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Monday, December 21, 2015

EPISODE 7 OF STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS


THE FORCE AWAKENS earned $238 million just in the USA this weekend, breaking the previous high, $209 million, of Jurassic World earlier this year.  World-wide, JW still is #1 with $525 million for the opening, but TFA did sell $517 million in tickets.  The primary reason why TFA fell short is that it will first open in  China on January 9.  JW cost only $150 million and has made $1.7 billion in less than 6 months.  TFA was produced for $200 million and already has more than doubled the investment.  JW was not rated all that high by Rotten Tomatoes (71%/79%), versus 95%/92% for TFA.

Getting to see the film was an adventure:

  • I showed up at 9:30AM for the 10AM IMAX/3D showing, and found out all the tickets were pre-sold.  For something so potentially monumental, I thought I'd go for maximum effects.
  • However, the next showing was at 1:30PM, and I could buy an advanced showing, so thinking quickly, what about catching another movie so that I did not need to leave the parking lot and return to a bigger crowd and maybe not even find a parking space.  The only option in terms of timing was Sisters.
  • So I paid more than $23.43 for two senior's tickets.  I stood in line to purchase a small bag of popcorn and a small drink (nah, don't serve beer here, so I brought a tiny bottle of gin).  Cost?  $11.50, so my bill was now up to $33.83.
  • It was still only 9:50, so I wondered how filled the room really was for Star Wars 7.  No one was checking if you really had the correct ticket and I was provided glasses for 3D.  So I found a seat in the middle of the second row.  I felt a little guilty, but was astonished at the end of the movie to observe that I was the only person in the first and second rows.  So, either a lot of people did not show up or something is faulty with the ticket counting machine.
For those who have yet to see the film, I will give away everything, so stop reading now.  But if you continue, you'll be better able to understand what really will be happening.  You can also, by the way, scroll down to the next posting, which provides everything important enough you need to know about the entire Star War series.

There have been tons of reviews and articles and stuff in newspapers, magazines and on TV, so you have by now seen some of them.  Thus, I will only provide my impressions:
  • 3D makes the films somewhat dark, or, maybe that was the intent of J.J. Abrams, who co-produced, co-wrote and directed this effort.  I like to slouch, so the fact that the IMAX screen was way up high was only a minor inconvenience.
  • George Lucas (left, with Abrams), who pretty much ran the whole show for the first six Star Wars, only was a creative consultant in the early stages, but his company, Lucasfilm, was a partner.
  • The background music was like space nostalgia..  But, after all, the composer of all these films, John Williams (right), returned for this seventh.
  • Filming began a year and a half ago in Abu Dhabi.  Iceland and Ireland also were used.
  • It has been a decade since SW6, Revenge of the Sith.
  • No Ewoks, nor Jar Jar Binks.
  • If you recall what I said about the Galactic Empire, it's gone, and the really bad people are now the First Order.
  • Those are stormtroopers with Darth Vader.  Wait a minute you say, if you are knowledgeable, I thought Darth Vader was dead?  Yes, so here is the biggest spoiler of all...YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO QUIT THIS BLOG...inside that black armor is Ben Solo (now known as Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver), son of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, portraying Han Solo and now General Leia Organa.  Near the end, on that same long bridge, son kills father with a lightsaber (getting old, actually, as this is the third time this has happened), so that's the end of Harrison Ford into the future, as he cannot use the Force.
  • All in all, the most important character in SW7 is Rey (Daisy Ridley).  There is a lot early childhood kidnapping and abandonment in the entire series to shade the true identities.  She will blossom even further in SW8, for the final scene in SW7 is the first appearance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who says not a word, indicating how important he also will be in SW8.  Oh, if you haven't figured this out by now, Luke is Rey's father.  How do you think she got the Force?  Will Mara Jade return?  Who?  Perhaps Rey's mother.
  • One of the memorable scenes from the past returns, that cantina.  If anyone was wondering how Lupita Nyong'o appears, look into the eyes of Maz Kanata, 1000-year old bar owner, who probably serves as SW7 most endearing personality.  Sure, click on this to get a preview.
  • Anticipating SW8, Rey will be the next Han sitting next to Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon:

So, return for a lot more hype of this galaxy far, far away, as Star Wars 8 opens on May 26, 2017.


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