A Love Letter to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

7:00 AM


I promised you a belated review, didn't I?


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away On Christmas day, I was taken to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the very first time. I was a five-year-old being handed a bucket full of candy. I was introduced to Star Wars when I was very little, and the concept fascinated me. That was the first time I'd seen full-out sci-fi before. Something about the idea of spaceships and rusty space stations and sandy planets and rugged space-smugglers with witty comebacks just...got to me. It was all downhill from there. 

Small Aimee devoured everything Star Wars-related she could get, along with her little brother. (She was, in fact, way more invested than her little brother.) She read allllll the encyclopedias. She learned all the facts. She watched all the movies. She read all the children's/teens books the teeny-tiny South Carolina library had available. She arranged elaborate plotlines with her almost equally obsessed friends. She was way more into blasters and spaceships than lightsabers and the Force, but that was okay. Her brother could play the Jedi most of the time. 

So imagine Current Aimee's reaction when she learned about The Force Awakens coming out. 

Actually, it was something like horror -- I thought they'd ruin it -- but we can skip over that. 

I could not have been more thrilled to walk/run into that theater. 


I'll be 100% honest and say that I hadn't even watched the trailer, I was so afraid of it being ruined. So I had no idea what was going down, or the faintest idea of what the plot was. But I knew that it was Star Wars and I was there for that.

Enter Poe Dameron. Wave goodbye to my heart. This sassy non-Jedi dude with his snarky comments and obvious care for what was going on reminded me of everything that made me fall in love with Star Wars in the first place, and I couldn't wait to see where things were going. I sat through the rest of that movie with my mouth wide open. Laughing happened. Crying (actual crying, yes) happened. Cheering happened. My gosh, but that was the greatest movie experience I've ever had. 

"This movie...it's...ACTUALLY REALLY FREAKING GOOD."
There were so many things I loved about this movie that I don't even know where to start.

Poe. Obviously. I had a bad scare for a little while there, but I just couldn't get over him. What a sassy little cinnamon roll. He's undoubtedly my favorite character -- I love that he wasn't just the cocky bad-boy pilot I was worried about at first. He had a personality. And his relationship with BB-8. SEND HELP IT WAS SO CUTE. 

Rey. LET ME TELL YOU ALL MY FEELINGS ABOUT REY. As soon as she showed up I was concerned. I really, really didn't want the ~strong female character~ with all the punching and tomboyishness and "I don't need no man" attitude to come in and ruin it all. She didn't. Rey was emotionally guarded and careful, sure, but I could relate. She had a warm fuzzy heart and emotions and a personality and not once did I feel like she had it easy or was being treated like some ultra-special "Chosen One". I loved Rey to pieces, that precious kid. 
I would undoubtedly trust this woman with my life and safety. Just sayin'.
Finn. Okay. Finn. You guys. I could write an entire post on Finn, and maybe I will. He wasn't the average ordinary-but-somehow-gets-the-girl kind of main character. He was an absolute sweetheart and I loved him for it. Very, very rarely does fiction, books or movies or otherwise, present us with a guy main character who's sweet and emotional and selfless and sometimes a little anxious and those are presented as good, noble qualities, not things to be ashamed of or fixed. He was good. He was, indeed, very noble. He looked out for his friends. The fact that his first reaction is to ask the girl he's just met if she's "okay" is my favorite thing ever. Finn is the kind of character I want to see more of, and I loved every bit on his on-screen time. I just. 
What a cutie.
Kylo Ren. I will confess, I'm not a fangirl over him. I can't bring myself to ship him with anyone, or find him attractive, or anything like that. (I'm a good-guy kinda girl myself, if you hadn't noticed, and I have a hard time being attracted to someone who does horrible things, even if they're tragic and understandable.) He's such a deep, layered character. He gives me all the feels. But, you know, I also appreciated laughing at his sheer angst and emo-ness. Someone give that kid some chocolate and a hug.

The friendships. We didn't get smacked with unnecessary or awkward romance. I loved that. 

The music. Gave me chills, as usual. 

