What movies am I describing?

Movie 1: A rebel spy sneaks secret plans into a droid just before the evil jedi storms in and takes the spy captive. The droid escapes and flees into the desert where an orphan with dreams of a bigger world finds it. The orphan enlists the aid of a fossilized former warrior now in hiding from the fighting between good and evil that rages throughout the galaxy. The old warrior leads the orphan to Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber. Stormtroopers attack, forcing the mentor and the other occupants of the Millennium Falcon on an ill-planned rescue attempt of the enemy stronghold. The mentor dies, killed by the evil jedi in a self-sacrificing attempt to make a larger point. The other heroes survive to participate in attacking the enemy's planet-sized, planet-destroying super weapon, an action only possible because of the information they had secreted out from under the enemy's nose. In a daring display of piloting skill, a lone x-wing fighter pilot makes it through the defending trench and blows up the enemy weapon, saving the galaxy.

Movie 2: Stormtroopers attack en masse, and the heroes are separated into the far reaches of space. A talented but untrained child has a dark vision before meeting a jedi and being introduced to the true power of the Force. Before the training can be completed, dire circumstances (and a painful interrogation instigated by the evil dark jedi) force the child to flee. In an attempt to save his family, a father and son engage in a lightsaber duel to the death on a bridge over a bottomless pit. The good guy loses the fight. Failing to stop the evil jedi leaves one hero near death, and another departs with Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon to find her missing loved one.

Movie 3: After Han Solo is rescued from a battle in a smuggler's den, he is reunited with his lover. Their time together is cut short as the evil empire has built yet another giant laser the size of a planet. The few rebels remaining have no choice but to engage in a direct assault (despite Admiral Ackbar's misgivings), but for the plan to work, Solo has to lead a team into the forest to shut down the weapon's protective shielding. The enemy is prepared for the attack, and the dark jedi engages in a lightsaber duel in an attempt to turn the upstart young jedi to the dark side of the force. Once again the light side of the force proves to be the stronger. Meanwhile, a team of pilots fly inside the superweapon and blow it up from the inside, saving the galaxy.

Sound familiar? They're all the same movie.

189. (936.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars worked — and still works — largely because Lucas took pieces of other (generally better) films and adventure stories and put them in a new, sci-fi setting. The Force Awakens fails because the only movies it steals from are all Star Wars. Sadly, the Franchise that Lucas Built has become nothing more than a marketing machine, a blender of nostalgia designed not to entertain or inspire, but to please focus groups and sell action figures to adults.

It's still better than the prequels, but that's a pretty low bar.

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To be continued...


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