Firstly, that was a fuck-lot of ads we had to sit through until the movie started. I think it clocked in at about half an hour. Half an hour! We paid almost fifty dollars to sit in the dark and watch ads for half an hour! I hope the revenue was worth it, Embassy, because my Netflix account costs less than a third of that a month and has zero ads and that’s where my movie dollars are going from now on.
Secondly. That was okay. I mean, it was fun. I enjoyed it. But it was a jaw-droppingly lazy film. My first impression, walking out was that the original Star Wars films are filled with so many iconic crowd-pleasing tropes that any competent filmmaker can just recycle them with minor variations into an enjoyable movie. It is a weird quirk of cinematic history that the prequels were written and directed by George Lucas when he was an ageing billionaire studio head who still conceived of himself as an auteur but had lost any aptitude or inclination for making movies yet had total control over the franchise, thus the laughably terrible second trilogy – otherwise we’d have figured that out by now.
Lucas’s films were always ground-breaking in terms of the technology though. Jar-Jar Binks was one of the first digital characters, and those prequels were very influential in terms of digital technology and computer graphics (which is partly why they’re terrible: I watched a ‘Making Of’ documentary about Phantom Menace on a plane once; the shooting process was Lucas in a studio surrounded by about a hundred flunkies laughing at all of his terrible jokes while the actors performed in a vast green-screen stage and just drifted around in its emptiness, delivering lines with a sense of boredom and futility that pervaded every scene no matter how much CGI crap Lucas threw in the background behind them) .
But it was still new, and there’s nothing new in the new Star Wars, nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times in other movies in technological terms, and very little we haven’t seen in the previous Star Wars movies in terms of the storytelling. So maybe that’s the future of Star Wars – that it’ll be like the Bond movies and do pretty much the same thing each time over and over forever. That’d be a shame. It’d be fun to go along thinking you were going to see something totally mind-blowing and new – like the AT-AT walkers on Hoth! Or that speeder-bike chase through the forests of Endor! But given that Disney’s just made a billion dollars in the last week off this movie, they don’t actually need to push the envelope so they probably won’t.