On Sunday I took Mrs. T, who likes science fiction, to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s the first Star Wars film that I’ve seen since 1980. I saw the original Star Wars (which I found charming) and The Empire Strikes Back when they were new and I was young, after which I decided that twice was enough.
In case you’re wondering, The Force Awakens bored me cross-eyed, which is not the best way to watch a 3-D movie. (For the record, Mrs. T felt the same way.) As David Thomson said of Jaws, the Blockbuster That Started It All, “It is zero to the power of ten.” Yes, I like good clean fun as much as the next guy—I am, lest we forget, the drama critic who gave thumbs-up to The Wedding Singer—but I do expect somewhat more out of a film than pretty faces, continuous explosions, a recycled score, and dialogue as unmemorable as a lukewarm bowl of cafeteria soup.
To all this I need only add that the American film industry has now, it would seem, attained the perigee of decadence: it has given us, courtesy of J.J. Abrams, a totally derivative hommage to a totally derivative hommage.
Here endeth the lesson.
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The climactic sword fight from The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. The score is by Erich Wolfgang Korngold: