So, yeah. I went and saw Star Wars.
I’m not going to spend too much time regaling you with my thoughts on the entire movie. I’ll just say, it was good. Very good. In my professional opinion, any negative reviews you may read (and I’ve read several) come entirely from a place of contrariness. Since they all make the same meaningless points, I won’t spend any time elaborating on why they are wrong. Simply know that anyone who tells you there is anything wrong with The Force Awakens is wrong and not to be trusted.
In fact, if anyone tells you anything other than, “I can’t wait to see the next movie,” punch them in the stomach and call a responsible adult. You are in stranger danger.
Now, I can probably spend fifty or sixty thousand words describing why I enjoyed this movie. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who do. I imagine there will be thousands of dissertations dedicated entirely to comparisons between The Force Awakens and A New Hope. I know I would like to tackle that particular subject with more depth than “It sucks that the both follow the Hero’s Journey model–also the lead is a girl.”
Sorry, I didn’t mean to have that judgemental statement in there… It just slipped out after reading so many poorly written negative reviews of the movie.
The fact that A New Hope and Force Awakens are similar (though not as similar as some people would have you believe) is actually a strength. Both follow a proven storytelling model used by all the best action/adventure films (and books and stories and myths) ever. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Joseph Campbell scholars have only been talking about it for fifty years.
What do I know?
Of course, that is not to say that The Force Awakens is by any means perfect. I have some issues. Mostly with beholders and John Boyega accuracy with firearms.
Sorry, I suppose those were both spoilers in a fashion.
My biggest problem might turn out to not be a problem at all. It might be a theory.
Ignoring for a moment that we do not see her interacting with anyone who speaks
English Basic for the majority of her life and yet she stills speaks exclusively in that language, She is also clearly the only person around with a non-American accent.
Accents are funny things in the Star Wars universe.
As a general rule, I believe accent is used to determine social status. The more British you sound, the higher social background you are assumed to have. This is why Moffs are all from England, but Storm Troopers (and whiney blondes from the desert) are all Americans.
Now, I might be reading too much into this. The exception to the rule in the original trilogy was Leah, who despite being a Princess lacks the magic royalty accent.
You don’t have to take my word for it:
Dialects in English correspond to different in-universe accents in the movies. Ewan McGregor’s and Ian McDiarmid’s faint upper-class Scottish accents are, for example, Coruscanti accents in the movies. As a general rule, Imperial characters speak with RP-like British accents while Rebels usually have American accents. However, it would seem that this is perhaps a representation of social class, as stormtroopers and other low-ranking Imperials are heard to speak with American accents, while some Rebels speak with British accents (Mon Mothma, for instance). There are several exceptions to the rule: several high-ranking Imperial officers clearly have American accents, such as Admiral Motti and Siward Cass. (Indeed, in A New Hope a slight majority of Imperial officer accents heard are American.)
But, now we have Rey.
I don’t think it is a spoiler that Rey is poor. As in, “does dangerous work for small amounts of food” poor. And yet… accent.
This isn’t simply a matter of “The actress is English.” If it were, why wouldn’t John Boyega’s Finn have an accent?
This means something. My first inclination was to believe Rey must actually be evil. Most of the accents in Star Wars are evil characters. Then, I remembered Obi-Wan was also British.
This does give some credit to the theory my gas station attendant put forth– Rey is the reincarnation of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
I’m not willing to go down any rabbit hole that gives that particular theory any credibility at this time, but I can’t help but feel like Rey’s accent has a meaning. There’s a conscious decision there.
I might have to go and see the movie, two, three, eight more times before I can figure it out.