(spoiler warning) How do you pick a favorite scene in this film? There was so much to love. I think what makes it difficult for me as well is that many of my favorite parts weren’t full out scenes but just moments.
As for full scenes, my runner up would be the opening attack on Jakku. It was wonderful to see stormtroopers who appeared threatening and dangerous. To see a small army of real costumed actors pouring out on to the sand and a flametrooper laying waste to the village. Finn seeing one of his fellow troopers die in front of him. As “bad guys” suited up head to toe it’s easy to dehumanize them but in that moment with Finn, you realize that stormtroopers are people, this is war, and people die in war. Finn has just learned what war really looks like. Enter Kylo Ren. From early pictures of his shuttle, I had disliked it. The enormous wings seemed stupid from a design standpoint, but when it came onscreen like some enormous bat creature that was a harbinger of what’s to come, it worked. The first time I saw the film, it was in a small private showing with other members of the 501st and when Kylo stops that blaster bolt and holds it midair, we all yelled “whoah!” in some way. This was something no one had seen before and it was pure awesome. Everything in this opening sequence was awesome.
As much as I loved the previous scene for what it was, my favorite moment that first put a big smile on my face was the reveal of the Millennium Falcon. This was the first time in the film where we are reintroduced to an original trilogy character after 30 years. Yes, the Falcon is a character as much as the cast. Suddenly we were truly watching Star Wars. Suddenly, to quote Han in a later scene, “we’re home”. The following aerial battle was amazing and Rey and Finn were discovering this artifact from another time. This ship had history. Because of the feeling I get from it, I lump this together with the scene where Han and Chewy board the Falcon as well. It’s the rediscovery of something precious to them and that they have a personal history with. As someone pushing 40, these scenes just work for me on shear nostalgia alone. When Han walks into the cockpit, he gives this little grin as he looks around. That ship is full of memories. I’ve had one or two cars that held a special place in my heart when I owned them. I’m sure if one day I were to fall into possession of one of them again, I’d probably have that same look that Han had, “good to see you again old friend”.
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