Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Star Wars The Force Awakens Discussion Post



Now that Star Wars The Force Awakens has been out for a few weeks I thought it'd be fun to discuss. After all there are so many things to talk about. Those who saw my review of The Force Awakens know that I was not impressed with the movie- I think it was unnecessarily derivative and basically a remix of the original trilogy. The plot is very similar to the first Star Wars movie. But- it did bring Star Wars roaring back into the cultural consciousness. And many reviews have been positive, suggesting that most people liked it. So... let's discuss.

I liked the new characters, especially Rey. She's a breath of fresh air, confident and she can handle herself. I think she'll be fine as the new lead character, and the face of the franchise going forward. I like Poe Dameron too, he has charisma and I liked his performance in the early going. He disappears for a chunk of the movie but I look forward to seeing his character grow. BB-8 was fine, although I missed the banter of Artoo and Threepio- they were criminally underused in this movie.

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The biggest issue I have is Luke. It would have been nice to see Luke, Leia and Han together again. Why bring these three back and give them no time together? I just don't see Han and Leia separating and Luke going off into self imposed exile. Han became a general and presumably married Leia, who I'm sure took an active role in building a new Republic- yet we're to believe that whatever tragedy befell their child prompted Han to go back to smuggling? And Luke goes into hiding while the First Order kills people left and right? \

Imagine seeing Han and Leia on Coruscant- or even Luke, say, in the Jedi ruins- how cool would that be? Instead we get a desert planet (not Tattooine!), an ice planet (not Hoth!), and a green world (not Yavin!). The galaxy just feels small- the Millennium Falcon just happens to be on Jakku, right where Rey is.

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The other big issue I have is the Starkiller base- or Death Star 3 basically. And it has a trench they need to fly down. And a shield that needs to be taken down by a small band. Where have we seen that before? I thought this wasn't a remake? And did that Starkiller beam really split up so it could destroy multiple planets? And of course everyone could just look up and see this, even though it would have been light years away.

It's just lazy writing, seems to me. And the villains... I can't even. General Hux's speech to the First Order was so shrill and over the top it was embarrassing. If you want to see the same actor give a good performance see Ex Machina. It's like night and day. Kylo Ren was ridiculous, he was an emo kid.



 A lot of people are saying that this was setup, and that Episodes 8 and 9 will be better. Maybe. Rian Johnson has done a few small movies and Colin Trevorrow did Jurassic World. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Some have said it's a generational thing, that they don't mind being reintroduced to familiar plot points. So - what did you like? What did you not like? Let me know!  

24 comments:

  1. I didn't like much about it, tbh.

    The three old main characters not getting a scene together was a big turn off for me. The villain was laughable. Kylo Ren didn't come across as a villain at all. The traitor Storm Trooper - why did he go rogue when none of the others did? Never explained. The Falcon just happened to be on Jakku. Who is Rey? The last epic fight where she uses Jedi powers just as well as a trained Jedi without any training - cringe-worthy. The villains are stupid, the writing was lazy like you said, and all in all it was just horrible. Not what I expected at all.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

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    1. Yeah the way they handled the big three was a problem for me, too. Leia hardly had anything to do . And Kylo... he actually seemed okay at first, like he would be formidable, but then towards the end he was just a baby. :)

      I wondered about Finn too. Why is he the only stormtrooper w/ a conscience? They don't have to explain EVERYTHING but this movie had too many unanswered questions.

      It wasn't all sleek and shiny like the prequels, it looked more lived in, which is good, but there wasn't a sense of wonder either. the only scene where I really felt that was the last one...

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  2. When your last post went up, I hadn't seen the movie yet. Now I have and well, I liked it but I was underwhelmed too. I did find it derivative and to be honest too long for my taste - but then again, I feel that way about all recent 3-hour movie offerings o_O I did like all of the new, young characters but I wasn't a fan of Han and Leia being seperated either. And that ending for Han?! I died. I also didn't really like how Rey could already expertly use the Force without being trained up at all...

    Despite all of that though, I was happy to be back in this world. I mean, I think I've come to terms that ANY sequels will never match up to the original trilogy and well, at least The Force Awakens was better than The Phantom Menace!

