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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

Old 12-30-15, 09:49 PM
  #1126  
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
I can see where it's possible for this setup to go in much different directions than the original trilogy in the next films. If so, that could frame this first one in a different light and bring me to appreciate it more knowing the full story. I guess I will continue to merely be cautiously optimistic about the upcoming films and see what we get.
If there's any truth at all in the Jar Jar/sith theory (and I realise that's a VERY big "if"), that becoming a plot point in #2 and #3 may well have allowed Episode I to be rehabilotated, too. So, yes, there's always th possibility that some things will be revealed to be more than rhey appear. But that's a future hope, not a here-and-now fact..
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Old 12-30-15, 10:02 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
I'd like to see people that don't like Star Wars to quit trying to push other people that do like it towards not liking it.
I don't see any of that. For one, it's not "people who don't like" but (largely) "people who don't like it as much as some". Which is wildly different.

People who don't like Star Wars, but who for whatever reason go see TFA... seem to largely like it! Certainly there are a dozen reviewers who profess disdain and disinterest in SW, but like this film.

What I see is bafflement, mild sadness (see clckworang's comment) and genuine curiosity - if WE (casual-big fans) feel this is wildly derivitive and disappointing similar, how is it that YOU (super fans or just contented moviegoers) do not? Are we missing something, are you missing something, or are we all seeing the same things with the same context but still having different opinions of the whole?

Because different opinions are common and normal, but it is rare that films like this seem fantastic/disappointing along these lines. Practically everyone (but particularly fans and those versed in the characters) hates Catwoman and F4ntastic Four, and that makes sense along those lines. Similarly, Superman Returns and Man of Steel, and even the SW prequels have fans and the alleged core audience lining up to decry them for reasons that make fan-sense. But here... the lines and logic are differing in odd, arguably fascinating ways.

So there's genuine interest in the reasoning. At least from me.


Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
Almost every damn movie made is derivative in some form or fashion. We have pretty much seen it all. Well, at least I have after having watched Thundercrack ,but that is another story. Star Wars is never going to be the be all end all movie series but it is damn fun for me and takes me back to my childhood. At least I was already an adult when Lucas mucked things up the prequels.
I understand that. But it's interesting to compare and contrast other such efforts - big screen versions of 60s TV (Avengers, Bewitched, UNCLE, Star Trek), comics adaptations, and other nostalgia fare (John Carter and The Lone Ranger) - and try to see where people's (lack of) enjoyment is comong from.

Not trying to convert people (and if such discussions DO make people doubt themselves, then a) sorry and b) you probably already had doubts), just curious about opinions and suchlike.
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Old 12-30-15, 10:09 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by TGM View Post
Star Wars has ALWAYS been a franchise about repeated themes and one in a million coincidences. SW:TFA is no different.
Right - but the issue here is over who sees this as a continuation of that trend, who denies that's rhe case here, who sees it over-stepping the mark and who thinks that there are "repeated themes" and then there are repetitions that look more blatant. It's maybe even bordering on the artistic debate over swiping and repurposing others' work as 'new' art.

Episode I repeats themes and setpieces, echoes and resomances with Star Wars. But no-one would credibly argue it's the same basic plot or serving as a remake. That argument has been made here, and many - including people who still thoroughly love the film! - think it has considerable merit. That shouldn't automatically dent enthusiasm or enjoyment, but for some it does - and for others even the suggestion is hotly denied.
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Old 12-30-15, 10:23 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

It's a continuation of a saga with the original cast returning in their roles. Like so many others have already mentioned, it has various elements or plot devices that are similar to earlier Star Wars movies because, what do you know, it's a Star Wars movie! Shocking, I know. It's like complaining that Spectre is too much like other Bond movies.
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Old 12-30-15, 10:31 PM
  #1130  
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

It gave us what we loved and added things that made us can't wait to see what's next / where it's going. That's earned my multiple viewings
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Old 12-30-15, 11:12 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Ntnon, I can tell by reading several of your posts that you are not a big fan of this movie and likely not even a big fan of the series. However, I read post after post by you, in a thread of a movie that you seemingly didn't like very much, trying to defend and debate your stance on it.

