By Darth Yoda (St. Louis, New York, Dubai)
Strap into your cockpit swivel chairs, I’m about to ruin Star Wars for you forever, or at least die trying. You’re all blind. The glowing blue bath robed ghost of Walt Disney just Jedi-mind-tricked you into thinking that a two and quarter hour nostalgia trip/war horror movie is actually a piece of art, a human achievement of storytelling and cinematic experience.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most fun you can have watching billions of people die. But let’s save the multi-planetary genocide for now and start at the beginning. A long time ago, yadda, yadda, there was a low budget sci-fi flick that borrowed heavily from multiple sources which I could name but won’t because you should know them by now. It was a simpler time, when on screen death meant you fell over and yelled or got tossed up in the air with some dirt and fell down, or vanished into thin air. Skip forward thirty years, billions of dollars and the apotheosis of an entire cast of characters later and we get to see something we always told ourselves we wanted to see but never really wanted, storm troopers who are competent killers (at least part of the time.) But when they are they are fucking scary, like, kill your whole family in front of you scary. I just love movies where villagers are rounded up and summarily mass murdered. (That whole, “hide the map” thing worked out so well Luke!)
If A New Hope had the feel of a seven year old boy knocking action figures around going “pew! pew! I got you!” TFA has the feel of Saving Private Ryan told in large part from the viewpoint of the German front lines, without any of the redeeming moral qualities. And this is the crux of the matter. There are no redeeming moral qualities to this murder turd.
War is the new heart of the “fun for the whole family” American movie experience and TFA doles out more than its required share of wanton death and human suffering. There is blood. There is emotional trauma, (that we get to share in, yay!) There are Lovecraftian horror movie monsters that drag you away for supper. There is the incredible cruelty of showing us the last moments of a few of the billions of people murdered for no seemingly logical political or tactical reason and then, for the final cherry, the company that brought you Mickey Mouse decided on Patricide. This was a crime, by the way, that the Romans punished by throwing the murderer in a sack with a snake, a rooster and a dog and tossing the whole package into a river, which is exactly what should happen to that Granddaddy skull humping little sack of shit. If they try to give his character some sort of redemption arc, I may lose it.
And here again I come to some sort of point. None of this violence means anything. Not to the plot, not to the moral message of the piece (there is none), not to the viewers understanding of the characters or of the universe or anything remotely worthwhile. The point of the violence is that the bad men (and one woman who gets thrown down a garbage chute: Way to break that evil glass ceiling) are bad. Just that, bad men are bad, except when the “good guys” are doing it. Then it’s pure, music driven heroism. Even when F-N-number-number-number, aka Finn (Why not call him Effin?) (And why does the white guy get to RENAME the newly free black guy?) Back to the point… Even when Finn guns down dozens of his own fellow soldiers, the very men he grew up with, with a ship mounted super gun, not because he has decided to fight for good, say, to protect the lives of others, but out of fear and frankly cowardice, we are supposed to cheer. He clearly has no morals, (who in his life would have taught him morals?) as he quickly turns into the killing machine he was trained to be, but now on the light side, yay!
Even the movies best character, the Wookie, is a violent semi-sociopath who will fucking shoot you or rip your arms off or blow you the fuck up if you make him mad. In this horror show, every character is either a killer, or gets killed, even Leia. Especially Leia, who has like all great generals, sits around with her thumb up her ass while soldiers die like insects for her whims and crappy plans.
Let’s take a break from the brutality of the movie and shift to a lighter, more fun topic, like how nothing in this galaxy makes any goddamn sense and no one seems to know anything about governing or how to fight a war.
Is the galaxy divided in half between the Republic and the First Order? Or is the Republic really big and The First Order a terrorist state? Or is the First Order really big and the Republic a little enclave of democratic values? And what the fuck is the resistance? Are they the Republic’s army? If they’re not, shouldn’t they be in some sort of alliance with their army? Where the hell is the military intelligence of the Republic and the Resistance that they don’t notice a planet with a giant gun in it just over the horizon until AFTER it obliterates five, count ‘em, five planets for a total of possibly tens of billions of lives lost. (And not even a little disturbance in the force this time. The force is too busy teaching sweet kendo moves.)