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    1. I saw the movie a second time and I agree w/ those who say it's better the second time. You know the plot holes and can just go with it. Still... the plot holes. :)

      Han and Leia were a big disappointment for me. And no banter between Luke, Leia and Han> I missed that. Why bring them back if they don't get to hang out? And Rey- I liked her, thank goodness the new leads are good because otherwise it would be a disaster. :) I guess it didn't really bother me that she was so good at the Force right away, she's obviously a prodigy, but I've seen that concern a lot too.

      I agree it's nice to be back in that world. I just wish they would have taken us somewhere new, a whole new story- but yes it could have been worse. :)

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  3. My younger brother is a HUGE Star Wars fan, so I grew up in a Star Wars home, but I was never a die-hard fan, so my opinion is coming from a different angle than other's. I really enjoyed the movie. Sure the plot was unoriginal and I would have loved to see something other than patricide because we already saw that plot line play out, but the addition of a female lead and an African American co-lead made up for everything for me. Never in a million years would I have thought a woman would lead the new Star Wars movies, and perhaps that change is why they were hesitant to diverge away from the original plot line. I think the next movies will be a little more original and "free" now that the first one got such a positive response. I know a lot of people whom really love the movies have disappointments with it, as it would be impossible to recreate the magic and atmosphere of the original movies, but it was enjoyable for me as a non-super-fan. Great discussion!
    Thanks for stopping by the The Local Muse

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    1. Thanks Mallory. I agree, Rey is a great new lead. She's one of my favorite parts of the movie. I hope so about the new ones- Rian johnson is more of an artistic director I guess so maybe Ep 8 will go in that direction. Be a little more daring and original.

      You make a good point too- not everyone is a superfan and may not be all up in arms because the plot is similar. I have a lot of devotion to the original moviesbut I never read the Expanded Universe books or anything- I was kinda done after Jedi- and while I do think the movie is getting better reviews than it deserves, I am glad to have Star Wars back. :)

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  4. I LOVED the movie. It was totally a fan movie and I worried for most of the movie that nothing would actually happen, but they managed to pack a ton into the end.

    BB-8 is the cutest thing ever. Rey and Finn - I love them. Of course the Millennium Falcon would be happen to be on Jakku. The will of the force, right? ;)

    I have obvious complaints about Han. I think those are self-explanatory. I would like to see Luke train Rey.

    You have me really freaked out right now. I'm going to have to look up Colin Trevorrow. Is he a director? Is the guy who massacred Jurassic World about to touch Star Wars? :cries buckets:

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! I liked it more the 2nd time, a little. :) I was just hoping for something more than another superweapon and all that. I liked Rey a lot and can't wait to see her as a Jedi.

      Colin Trevorrow is directing Ep 9, and I thought Jurassic World was a trainwreck so yeah I'm worried.

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  5. I really enjoyed the movie but I must agree with you on the Luke, Leia and Han thing! I was expecting that they'd be in at least one scene together but nope, didn't happen *sad sigh* and I also found it ridic that Luke would go off and disappear when everyone is in so much trouble. The plot had some issues, no doubt. Yes! Rey was magnificent. She was defs one of my favourite characters.

    Great review! :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I enjoyed it more too when I just let myself go and stopped worrying about stuff- although I still had trouble w/ the villains. They were OK at first but seemed to get whiny towards the end. :) And no Luke? Grr...

      Rey is the bright spot, no doubt. I loved how capable she was, living alone and being in charge. I think she'll be an awesome Jedi. The movies are in good hands with her, if we can just get a better story. :)

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  6. Though still a masterful production, (special effects, story, acting, etc.) I have to say this is probably my least favorite of the series. I loved Ray but that was pretty much it. I agreed that Luke should have played a more significant role and same for Laia and Han. I didn't care for Finn at all. That character got a lot of exposure in the movie and at the same time it was like really not that important in the story arc. Maybe in the next movies we'll learn why Finn is important? Great post Greg

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    1. Yeah I could have done without Finn. He didn't do much for me either. It was almost like they were trying too hard to make him funny. But he wasn't really that important in the story, I think you're right.

