Yesterday we watched The Force Awakens, which does a nice job of bringing the series back after a long absence. But a big problem is JJ Abrams’ style of storytelling, which is to explain as little as possible to the audience. That doesn’t work well in Star Wars. What happened in the 30 years after the second Death Star was destroyed? Did the Empire’s secular governors and military fill the void left by the Emperor? Who is Rey? Why is she in the Skywalker saga? Where’d that damn lightsaber come from? We still don’t know. I guess some people like that kind of storytelling but I find it infuriating. Equally frustrating to me is Abrams’ penchant for killing off characters. As I’ve said a million times, death is easy drama and it’s become so commonplace now (thanks in large part to shows like Abrams’ Lost) that it’s lost all of its shock appeal. It’s routine now. All that aside, this is a well made film, with good locations, characters and effects. (But, really, how many desert planets are we going to see in Star Wars? Doesn’t anyone in a city or a suburb use the Force? In a galaxy of billions or trillions of people, we’ve scarcely seen any thriving civilizations.) The deleted scenes are nice, but at 4 minutes total, there’s not much there. The most character-driven moment is Kylo Ren inspecting the Millennium Falcon. We’ll finish our 12 days of Star Wars tomorrow. It’s been an absolute joy to watch this with the kids.