Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Since Star Wars The Force Awakens has broken lots of records for attendance, there are no doubt too many audience reviews for mine to matter. There are several elements that make this a film worth watching, and fans are mostly happy with it, at least in part due to the items (in my own order of excellence) enumerated here:

#1 The Score! John Williams’ score was instrumental in turning the original Star Wars from a mere comic book B movie into a box office bonanza. For the other films his compositions have kept the audience entertained, and Williams’ music is just as important here ever. For those not into classical music, the technique he uses is called leitmotif, wherein each character or plot device has it’s own musical theme, all interwoven into the whole. This is an operatic technique that helps the audience be even more emotionally involved the happenings on screen. It’s very cool, and it works beautifully in Episode VII.

#2 The respectful treatment of the aging stars of the original series. Although there is considerable exposition prior to the appearance of the famous trio, each character is given his (or her) moment on screen. The audience has a chance to see what’s happened during the passage of time, and the situation of each is organic in regards to their characters and situation way back when the Jedi returned in Episode VI.

#3 The new characters are interesting. Writing is hard work, and creating characters that readers (and/or viewers) care about can be difficult. In Poe Dameron, Rey, and Finn, the writers have given us a new generation of action characters. Hey, there’s even a cool new droid, BB-8. Compared to the characters in Episodes I, II, and III, these new guys are…oh, let’s be real. There is no comparison with those films. The new kids seem to be worthy successors, however. The actors do an excellent job of bringing them to life, too.

#4 Real “special effects” rather than CGI. Don’t get me wrong, computer generated effects have their place. But when Yoda ceased to be a puppet and became a glowing figure out of a computer game, his personality shifted from cute and quirky to something less interesting. This Star Wars has the look and feel of the original, but with more money. No doubt the prop masters were kept very busy during filming, but there is a difference when the actor is doing lots of stuff against a green screen vs. real props and sets.

#5 Good vs. Evil is central to the story line. For audiences to care, the good guys have to be mostly good, but have enough flaws for us to identify with them. The bad guys should be so bad that even Oprah wouldn’t try to understand them, instead she’d just shoot ’em.

The links are present for those who want to know more about certain aspects of the film, but that’s my take on the new Star Wars movie, which I recently saw with hubby and our young adult son.

On “Conversate” is it a real word?

Webster's 3rd

When I was an undergrad, this was the definitive measure of whether or not a word was acceptable English.

Okay, I’m wearing my “English Instructor” hat when I write this post, and no, “conversate” isn’t a real word. Not yet, anyway. However, since the word is beginning to appear in a variety of contexts, from print to the courtroom, this non-word is going to be a candidate for real word status in the future. Right now, it is best classified as slang. Maybe it will be like “groovy” and become a relic of the era, or maybe it will make it into common usage. But don’t use it in formal writing if you want to project the image of being educated. Just don’t.

How do words become accepted? Traditionally, via being used in print. As print becomes less and less the standard of usage, and electronic documentation becomes the standard, probably many non-words will gain status. And English is has always been more open to accepting new words than many other languages, so “conversate” might make it into whatever lexicon determines acceptable usage. Other non-words have made it into standard usage, including “normalcy,” “software,” and even “couch potato” so it is just a matter of time and usage.

Until then, if you are searching for alternatives to “conversate” go back to basics; try talk or converse. They mean exactly the same thing, are both verbs, and the spell checker won’t try to change them into something else.

By Pamela/Pilar Posted in writing