Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Great Disturbance in the Holidays

     Every year, I hear a lot of talk about how we forget the true meaning of Christmas, or that the holiday is getting lost in the commercialism. As a Christian who is close with his family and attends church on a fairly regular basis, I have to say, my Christmas didn’t suffer from any of that… BUT as we ring in a new year, I’m noticing that there was one special aspect of my holiday season that was sorely missed.

Star Wars.

     When Disney purchased Lucasfilm and decided to start making new Star Wars movies, they originally planned for them to be released in the summer, but for whatever reason they were pushed back one by one to a December release date. As a result, I had a new Christmas tradition. Along with the family get-togethers, the tree lightings, and the nativity plays, there were now lightsaber duels, funny robots, and epic battles between good and evil. What could be more merry?

     Things went this jolly way for three years and then Lucasfilm finally got that summer release date they originally wanted. Just like that, my 2018 Christmas was one tradition short, and let me tell you… there is no number of times that a person can watch Rudolph to efficiently make up for a lack of new Star Wars. One thing I can do, however, is wax nostalgic about those few magical years that I was lucky enough to have. Therefore, rather than looking to the future at the start of this new year, I’m using this post to look back.

Here now are my rose-colored recaps of the films that have made my recent holidays just a little more bright.

Episode VII - The Force Awakens
     I can’t think of a more daunting undertaking than having to make a sequel to the Star Wars trilogy, so saying that in order for this to work, Lucasfilm would have to start strong is an understatement. In my opinion, they didn’t disappoint. I had ZERO idea what to expect when I first sat down to watch The Force Awakens. All I was promised was a return to that galaxy far, far away with a cast of new characters sharing the screen with the beloved originals. What I got was that and more! This movie served as the perfect reminder (as if I needed one) of why I loved Star Wars so much in the first place, and several viewings later, it still does.  

Rogue One - A Star Wars Story
     But while nostalgia might have been enough to fuel our interest for the first go-around, Lucasfilm would have to try their hand at something new if they were going to keep audiences the right kind of riveted. Rogue One marked the first installment in this endeavor and… you know what? It’s still more nostalgia. Like… a LOT of nostalgia! All throughout this movie I’m going, “Ooh! I know who that is!” or “Ooh! I recognize that thing!” Why am I so pumped to see Jimmy Smits? He walks on screen and my heart actually skips a beat! What is that about?! Was I that enthralled with the way he sat while speaking in the prequels? Or maybe it was the scenes where he walked slowly while speaking. Whatever it was, I see Mr. Smits walking while speaking here and I’m giddy, so he’s crushing it apparently.

     What I love most about Rogue One though, is how, for the first time, I actually feel like I’m in the Star Wars universe rather than just watching it. That may sound a little ridiculous, but it’s true. The film’s break from format allows for a much closer look under the hood of the revved-up sports car that is Star Wars! And what’s even greater is now we have some variety in how we enjoy this stuff! Whether it’s the tried-and-true serial style of the saga films, or the more tangible grittiness of the spinoffs, there’s plenty of options in the foreseeable future to keep us Star Wars fans loyal and united!

Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
Oh. Riiiiiiiight…

Okay. So maybe not that united.

Solo - A Star Wars Story
     Hey! Let’s move on! Solo was the first summer release of Disney’s Star Wars and the real reason my 2018 holidays were found lacking. But it still falls in with this new lineup of films, so I’m going to talk about it.

     I think it’s kind of a shame that people refer to this one as the first Star Wars flop. In 100 years, if a person is shown Revenge of the Sith and Solo back-to-back and asked to pick which one was considered a disappointment, would they honestly guess Solo?! And what about Caravan of Courage? Or that Clone Wars crap where they just butted three episodes of a cartoon show together and called it a movie? No. The one with Childish Gambino and the Kessel Run. That’s the flop!

     I once considered recasting Han Solo and telling a compelling pre-New Hope story with this character an impossible task, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. It's not the best Star Wars film out there, but it's certainly not the worst either! If you ask me, studio execs need to get their heads out of their bank accounts for two seconds and give this film a little more credit!

Is anyone asking me? No probably not.

     Luckily, the highly-anticipated Episode IX will see the franchise’s return to that holiday release date. As for what the future holds after that, time will tell, but I’m at least glad to get one more year of Force-filled festivities in the books. Peace on Earth might be all well and good for the Christmas season, but when it comes to that galaxy far, far away… I need me my wars, yo!

No comments: