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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 04-22-16, 10:07 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ View Post
Who comes up with this stuff?!

And I still say he made the lightsaber himself to be just like grandpa.
You would be correct, and I thought the cracked crystal was pretty much common knowledge to fans of the series. I can see the causal fan being confused by it though. Kylo is a total wannabe.
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Old 04-22-16, 10:26 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

The only thing that really is canon is the films. TV, books, comics, whatever else. Is never really held as true canon w/ these things. The moment you make that your fans has to "get" something from beyond the prime source... the percentage of fanbase from the prime source to the other source is pretty low in comparison.
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Old 06-12-16, 05:53 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Finally got around to watching this for the first time last night.
I purposefully tried to put enough distance between the release hype and this viewing so that I wouldn't go in with an axe to grind (since I already knew quite a bit of it was going to be a re-mixed rehash from the original film).

After it was over, it was pretty much what I expected for the most part. I really liked Rey and Ridley's performance. Ford, and Fisher, were both cringe-inducing to watch for me. Maybe two or three times Ford had an amusing line, but for the most part it was just depressing seeing him (and the character) that old and so lacking the youthful joi de vivre that made Solo so much fun to watch almost 40 years ago. What's more is, like Indiana Jones 4, all the filmmakers did is to drop him into the same character he was in his youth.
It's like watching a 50 year old try on the clothes he wore in high school.
Apparently it worked for most everyone else. Was, with a few scattered bits here and there, embarrassing for me to watch.

Was kind of surprised by how scattershot the film was in terms of a driving narrative. Despite liberally aping the original film, the destruction of the Death Star stand-in here is pretty perfunctory and utterly lacked (for me) any cathartic euphoria. Yeah sure you see it destroy several planets (proving once again that more is less compared to the impact the destruction of Alderaan had in the original)- but for all the muted urgency it had, it might as well have been any McGuffin-esque device that can do something sinister on a large scale, rather than a retread of something we've already seen multiple times before.
Like Bryan Singer with Superman Returns, there was absolutely no need to re-hash elements that other creators already covered originally. All that was needed was for the characters to stop "x" from happening. Making it another quasi death star run was like giving Luthor another land scheme. The paucity of imagination by the filmmakers is just...sad.

And speaking of McGuffins, the initial one of the map to find Luke is almost interesting, but at the same time bizarre. The urgency to find him seems kind of inane...as if this is really the biggest thing the rebellion...er, resistance, has to worry about?
Suppose we had found out that at some point Luke not only went rogue, but flipped to the dark side (or began to imply he was slipping that way) and the map was needed so that an assassin team could be dispatched to take him out before he became a bigger threat- THEN I could see the whereabouts of Luke as being a big deal to be invested in. Just having him wander off to chill after he loses a student to the dark side (gee, I wonder who that could be)...seems logical, but in terms of a plot driver, wholly insufficient to me .

Eh. I'm sure all these points have been discussed ad nauseum while the hype for this was still fresh and relevant. I'll catch the follow up chapters (on Bd) when they come out, because I like Rey and would hope that character will have an interesting arc that isn't, like so much of TFA, just a call back to stuff I've already seen in this "saga" before.

Ultimately I came away thinking it wasn't a horrible film (like RotJ) or wrongheaded (like the prequels). Mostly it was just "meh" for me.
I still think the SW every year strategy is going to rapidly stifle the enthusiasm for this franchise rather than keep stoking it as it's intended to do. Especially if they force every spinoff to hew to a similar house style. Some of the levity in this was really forced and awkward. Different voices will keep this fresher than if they try to tell every story with the same one.
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Old 06-12-16, 06:22 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
Just having him wander off to chill after he loses a student to the dark side (gee, I wonder who that could be)...
It was a bit more than losing a student - in the flashback scene you can see an immense number of Jedi bodies all over the ground that Ren had killed.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:13 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

I also feel the TFA was so deliberately aping ANH primarily as a way to reset things and correct the "tone" of what Star Wars should be for the fans that had given up on the whole affair... it exists to setup a few new characters and hopefully an interesting subsequent storyline, sure, and seeing Ford as Han Solo again on the big screen, something I had given up ever seeing ever again made me feel 8 years old (despite him being clunky, borderline feeble, and... well, 70)... but TFA is essentially franchise bleach to wash away the stench of the misguided and soulless prequels and show the audience "hey, we get it... Star Wars is dirty... it's practical effects... it's real sets... it's swashbuckling and laser guns, not trade routes, all kiddy jokes, and parliament sessions."

