Star Wars The Force Awakens, it was actually good!

We got to see the new Star Wars movie the other day and it was amazing the relief I felt after seeing it. This was the Star Wars movie I’d hoped for with the prequels and was constantly disappointed. Was it a perfect movie? Definitely not. But it was a great Star Wars movie and even those, like Mike, who aren’t huge fans can go thinking it’s a pretty good movie. 

Spoilers follow. Big ones. Don’t read if you haven’t seen the movie. Seriously.

What I liked:

The humor! Finally, it’s back. Star Wars began taking itself way too seriously in the last few movies. They were boring and complicated. Though the politics of this movie were still overly complicated (Republic, Resistance, First Order, Senate, who cares) it wasn’t filled with interminable scenes of people we don’t care about debating. Here, we get humor not just from Han Solo and Chewie, but the next generation doesn’t seem as stupid and afraid to crack a smile as the grandparents of the prequels. 

The newbies. Finn and Rey have a good chemistry. They are both obviously special in some mysterious way that I actually care about finding out. I’m assuming Rey ends up being related the main folks in some way, but I’m looking forward to finding out more on the janitor turned hero. 

Han’s death. It was telegraphed like a neon sign as soon as you saw his son walk onto that walkway over a needless abyss. You’d think every major character would learn to fear those. Yeah, Obi Wan dies on one, Luke loses a hand, the emperor gets tossed off one, and here comes Han. He had to die. Harrison Ford could not continue as Han because he’d completely steal the movies from the next generation. They could give him one line in the movie and he’d still be what everyone talked about. All that being said, it was the best death Han Solo could ask for, on an important mission to save millions of people and trying to save one person he loved. 

What I wish had been better:

How did Poe end up back with the fleet all of a sudden, why did he not care about finding BB8, and why is he acting like he found a lost brother in someone he knew for all of twenty minutes before crash landing? It felt like a whole section of the movie had been cut and it was jarring. 

What is up with Captain Phasma? Please tell me she ends up being the one who somehow turned off Finn’s conditioning and she’s really a good guy. Otherwise, I’m going to be really disappointed in how she rolled over and completely gave up the codes that are responsible for keeping practically her entire army safe. And how she obviously didn’t follow through on making sure Finn was reconditioned or at least re-assigned back to garbage duty rather than continuing to walk freely around. Here’s the first female Storm Trooper we see and she’s…incompetent and willing to give up her codes at some minimally harsh words? And yet, we’re expected to see her as some great Storm Trooper leader? Maybe it’s because they have incompetents as leaders that they have such poor accuracy with their shots. Maybe they should spend more time drilling and less time standing in formation listening to a too-young general gloat about how big and bad his weapon is and how it’s better than the other two Death Stars because it’s bigger. How old is that kid anyway? He looks like a 12-year-old in his Dad’s uniform.  And he’s a general?

Finally, there’s Snoke.  I’m not complaining about his ridiculous size where he’s obviously over compensating for a lack of confidence, or ability, or something like not existing prior to this movie and coming out of nowhere. No, I’m complaining about his name. Really, the guy’s name is Snoke. Let’s think of what it sounds like, smoke- yes as in smoke and mirrors. Snope? For sure, obviously he’s told Ben Solo a pack of lies. Snookered him, if you will. Ah, there we have it. Snoke is a combination of Snopes and Snookered. Come on, pick a better name for the bad guy. This was just awful. 

But these are just nit picks. It really was a good movie and a great Star Wars film. I had pretty much decided to pretend that episodes 1-3 didn’t exist when it comes time to show The Boy the films. But at least I can include this movie in the rotation and be happy doing so. 

My thoughts, it’s worth full admission once. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with 3D, but I don’t like 3D anyway. We went to the RPX matinee and that’s the way I’d prefer it. 

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The Santa Problem

Even before we had a child, Mike and I talked about how to handle The Santa Problem. Mike will tell you he was (and still is) traumatized by discovering his parents had flat out lied to him for YEARS about this. My family came at Santa more from the idea of whoever gave out the presents on Christmas morning was Santa and it was fun to pretend he existed. We always joked that it was Mrs. Claus who filled our stockings since it was our mom who did the work.

We decided when The Boy came along to go at Santa more from the perspective my family had. We didn’t want him to be That Kid who ruined it for everyone else, but we also didn’t want to take part in a lie that society seems to think is perfectly acceptable to do right at the age where we’re teaching kids that lying is wrong.

But here’s where the problem comes. The Boy talks to his friends at pre-school. These kids are indoctrinated by desperate parents who have told them to behave or they’ll end up on Santa’s Naughty List. (And believe me, there have been times I’ve wished to be able to use that.) But now, the kids have a go-to threat with each other. You make me angry; I’ll tell you you’re on The List.

We have been very careful to tell The Boy that we like to pretend about Santa; that it’s a fun thing to do. We’re not quite sure if he believes or not. He’ll make comments about pretending there’s a Santa or noticing that the Zoo Santa we saw this year was the same Santa as last year. But then, he’ll make comments about how all his presents come from Santa. We both shot that one down fairly quickly since we want him to understand that those come from family who need to be thanked when they give him a gift.

I’ve told him how much we liked pretending that my mom was Mrs. Claus and how I’m looking forward to being Mrs. Claus to fill his stocking. I’ve told him about the man, St. Nicholas and how that name eventually turned into Santa Claus. We’ll see how he does as he gets older. I don’t remember ever being surprised about Santa as a child. I’m hoping we’ll be able to walk the fine line between fun and truth a few more yzoosanta2015ears.

In the mean time, we’ll enjoy the fact that The Knoxville Zoo has an awesome program for meeting Santa. It’s a wonderful place to go where one parent can stand in line to meet Santa while the other watches as The Boy plays on the slide in the jungle cave or looks for dinosaur bones in the dig pit. And getting to see animals afterward around the zoo is just one more amazing benefit.