To the stars

The intergalactic power of 'Star Wars' lives on

Hyper+space+drive%2C+which+allows+ships+in+the+%27Star+Wars%27+movies+to+move+across+the+galaxy+more+quickly%2C+can+be+seen+outside+of+a+ship%27s+window.
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To the stars

Hyper space drive, which allows ships in the 'Star Wars' movies to move across the galaxy more quickly, can be seen outside of a ship's window.

Hyper space drive, which allows ships in the 'Star Wars' movies to move across the galaxy more quickly, can be seen outside of a ship's window.

Photo courtesy of: Jedimentat44/ Flickr

Hyper space drive, which allows ships in the 'Star Wars' movies to move across the galaxy more quickly, can be seen outside of a ship's window.

Photo courtesy of: Jedimentat44/ Flickr

Photo courtesy of: Jedimentat44/ Flickr

Hyper space drive, which allows ships in the 'Star Wars' movies to move across the galaxy more quickly, can be seen outside of a ship's window.

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I remember December 18, 2015 like it was yesterday. Or, to be more precise, I remember one specific event that happened on December 18, 2015 like it was yesterday. Or, to be even more precise, I remember a feeling I had on that day. I remember the fidgeting line to get in and the excited murmur of the audience, the restlessness as the trailers played and the hush that fell over the crowd when the lights dimmed. The entire theater was electrified. Then, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” started. I remember feeling very, very happy.

Two years later, “The Last Jedi” was released. Same deal: excitement, blah blah blah, good movie. A really, really good movie. 

To me, Star Wars represents that pure joy I felt after seeing Episode VII and VIII, but it wasn’t always that way. Like almost every boy, I grew up loving Star Wars. I had the toys, the games, and probably watched the movies more times than I care to remember. But that was it for me. I grew out of it. I didn’t think about Star Wars for years, or if I did, I just thought about how lame it all was. I didn’t care for it anymore.

Everything I had loved about Star Wars came flooding back to me.”

— SENIOR Matthew Proietti

On October 19, 2015, the final trailer for “The Force Awakens” was released, and everything I had loved about Star Wars came flooding back to me. Although I love the new-era movies, that trailer is still the best thing to come out of all of the new stuff. It’s phenomenal and captures everything special about Star Wars – the characters, the special effects, the worlds of the galaxy and their outlandish denizens, and especially the music. It starts off with a slow, high pitched piano, building and building until it erupts with a powerful rendition of Han and Leia’s Theme. If I rewatch that trailer, I still get goose bumps at that moment (Call me a nerd, cowards).

The hype officially began. I couldn’t have gotten away from it if I wanted to. Star Wars was everywhere – in school, with my family, on the nightly news, even on 60 Minutes. I didn’t mind. It was absorbing me; I couldn’t get enough of it. Of course I had to go back and rewatch all the old movies. I was reminded of their triumphs and their (many) shortcomings, but they also caused more distant memories to resurface, like the bliss Lego Star Wars: The Video Game brought to a pre-school me. 

The movie came and went, decimating box office records along the way. I saw it twice. Its follow-up, “The Last Jedi,” evoked the same kind of excitement that it did. I saw that one twice, too.

The magic of the original Star Wars trilogy is in the sense of wonder it’s able to evoke. Here’s this kid, Luke, who longs for an adventure and then is thrown into one, completely unprepared. We follow him through the galaxy as he meets its various inhabitants and becomes the center of its biggest conflict, all of which we are told very little about. But that’s okay. 

The movie came and went, decimating box office records along the way. I saw it twice. Its follow-up, “The Last Jedi,” evoked the same kind of excitement that it did. I saw that one twice, too.”

— SENIOR Matthew Proietti

We don’t need to know everything about every character and faction on screen. The limited knowledge provided to us helps make the different planets feel alive, as if all the laser guns and green aliens are just part of everyday life. Your imagination fills in the blanks and then some, taking off with speculations and fantasies about the galaxy far, far away. Watching those first three movies make you feel like a kid again.

