This has nothing to do with stamps, unless I throw in that Great Britain earlier this year issued Star Wars stamps to commemorate (hype?) the new film The Force Awakens. (Illustration of one is on the right.)
And Here Be Spoilers, so don’t read any further if you don’t want to know more… although I won’t reveal the big surprise.
At any rate, I saw the new film, and I liked it. It was fun. But I was still disappointed.
I am a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy. I have read most, but not all, of the authorized Star Wars novels that picked up after Episode VI (Revenge of The Jedi). (A few took place in the same time period or before the original film, but most came after VI.) I saw the original Star Wars film in a movie theater in 1977.
So why was I disappointed?
As most critics said, “it has everything the fans wanted” — that is, there’s very little new in it.
Spaceship dogfights with flying sideways through tight spaces, check. Cantina with weird aliens, check. Battle to the death on a high catwalk? Check. Big fiery explosion of a huge spherical weapon? Check. Thin old man with close-cropped gray beard, being wise? Check. One last remaining Jedi, living alone in a remote location? Check. Good-guy fighter pilots, shown in closeup wearing orange jump suits? Check. The top, ultimate leader of the Bad Guys who is deformed and makes Lord Voldemort look like a male model? Check. Faceless soldiers in white plastic armor? Check. I mean, it’s 30 years later: What are the chances this New Order is going to have exactly the same armor and officers’ uniforms as the old evil Empire that is in the earlier films?
What new dictator or repressive regime says, “I’m a dictator and evil, so I have to dress like someone who is evil and have soldiers wearing the uniforms of an evil regime?”
What happened to the New Republican that Leia and others were forming 30 years earlier? Surely there would be some vestige of that government. In “Force,” the Resistance is still hiding out, living on snowy planets.
I know that there are certain forms that must be followed in a Star Wars movie: Han Solo must say, “I have a bad feeling about this.” There has to be a lightsabre fight. The bad guys have to be really, really evil. There has to be a space battle.
It was all done well, it was a good 2½ hours, but it didn’t break any much new ground. (The major exception is a Storm Trooper with a conscience.) The post-Episode VI novels that J.J. Abrams and Disney threw away had much more interesting stories. They were all tightly supervised by LucasFilm, so that they conformed with George Lucas’ vision, and I can’t believe LucasFilm (that is, Disney now) doesn’t have rights to them.
“Force” delivers. But it could have been more. With all the hype, I expected more.