I sat there, clutching the armrests of the chair with a deathgrip that could pull the most stubborn stuffed animal from the depths of the claw machine. The skin on my arms was pimpled, hairs standing at attention, and the butterflies in my stomach zooming around at an intensity that rivaled the jitters from drinking a fourth cup of coffee. By the time the gold font scrolled up the screen and the John Williams score kicked in, I was 100% invested.
I’m sure some people will judge me for showing more excitement at the premier of Star Wars Episode VII than at, well, pretty much anything (I’m fairly confident that I won’t be as excitedly nervous and breath-taken at my own wedding.)
Even though I don’t tend to write about pop culture or movies, I would be remiss to not share my feelings on The Force Awakens. Not just because it’s on par with my love for Harry Potter (fun fact: while Harry Potter wins my personal award for favorite books/series, Star Wars wins favorite movies by far) but because Star Wars has been a part of my life since I made a habit of watching A New Hope, taped from the local cable station, every other weekend growing up. Literally. Twice a month, over, say, about 8 years, meant I had seen A New Hope approximately 192 times by the time I hit middle school.
Without giving anything away, The Force Awakens brought back the spirit that the original movies did, without a doubt.
The story itself is adventuresome, it’s fun; and the characters are charming and endearing in their own ways. While there’s humor to be found in the original trilogy (see here), The Force Awakens is laden with moments of honest laughter as opposed to the dry, political drama of the prequels. I have so many questions — so many thrilling, I-can’t-wait-to-see-where-this-is-headed questions — and I haven’t been this excited for a movie in years.
It wasn’t perfect: there were some moments I felt were lagging as a story, or ones that felt inauthentic or just could’ve been fleshed out better. In appreciation of keeping these parts spoiler free for those who still need to see it, I’m not going to discuss that now (feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss, however!), but it’s worth mentioning that even with it’s faults, The Force Awakens is a much more fitting addition to the universe than the early 00s prequels.
Are the Star Wars movies my go to example when teaching archetypes or relaying the cycle of the hero’s journey as it pertains to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth? Certainly. Do the originals hold a spot in the accolades of classic cinema? You bet. Do I really just have fond memories watching The Empire Strikes Back with my Dad growing up?