Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Signage for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at a movie theater in Tokyo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

First, a confession. I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world. In fact, I haven't seen a new Star Wars film since my brother took me to see The Phantom Menace in the summer of 1999. Unsurprisingly, I haven't been in any particular hurry to catch up on the franchise since then, but truth be told, I pretty much left Star Wars behind in my early teens.

Hey, look! It's Paddington, and he probably wants some marmalade! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Given all the hype (most of which seems to come from meme-sharing fans on Facebook), I finally broke down and went to see it at the 109 Cinemas in Futako-Tamagawa (hence the name of this blog post, in case you were wondering).

Even though the film has been out for a while in Japan, my screening (which was on a Tuesday afternoon) was nearly sold out, and I had to settle for a seat in the very first row. Hm... 

How come Star Wars doesn't offer any marmalade soda? Photo by Brett Homenick.

Interestingly, the teaser trailer for Shin Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence) played before the film. If J.J. Abrams catches a screening of Star Wars in Japan, he'll probably be wondering why it took his flick Cloverfield so long to get released in Japan and why it's being called Godzilla. Suffice it to say, the teaser was as unimpressive to me on the big screen as it was on YouTube.

(Minor spoilers ahead)

As for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the movie had me up until those gloopy, tentacled monsters showed up on the Millennium Falcon (at least that's where I think it was -- the characters moved around so much it was hard to keep track of where they were). Not only were they boring and nondescript, but they belonged in another movie. After that, well, I just had a "been there, done that" feeling until the last shot of the film, which was just as unsatisfying as anything else on the screen.

I'd give the movie about two out of four stars, but again, I'm not the target audience for this sort of thing. I've certainly seen movies a lot worse, but it could have been so much better.

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