Originally Posted by HN View Post
It gave us what we loved and added things that made us can't wait to see what's next / where it's going. That's earned my multiple viewings
I agree with this. Isn't wasn't an amazing story by any means but did give us a nice return to the universe that many of us really enjoy.
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Old 12-30-15, 11:49 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

The Force Awakens was safe.

But that's a good thing. It needed to be. The new shepherds of the saga had to welcome us back to a world we haven't visited in ten years (in cinemas), and continue a story that left off some thirty years ago. That'd be daunting enough on its own, but the prequels themselves kind of left a stink on the property that many were not ready to forgive.

J.J. Abrams and crew had to reset a table, and they did it admirably. Stories were carried forward, new ones began, and plenty of stuff (droids and peripheral characters and such) were simply there and familiar. There are lots of lines, and themes, and tropes that should be included in any good Star Wars film. TFA stayed true to that. But there is a realness, something tactile, that hasn't been in a Star Wars film since Jedi. That has thankfully returned. That reality, and charm, heart, and fun were all missing in the prequels.

Star Wars needs those things. TFA delivered those in spades. J.J. and Disney needed to earn our trust. So if the film is safe, it was to show they were ready to fit back into a familiar groove before we move ahead.
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Old 12-30-15, 11:50 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
It's a continuation of a saga with the original cast returning in their roles. Like so many others have already mentioned, it has various elements or plot devices that are similar to earlier Star Wars movies because, what do you know, it's a Star Wars movie! Shocking, I know. It's like complaining that Spectre is too much like other Bond movies.
Haven't seen Spectre, so I can't draw that analogy... but what about Never Say Never Again, different but not actually different.

Most - not all - Bond films share many plot elements, maybe even the occasional repeated theme (not callbacks and catchphrases, but repeated scenarios or tropes), but the majority of the similarities there aren't actually similar: girls, guns and gadgets. Different girls, different gadgets. A jetpack and an invisible car are different. A deathstar and a planet-sized deathstar are not different.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:23 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
Ntnon, I can tell by reading several of your posts that you are not a big fan of this movie and likely not even a big fan of the series. However, I read post after post by you, in a thread of a movie that you seemingly didn't like very much, trying to defend and debate your stance on it..
I appreciate you reading them, at least!

You aren't really correct in your presumptions - I probably wouldn't consider myself a Star Wars fan, but mostly because there are (several) other things I am more of a fan of. I was too young to see the originals in theaters (and the SE re-releases did not re-release near where I lived), but I saw the other three the week(s) they came out. I also own all the films (and sought out both the anniversary DVD boxset and the double-disc sets so I - think I - have all main released versions of the three "proper" films), and even casually defend the prequels - ironically partly for the thematic resonances...

I have read dozens (if not hundreds) of the EU Marvel and Dark Horse comics, played some of the games and read fewer of the books. I'm more invested than many, know as much as most fans and care about the universe.

I was looking forward to the film - more so because it WAS Episode VII and had the main cast back, but also because I like almost all of Disney's live action films - and went to see it two days after it came out in a packed theater. But I did not see the fiercely-defended, blindly-accepted "despite its flaws" film so many seem to. I saw a film that was uneasy with its own existence, unsure of whether it was a sequel, remake or reboot and (as, to be fair, many recent films fail to do well) unclear on how to do 'homage' without being heavy-handed or getting far too close to the plagiarism line. And that was very disappointing.

The much-ballyhooed BIG DIFFERENCES (female hero, black lead, ex-Stormtrooper) did not seem very different at all. Every character seemed not to be thematically-linked and/or somewhat mirroring a character from the trilogy (as several naturally should, if the Lucas plans had any bearing on the final script), but to deliberately be patterned after them in almost every way: Rey is Luke, BB8 is R2-D2, Finn is Leia, Han is Kenobi, Luke is Yoda, Kylo is Vader, Hux is Tarkin, Snoke may actually be the Emperor. You could - and some have - create a list of character traits and plot points and match them up exactly, or as close to exactly as makes some disappointed about the lack of originality.

And that's arguably the crux - this should be Episode 7. Familiar setting, familiar characters, NEW ADVENTURE. Something original. And the most original things seem to be lightsaber crossbars and a rolling ball droid. And those two are just embellishments to familiar things.

