What better way to enjoy Christmas Eve than stargazing with my kids? We were lucky because there were very few moviegoers at the IMAX theater where we saw Star Wars, The Force Awakens. I’m not into huge crowds, so I was happy to find the viewing was so lightly attended. Note to self: Christmas Eve is an awesome time to take in a blockbuster movie!
Seeing Star Wars with my kids was a very different experience than seeing the original Star Wars in 1977. Wow, can you believe it? George Lucas’s space western saga has thrived these 38+ years. There have been highs, for example Ewoks, wicked-cool and imaginative creatures, and Jedi Masters, to name a few, and lows, dare I mention Jar Jar Binks? The story of good triumphing over evil remains an enormous draw to audiences of all ages.
There were things I noticed while watching the movie, in particular, I enjoyed seeing a more-inclusive supporting cast. I saw people of color, which makes total sense, doesn’t it? I noticed women who were fighter pilots, generals, and business owners. Not only did I notice and applaud the efforts the film makers made to create a realistic representation of people, I felt hopeful because we’re seeing evidence of the drive for inter-sectional and multi-gendered representation in the stories we’re queuing up in record-breaking numbers to view.
I noticed there was one, maybe two scenes where two named female characters held a conversation about something other than a man. Maz Kanata and Rey spoke of the vision or memory Rey’s touching a light sabre invoked. Yes, Luke Skywalker was mentioned in their exchange, but he wasn’t the primary focus of their discussion, which revolved around Rey embracing her destiny, and the courage required for her to do so. It might be argued that the conversation between General Leia and Rey was one-sided, but you can’t deny the words spoken “may the force be with you,” were said with sincerity and well received, nor did they contain a reference to a man. Does it sound like I am juxtaposing this movie against the Bechdel rule? You bet I am!
Another theme I noticed was that in which a character’s inner struggle was made evident in the actions he took and the language he used, or at times, didn’t. Despite being thoroughly subjugated into his life’s purpose as a Stormtrooper since birth, Finn, formerly known as FN-2187, made a conscious choice to be a better person, heroically walking away from everything he had ever known because that philosophy didn’t jive with his inner compass.
Did I applaud like a fan girl when iconic figures of my childhood appeared on the screen? Did I cheer the good guys and jeer the bad? You bet I did (much to my children’s embarrassment)! One thing that struck me was how we were watching the children of these complex and interesting characters we had met nearly 40 years ago struggling with the same issues their parents had, and perhaps still are. Maybe there’s more to this circle of life than meets the eye.