TFA worked for me on that level... it "felt" like the Star Wars I grew up with and obsessed over... I expect much more out of Ep8... but if it mimics TESB then I will be wholly disappointed.

Last edited by TGM; 06-12-16 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 06-12-16, 08:08 AM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

I saw TFA in theatre on opening night and waited up until this past week to re-watch it.

If anyone thinks this film aped anything besides the main plot of ANH, they are out to lunch. I keep seeing "tone" and "style" thrown around but very little of it lined up with anything in the OT.

The humour was forced. The camera movements, snap zooms, lens flares, CGI characters and other aesthetic touches really made this film average at best. And there is nothing that is Star Wars feeling about that end scene of the awkwardly long freeze on Luke, Rey or the outstretched lightsaber (and what the fuck is with that 360 degree tourism video of a Scottish island.

And say what you want about the Prequals but any of those films had more imaginative plants and environments then TFA. Every place looked like a place on earth was as Tatooine and even Naboo looked actually alien. Sure, the younger cast was the highlight but to me, they were not enough to make the film better then average and for me, is nearly as offensive as the Prequels.
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Old 06-12-16, 02:58 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Enterprise View Post
It was a bit more than losing a student - in the flashback scene you can see an immense number of Jedi bodies all over the ground that Ren had killed.
Right. I caught that at the time. I just wanted to shorthand it because that is basically what Luke's behavior in the film amounts to. He left everyone to be off by himself.

And here's the thing- If they wanted to make the central plot driver of the film "we need to find Luke!"- that would have been fine. But you need a more defined sense of urgency to it. You need to find Luke because...why?
If they had framed the Ren massacre as an episode that "we really don't know what went down exactly but we suspect part of it is that Luke may have turned also..." then you can set up
1) an imperative to find him. "we have to find him to prevent a potential catastrophe if he has turned"
2) you can introduce a conflict between what the Resistance leaders want (Luke neutralized) and what Leia wants (her brother protected and to find out what really happened). To that end, Leia could enlist Rey to join the search party and get to him first and warn/try to protect him.

That basic framework would allow the storytellers to wind up exactly where TFA does in the last shot- Rey has found Luke pretty much by herself and in the next film we will hear a more in depth relating of what actually went down that led to his self exile.
But it would let the film get there in a more original way. And frankly, that bare framework is plenty to sustain one film. You absolutely do not need the extraneous "B plot" of the Star killer base which ultimately just feels tacked on anyway. There would have been plenty of opportunity for swashbuckling and hairbreadth escapes on a straight ahead "let's follow the map and get to Luke" plot.

I also feel the TFA was so deliberately aping ANH primarily as a way to reset things and correct the "tone" of what Star Wars should be for the fans that had given up on the whole affair... it exists to setup a few new characters and hopefully an interesting subsequent storyline....but TFA is essentially franchise bleach to wash away the stench of the misguided and soulless prequels and show the audience "hey, we get it... Star Wars is dirty... it's practical effects... it's real sets... it's swashbuckling and laser guns, not trade routes, all kiddy jokes, and parliament sessions."
Yeah, I think that is part of the reason it trades in rote "star wars-isms" so heavily. It's meant to wash away not only the bad taste of the prequels, but the lingering rancor from the SEs. It's been over 30 years too so the time is more than ripe by Hollywood standards to re-make it. It's just that looking at the storylines they are working with in the film, it wasn't necessary. The whole "hiding the information in the droid that ends up in the hands of an orphan with a fateful destiny" is more than enough of a call back already.
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Old 06-12-16, 06:09 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by TGM View Post
I also feel the TFA was so deliberately aping ANH primarily as a way to reset things and correct the "tone" of what Star Wars should be for the fans that had given up on the whole affair... it exists to setup a few new characters and hopefully an interesting subsequent storyline, sure, and seeing Ford as Han Solo again on the big screen, something I had given up ever seeing ever again made me feel 8 years old (despite him being clunky, borderline feeble, and... well, 70)... but TFA is essentially franchise bleach to wash away the stench of the misguided and soulless prequels and show the audience "hey, we get it... Star Wars is dirty... it's practical effects... it's real sets... it's swashbuckling and laser guns, not trade routes, all kiddy jokes, and parliament sessions."

TFA worked for me on that level... it "felt" like the Star Wars I grew up with and obsessed over... I expect much more out of Ep8... but if it mimics TESB then I will be wholly disappointed.
Sorry to quote your entire post but I 100% agree with exactly what you have said. In fact the very first line spoken in TFA is "This will begin to make things right".

To be honest I didn't particular like TFA on my first viewing - because yes it is a major rehashing of ANH which I found incredibly annoying. But then I began to realise that TFA is basically a Jurassic World - a reboot that starts afresh but at the same time honours and links itself to the original. I have since loved it more and more upon every viewing.

Also worth pointing out that my 3 and 7 year old daughters had seen five of the original six Star Wars films (I don't think they are ready for ROTS yet) - they disliked the prequels but adored ANH and ESB. Yet since watching TFA (3 times at the cinema, multiple times a week on the *cough* digital copy until the Blu-ray came out, and countless times on Blu-ray including just last night) it is the ONLY Star Wars they watch now, no matter how many times I ask they aren't interested in watching the other films anymore. Again I think this successfully demonstrates that TFA has "reset" Star Wars in a very honourable way.

It's how I wish the new Ghostbusters was being done. In my mind it is offensive to just wipe away the original movie like that. Had they done the exact same movie but said this new team were somewhere OTHER than New York and were starting up ANOTHER Ghostbusters as part of the "franchise", they could still redo the entire first movie without replacing the original and in fact honour it (Venkman wanted Ghostbusters to become a franchise). The comic series acknowledges this in a way - before all the additional male AND female Ghostbusters joined the team, a couple of them were actually from a team that tried to start up another Ghostbusters but Ray declined their franchise application (which in itself then caused an entire different problem and storyline).
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Old 06-12-16, 06:24 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Enterprise View Post

Also worth pointing out that my 3 and 7 year old daughters had seen five of the original six Star Wars films (I don't think they are ready for ROTS yet) - they disliked the prequels but adored ANH and ESB. Yet since watching TFA (3 times at the cinema, multiple times a week on the *cough* digital copy until the Blu-ray came out, and countless times on Blu-ray including just last night) it is the ONLY Star Wars they watch now, no matter how many times I ask they aren't interested in watching the other films anymore. Again I think this successfully demonstrates that TFA has "reset" Star Wars in a very honourable way.
You also shouldn't discount the fact that they are girls, and the lead of this film is a girl. It's a very powerful image for young girls to look up to. I could barely get my daughter to watch Star Wars before this movie came out, but she LOVES Rey.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:22 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Jabroni View Post
You also shouldn't discount the fact that they are girls, and the lead of this film is a girl. It's a very powerful image for young girls to look up to. I could barely get my daughter to watch Star Wars before this movie came out, but she LOVES Rey.
I hope so - Rey reminds me a lot of Ripley (Alien franchise) and I hope she continues to grow into a very powerful character.

Though they do insist, and get excited about, BB8 and Ren being their favourite characters.

Prior to TFA they were obsessed about R2D2 and Yoda, though my older daughter did dress as Princess Leia for an 80s party.
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Old 06-12-16, 07:25 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
You need to find Luke because...why?
BTW I entirely agree - with the Republic wiped out and the Rebellion, sorry Resistance, seemingly quite small they do seem to be entirely betting themselves on simply "finding" Luke... so there needs to be a powerful story behind his return.
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Old 06-12-16, 08:08 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by TGM View Post

TFA worked for me on that level... it "felt" like the Star Wars I grew up with and obsessed over... I expect much more out of Ep8... but if it mimics TESB then I will be wholly disappointed.
I was prepared to hate TFA, I was so expecting to be let down again.

