there’s more chemistry in the brief scene between John Ritter and Bernie Mac than there was between any two actors in Star Wars.
See for yourself:
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The only chemistry in the new Star Wars occurs between Han Solo and Rey. Sparks don’t fly between Rey and her likely love interest in (gulp) the next two installments of this franchise. This could be a painful affair.
Chewbacca and BB8 managed more emotional range than the pained—and Estee Lauder-painted—Princess Leah.
Bad Santa as a Star Wars Sequel
As I watched second movie on Christmas Day, it struck me: if someone switched costumes and put the story on a space station, Bad Santa would have made a superior Star Wars sequel.
Billy Bob Thornton starts out as a Santa-clad storm trooper, ending up physically wounded,psychically redeemed—and criminally intact. Brett Kelly, who played pre-pubescent Thurman Merman, suffers silently in his adipose armor, except when he slices open his psyche on Bad Santa’s version of a lightsabre: a bloody pickle. That kid’s a Jedi, alright. He’s the snot-faced, publicly humiliated embodiment of Universal Truths, who despite abuse and dysfunction, maintains the patience and capacity to love.
Quite a few box office hits generate spin-offs or sequels...even the sacred Bad Santa (2003) is not immune...Bad Santa 2 is due to be released next Christmas.
They've already sucked ten bucks out of me.
Although I'm disappointed, I don’t feel cheated about spending time and money to see Star Wars. We had a nice family visit on the drive to and from the local Carmike Cinema. My husband got a mid-afternoon nap. From my seat behind the newlyweds. I watched my daughter feed her husband popcorn.
Sometimes, with the right company, a mediocre movie can be a good investment.
Bad Santa 2
- Bad Santa 2 (2016) - IMDb
Directed by Mark Waters. With Billy Bob Thornton, Brett Kelly, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox. An adventure with Santa impersonator Willie Stokes.