|| I had the awesome joy of taking my parents to see Star Wars Ep VII: The Force Awakens last week. My Dad took me to every one of the Original Trilogy shows when I was a kid, so being able to take him and my Stepmom to the latest iteration was fantastic. As good as TFA is, it is a special experience for those around my age. I was able to share it with my parents, completing the cycle started with A New Hope, while others of my generation can share it with their kids, starting a whole new cycle. I think the parallels between ANH and TFA reinforce this cycle even further. Throw in the proverbial passing of the torch from the Old Guard to the New Generation and it becomes even more perfect. I have no doubt that J. J. Abrams had that well in mind when he took the reigns, and I think he succeeded admirably not just in making a good movie, but continuing its tradition as a cultural icon.
It was also interesting seeing the movie with my Stepmom since she was only familiar with the characters via popular culture, and had never seen any of the movies. She enjoyed it immensely though, and was talking with my Dad as we left about wanting to watch the Original Trilogy and possibly the Prequels. One of my thoughts after my first viewing of TFA was that it would even work with people who had never seen a SW movie, so it was nice to have that confirmed.
The second viewing also helped smooth over some of the rough spots that had bothered me the first time through. I’d forgotten that Kylo Ren had taken a gut hit from Chewie’s Bolt-Thrower prior to his final light saber battle against Finn and then Rey. It made it more understandable for Finn and Rey to hold their own against him, despite Finn having only used a light saber once, and Rey having never used one at all. I had also forgotten about Rey taking Maz’s advice and giving herself completely to the force, since it wasn’t until then that she was able to take the advantage in the duel.
I also felt a bit better about Captain Phasma lowering the shields. It felt all too easy the first time through, but watching it with more care the second time around I saw the dismissiveness with which she lowered them; the equivalent of arrogantly entering a knife-fight with one hand tied behind her back. While it worked better for me, I still think having Han, Finn, and Chewie blow the control unit up would have been far superior.
I paid close attention to Han’s final scene as well. I know it was hard for many, but I still think it was well done. Even as his son killed him, Han kept his love for him, his dying act being to to reach out and touch his face. It was powerful, and lasted longer than I had remembered from my first viewing.
By the end I found that I had enjoyed the movie even more, I was able to share it with my parents, and I was really, really looking forward to Episode VIII: Shut Up and Take My Money.