The Republic might as well not exist as a political entity for all the good it does, which is none, and the absolute best the resistance can do is send out a bunch of fighter jets to blow up an entire planet. No space missiles, no giant space bombers, no ground invasion, no fleet of warships aimed at the giant gun that just wiped out a chunk of your population, just some fighter jets. Yeah, that ought to do it. And, surprise! They do it. They kill everyone on the planet. Not because they planned effectively, but because the writers wrote it that way. When a massive chunk of what makes your plan successful, i.e. “let’s send some guys to plant explosives on the target before we strike it from the air,” is improvised, you did not plan well. Seriously, their choices for the special ops team were an elderly man, the aforementioned unpredictable arm ripping Wookie, and a guy who could so, so easily be a deep cover agent for the enemy. Not even a deep cover agent, maybe a shin deep cover agent. Finn’s like, “I totally defected!” and they’re all like, “We totally believe you wholeheartedly without even once considering that you might be a spy!”
On the flip side of things, (side note: saying “the dark side” is actually racially offensive,) the woefully named First Order oscillates (thermally, ha!) between a monstrously effective Nazi war machine and buffoonery worthy of Vaudeville. We’ve already mentioned the tough girl who goes down the garbage chute, but it’s worth mentioning that she allows herself to be captured by, let’s face it, idiots, and then does the least soldierly thing in the history of soldiering which is to turn off the defenses for her entire army because she doesn’t want to be shot. I think they shoot you for that, your own army that is. Or what about the Irish Nazi (such a fresh take on the English Nazi) who’s grand plan for galactic domination is to blow up five planets and then wait and see what happens next. Honestly, there is no second step to this plan, and, shocker! They get attacked. Who could have seen that coming!
At the heart of this side of the lunacy is a giant hunk of mummy poop. Our giant evil baddy- bad-bad man is some sort of giant shriveled ball sack faced pensioner who gives absolutely ZERO fucks about his planet gun, the survival of his army, the political survival of his (empire?) or anything at all except for the personal growth of the movies token whiny (and also this time creepily insane) teenager, the previously mentioned sack of shit who needs to be thrown in a sack and then into a river.
This leads us to another point. The force gets a whoooooole lot of people killed. It’s the primary motivation in one way or another for all of the deaths. All of them. In TFA, all of the deaths, all of the horror and bloodshed and screaming children burning in their mother’s arms are just a sideshow, just collateral damage in the all-important boring-ass game of who can do the most magic tricks by using the Tao. I’m sorry, the force. And guess who gets a whole lot of people killed with this meditation/murder religion? Good ol’ mass murdering Luke, whose original name, in case you’re not a nut-job fan, was going to be Luke Starkiller, which really would have been more appropriate. Which is why when the movie makes an in-joke by naming the planet-gun after his original moniker, it actually seems fitting because Luke is a black hole for human (and alien) lives. Great plan Luke! Way to topple a government and then bail on the reconstruction half-way leaving a power vacuum that gets filled by sociopaths that you helped train and arm… Oh, my God, he’s George Bush. And they want him back!? WHY? Are his telekinetic powers and sweet kendo moves going to improve the daily lives of the galaxy’s possibly quadrillions of inhabitants?
The force seems to just create more ultra-powerful psychopaths to fill the shoes of the ones you just killed. In Star Wars, the intimate and ethereal connection between all living beings, the mysterious force that binds consciousness and the physical world, in a high enough dosage turns you into an insane telekinetic murder wizard. This is not to say that this sort of cognitive dissonance hasn’t happened before in real human history. Think Zen samurai butchers, or Taoist bureaucrats, or Hindus chanting ohm to human sacrifice, or billionaires who are one with the universe while children starve.
But none of that can hold a candle to the havoc that oneness with the universe causes in the Star wars galaxy (It is a single galaxy, right?) If I were a resident of this galaxy, I would curse the notions of oneness and tranquility. People in this galaxy should be forcing their children to consume unhealthy amounts of trashy, hastily written murder-porn so as to avoid them ever becoming the least bit enlightened.
Perhaps they could show them The Force Awakens. BOOM!BEST QUOTES