I’m not writing a lot this week, and what I am writing may be slightly spoiler-ish. So, if by chance you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet and you intend to, read my title, nod ever so slightly, and come back next week. For the whole lot of you otherwise… ahem.
Thank you, Star Wars.
Thank you for taking nearly everything great about A New Hope and using it to create something both post-modern and inherently original in its own right.
Thank you for giving us villains who act as villains; not in service to pure chaos alone, but to greed, hatred, and layers of inner conflict.
Thank you for giving us heroes who earn their heroism; not in service to the plot, but in service to their (and our) conscience.
Thank you for committing to the use of practical effects as much as possible. You gave the franchise the dirt under the fingernails I’d assumed we lost with the old VHS tapes.
Thank you for lightsaber fights that felt real. No kung-fu wire acts. No bushido stoicism. Just people wailing on each other with laser swords. That hurt. A lot.
Thank you for that one counter-lightsaber Storm Trooper. And actually, thank you for showing that they can in fact shoot things and hit them.
Thank you for making only one CGI alien feel like a terrible ethnic stereotype. Seriously: I expected way more, so, just the one was barely noticeable at all.
Thank you for introducing us to new characters living in a universe still populated by the old ones. Thank you for hinting at their connection to one another without feeling the need to hit us over the heads with it.
Thank you for making General Hux a capable leader who could stand next to Kylo Ren and not feel like a set dressing.
Thank you for making BB-8 adorable… and for knowing when to turn it off. Cute has a line, and you took us right to the edge.
Thank you to the First Order’s weapon architect… who really dug into his personal aesthetic.
Thank you for Finn’s wit, charm, and innocence. Thank you for Rey’s vulnerability, immense skill, and curiosity. Thank you for making Poe… Hal Jordan.
Thank you for helping your original creator learn to let go, when he finally found the artisans capable of bridging the gap from what was once great to what is great again.
Thank you, Star Wars, for reminding me why I really did love your universe when I was 12. And while I will never (ever) forgive you for Episode I, II, and III… I can now look beyond it. I can look up at the sky again…
And wonder again… with pure appreciation.