TFA made me feel like a kid again for one reason....it's a fun SW movie. The OT are fun movies to watch, along with characters you root for with a mix of drama, humor and mythology. TFA had all that, as I actually care about Rey and her story.

TFA opened my eyes as to why I never liked the PT. They're really not fun movies to re-watch, they take themselves way too seriously and there is no character to really root for. The PT should have been a 10 part EU book series because it is an interesting story. But it doesn't translate well on screen.

I'm looking forward to Episode 8 and I expect it to take more chances. TFA was like a rebuilding team with a new GM, and we finished 9-7 and made the playoffs. Now we're looking to win the Division in Episode 8.
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Old 06-12-16, 09:01 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Enterprise View Post
BTW I entirely agree - with the Republic wiped out and the Rebellion, sorry Resistance, seemingly quite small they do seem to be entirely betting themselves on simply "finding" Luke... so there needs to be a powerful story behind his return.
The First Order want to find Luke just as badly.
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Old 06-12-16, 09:36 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
The First Order want to find Luke just as badly.
Yes. For the same insufficient reason- simply because he's a Jedi.
It's another in a long line of call backs to the earlier films (the Emperor charging Vader with a specific search for Luke) than it is anything organic within it's own story.
And what's baffling is that it would have been soooo easy to milk plenty of drama and conflict out of this one simple premise.
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Old 06-12-16, 09:37 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

How do you know it's insufficient? Simply because it's not spelled out for us from the get go?
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Old 06-12-16, 09:46 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

Yes. Because in the context of THIS movie, there is no compelling reason relayed to the viewer for all the urgency on display.

It's not rocket science. What is the reason to be coy here? Either there is a definite rationale for it or they(the storytellers) simply haven't contrived it yet.
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Old 06-12-16, 09:53 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

If it's "no big secret", then I don't get your complaint. You seem to be certain about one aspect of the story, but you're dissatisfied with something not entirely explained up to this point. Odd, but okay.
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Old 06-12-16, 10:04 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) — The Reviews Thread — SPOILERS

Odd? I just think it is more satisfying to see characters do what they do in a story because of a definite, relatable reason rather than simply because the plot needs them to do it.
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Old 06-12-16, 10:17 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
Yes. Because in the context of THIS movie, there is no compelling reason relayed to the viewer for all the urgency on display.

It's not rocket science. What is the reason to be coy here? Either there is a definite rationale for it or they(the storytellers) simply haven't contrived it yet.
What more do you think is necessary beyond what was explained in the opening crawl?
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Old 06-12-16, 10:28 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
What more do you think is necessary beyond what was explained in the opening crawl?
Exactly. The first two paragraphs of the crawl says all we need to know.

Like you said Paul, it's not rocket science.
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Old 06-12-16, 11:14 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
What more do you think is necessary beyond what was explained in the opening crawl?
THE FORCE AWAKENS

Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.

With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.

Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts….
OK, I guess I get why the First Order wants him (to kill him). It's basic and not very imaginative and it's been done before, but we can go with it. It's Star Wars- any shit will do for the time being.

But why would Leia need Luke's help to restore Peace & Justice to the Galaxy?
In almost all of the last six films the Jedi have been shown to have their heads up their collective ass most of the time. From the simplistic bamboozling of an amazingly clueless Jedi council to Luke pussying out in the climax of jedi (and leaving a conveniently vacillating Sith lord to do the real work of dispatching the emperor), the Jedi have been displayed time and again to be unworthy of all the glory and reverence people bestow on them.
If Luke had some bit of information, or access to some device or other bit of specific knowledge for a specific problem, it might be one thing. But to say she needs his prowess for the future of peace and justice in the galaxy, when the last thing he did before he vanished was catastrophically fail at his one job- being a Jedi teacher- is ...um...kinda dopey (unless you count creating a mass murdering Sith wannabe as one for the plus column).

