Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens
“Luke Skywalker has disappeared.” With those four words, judiciously chosen by director J.J. Abrams to begin the opening crawl of his hotly anticipated Episode VII, the Star Wars franchise reorients itself in the land of things that people give a rat’s ass about. There’s nothing about trade embargoes or tariffs, nothing about filibusters in the Galactic Senate. No parliamentary procedure bullshit at all, just a terse and mysterious plot setup largely focused on characters you care about. This is not a groundbreaking approach, but it’s sensible, which is groundbreaking in its own way compared to the nightmarish self-absorption and fan disservice of the prequels. The infantile fussiness of the prequels flattened the Star Wars universe to the point of discouraging imagination, but The Force Awakens turns it back into a tactile and dimensional cinematic world. It’s a real Star Wars movie; it’s just not a great Star Wars movie. D.B.