I feel no particular need to repeat everything that so many have already said about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I enjoyed this movie. No, I REALLY enjoyed this movie. The special effects are right, and adequate fan service is paid. Oh, yeah – the spaceships are still cool and more “realistic” than ever. Chewbacca (still played by Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (still played by Anthony Daniels), and R2D2 (for whom Kenny Baker is still involved, this time serving as a consultant) are their lovable, familiar selves. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are poignantly compelling in their maturity.
But as I mentioned in last week’s post, I want to concentrate on two themes:
- the origin of evil
- spiritual development
Much could be said in regard to these themes, but I’ll concentrate on two new characters:
Kylo Ren – Oh, he’s evil, but he’s also a temperamental adolescent or post-adolescent who’s not yet fully on his game. The main question I have relates to the first theme. We know that he became evil, but we don’t know why given that his parents were essentially good.
More specifically how did he (as played by Adam Driver) get to the depraved state in which he could do what he did near the end of the movie? Even Darth Vader had turned out alright in the end, for crying out loud (which a middle-aged fellow sitting near me in the theater nearly did).
Rey – This character (played by Daisy Ridley) interested me for three reasons. First, she is a charming, admirable, gutty, and very feminine (but in an unconventional way) action hero.
Second, she and Han Solo have a good teacher-pupil relationship until… well, you know.
Third, concerning the second theme, I was delighted to watch her intuitive discovery of her spiritual prowess, especially during her mental face-off with Kylo Ren. The light saber fight wasn’t bad, either.
It is probably obvious by now that I found her the most compelling character. I’m a father with daughters, and I teach at a women’s college. I’ll make a bold prediction: this kid is going places.
Am I forgetting something? Right. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is still cool, too.