This is a Star Wars weekend, coinciding with pre-Christmas preparations and a dash of fight for democracy. So – a silva rerum post again, no time for a thorough review. Christmas preparations – nothing to write about, but I will brag a little – I bake a bit 🙂 some of the traditional Christmas cakes are my domain. I’m also my family’s authority on geeky gifts, so choosing perfect books and games for all the kids and some adults is my job. So even with my gifts being bought long ago, I still spend lots of time helping others. It’s fun 🙂
Fight for democracy.
I’ve mentioned before that the results of recent parliamentary elections in Poland depressed me. Now it’s getting worse. With 37% of votes (and with a turnout of 50,92%) the Law & Justice party managed to get enough MPs to form a one-party government. Which in itself isn’t a tragedy, but they are a sort of a crazy-right party with agenda based partially on conspiracy theories. And an iron will to take over everything, and ignore any obstacles – including inconvenient Constitutional Tribunal rulings. And when you take away the separation of powers and rule of law, democracy is broken. So thousands of Poles in dozens of cities were protesting yesterday, including me an my 2-year-old niece, who was clapping vigorously until she fell asleep (in the middle of a 12 000 gathering, that’s quite an accomplishment!).
There were some early warning signs, like police ignoring far-right counter demonstration disturbing order in one corner of the square, but the atmosphere was great and we’re determined not to let the situation deteriorate to Hungarian levels.
Enough about that, it’s not a political blog, and unless our democracy gets seriously endangered, I will limit my rumblings. But our esteemed leader, Mr Kaczynski, announced recently that any Pole complaining to foreigners is a traitor (“the worst kind of Pole”), and to merit my “the worst kind of Pole” t-shirt I need to meet a quota of anti-government posts 😉
Short analogy for American readers: imagine Trump winning elections, but in a country with far less safeguards than you have, with much shorter tradition of constitutional rule and federal government much much stronger than one residing in D.C.
And there is a connection with Star Wars. As much as the prequel trilogy is flawed, it shows how democracy might be brought down by a vicious and devious individual. Kaczynski is no Darth Sidious, but there were many banners with slogans like “the force awakens – Law & Justice trembles” 🙂
So, the main (but still short) point of this post:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
My immediate Facebook post was simple:
J.J. the force is strong with this one. 9/10
And I stand by that statement. The movie is awesome, great fun, strong with the strengths of New Hope, lots of nostalgia, but the beginnings of new stories are introduced. Technically flawless, aesthetically much closer to the original trilogy than ill-fated prequels. The plot is simple, but with a simplicity of a timeless fairy-tale, I’m an old cynic and I was moved a few times.
It may be the first time since Lion King that I will see a movie twice on big screen.
Some viewers complain that it follow the structure of New Hope too religiously. I see it as going back to the roots and I don’t mind, because it works. The result justifies the means. It won’t be that easy with episode VIII. The new series will have to graduate – I’m anxiously waiting to see that.
I love the protagonists, new and old. Solo/Chewbacca team is great and plays crucial part, so is the rest of the old cast, although with less screen time. New additions – Finn, Rey, Poe – convinced me. Villiains are not as good, but only one is miscast, in my opinion. And the name of the villain organisation… IMO a little cringeworthy. I promised no spoilers, so no details here, but…
I felt a strong need for more, not more Star Wars in general, this whole December is a Star Wars month for me – with excellent Star Wars Rebels animated series, re-watch of all the previous movies and some books, but for more Force Awakens specifically. And since every month on 19th I get my Audible credit, this time it was spent on Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Book, movie’s novelisation by Alan Dean Foster. It’s… all right, I guess. Slightly disappointing in one important regard – it tells the story almost scene by scene, with no additional background. And politics of the new Star Wars is not explained clearly in the movie. That’s what extended universe is for, but 1/3 into book I’m not satisfied. But the final verdict I leave for a spoiler rich review of the book that I intend to write some time in January, when the statue of limitations expire and every interested geek will have had time enough to go to the cinema.
So… don’t read any more reviews, go see it! J.J. Abrams saved Star Wars, the most important geek franchise.
IMDB score: 9/10
And since my niece was so brave, she gets her first Star Wars book, I start safely with something about single father’s struggle to reconcile his work with bringing up two kids…