Film Review: Star Wars, The Force Awakens (If only)

03.01.2016 - Silvia Swinden

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Film Review: Star Wars, The Force Awakens (If only)
(Image by MS ClipArt)

In a world marred by confusion about values and directions the old myths that used to give reference to human beings pale in comparison with the effects of the new cultural myths that come in glorious Technicolor, 3D immersive technology and round the corner/clock availability. Enter Star Wars, probably the most hyped up film in history, brilliant, thoroughly entertaining and retro (noticed by George Lucas, creator of the series, who got $4.05bn for selling the franchise to Disney. Retro is the trendy and elegant word for nothing new. Yep).

Star Wars has always been good for strong women, but not for female Jedi heroines. The Muppet-like Jedi Council was consistently and almost exclusively male. But following the enormous success of adolescent female heroine in the Hunger Games Disney & Co joined in and placed a great female character to balance the books. Will she become a Jedi somewhere in the next two billion-dollar-money-spinners to follow up? I can’t wait!

So, another good old film about good and evil Hollywood likes so much. Good and evil in Hollywood has always reached fundamentalist Zoroastrian heights but the contradiction lies in that here “Good” justifies, glorifies and promotes the most extreme levels of revenge and violence. The message being that in the name of “Good” it is OK to invade, kill, use drones, look away from “collateral damage” and wage wars against other cultures. The propaganda machine that this represents is not unique to Hollywood. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, not to mention the Media used as a political tool everywhere, are also examples.

What makes a film like Star Wars “special” in this respect is its cultural penetration. I am sure it will be seen everywhere in the world, by people in all walks of life and beliefs. Therefore this review is not about a film, it is about an object that influences culture.

May the Force be with us

The Force has always been the interesting bit in the series, injecting a dose of the mythical-spiritual into what would otherwise have been just another Sci-Fi series, which is old and modern, spiritual but not necessarily religious. It is not deterministic since a choice seems to exist in terms of which side (of the Force, Light or Dark) people can take. Like in every person’s life there are clues, there is a search, there are disappointments and beautiful moments full of meaning. In sum, it could be seen as a reflection of the current situation of the spirit in human society. In the middle of the violence and the ever distracting special effects someone may notice intentionality at work.

There is an important point here: The Force actually exists. It may not be the telekinetic marvel presented as a fable for its magic effects of the film (often used to get hold of a light sabre during an uber-violent fight), but human beings can experience it in their own bodies and it has the capacity to modify consciousness promoting a life of intentional unity and allowing an intimation of transcendence. But unlike in the Stars Wars Universe dogma the Force gets weakened and destroyed by vengeance and violence, that is, by contradiction. In this sense this film should come with a “health warning” not for the body but for the spirit.

As I can only vouch for personal experience here is a link to a thoroughly nonviolent path to the Force. Others may exist, and if this film inspires people to start their own search I would say on balance it is an interesting cultural object.

Categories: Culture and Media, Humanism and Spirituality, International, Opinions
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