hope

The indelible image from the original Star Wars movie was a young man staring off into both a familiar and alien horizon.  A sunset as we have all seen, but as we have never seen before. For in this sky there were two suns. And yet the boy is not staring at the marvel of the suns but what lay beyond.  No image better abbreviated the desire of the Hero's Journey, the longing in every heart for that Thing.  That unattainable unexplainable Thing of Things.  And the marvel of that original movie was it captured a glimpse of that Thing of which myth is made and woke it up in many minds, large and small.  The movie awakened us to something simultaneously fully familiar and yet so very alien at once.

So to what horizons does the newest movie in this series point? It points us back to that original sky of two suns falling into a red desert with a swell of music that tells us everything our heart seeks.  Ultimately it is a movie of looking backward and a glimmer of hope in looking forward.  It is a movie that even tells us through the voice of a new character that looking and hoping in the past carries false promise and it is to the future we must seek.

We see a new hero look upon a very similar desert landscape, but through the lens of a helmet of the past, dreaming the dream of audiences for the past near-40 years. Longing to be in the adventures we grew up in.  We see a villain caught up and praying to another ghostly helm: caught up and being destroyed by his worship of the things of yore.  So what is this nostalgia: savior or destroyer?  

The Force Awakens is in so many ways a creature of nostalgia.  Its very design is to be a reminder of its origin.  But is it looking forward?  Are we moving towards the new or are we backtracking towards the comfortable, camping safely in the nostalgia of a generation raised on droids and lightsabers?  Are we still striving towards the binary sunset, longing for what is next or have we fallen into a complacency: perhaps victimized by the brilliance of the originality of the first Star Wars we can never see beyond the model it has set for stories to come?

No comments: