December 16, 2015, - 3:02 am

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Chickified Like America, But Still Very Good

By Debbie-Wan Kenobi Schlussel


I saw the new Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” on Tuesday afternoon at one of the most mysterious, secretive movie screenings I’ve attended in my 12 years or so as a movie critic. It was worth the intrigue and the wait. The movie, while far too chickified (just like America), delivers. I’ve been careful not to give away any spoilers on this page or below, but I posted a link below to another page with the spoilers. There are some big ones.

This new, reinvigorated Star Wars movie isn’t better or nearly as good as the original 1977 Star Wars movie or “Return of the Jedi” (the third installment). But it was never going to be. That’s just not possible. And this one is good enough. I enjoyed it thoroughly, though I thought at least 15 minutes (and maybe a little more) could have been lopped off of the 135-minute movie. There were some slow parts, though they were few and far between.

The movie has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a Star Wars movie: the “In a Galaxy Far, Far Away” opening crawl; lightsabers (and lightsaber fights); TIE fighters, the Millennium Falcon, and assorted spaceships (including an Evil Empire spacecraft far larger than the Death Star); and the usual alien bar scene, some humor, lots of great special effects, beautiful cinematography, a terrific soundtrack (including the familiar Star Wars theme, but, unfortunately, the Darth Vader theme a/k/a “The Imperial March” isn’t in this, since Vader died in “Return of the Jedi”), and a clear and easy-to-understand story and plot.

Most important and something I expect from Star Wars fare–the main reason I like it: there are the usual, clear-cut villains and heroes (though there is some inner fighting between the forces of the Dark Side and the Light in the conscience of at least one character), and the good guys win; the bad guys lose. And, as in all Star Wars movies, it’s a David v. Goliath victory. Contrary to rumors and speculation, the good guys we’ve come to revere haven’t turned evil.

Nearly all of the characters we saw in the original Star Wars trilogy are back. Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa (who is now General Leia Organa), Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and the Droids C3PO and R2D2. Those who’ve seen the original Star Wars movies know that in addition to Darth Vader, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi are also gone, and so they are not here. There is no Lando Calrissian, so Billy Dee Williams will have to hope for more Colt 45 ads or that, maybe, he’s in the sequel to The Force Awakens.

Then, there are the new, much younger characters to whom the batons of both good and evil are passed. And thank G-d for that, because Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) look very old, tired, and haggard, which is bittersweet to watch, especially if you were alive and young, as I was, when the original Star Wars movie first debuted in theaters in 1977.

The younger, newer characters are only slightly more multi-cultural than before. But they are definitely far more chickified. The new version of Yoda, is a chick who looks like E.T. (phone home!) and owns the bar where the usual alien bar scene takes place. The new Luke Skywalker is also a tiny, very slim chick, Rey (Daisy Ridley), who as in many other unrealistic movies these days, is a tough badass who can fight off and beat even three or more man, each one of whom is twice and big and thick as she is. I didn’t mind it as much because Rey is a likable, smart, and resourceful character. Still, there’s no way she would beat the mean . . . unless the Force was with her. Even then, she’d have to do it with Jedi mind tricks, and she does it through brute strength.

There is also a new Lando Calrissian–the goofy and overly enthusiastic former Stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega), who was taken from his family as a child and raised by the Empire (which is now called, the “First Order”). But he develops a conscience and a sense of morality early on. And there is a new Han Solo flying for the Rebel Forces, Poe Dameron, played by Cuban-American Oscar Isaac. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Han Solo, but the Poe character–who isn’t in this movie much–has the same Han Solo sarcasm and sense of humor. It works. The new Darth Vader has a name that sounds more like a supermodel or soap opera actress than a male villain: Kylo Ren. And I’m not sure about the casting of that one, since I’m used to actor Adam Driver playing comedic roles as narcissistic hipsters. He seems a little chick-ish, too. Just saying.

The story and plot are very similar to the ones you saw in the original Star Wars movies: the Rebels–led by General Leia–are fighting and trying to defeat the evil Empire and vice versa. In this one, Poe is captured by the Empire, and he is carrying a droid, BB-8, which is similar to R2D2. The droid has the location of Luke Skywalker contained somewhere in its hard drive. As they are fighting each other, the Empire is racing the Rebels in trying to locate the droid and the path to Skywalker. Junk collector Rey comes across the droid in her native planet of Jakku, and soon she is fighting on the Rebels team with Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the others.

I could tell you more, but I think I’ve told you enough on this page. If you want to learn the spoilers–again, they are major ones–click here for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” SPOILERS.

