So over the holidays I saw movies from three different "franchises". Two in the theatre and one on Blu-Ray. There will be spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this post so if you haven't seen it yet and don't want to know, do not read.
So first, just before Christmas, I saw the new Bond movie. And I just had to look up the name of it, which tells you what kind of an impact it had on me... the problem with the Bond films of late, for me, is that they're serious and dark and it's all very dark and dreary. There's none of that campiness, the odd double entendre of the old ones. Do I think it needed to 'grow with the times'? Sure. But I think it totally divested itself of the charm that the franchise originally had. I found it long, unexciting, predictable and it confirmed that I no longer enjoy the Bond films.
I'm going to jump to last weekend when I saw Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Now they've always suffered, again in my opinion, from taking themselves too seriously. Though I've enjoyed the additions of Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg, and I've found that they have picked up the humorous touches that the Bond films have lost. So this one was enjoyable. Hopefully now that they've dealt with the "disbanding the IMF altogether" thing, they can concentrate in future on the intrigue.
Lastly, there was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I was trying very hard not to anticipate this one too much, because I didn't want it to not live up to my expectations.
You see, I can remember sitting down in the theatre the summer of '77 and watching the movie with my family. I can remember being blown away and waiting eagerly for the next one and then the next. I am a Star Wars Fan with that capital letter. So I wanted this one to be good.
And this one was indeed good. I was in the new 'dbox' rumble seats. I liked these for how much room I had. And I liked the feeling of flying whenever they panned. However, I wasn't that into the rumbling and jerking around during the fight scenes and stuff - I found it distracting more than anything else. Plus at an extra $7 on top of the more expensive IMAX costs, I didn't think they were worth it (for me).
Chair aside, I loved seeing Han and Chewie back. I loved Rea, the new girl. And BB8 is adorable. It was totally an over the top enjoyable movie.
My big beef. They killed Han. I was not happy about that one. He's still one of my favorite characters and he and Chewie really helped make this movie.
I also found Han's son Ben less than effective as a bad guy. Once that facemask came off, he totally was a whiny kid more than a big bad guy. Also, and maybe it was because we didn't get a real background for him, I didn't get why he'd turned to the dark side. Anakin at least had all that anger from losing his mother and he grew up as a slave and stuff and Sidious was grooming and encouraging his anger. Ben had two parents who loved him, an uncle who was teaching him to use his powers. I think there needs to be more backstory.
Those are little quibbles, though. I really did like the movie a lot. I've got theories about Rea (I think she's Luke's daughter -- and I really don't want to know if I'm right or not, I like going into these movies totally unspoiled.)
Oh, interesting side note. I thought Finn really suffered in this movie. Not that the kid wasn't a great actor, but he just didn't have the presence the rest of the characters did. The girl who played Rae was fantastic, and Harrison Ford with his growly voice has this presence and gravitas he brings to the role of Han that Fin was missing.
Anyway. I could probably go on and on, because I am a Star Wars Fan and I'm thrilled to see the franchise continuing and I'm pleased with how its continuing (for the most part, still not entirely happy Han had to die, though I get from a storytelling point of view why it had to be done.)
So yay Star Wars!
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