The universe. I've always adored the Star Wars universe for managing to feel so real, so not-shiny and polished and spacey. It's always felt like somewhere that could be out there, with all its different planets, and I love that.

Everything about it. This one is pretty self-explanatory. 

I cried over the feelsy bits (YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, UGH) but I also cried at the end because it made me realize how much I loved it. It also made me realize why I started writing in the first place. Why I'm writing what I'm writing now. Star Wars introduced me to a particular type of science fiction, the type where the setting feels like it could be real and the people walk through it and there is redemption and nobility and heroes and angst. It shaped my childhood and eventually the things I wrote so much that yes, I could venture to say that Star Wars was an important part of shaping the weird, sci-fi-loving Aimee you have to tolerate today. The Force Awakens brought all of that back.

Naturally, I went and saw it again as soon as possible. 

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what happens next.

38 comments

  1. YAAAAS IT WAS GREAT. I admit I would love to dig into Kylo Ren's character but only through the safety of a computer screen. BUT YAAAAS TO THE NEW TRIO. And YES I KNOW WHICH FEELSY BIT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT I NEARLY SCREAMED IN THE THEATER AAAAAAH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may or may not have shrieked embarrassingly? Fortunately, I wasn't the only person to do so. But UGH. NO.

      Delete
  2. Oh my gosh, this is beautiful. I love Star Wars for all these reasons as well. It's so real. And TFA was definitely my best film experience ever. I've realized that it's pretty much the only movie that I've seen that isn't only a smashing plot but also so incredibly impactful. I've never been so inspired by a film before to live life more intentionally. I can just see myself in the characters -- who I am, who I need to be -- I can relate so much to them.

    And speaking of the characters. What the writers of this movie did with them is simply phenomenal. They basically managed to avoid all the modern cliches and create realistic, breathing people who are actually strong but not annoying and unrealistic strong. Hopefully as a writer I'll be able to figure out allll their secrets and apply them. *sneaky chortling*

    AND POE. POE DAMERON what can I sayyyyy I love him. He's just perfect with his sass and bravery and sheer awesomeness AND YES HIS RELATIONSHIP WIT BB-8. That is so one of my most favorite things everrrrr.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree so much! I was worried about cliches when they first popped up, but I didn't have to worry for so long. They're all so sweet and detailed and *breathing*, and I adored every second of the experience.

      Delete
  3. I am huge Star Wars fan :) It started for me similarly as for you and we were obsessed with this sci-fi world together with my brother ever since. We even went to midnight premiere to see Force Awakens and I truly enjoyed myself. Finn was golden, Han Solo as well. They are my favorite characters. And surprisingly, I really liked Kylo Ren. I have SUCH A CRAZY theory about his character but I do not want to spoil anything for anyone so I am not going to write it here...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I do wish I could have seen a midnight premiere. But seeing it on Christmas was magical too. It was so amazing to revisit a world I've always loved!

      Delete
  4. OK, STAR WARS WAS MY LIFE WHEN I WAS 8-11 YEARS OLD. I wanted to go join the Rebel Alliance so badly. Or be a Jedi. Or both. I think I had a padawan braid for like a year...oh well, it was middle school. I read most of the novels, too, though after a while the Expanded Universe got too chaotic to really keep up with. I was obsessed, and I thought the obsession had gone away until The Force Awakens came out, haha.
    I was so worried when this was announced because, like everyone else, I assumed they'd ruin it but I LOVE IT.
    Finn is my favorite person ever, like you said, we don't get to see charracters like him much. The only other one I can really think of at the moment is Fitz from Agents of Shield...Anyway, I love Rey, I love Poe, I love everything, and I almost cried (but couldn't because I'm heartless). I agree with you about Kylo Ren; I love him as a character, and sure he's attractive, but I'm not fangirling over him or shipping him with Rey (look, there's a 98% chance that they're related, for one thing). I think he's kind of the character Anakin was supposed to be. The only slight complaint that I have about the movie is that they went a bit overboard with the "sort of a Star Wars (no, it's not 'A New Hope', it's Star Wars) reboot" thing, but even that doesn't make me love it any less. Ugh, I could talk about it forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and THE FEELS. I AM NOT, NOR WILL I EVER BE, OKAY.