I think that the modern episodic Star Wars movies have been able to recapture that childlike amazement and in many ways improve upon what the original trilogy built.

It’s important to note that a sizable amount of fan criticism has been lobbed at both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi.” While much of it is fair, a certain sect of “superfans” have viciously attacked these movies and those involved with them. They claim that the films are full of forced diversity, feminist propaganda, and pandering, which they say has ruined Star Wars for them. These criticisms so obviously come from a place of pure racism and sexism and are so deeply entrenched in prejudice that they are not even worth addressing in full. Or maybe it’s just ignorance. Either way, it’s sad, pathetic, and giving the Star Wars fanbase a bad name.

The movies of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy, released in 1999, 2002 and 2005 are, in my opinion, bad. There are enjoyable aspects to them, like podracing and Ewan McGregor, but they are few and far between. And many of their ideas are interesting, but those are squandered by everything else. Wooden acting, horrible dialogue, CGI that was ahead of its time in a bad way, and a story that really isn’t that interesting all add up to make some pretty boring movies. But where those films failed, the Sequels succeeded.

Top tier actors like Oscar Isaac deliver fun, compelling characters in the new movies. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher all show up with the best performances of their iconic characters in their careers. The special effects are balanced between practical and computer generated, and the look of the movies really match that of the originals. Whereas the Prequels got bogged down in explaining every corner of the galaxy, the Sequels place that exposition in the background, focusing on the story and the characters instead.

Top tier actors like Oscar Isaac deliver fun, compelling characters in the new movies.”

— SENIOR Matthew Proietti

Rey is an intriguing scavenger who pulls the films away from nonsensical prophecies. She shows that someone doesn’t have to be a Skywalker or a Kenobi to be a powerful Jedi and an important character in the Star Wars universe. The soldiers Finn and Poe are exciting as well, providing different perspectives to the central conflict. Kylo Ren is one of the most interesting villains in the series, bringing an extra layer of inner-conflict to the usual red lightsaber-wielding bad guy. These characters are so enjoyable to watch because they’re not just rehashes of Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader. They are new people with new stories to tell, and that was something that Star Wars desperately needed.

Like all of Star Wars, these movies are not perfect. I agree with others that select elements of the plot are poorly explained (what even are the First Order and the Resistance?), and yes, the story of “The Force Awakens” is is pretty similar to “A New Hope.” But I can look past that. These movies were trying to bring the magic of Star Wars back. They attempted to provide you with that same giddy, joyous feeling you got when seeing the Millennium Falcon take off or hearing the “swoosh” of a lightsaber igniting. I think they succeeded.

With the end of the trilogy “The Rise of Skywalker” right around the corner, the Disney Star Wars films will be ending, at least for a few years. The planned continuation of the spinoff movies was halted after “Solo” underperformed. Side note: I like both “Rogue One” and “Solo.” They’re pretty good movies, with “Rogue One” being the better of the two. Episode VII and VIII are just superior.

“The Rise of Skywalker” is the Star Wars movie I have been most worried about prior to its release. I mean, I saw some space horses in the trailer, and any movie with space horses gives me an iffy feeling. Director JJ Abrams said the film will answer fans’ questions, but many of those questions really don’t need answers. Also, it looks like the Emperor is going to be making a return, which I think would be completely unnecessary and taint the story of the previous films (he’s not actually going to come back, right? Right?) But I hope he’s great if he does show up. I hope it’s all great. I hope it’s the best of the three.

It’s because of a belief. A belief that anybody can be a hero, a belief in the good of the world, and a belief in the Force. That’s Star Wars.”

— SENIOR Matthew Proietti

Near the end of “The Last Jedi,” Yoda reappears to a troubled and conflicted Luke, burning down a library of ancient Jedi texts in the process. He passes on some important advice to his former student: the true wisdom and power of the Jedi is not in some books or because of the rules or the history. It’s because of a belief. A belief that anybody can be a hero, a belief in the good of the world, and a belief in the Force. That’s Star Wars.