It's funny how assumed empathy works. No matter how many times these films show the Jedi being ass backwards failures, the characters still talk about them reverently and the audience still goes along.

It's Star Wars though so any substantive criticism is like pissing in the wind.
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Old 06-13-16, 12:51 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
OK, I guess I get why the First Order wants him (to kill him). It's basic and not very imaginative and it's been done before, but we can go with it. It's Star Wars- any shit will do for the time being.

But why would Leia need Luke's help to restore Peace & Justice to the Galaxy?
In almost all of the last six films the Jedi have been shown to have their heads up their collective ass most of the time. From the simplistic bamboozling of an amazingly clueless Jedi council to Luke pussying out in the climax of jedi (and leaving a conveniently vacillating Sith lord to do the real work of dispatching the emperor), the Jedi have been displayed time and again to be unworthy of all the glory and reverence people bestow on them.
If Luke had some bit of information, or access to some device or other bit of specific knowledge for a specific problem, it might be one thing. But to say she needs his prowess for the future of peace and justice in the galaxy, when the last thing he did before he vanished was catastrophically fail at his one job- being a Jedi teacher- is ...um...kinda dopey (unless you count creating a mass murdering Sith wannabe as one for the plus column).

It's funny how assumed empathy works. No matter how many times these films show the Jedi being ass backwards failures, the characters still talk about them reverently and the audience still goes along.

It's Star Wars though so any substantive criticism is like pissing in the wind.
Because Luke isn't just "a" jedi .. he is "THE" jedi. The icon from stories clearly passed around the galaxy. Rey knows the tales, but regards them as fairy tales until coming face to face with Solo. Finding Luke gives the movement an important face that the people can unite behind.
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Old 06-13-16, 12:56 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
OK, I guess I get why the First Order wants him (to kill him). It's basic and not very imaginative and it's been done before, but we can go with it. It's Star Wars- any shit will do for the time being.

But why would Leia need Luke's help to restore Peace & Justice to the Galaxy?
In almost all of the last six films the Jedi have been shown to have their heads up their collective ass most of the time. From the simplistic bamboozling of an amazingly clueless Jedi council to Luke pussying out in the climax of jedi (and leaving a conveniently vacillating Sith lord to do the real work of dispatching the emperor), the Jedi have been displayed time and again to be unworthy of all the glory and reverence people bestow on them.
If Luke had some bit of information, or access to some device or other bit of specific knowledge for a specific problem, it might be one thing. But to say she needs his prowess for the future of peace and justice in the galaxy, when the last thing he did before he vanished was catastrophically fail at his one job- being a Jedi teacher- is ...um...kinda dopey (unless you count creating a mass murdering Sith wannabe as one for the plus column).

It's funny how assumed empathy works. No matter how many times these films show the Jedi being ass backwards failures, the characters still talk about them reverently and the audience still goes along.

It's Star Wars though so any substantive criticism is like pissing in the wind.
Balance in the Force dude... plain and simple.
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Old 06-13-16, 02:05 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by A-aron View Post
Finding Luke gives the movement an important face that the people can unite behind.
Luke is the Mockingjay and the resistance needs to film some propos.
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Old 06-13-16, 03:00 PM
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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015) The Reviews Thread SPOILERS

Originally Posted by A-aron View Post

Because Luke isn't just "a" jedi .. he is "THE" jedi. The icon from stories clearly passed around the galaxy. Rey knows the tales, but regards them as fairy tales until coming face to face with Solo. Finding Luke gives the movement an important face that the people can unite behind.
I agree, Luke Skywalker is the man who took down the Empire (even though it was an effort by all the Rebellion forces), and having Luke there will be a powerful symbol to fight against the First Order.

That being said, I do agree with most of Paul's criticisms. TFA does not have a particularly tight script and there are too many rehashes of the original film to make it a solid standalone effort. However, it is enjoyable and does do its job of reminding fans why they liked the series in the first place. As someone else said above, if Episode VIII mimics ESB to the extent this mimicked ANH, I'll check out too, but for now TFA gets a pass.
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