Then there are the flaws which, fair enough, some don't see or care about. But they undermine what little novelty there is in this overly-familiar story. e.g. I like the defecting Stormtrooper, that's a great idea. But it's portrayed in a heavyhanded manner, and makes no logical sense and then shows apparent character inconsistency when he kills other Stormtroopers... I like the idea of scavanging battlefields and even that the "final" "decisive" battle of Endor didn't solve the galaxy's problems.


Also, I like debate. And dissent. I like canvassing opinion and learning about others' thoughts. And my alleged "stance" does not seem particularly debateable - almost everyone acknowledges the similarities - it's just the degrees and how they affect whose enjoyment that are interesting topics to debate and to discuss.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:52 AM
  #1135  
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
Haven't seen Spectre, so I can't draw that analogy... but what about Never Say Never Again, different but not actually different.

Most - not all - Bond films share many plot elements, maybe even the occasional repeated theme (not callbacks and catchphrases, but repeated scenarios or tropes), but the majority of the similarities there aren't actually similar: girls, guns and gadgets. Different girls, different gadgets. A jetpack and an invisible car are different. A deathstar and a planet-sized deathstar are not different.
Technically it's a Starkiller. Gadgets are gadgets, Bond girls are Bond girls, etc. If you think Bond movies are distinct and different from one another, but this new Star Wars movie isn't compared to other Star Wars movies, there really isn't anything to discuss.
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Old 12-31-15, 08:07 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Saying the Death Star and Starkiller base are the same but then saying gadgets in a Bond movie is different than gadgets in another movie makes no sense to me. It's the ultimate nitpick to make a point. If one is the same than the other is the same.
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Old 12-31-15, 08:58 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

For the Bond comparison, I think there's a big difference between series staples like the gadgets and technology in each movie and using the same primary weapon of destruction as the main threat. Losing a limb or "I've got a bad feeling about this" are things from Star Wars that people look for movie to movie are a closer comparison to the Bond items mentioned; I don't think planet destroying weapons are quite the same, unless fans really want that each and every movie. At least I hope not

It's more glaring to me when looking at a series of movies with direct continuity too, opposed to the Bond movies until recently.
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Old 12-31-15, 09:01 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
Right - but the issue here is over who sees this as a continuation of that trend, who denies that's the case here, who sees it over-stepping the mark and who thinks that there are "repeated themes" and then there are repetitions that look more blatant. It's maybe even bordering on the artistic debate over swiping and repurposing others' work as 'new' art.

Episode I repeats themes and setpieces, echoes and resonances with Star Wars. But no-one would credibly argue it's the same basic plot or serving as a remake. That argument has been made here, and many - including people who still thoroughly love the film! - think it has considerable merit. That shouldn't automatically dent enthusiasm or enjoyment, but for some it does - and for others even the suggestion is hotly denied.
It repeats pretty much everything. Whatever was wrong with the prequels, they were full of images that looked different and some new plot beats. This movie is a glorified remake of Star Wars with bits of the sequels thrown in: a shield generator on the planet, a giant planet-destroying super-weapon, a desert planet orphan, a trench run, an ace pilot, a bad guy in a black mask with a right lightsaber and a holographic overlord, a R2 droid with secret information, a desert planet, a jungle planet. This movie brings nothing new to the table at all, and assumes that by reference Corellian freighters, 12 parsects, and S-foils, fanboys will go nutso. And they do. We barely even get new designs for anything: more X-Wings, more TIE-Fighters, more Star Destroyers. At least the prequels gave us something new to look at: Naboo fighters, lava planets, underwater cities, a stone-age planet, new ship designs. Sorry, I might forgive this if it had gotten us the OOT. But since it didn't, the whole thing just feels like an exercise in nostalgia. "Back to basics" doesn't have to mean that you have no new ideas in your head. Whatever George Lucas might have been, his ways of constructing set pieces in the 70s and 80s, and in some cases even in the prequels, had the buzz of new ideas. This is all repainted, recolored, and redecorated. I've seen this before. And Abrams doesn't even have enough grace to give the action sequences the slickness to make those interesting. Where's Brad Bird when you need him?

