Yesterday, my wife and I decided to take in a Sunday afternoon matinee and watch the latest round of Star Wars movies that has been produced over the course of the past 40 years.
For those that might be unaware, the first Star Wars (A New Hope) was released in 1977 or back before I had even graduated High School!
Then came The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) before a sixteen-year interlude took place.
In 1999 a brand new cast brought us The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005).
The latest version of Star Wars, a combination of old and new, was an attempt to revive what seemingly has grown old, tired, and sleepy, literally.
The Force Awakens apparently never heard the alarm go off.
Since this is not an actual critique of the movie itself, I will leave it to others to decide whether it had the hutzpah to win an Oscar.
What I will say is all of the religious themes of yesteryear were there in copious amounts.
Pantheism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Gnostic dualism were all present, just like they were when George Lucas, who is of “Buddhist Methodist” persuasion (whatever that is), first created Star Wars in the late 1970s.
“The Force,” which is Hollywood-Lucas talk used to describe the eternal conflict (dualism) between good and evil, the former of which is the Tao (the way) and the latter which is actively causing ripples in it.
Interestingly, when Star Wars first came out the New Age Movement was in budding form ready to take people on their own “trance channeling” journeys via “spirit guides” to places where no man had gone before.
No, I am not comparing Star Trek to the New Age Movement or Star Wars, even though Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas are comparative in their ideas about man, spirituality, and the cosmos.
Will we see a revival of all the occult mishmash that followed the original Star Wars in the coming months? Let’s hope not. But, I will not hold my breath either.
Anyway, the four main figures of yesteryear were present, with Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) playing the largest part in this latest Star Wars effort.
Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and even Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) were all present, although Hamill’s role amounted to about a 2-minutes cameo appearance at the end and never said a word.
Sadly, none of them were given scripts that reflected who they were as figures in previous episodes.
The Star Wars writers, most likely many of whom were never even born when the original came out, placed hollow, if not cheesy, lines on their lips, as if those getting up in age in the audience would be glad to see them all just one more time before everyone passed due to old age.
In fact, the whole Star Wars VII revival attempt was hollow. It just was not the same.
There was plenty of busyness going on, and the cinematography was impressive in places.
However, as seems to be the case anymore, when it comes to Hollywood movies, it is more about trying to wow the audience with techno-wizardry than about conveying an intelligent plot through meaningful dialogue.
Lots of artificiality—there must have been at least 500 graphic artists in the credits—and hype went into creating and promoting this film, in other words, and it is quite apparent that the hype worked. Lucas has made billions again.
That said, this was simply another downgrade from previous efforts. The original Star Wars Trilogy should have been where the theme stopped.
Nevertheless, it is almost a given that Star Wars VIII is somewhere on the horizon. Lucas cannot just leave Luke Skywalker standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean saying nothing, can he?
What creators of Star Wars VII ought to do, though, is rename it. Rather than “The Force Awakens,” how about they call it “The Force is Getting Stale”?
Because four movies removed from Return of the Jedi in 1983, no less, was certainly that: stale.
Then, maybe the final version, if it ever comes out, can be called, Star Wars VIII: Pass the Geritol.
Thankfully, at least Hans Solo will miss that one.