(No spoilers here.)
The new Star Wars movie, the Force Awakens, which has already set records and earned $813 million dollars worldwide, has a fierce female lead and demonstrates how epic movies can be when they utilize a female character fully. Just check out how refreshing, and awesome this movie is! Go see it.
Us ladies are just so used to not seeing women getting to do anything interesting in films, cause it’s so few and far between, when they actually do get to be an integral part of the story, it’s very refreshing. Movies like this, (Mad Max, Fury Road is another great example) are going to set the trend going forward, showing that women are real people, with depth of character and extraordinary talents that make movies epic. These new movies are going to make the films that exclude women look very old fashioned. People are hungry for characters who aren’t just white males, and Star Wars delivered.
Rey, the female lead, has depth of character, tremendous fight in her, a mysterious back story, and she kicks ass and takes names. Also, it passes the simple Bechdel Test, something majority of films amazingly cannot do. (A movie that has more than 2 female characters who have names, who talk to each other, about something besides men.) Throughout the movie, I saw many scenes where at least one woman was present, (also something most movies cannot do) and there were many occasions, where women were an integral part of the story line, not just on the side lines of the story.
During a scene where the Resistance is fighting back, there is a female character flying one of the planes and shooting at the evil First Order and taking part in discussions with her fellow fighters. Lupita Nyong’o’s character, Maz Kanata, makes me think of Yoda, except even more quirky and interesting. Maz Kanata runs her own business and is a crucial source of information in the story and supplies something very critical to Rey. And a certain female General commands a terrific presence in which she is a confident leader. There were females on the dark side though too, including a robot leader.
Why is all this so important? It is important to have women in roles where they are a part of the story, because, in the real world, women are a part of the story of life too, something that should be reflected in media so girls (and boys) aren’t brought up thinking women can’t, or shouldn’t, do things. It’s amazing what having role models in movies can do. The alternative to having women in movies is to ignore women’s existence in films, something I think we all can agree is not only old fashioned, but a rough deal for everyone involved, particularly women. I was also glad to see a man who is black as a lead role too, changing the dynamic of whiteness, at least a little bit, in the film. He was an integral part of the story as well and emerged as a moral hero from the beginning.There could have been more female characters at the table making decisions in some scenes, but overall this film was wonderfully refreshing and the lead character, Rey, was a ruler of her own destiny and a crucial leader propelling the storyline forward. I am now a huge fan of Star Wars and hope they continue to include epic female leads going forward in the remaining Star Wars films.
3 thoughts on “The Force Awakened My Love of Star Wars”
Great review, Julia!
Sorry for commenting twice but literary criticism is my hustle.
“Maz Kanata runs her own business and is a crucial source of information in the story and supplies something very critical to Rey.” – This is where the problem lies. You’re not describing a character, a personality. You’re describing a set of skills.
Skill trees don’t make for well-developed characters. No matter how good my player in Pokemon is, he’s still a silent protagonist that can only follow the linear plot he’s been given.
I watched IV yesterday and compared to Leia to Rey. Rey is more ‘active’ as in, she’s more violent and does more stuff. She also has less personality, less good dialogue. Leia is a damsel in distress but in every scene she’s in, she’s effective. She has great lines that reinforce her Pure Princess nature. She has sarcastic wit, the kind we’d expect from a person who’s been around the galaxy and isn’t impressed by most things. She’s not easily impressed – throughout the Death Star she points out how ridiculous and imcompetent Han Solo and Luke are. In episode VI she strangles Jabba.
Rey doesn’t affect the story besides doing things. I kept waiting for a personality, even an archetype. Luke was an archetype, but they knew what it was – a moral hero with a pure heart and every line of dialogue points to that.
Furiosa suffers from the same problem. Fury Road is actually horribly sexist. I wrote a long analysis about it, how it displays a world where all females are good and men are only worthy if they join men. Furiosa has no personality. She simply has points in the skills of Shooting and Driving Trucks.
We don’t need these type of female heroines. I don’t have to dig deep into anime to find diverse casts (Future Diary, Attack on Titan). Females can be so much more than just badasses.
We DO need these types of female heroines. We need all types of heroines. It seems as though you missed the point of what I wrote which is the desperate need for female roles of all varieties in film, because we are starving over here. Women characters, of any kind, actively participating in plot and not just sexually, are so lacking in film that, for us ladies, we are so used to not seeing women getting to do anything interesting in films, when female characters actually do get to be an integral part of the story, it’s very refreshing. Had you heard of the Bechdel Test before? Women are rarely represented in film besides being arm candy, whereas men have the privilege of having a mountain of characters to watch in film; whether they are badasses, vulnerable guys, skillful or witty characters. Sure, Princess Leia had a different set of intrigue that she brought to the table, but she has been glossed over as a sex symbol much of the time with the scene where she was a slave in a bikini. I agree that in many ways she was the damsel in distress and we need more than that. You have to acknowledge there is a need for a variety of characters. The badasses in films like this are the ones that get the most viewers, and so it is important for females to be in those awesome roles as well.