In the meantime, know that “Star Wars” The Force Awakens” is worth seeing especially if you are a Star Wars or sci-fi fan. And, of course, it’s a given that there will be sequels. It’s set up for that.

You don’t need to know the back story of the first three Star Wars films to enjoy this, but it’ll make you enjoy it more (and get a few lines, like the one from Solo about the trash compactor). I saw this in regular, old-fashioned 2D, but this is one of those rare movies in which I think it would be better in 3D, given the special effects and non-stop action.

The movie is rated PG-13. Would I take kids to see it? Yes. Maybe not very young kids. There is some blood and killing, but as in all previous Star Wars movies, ultimately the bad guys get theirs.

Come on over to the “Dark Side” of the movie theater on Friday, when this debuts in theaters (there are early screenings in most major cities on Thursday night).


Some other Star Wars stuff:

* The secrecy regarding the screening of the movie: we were sent secret invitations requiring that we not tell anyone we were invited to see it or that we’d seen it after the screening was over. We were not given the location of the screening until the day before. And there were many other restrictions. Security was tighter than at the airport or government buildings. A lot of other mystery and security added to the intrigue and anticipation of the movie. Like I said, I’ve never seen that with any other movie in more than a decade as a movie critic. J.J. Abrams and Disney take their security more seriously than America takes our national security.

* They don’t have a name for Star Wars fans the way they have “Trekkie” for Star Trek fans. “Warsie” just doesn’t have the same cachet. But I guess you could call me a “Warsie.”

* I went to the library a couple nights ago to take out the original “Star Wars” movie and watch it again for this review. It took me a while to locate the movie because apparently, with so many sequels and prequels, it has a new name. What was once just “Star Wars,” is now called, “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope.” HUH?

* When I was a little kid back in 1977 when Star Wars came to theaters, I wasn’t allowed to see it right away. All my friends had seen it and said how good it was. But I had responsible parents who cared about my welfare and wanted to see it first to make sure it was okay. My late Dad said he heard there were monsters and scary aliens in the movie, and he wanted to see it for himself before he exposed me to something like what he’d heard. You rarely see parents like that anymore. Instead, I often see sperm and womb/egg donors taking their kids to see horribly graphic movies because these “parents” (In Name Only!) are unwilling to miss out on a movie in order to raise good kids.

I remember when my Dad came home from seeing “Star Wars” in 1977. He said, “Kids, this is a great movie. I’m taking you to see it. You’ll love it.” And I and my next youngest sister went to see it with my Dad. Father knows best. We did love the movie. Dad also took us to see “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”

The original “Star Wars” movie came at a good time. America was in the midst of bad times under the hegemony of Jimmy Carter. And this movie was one of those pop culture developments that helped usher in Ronald Reagan and the Reagan Revolution (the Trump “Revolution,” or whatever you’d call it, is more “Spaceballs” than “Star Wars”). The movie was a metaphor for people who fought the tyranny of the Empire of the Soviet Union. And I believe Americans saw that.

If only this new Star Wars movie had the same effect and spurred Americans to get rid of bad choices like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But, no such luck. They don’t get it, sadly. To them, it’s just a movie. But it is so much more than that. Or, at least, it was.


Watch the trailer . . .

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12 Responses

Speaking of being chickafied, what’s going on in Israel? Why isn’t it kicking out the Muslim terrorists? Why are people being stabbed in the streets and on buses? Why are people being run over by vehicles? If Israel can’t kick the bums out then we have no hope in the USA if fixing our illegal/criminal problems.

Dinak on December 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

Debbie you can consider me a full fledged Warsie. Picture it the year is 1977. A little Black kid living in Southern West Virginia in a neighborhood where there were no cell phones, microwave ovens and it took four guys to bring the first color TV that you saw because it looked like a piece of furniture complete with record and 8 track player. In a neighborhood were you could ride your bike far(not too far) from home and not have to worry about scum bag pedophiles. Where you could ride in the back of pickup trucks and station wagons down the highway. Where it was a treat to go to McDonalds or anywhere to eat out because your mom could actually cook. Where schools were safe places to learn and had good food for breakfast and lunch. Where men were men and the women were damn proud of it before the Oprahization of America. Sure we had the 2nd worst president in modern history at the helm but at least he only served 1 term unlike the moron we have now. Where you could go to a theater and see a movie that didn’t cost your parents a small fortune. Case in point the Star Wars movie. I loved it but much like what your dad did we didn’t see it until it was out for a month and not without my parents checking it out. We all had a ball when the whole family went to see it. Now with the new one coming out this Friday I’ll have a certain excellent film critics take on the movie as a guide. From the trailer on YouTube it looks like this will be a big hit. I’m no longer that little kid and the country has changed dramatically over the years but I intend on having the same experience with my children seeing this film as I had back when I first saw a galaxy far far away.