It's a fun movie. The new cast members, though underwritten, are a nice addition. It's fun to revisit the world, it's immensely fun to see the original cast. The film has buckets of audience good will. It's good enough. It's as good as it needs to be. I just kind of wish it'd been better.

PS Where the hell did Kanata get the blue lightsaber? The one with the mystical connection to Luke and Vader which has apparently chosen Rey, who's able to telekineticlly summon it to her even though she's never done it before? Didn't it land in the clouds on Bespin when Vader chopped of Luke's hand? How the hell did it wind up on Endor 2.0?
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Old 12-31-15, 09:04 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Maz said something along the lines of "that's a story for another time" in regards to the saber when Han asked how she got it. Seems they'll go into more detail in the sequels.
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Old 12-31-15, 09:05 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
...In fairness, it's part one of three as well as 7 of 9, so that is true..
Wait! You're saying TFA is a BORG? (sorry... couldn't resist)
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Old 12-31-15, 09:33 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
I appreciate you reading them, at least!

You aren't really correct in your presumptions - I probably wouldn't consider myself a Star Wars fan, but mostly because there are (several) other things I am more of a fan of. I was too young to see the originals in theaters (and the SE re-releases did not re-release near where I lived), but I saw the other three the week(s) they came out. I also own all the films (and sought out both the anniversary DVD boxset and the double-disc sets so I - think I - have all main released versions of the three "proper" films), and even casually defend the prequels - ironically partly for the thematic resonances...

I have read dozens (if not hundreds) of the EU Marvel and Dark Horse comics, played some of the games and read fewer of the books. I'm more invested than many, know as much as most fans and care about the universe.

I was looking forward to the film - more so because it WAS Episode VII and had the main cast back, but also because I like almost all of Disney's live action films - and went to see it two days after it came out in a packed theater. But I did not see the fiercely-defended, blindly-accepted "despite its flaws" film so many seem to. I saw a film that was uneasy with its own existence, unsure of whether it was a sequel, remake or reboot and (as, to be fair, many recent films fail to do well) unclear on how to do 'homage' without being heavy-handed or getting far too close to the plagiarism line. And that was very disappointing.

The much-ballyhooed BIG DIFFERENCES (female hero, black lead, ex-Stormtrooper) did not seem very different at all. Every character seemed not to be thematically-linked and/or somewhat mirroring a character from the trilogy (as several naturally should, if the Lucas plans had any bearing on the final script), but to deliberately be patterned after them in almost every way: Rey is Luke, BB8 is R2-D2, Finn is Leia, Han is Kenobi, Luke is Yoda, Kylo is Vader, Hux is Tarkin, Snoke may actually be the Emperor. You could - and some have - create a list of character traits and plot points and match them up exactly, or as close to exactly as makes some disappointed about the lack of originality.

And that's arguably the crux - this should be Episode 7. Familiar setting, familiar characters, NEW ADVENTURE. Something original. And the most original things seem to be lightsaber crossbars and a rolling ball droid. And those two are just embellishments to familiar things.

Then there are the flaws which, fair enough, some don't see or care about. But they undermine what little novelty there is in this overly-familiar story. e.g. I like the defecting Stormtrooper, that's a great idea. But it's portrayed in a heavyhanded manner, and makes no logical sense and then shows apparent character inconsistency when he kills other Stormtroopers... I like the idea of scavanging battlefields and even that the "final" "decisive" battle of Endor didn't solve the galaxy's problems.


Also, I like debate. And dissent. I like canvassing opinion and learning about others' thoughts. And my alleged "stance" does not seem particularly debateable - almost everyone acknowledges the similarities - it's just the degrees and how they affect whose enjoyment that are interesting topics to debate and to discuss.
So you're debating to debate? Enough already... We get it. You're coming across as Dragon Tattoo lite
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Old 12-31-15, 10:31 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Rob V View Post
So you're debating to debate? Enough already... We get it. You're coming across as Dragon Tattoo lite
Debating because apparently opinions must be challenged, and debating to understand. And debating because Bond films are all the same, but StarKiller and DeathStar are wildly different.

