“Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens” was really well done! The effects, plot speed, character development, and the many nods to the previous installations of the series were all top-notch. And yet, something felt off. It took me a couple days to put my finger on it, but I finally figured it out!
And no, I’m not here talking about the godless worldview of the movie, or the completely subjective morality of the Star Wars (canonical) universe. Those things haven’t changed, and although we can always find bits of truth in any story (because all worldviews borrow from a biblical one), that’s not what was bothering me.
No, what bothered me was that it felt a little *too* familiar.
Let me explain by summarizing the plot – “A young person who lives on a desert planet is longing for more out of their life, especially to travel in space. But, they remain where they are out of loyalty to their family. Suddenly though, through a series of strange, sad, and comical events, they become involved in a galactic battle to save the universe from an evil regime (who are led in part by a masked force user and his master) by destroying a huge spaceship that can destroy whole planets. As the story moves, there is a daring rescue, the death of a beloved mentor, an awakening of a force user who becomes strong enough in the force to save the day, and an ending that leaves you wanting more.”
Now, did I just describe episode 7 or episode 4?
Do you see how it could be either one? I mean, sure there were things that will mark this movie out as something unique, but it is in large part the exact same plot as the first movie.
And don’t get me wrong, episode 4 was great as well! And I don’t blame anyone for using something that works, but throughout the whole movie I just felt as if I’d been here before. And although it felt great, it also felt a little too familiar.
A few thousand years ago, Solomon said that there was nothing new under the Sun, and now here, at the most anticipated movie ever in film history, I have to agree with him.
As a matter of fact, if you wanted to boil the plot down even more to simply “a young person from a desert planet helps save the universe from the dark side”, you could include episode 1 as well (a nearly damnable offense I know)!
I’m sure there are many “points” that can be observed/made from this – but mine is simply this: It’s difficult to find the unique.
Many people wanted Episode 7 to be something new and different, and yet, it felt like more of the same. Not that the same is bad, it’s just…the same.
I wonder if this teaches us anything about how repetitive and mundane the minds of men are, and through it, points us up to the mind of God – who is himself the fountain of all uniqueness and creativity. I know that I never get more excited about the “newness” of something in my life than when I am discovering something incredible from scripture. And maybe that’s because I’m a theology nerd, or maybe it’s because no matter how incredible something in this world is (even Star Wars), it just can’t compare to our self-revealing, covenant-keeping, sinner-loving, glory-restoring, holy, awesome God.
Star Wars 7 promised a new story to put your hope in, but it turns out, it was the same old “new hope” from before. But, God, through Jesus, offers real new hope each and every day. At least for me, watching Episode 7 (and ruminating on it for a couple days) was a good reminder not to place any real hope for the unique in anything outside of God.
PS – I wonder if Episode 8 will contain any lines about revelations of long lost parents (Rae, I am your….)?