Why “The Force Awakens” Didn’t Awaken Me

I’ve just come back from the mega-multiplex from having seen this hot new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yes, for the first time. Yes, I know I’m the last in civilization to have done so. Can we move on now?

Anyway: I found it to be a good movie, but not a great one–and fundamentally, because it felt like the original movie from 1977 all over again. Desert planet, unsuspecting young person discovers Jedi powers, a secret message in a cute (and marketable) droid, a pursuit by the forces of darkness, a climactic battle aboard a giant planet-destroying machine that gets destroyed, a father figure dies…it’s the same movie, folks! At one point, when the rebels are comparing the Death Star to the Starkiller Base, Han Solo observes, “OK, so it’s bigger.” Yep, that’s about all the difference there is!

I know there are arguments that suggest Star Wars is meant to have Christian overtones, but I don’t buy it. But all the more, I think I don’t resonate with it because the story didn’t feel genuine. We’ve literally seen this movie before, and we know how it’s going to turn out.

In our real-world experiences, we sometimes feel the same way: we’ve seen this movie before. We’ve seen how our family will act at Thanksgiving (the arguments, the pettiness), we’ve seen how the winner-take-all culture at our offices corrodes people, and because we have, we lose hope that anything different can come of it. Our hearts falter, because we feel we’re trapped in a bad remake of a movie that just won’t change.

There is one element of truth in comparing our lives to a movie: we are all living in a larger story. And the larger story we live in is one we’re not the headline star of–God is–and we’re supporting actors. But the key difference is, our experiences here aren’t the end, and the movie will have a different ending this time. Let’s explore that more next time.

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