      Delete
    2. I relate so much. *flails endlessly*

      Delete
  5. I loved Star War since I was little too. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, and I was thrilled with new and old characters. I don't understand everyone's obsession with Kylo Ren either, but I do find his character interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Kylo Ren was fascinating as a character, and I did enjoy laughing at him and/or feeling all the feels. *nodnod*

      Delete
  6. Oh my goodness, this movie was awesome. Only in the past two and a half years have I become obsessed with Star Wars, but I am so glad it was in time for TFA.

    I can't get over BB-8. He's the real MVP, right next to Poe. Oh my goodness, I just want my precious to cinnamoroll to never get hurt and be happy. Is that too much to ask in the Star Wars universe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BB-8 IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. I want one. o.o

      Delete
  7. THAT THING. Yup, absolutely TERRIBLE. I adored Rey, as well, for many of the same reasons you did. And also, YES FOR NOT FALLING IN LOVE WITH KYLO REN. Whyyyyyy people? Whyyyyyyyy????
    But I do believe that Kylo Ren's lightsaber is an excellent choice in the Star Wars universe, considering the number of severed arms the directors are collecting... and other limbs...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I too was horrified at first, all the way up till the trailer, then I was skeptical.

    I had a bad experience the day I saw it, but in all, I'm delighted. And SO pumped for the next two, which will probably be even BETTER if they follow the other two trilogies. (!!!!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - I absolutely can't wait for the next two. They can't come soon enough.

      Delete
  9. OH MY GOODNESS I LOVED THE FORCE AWAKENS SO MUCH. *runs around in circles flailing*

    I was super obsessed with Star Wars as a child as well. I read everything my library had that was set in the Star Wars universe. And I still drool over all the Star Wars books when I walk by them in bookstores. *nods*

    This post pretty much summed up my feelings about the movie. I think my only disappointment (and it was very slight) was with Kylo Ren. I think I get what they were doing with him and everything, but he was so winy and childish, and I guess I was in the mood for a bad guy that was more imposing and had more of a scary, scary presence, like Darth Vader. *pouts* BUT I STILL LOVE THE MOVIE TO PIECES AND JUST ADLFKAJSD;FLAKSDJF;ALSKDJF AND ALL THAT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like to respectfully disagree that Kylo Ren is whiny in any way, shape, or form. Childish, perhaps. But there is actually a distinct reason for it.

      In the TFA novelization, Kylo Ren is ten years old when he goes to Luke's temple, and fifteen when he destroys it. In addition, there are scenes written for the movie (cut out, perhaps) that mention that Ben Solo was being looked at from pretty much infancy by Snoke. This seems much less like offers of cosmic power and more like child grooming. People who have been exposed to this sort of trauma will often have trouble coping with their emotions like adults - their emotional dealing is frozen so speak. This is only one possibility.

      Another possibility that I have looked at extensively is that the fits, which are probably the source of the belief that he is a wimp, are because of Borderline personality disorder (BPD). Some of the symptoms include extreme rage, thinking in extremes (his idolization of Darth Vader, his anger at his father, the fact that he still loves Han), unstable interpersonal relationships (Hux), impulsivity (pretty much the entire movie), self-damaging, intense emotional outbursts, and, most importantly, self-harm. Note how in the movie he pounds at his wound to keep himself angry, in pain. The filmmakers make sure we see the wound.

      The causes tend to be either genetic, a result of a brain anomaly, or - two big causes - an unstable family environment and childhood trauma. Unstable family environment can be covered almost immediately. Han was often gone. We can surmise this from how unstable that he and Leia's relationship was. Childhood trauma is covered under the grooming bit higher up on the post.

      Delete
    2. I don't think he whines once in the movies. Whining is complaining in a childish or petulant fashion, and whiny is used to describe a person prone to complaining. I detest the term being used in relation to Kylo Ren because he does not complain. He has tantrums, but he also attempts to fix his mistakes, and once he's had his go, he doesn't keep on destroying things or shrieking. The cause of the tantrums were covered above.