Ken B on December 16, 2015 at 11:44 am

the Trump “Revolution,” or whatever you’d call it, is more “Spaceballs” than “Star Wars”)



Laura on December 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    “I’m half human and half dog. I’m my own best friend!”

    skzion on December 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm

As far as Debbie’s point of “If only this new Star Wars movie had the same effect and spurred Americans to get rid of bad choices like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But, no such luck. They don’t get it, sadly” – it’s worse than that. It could be argued that, especially the ‘Millennial’ generation, thanks to the constant leftist indoctrination in our schools and colleges, have gone totally over to the Dark Side, with their support of politically correct speech codes and “trigger warning” systems on campus; their intolerance towards any conservative viewpoints; their support of violent criminals (“Black Lives Matter”) and Islamo-terrorists and, conversely, hatred of America, American exceptionalism and our liberties (as well as of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian values from which the tree of liberty had sprung); and down the list. While “the Empire” in the original “Star Wars” could be seen as a metaphor for the Soviet Union, in today’s time “the Empire” is in essence Obama, Hillary and the rest of the Democrats – and also their GOP RINO collaborationists / enablers (i.e. Ryan and “McConman”).

ConcernedPatriot on December 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

I wonder how many remember when the original Star Wars came out there were many religious leaders who condemned the philosophical aspect of the movie. I can’t recall if there were calls for boycotts but it seems so.

From what I’ve seen of the trailers I’m not all that interested. I think the industry has been relying far to much on CGI. As one who has delved into that technology I find it quite easy to spot, especially in these types of films. Directors seem to think if they can make it Epic enough with all the CGI it makes for a bigger and better film. This has been a trend of late and for that reason I seldom watch these movies. The last Star Trek films, along with the last Star Wars films, really soured me on watching them. They all seem to be cut from a Marvel Comics mold.

Greg on December 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

I liked the first and third movies, second one was just OK, than totally lost interest so skipped pts 1 & 2, finally saw pt 3 and realized just how corny the plot was behind Skywalker turning into Vader. I mean really, could someone like that be so gullible? Possibly, but the whole thing just seemed so lame to me.

theShadow on December 16, 2015 at 11:54 pm

The old SW movies had the outstanding lines from the good guys: “may the force be with you” and “…there is no such thing as luck” and “I’m your father”

The evil guys were clearly identified: Darth tall in black with a scary helmet, and oppressive voice. The Imperial March was evil sounding.

Hopefully there are some moments like that in the new version. If not I will be disappointed.

Note I was 30 some years old at the time of the first movie, with kids. This movie and those that followed were part of positive thinking that was provided to grow out of the disaster of Carter and the progessives back then.

I appreciate your review.

Panhandle on December 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

I’ll definitely see the new “Star Wars,” but not until its theatrical run is nearly over. I refuse to sit in a theater with dozens of noisy teens and twentysomethings yakking, whispering, receiving cell phone calls, and disrupting my concentration.

Primetime on December 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Adam Driver is a former Marine. Your “chickish” argument is invalid. 😉

Arby on December 20, 2015 at 2:29 am

“…I often see sperm and womb/egg donors taking their kids to see horribly graphic movies because these ‘parents’ (In Name Only!) are unwilling to miss out on a movie in order to raise good kids.”

They either can not or will not find a sitter so they can enjoy a movie night!

Then there’s the time when “Watchmen” opened in theaters back in 2009. Clueless parents, thinking this movie was along the lines of other superhero movies like Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc., thought the kids would enjoy this despite its R rating. I heard of reports when theater personnel even warned some parents of how graphic the film was, but said warnings fell upon deaf ears. Other reports of entire families walking out a third of the way into the picture, grumbling something along the lines of “superhero movies should be family friendly” (Um…I wouldn’t consider all superhero movies to be “family friendly,” especially “The Dark Knight”. Thinking of “The Incredibles,” maybe?). I heard of one report of a family walking out during the opening credits when they came upon the lesbian kiss scene!

In any event, few people want to go to a movie clearly aimed at adults and have to tolerate parents with kids in tow in the audience. I’m curious as to whether or not we’ll see a similar situation when “Deadpool” premieres in a couple of months…

Alan on December 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm


Michael David Mills on April 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm

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