The ratings in this thread - and across many 'proper' reviews - are top-heavy: 4 and 5 star reviews and ratings for a good-but-flawed film. For a glorified retread/reboot/remake. Trying to understand why so many rate it so highly is an interesting question. Isn't that what forums are for - queries and comment and debate?

Are the four+ star reviews comparing this film to other SW films? To ALL films? To the prequels? Are people rating based on personal enjoyment, technical ability, plot (novelty), acting ability...?
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Old 12-31-15, 10:32 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dex14 View Post
Maz said something along the lines of "that's a story for another time" in regards to the saber when Han asked how she got it. Seems they'll go into more detail in the sequels.
Or a tie-in. I think C3PO's arm is being addressed by one of the comics.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:35 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
Saying the Death Star and Starkiller base are the same but then saying gadgets in a Bond movie is different than gadgets in another movie makes no sense to me. It's the ultimate nitpick to make a point. If one is the same than the other is the same.
An apple is a fruit. An orange is also a fruit. A small orange is not the same as a large apple. An apple is the same thing as a larger apple.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:44 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
For the Bond comparison, I think there's a big difference between series staples like the gadgets and technology in each movie and using the same primary weapon of destruction as the main threat. Losing a limb or "I've got a bad feeling about this" are things from Star Wars that people look for movie to movie are a closer comparison to the Bond items mentioned; I don't think planet destroying weapons are quite the same, unless fans really want that each and every movie. At least I hope not
Right. Harry Potter books/films contain magic and magical creatures, Star Wars/Trek contains aliens and space battles, (most) Bond films have gadgets and crazy villains. But the specifics are different. Not "it's bigger"-different or "he's a she"-different, but you could describe both and be clear about which is which-different.

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
It's more glaring to me when looking at a series of movies with direct continuity too, opposed to the Bond movies until recently.
Quite. There's also a difference between fighting the same person/group in a different way - Batman (89) vs. The Dark Knight; Superman II vs. Man of Steel - which gives Blofeld a theoretical pass.

And that's another intereating curiosity - this issue of repetition seems to be more in the eye of the beholder or "I'll know it when I see it" than blatantly obvious. Which is interesting.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:49 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
An apple is a fruit. An orange is also a fruit. A small orange is not the same as a large apple. An apple is the same thing as a larger apple.
Maybe it's time to move along.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:50 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
It repeats pretty much everything. Whatever was wrong with the prequels, they were full of images that looked different and some new plot beats. This movie is a glorified remake of Star Wars with bits of the sequels thrown in: a shield generator on the planet, a giant planet-destroying super-weapon, a desert planet orphan, a trench run, an ace pilot, a bad guy in a black mask with a right lightsaber and a holographic overlord, a R2 droid with secret information, a desert planet, a jungle planet. This movie brings nothing new to the table at all, and assumes that by reference Corellian freighters, 12 parsects, and S-foils, fanboys will go nutso. And they do.
Yep. Curious.

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
We barely even get new designs for anything: more X-Wings, more TIE-Fighters, more Star Destroyers.
I remember a lot of criticism that the X-Wings ARE noticably (to a few) different.. is that correct?

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
..the whole thing just feels like an exercise in nostalgia. "Back to basics" doesn't have to mean that you have no new ideas in your head. Whatever George Lucas might have been, his ways of constructing set pieces in the 70s and 80s, and in some cases even in the prequels, had the buzz of new ideas. This is all repainted, recolored, and redecorated. I've seen this before...

It's a fun movie. The new cast members, though underwritten, are a nice addition. It's fun to revisit the world, it's immensely fun to see the original cast. The film has buckets of audience good will. It's good enough. It's as good as it needs to be. I just kind of wish it'd been better.
Good enough, should be better. Quite.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:52 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
Maybe it's time to move along.
I'm not going to find the conversation I'm looking for..?
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Old 12-31-15, 11:14 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
Maybe it's time to move along.
I already have. Ignore is your friend.

If only people would stop quoting him...
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Old 12-31-15, 11:23 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by RoboDad View Post
I already have. Ignore is your friend.

If only people would stop quoting him...
Deal!
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