      Now. The bowcaster.

      We've seen Chewbacca's bowcaster in action. It knocks out two gang members with one shot, and we see it hit three stormtroopers at the battle at Maz Kanata's watering hole and just send them careening through the air, begging for the sweet release of death. We see it send a man flying back twenty feet into a wall with armor shattering force. Kylo Ren gets hit with it, and what does he promptly do?

      He doesn't die like everything else that gets hit with it. He takes a knee, but he doesn't even stay down. He gets up and finds two people to wreck, probably keeping his guts in with the force. And his fight with a trained stormtrooper lasts less than a minute. I haven't clocked it exactly, but it might even be safe to say that it lasts less than forty-five seconds. All the time, he's using heavy overhead blows with two hands that probably aggravate the wound, with heavy physical activity that is causing him to bleed out faster. And then, afterwards, he is only defeated by Rey when she actively uses the force, after Ren has been bleeding out into the snow. It doesn't stop bleeding in the middle of the duel. And after the fact, we find out he's not even fully trained. This man stops lasers in midair, and can not only influence minds but read them. It shows, if not immensely powerful force control, then a control of the force being used with pinpoint accuracy and focus, something we rarely see in dark side users (think Darth Sideous with his erratic, jagged force lighting, all the other Darths with their blunt pushes). He's amazingly concepted: the creators are well aware he's working in the shadow of Darth Vader, so they make him know it too. They make him idolize the man. He's emotional, terrifyingly able to let people be killed, comptetent, complex, and he's scary. He scared me the entire time I was in the theater because in addition to all of that, he's young. He looks like the guy you'd give your number in a coffee shop. And that's terrifying to realize that not all villains have yellow eyes with fangs.

      Perhaps you have a different definition of whiny. Because Kylo Ren is homicidal, emotionally unstable, twisted, and most definitely an atypical villain, but he is most definitely not whiny.

      This was a touch longer than I expected, but oh well. Point made. Defending the terrifying of the problematic favorite.

      Delete
    3. Hmm, you make some very good points here. I'll admit, I wasn't necessarily saying my solid opinion of him was that he was whiny--so I guess it was my fault for improper word choice. But also I do think we have a different definition--or perhaps a different idea of the concept of whiny. My idea of whiny is less verbal and more behavior, such as his tantrums. Either way, you explained yourself very well, and I appreciate that. *nods* Having never read the novelization, and having had no previous experience with Kylo Ren, and having seen the movie only once, it makes sense that I missed some of the bigger overlying aspects of his character, so I appreciate you pointing them out to me. Overall, I still say that I prefer Darth Vader still, since I have had more experience with his back story and he feels like much more of a tangible villain. Or, in other words, he is more the type of villain to frighten me. But it's very possible that, had I spent as much time learning about Kylo Ren's backstory, as you have, I would have a similar respect for him/fear of him. Also, I hope I didn't imply in any way that I felt he was poorly written or inconsistent or an objectively bad character--just that he wasn't what I had been expecting/hoping for.

      Thank you for taking the time to explain to me some of the facets of Kylo Ren's character. :) The next time I watch the movie, I will definitely keep those in mind.

      Delete
    4. Everything but the bowcaster was fairly subtle. He scared me a lot, personally, but I know several people among my friend group that aren't that afraid of him, because he's a lot more erratic than Darth Vader is.

      Thank you as well for managing to make it to the bottom of the post, and for taking this into a second round of consideration.

      Delete
  10. This movie. This movie. Rey. Finn. Poe.

    Aaaaaaaand here we go.

    I like Kylo Ren a lot more than I should. He's complex, he's hardcore, he's the most interesting player on the field to watch, he's so well concepted, he's tempted by the light side instead of the dark, which is something we've never seen in a Star Wars movie before. I don't ship anyone with him, except perhaps a therapist, but I still think that Adam Driver, and Ren by extension, are stunning men. I want a redemption arc, but I also kind of want to see him burn the galaxy down. Or burn the galaxy down while in a redemption arc. I'll probably be sucked into writing a fic for the end of episode two here pretty quick. Basically, I have all the headcanons and fan theories, and I really want to see where they take him.

