Star Wars 17 ("The Force Reanimated") from Lucasfilms arrives just in time for the national holiday, Star Wars Day. Schools and government offices are closed, as usual. Of course, it has already made trillions in China, so everything it earns in America is just gravy. It is already projected to beat the record, (though of course the 50.00 ticket prices will need to be adjusted for inflation.)
Of course, every day is Star Wars day now. We are all Star Wars nerds, and it didn't take the recently passed law that disparaging Star Wars was a criminal offense to make us so.
The familiar scroll and fanfare thrills as always, though it now takes seven minutes. George has a lot of trade laws and such to explain. It helps that John Williams has added the Fanfare Lullaby. But after that, the movie really takes off.
How can you not be excited when the three Death Stars roar above you, chasing our hero's C-3PO and R2-D2 in their small X-wing? They are as droll as ever, and it is a comforting thing to hear C-3PO exclaim, "We're doomed!" and R2-D2 answer, "Shut up, you twit!" Gets a laugh every time. (I'm so thankful that George decided to give R2-D2 a voice, and using Jack Nicholson is sheer genius.)
Objects and delightful aliens whiz by the screen in a blur, but every so often a familiar figure shows up and the audience cheers. There's Han Solo shooting a dozen stormtroopers from his wheelchair and we are reminded that Harrison Ford still has it. He can act with the unparalyzed half of his face better than most young actors can with their whole body. (The rumors that he was paid for his two minutes more than all the other actors combined is just that -- a rumor.)
Bobba Fett is front and center again after her sexual transition. The rumor is that since she recently won the Oscar, Brittany Spears on a lark decided to do the voice this time.
Speaking of voices, Darth Moss is truly scary. That deep, gravelly voice carries so much gravitas. Again, though George is being coy, the rumor is that Carrie Fisher is back, and her whiskey, smokey voice certainly makes sense. As for as Darth Moss's strange helmet, George once again denies that it is slam on the Disney Mouse. But one can certainly understand why he would do it after the long, bitter battle to regain control of his creation. (He insists it is a homage to Princess Leia's buns -- the hair buns -- and if it is indeed Carrie Fisher's voice, this makes sense.)
The backlash against George is as strong and as unfair as ever. He, of course, has every right to market his toys. Buying Walmart only made sense, and it is better that his toys fill those cavernous spaces than take room in every other mom and pop toy stores (those few that are left.)
This is now the third Micheal Bay directed Star Wars in a row and he is really in his element. Hardly a minute goes by when there isn't an exciting explosion. The characters are totally convincing in their "Watch outs!" and "Let's go's."
And when the young Jedi, Musti-Tuns, cradles the other main character (sorry, her name escapes me right now), it is hard not to cry at the convincingly maudlin lines.
Darth Jar Jar Binks is still stuck on the planet Nooby-Noo, but George has promised that he will bring back everyone's favorite character soon, possibly by Star Wars 20.
So now I get to what you are all waiting for. Yes, this is the first movie to have full frontal nudity. It is done tastefully, harkening back the Princess Leia's g-string costume in Star Wars 12. (The argument about whether Carrie Fisher used a body double is completely unfair, and ... well, I won't dignify it with further comment.)
Luke Skywalker is still "lost" of course, though there is a small scene of him in the back of a tavern if you're paying attention. He's the pirate with the hook on his arm. Clever!
The ending is exciting as ever. Thank goodness the rebels continue to find weaknesses in those Death Star plans! And when the young female Jedi (sorry, her name still escapes me -- the biggest mistake George ever made was killing off Rey) makes her final run, the audience is still on the edge of their seats.
All in all, The Force (is truly!) Reanimated. I look forward to Star Wars 18, which is due on the Star Wars Day after next. Until then, we'll have the new Maz movie to look forward to.
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