      I would have liked to see Luke, Leia and Han together on important worlds (we never see cities!) and then they could have gone off to face some threat and start passing the torch to the newer characters. Instead we get the same old Death Star/ this droid has info plot?

      I like Rey too. She is abreath of fresh air.

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  7. Overall I really liked the movie. It captured some of the magic of the original trilogy and I love Rey and BB-8. Also a fan of Poe Dameron.

    While sad, I could understand why Leia and Han might have separated. In a way Ben going to the Dark Side and becoming Kylo Ren was like the death of a child and it isn't uncommon for marriages to fall apart when that happens. It is a shame that Luke was only there at the end and didn't get any speaking lines. As far as hiding out, Obi-Wan and Yoda both hid out for 20 years. During that time the Emperor and Darth Vader enslaved the galaxy. Not till Leia reaches out for help through R-2 does Obi-Wan leave his exile. Maybe the writers felt it was okay to have Luke do the same thing after his student (who happens to be his nephew) turns to the Dark Side. Not a brilliant move but not unprecedented in the series.

    I hope the next movie has better writing and develops the characters more. This one reminded me of that trend in YA fiction where only a little info is given and there are lots of secrets and a cliffhanger ending to keep readers clamoring for the sequel. I want some answers particularly regarding Rey, her parentage and her Force abilities.

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    1. I'm a fan of Rey and Poe, definitely. You make a good point, Luke's mentors hid out too- I had not considered that. Hmm... I guess there is precedent for that, LOL. And yes I know they wanted to make Luke's reveal a big thing, but I wish we would have gotten a little more of him. :)

      I agree lots of unanswered questions in this one. As time goes on we see articles now about deleted scenes and last minute changes, so that may be why it feels disjointed at times. The consensus seems to be that Rey might be Luke's daughter- do you think so? I'm not sure, that seems rather obvious, but it's a cool idea too. I think them training together on that isolated archipelago could be neat. I really don't know where they'll go next, it should be fun to see!

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  8. Kylo Ren was definitely Darth Vader light; I was not impressed. I think the echoes of the first movie were deliberate; it's a common writing device but I have mixed feelings about its use. TFA did feel like fanfic at times. I also am confused about Luke's disappearance and Han and Leia splitting but I'll wait for further development of those plot lines. Overall, I liked it but it's not quite as good as the original. Though I am happy about Rey and hope to see that continue.

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    1. I'm still shocked how derivative it was! It was fun, yes, but there were times I was like, seriously, they're doing THAT? LOL. I was really surprised it didn't get worse reviews. Maybe it's me. :)

      I did like Rey, she's a bright spot. I look forward to seeing her grow in the Force and hang with Luke. that part I like!

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  9. I agree so much with all of your points, as you read in my review. I liked Rey the most, although I wish they didn't shove down your throat so much that she was supposed to be a "strong female character". When she continually tells Finn to stop holding her hand, and when Finn asks if she's okay and she gives him that "uh yes" look - things like that are why chivalry is dead. Dudes just trying to be nice, and he's made to look a fool for it. It irritated me.
    Also Finn, I hate to say it, is just there to be a stereotypical comedic black guy. His character was completely pointless.
    I agree 100% that it just seemed like lazy writing. A movie should be able to STAND ON IT'S OWN without referencing the older, already established movies over and over. And instead of saying anything negative about that, people are using it as a positive to justify the lazy writing because "it was nostalgic" - what?!
    And you already know how pathetic I thought Kylo Ren was, so I don't really need to go into that haha

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    1. Thank you! It's been kinda driving me nuts that people are saying "it's nostalgic because we have to ease people back in" or "it's diverse now so the story doesn't matter". Why can't it be both?? Diversity AND a new story.

      I thought those hand holding scenes were kinda awkward too, like JJ was checking off a box to make sure she was independent. As far as I was concerned she showed that when she handled herself in that fight. We got it JJ! I did like Rey though- a lot. I thought it was great when she kicked Kylo's butt at the end. Too bad she didn't kill him LOL.