    Cause I want a redemption arc, but I also kind of want to see him burn the galaxy down.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH. I was never the hugest fan of Star Wars. I mean, I really enjoyed it and grew up with it as a kid, but I wasn't obsessed. However, SW was my first immersion in sci-fi, which was the greatest thing ever to me. So seeing this movie was absolutely great. Poe was the actual best of ever. I mean, gosh. And Rey was also fabulous. I was so worried they were going to ruin her, and while I was a little irked that she could somehow do everything??? I really enjoyed her character. AND FINN IS ACTUALLY A CUDDLY CINNAMON ROLL.

    And I cried at THAT ONE PART. .-.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I was going to love Poe the moment he showed up and started sassing Kylo Ren. Characters like that are my favorite. xD

      Delete
  12. AAAAAHHH. THIS WAS THE BEST MOVIE EVER. And your review actually made me cry. BECAUSE YES.

    (And I loved BB8 and Poe and Rey and Finn but I also loved Kylo Ren because he was so complex and layered and deep and had serious issues. It's not often we see that in a film. (Also, I was impressed that he had a normal face. Darth Vader had a seriously messed up face and so did the Emperor, but Ren was normal. That was scarier than if he had been scarred or something because it felt like it could have been anyone under that mask, even one of us.) JUST ARGH IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I'm glad I made you cry, I guess? Because I have all the feelings forever. <3

      Delete
  13. *nods* As someone who never got /super/ invested in Star Wars (I didn't see the originals until I was 13, which might have something to do with it-- I had a deprived childhood :P), I wasn't expecting anything from TFA, but I was /very/ pleasantly surprised.

    I do not find Kylo Ren at all attractive (actually, I thought he was really ugly??), but I did really like him, as a villain. I actually really related to his personality and motivation-- he reminded me a lot of myself, which was kinda scary and maybe a little embarrassing, but I enjoyed anyway. I thought he was a well done and amusing character, even if he was unforgivably evil.

    And then you already know how I feel about Rey but otherwise YES YES YES to everything in this post. Though my sister keeps saying that she thinks Poe is going to turn out bad in the next movie and I-- actually think that could be cool? But anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I thought he was a fabulous villain. So fun to watch, especially when he went off throwing temper tantrums and stuff. :P

      Delete
  14. I NEED TO WATCH THIS I NEED TO WATCH THIS I NEED TO WATCH THIS!!!! But seriously, I also grew up on star wars (I have this particular memory of my mother being away and my dad watching one with us every single night) (We were once watching star wars and killed a laptop by spilling water on it. We couldn't finish it. It was sad) ANYWAY. Why isn't it in India? I guess I could find it online, but I really, really need this in my life. Other asides: My band is playing star wars music this year. It's amazing except sadly our teacher isn't the best, and neither are we, and the piece is pretty hard, so I don't know how it'll turn out, but it has potential. Also, my friend has a star wars t-shirt with a storm trooper painting over the 'star' and changing it to 'stop' Anyway, this is convincing me more.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Very, very rarely does fiction, books or movies or otherwise, present us with a guy main character who's sweet and emotional and selfless and sometimes a little anxious and those are presented as good, noble qualities, not things to be ashamed of or fixed."

    PREACH!

    Also btw this post gave me a certain amount of feels so GOOD JOB. ^_^ This movie was refreshing and relieving in so, so, so many ways. It was exactly what it needed to be.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved this movie SO MUCH...Rey is pretty much what my eight-year-old self wished I could be, and it felt just right...not too much like the older movies, but just enough. I'll admit that I was a bit disappointed at how late Luke showed up, but I CAN'T WAIT to see him training Rey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did appreciate how much it felt like the originals, because I fell in love with those and fell hard. I couldn't have loved the movie more.

      Delete

hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.