starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Max Von Sydow
written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
directed by J.J. Abrams
by Walter Chaw I was four when I saw Star Wars. It was the first time I'd seen a film in a theatre; it was the first film I'd seen, period. I didn't speak a word of English. It was overwhelming, and I'm discovering, after watching J.J. Abrams's Star Wars: The Force Awakens (hereafter Star Wars 7), that it imprinted itself on my DNA. Thirty-eight years later, I collect the toys my parents couldn't afford to buy me when I was a kid--the ones I played with at friends' houses, when I pretended to be Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as a child of immigrants doing his best to fit into a society that promised blond and blue-eyed messiahs. My office is full of these toys. They are fetishized relics for me. I hold them and they possess a totemic value. The curve of a molded plastic stormtrooper's helmet reminds me of the department store where I looked at it through the packaging--and of my delight at my mom one day buying me one, which I opened on the way home in the backseat of the family car.