Um, well, you know, it is the continuation of perhaps the greatest trilogy of all time. Let’s just say expectations are high.
J.J. Abrams has, by taking on the first film in a new trilogy of Star Wars’ films, challenged himself to do something almost entirely impossible. 38 years ago, people walked out of Star Wars: A New Hope in a euphoric daze, having entered for a brief two hours a fully realized science-fiction world unlike any they’d ever seen on screen. George Lucas didn’t just make a movie in 1977, he created fans, ardent supporters, normal folks so enamored with what he’d brought to their local cinemas that their love would be passed on to generation after generation. And now, almost four decades later, J.J. Abrams has tasked himself with doing it all over again. Because making the newest film in the recently shrunk Star Wars Universe, isn’t just about making a great, space-faring adventure story, it’s about the hordes of movie lovers who will stream out of theaters all over the world for weeks and months to come, and what feeling they’ll have emanating out of them. Will this introduce a new generation of Star Wars nerds to the world? Will kids learn to sing the Star Wars’ theme before they learn to talk? Honestly, I think so. J.J. Abrams hasn’t made a perfect movie – there’s some tone issues, and I think Abrams depended a little too much on previously accrued knowledge to drive some of the story – but he’s made a near perfect “Star Wars movie.” And I don’t just mean he’s paid lip-service to the Star Wars fans and I don’t mean because he’s captured the aesthetic of the first trilogy nearly perfectly or that he’s reintroduced the legends of Star Wars to a whole new audience, no, I mean Abrams has made a film that takes you, for a brief two hours, to a galaxy far, far away. I walked out of Star Wars yesterday overwhelmed by the emotion inherent in returning to the respectfully realized world of a film that I grew up loving. Abrams had an impossible task – make you feel like you were seeing Star Wars in 1977 – and though I was a glimmer in my pop’s eye in 1977, I can only imagine that he and I walked out of our respective theaters, 38 years apart, feeling pretty much the same way. And for that J.J. Abrams, I thank you.
Clearly you noticed I avoided saying anything about the film in this review. I can’t, honestly, I won’t. This movie reminded me about how enjoyable a well-kept secret is, how much better it was when every film on Earth wasn’t ruined three months before it started. It made me want to stop obsessively watching trailers and going to movie sites and just let each film I see completely surprise me. Bitch all you want about Abrams Mystery Box methods, but wow, this film is so much better because of the bombshells it drops on unsuspecting viewers. See it soon, avoid spoilers, and hell, maybe the Force will be with you.