Chances are, Star Wars fans are familiar with Red Letter Media, the YouTube channel behind the popular Mr. Plinkett movie reviews. They broke out in a massive way a few years back with their deconstructions of the Star Wars prequels, offering insightful commentary about the trilogy’s perceived shortcomings with bits of dark comedy laced in for good measure. Since the reviews were originally published, they have accumulated millions of views, and Plinkett (played in the videos by Red Letter Media’s Mike Stoklasa) has become one of the most famous voices in the franchise fan base.
Given the channel’s history with Star Wars, many were probably interested in hearing their thoughts on last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Shortly after the movie’s theatrical release, they posted an episode of their Half in the Bag series discussing the film, but there were those hoping that Episode VII would get the Plinkett treatment too. Now, nearly 10 months after Star Wars 7 first came out, Mr. Plinkett is back with another discussion on Star Wars, which you can watch above. The video runs 1 hour, 45 minutes, so you’ll have to clear some time off your schedule to check it out.
Titled “Mr. Plinkett’s The Star Wars Awakens Review,” this is more of commentary on the current state of the film industry and the Star Wars series as a whole than a straightforward review of The Force Awakens. Plinkett does spend time going over the various pros and cons of the movie, but the first sections cover the “shared universe” franchise mentality that’s so prevalent today and Disney’s plans to release a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future. The video also details the Star Wars ring theory (which proposes the first six films were intentionally designed to parallel each other for storytelling purposes), as well as the recent influx of pro-prequel content on the Internet. If you’ve seen even one of Plinkett’s prequel reviews, you know where he stands on that particular subject.
Eventually, Red Letter Media shifts gears to Episode VII itself, and the review portion is somewhat unorthodox for those who have been watching Plinkett for a long time. He’s complimentary of the movie, calling it “fun” and “well-made.” In particular, Plinkett praises the decision by J.J. Abrams to recapture the look of a traditional Star Wars film by using practical effects and sets, and shooting on real locations. Dating back to the Revenge of the Sith review, Red Letter Media has been a proponent of Abrams helming a Star Wars project, so it’s not surprising that they enjoyed it overall. Their Half in the Bag review was also positive, so they didn’t alter their opinions just to remain “true” to the Plinkett character.
Of course, Plinkett also points out flaws in The Force Awakens. Rather than nitpicking minor details, he gives a broader scope of the problems. His biggest issue is the now commonly cited complaint that Episode VII borrows heavily from the original trilogy, acting as a soft reboot of A New Hope instead of breaking new narrative ground. Plinkett, like many fans, excuse The Force Awakens somewhat for this, since it was designed to kickoff a mega franchise. It was important that the fans enjoyed the film, so Abrams and company focused primarily on what people liked about Star Wars and played it safe. Even those who loved Episode VII are hopeful the next two chapters in the sequel trilogy will mix things up (instead of retreading), and it sounds like that will be the case.
So while this is a different kind of Plinkett video, it is still highly entertaining and worth watching for Star Wars fans. It’s nice to see Plinkett have his own awakening, since this is the first full-length Plinkett video in a couple of years. It will be interesting to see if Red Letter Media continues to do these to “celebrate” Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode VIII, and the other movies on Lucasfilm’s slate. It’s plausible that since the return of Star Wars was a massive pop culture event (something that cannot be replicated), this will be a one-time thing. That may be disappointing for fans, but after much clamoring, they finally got Plinkett’s take on new Star Wars.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.