      I have to agree about Finn too. Felt shoehorned into the plot. why does he desert and no other stormtroopers do? Who knows. Will they explain it? Maybe, but I think Arto and Threepio should have been the comic relief and let Rey and Poe take the lead. Just me though. Or make Finn matter- if we got hints as to why his conditioning wore off, maybe he would make more sense.

      I absolutely think they should have come up with a more original story. The leads should have been on more important planets, doing important stuff, and set up a conflict with the Imperial remnants that way. Or whatever. It just does feel like lazy writing. We used to get Cloud City, asteroid belts- nothing new in this one. Anybody can watch the older ones- they should move forward. Stand on its own like you said. :)

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    2. Diversity is a whole other topic for discussion - it's even prevalent in the book world, but not in a positive way (to me, at least). Because it excuses a bad piece of work (or movie in this case) for just....sucking, basically.
      Agreed about Rey, it was obvious she was independent with the opening scene alone. She lives by herself and takes care of herself, we don't need her being rude to a guy to prove she doesn't need a guy. Dumb. But I did really like her character, she was my favorite in the whole movie.
      Also, yes! WHY was he the only one?! I understand it's part of another trilogy, but there should be enough character development for the audience to connect or understand the gist of where that character might be heading. Instead he's the comedy and then gets knocked out. Same goes for Kylo Ren, are we supposed to understand what is happening with him with no information?!

      This movie had an insane budget, I mean 37 MILLION is going to Harrison Ford alone, and they KNEW how huge it was going to be so at least give us something BETTER and ORIGINAL.

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    3. I won't even go there on diversity- I mean diversity is important but some are saying with the diversity problem "fixed" that's all they needed to do. I keep hearing we can't judge the plot holes until we see the whole trilogy, or maybe the next one we'll get an original story. Why are we writing this one off? It's almost like people are afraid to criticize it...

      Yes, there's a big difference between leaving a few things open for the next installment, and telling us basically NOTHING. We know nothing about Rey, nothing about Finn, very little to nothing about Han & Leia, and Luke. Han was a general but goes back to smuggling and loses his ship (to thieves or gambling, I wasn't clear which)- and seeing a guy in his 70's run around shooting stormtroopers. Sorry not buying it. :)

      37 mil to Harrison alone. Wow. I read an article where the first screenwriter said they had trouble with Luke, every time they tried to write him he "took over" the story. well yeah! All I could think was if they couldn't tell a story where both Luke and Rey shine, maybe they had the wrong writers!

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  10. I loved this movie!! I think though, I went into it expecting what we got. Something campy (like they all are) and something that was a mimic of the first series. I liked Finn - it was nice to have a different view of the Stormtroopers and how they roll.

    I agree, Kylo Ren sucked, to put it bluntly. He was a spoiled little brat kid and I wish Chewie would have put him down.

    I loved Rey, and I missed R2-D2. :( Overall though, I did like the movie. But my expectations were different, I think.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! I wasn't expecting them to mimic the first ones- I thought we'd see new planets (and we did, but I mean heavily populated ones, not backwaters) and an older but wiser trio with the familiar banter, and the new trio learning from them. I guess we got that to a certain extent, but I thought the story would be all original. Anyway, I don't want to sound all negative... Rey was good. And while I wasn't crazy about Finn, I will say the idea of having a stormtrooper desert is interesting.

      BB-8 was kinda cute, and I would have liked more R2 as well. Him and Threepio- more please. :)

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  11. I finally watched the movie yesterday, so decided to go back and finally read your post about it. I did enjoy the movie, but I also felt like something was missing. It didn't gave me the same impressed feeling as in the earlier movies. It also felt a bit like a remix and there were so many parallels with episode 1, it was a bit overdone.

    I agree with you that I liked the new characters, I liked Rey so far, although it was a bit unbelievable how she suddenly got epic jedi powers int he last fight scene. I also liked BB* and Poe. Finn was okay I guess, I did like how it shows the stormtrooper point of view as we hardly ever see that besides the animated Clone Wars series. I do wonder how he will play a part in the later movies.

    And I thought it was just unbelievable that Luke ran off while the galaxy is in chaos. I also would've liked to see the three old characters together. And that scene at the end with Ren and Han Solo was kinda predictable, my boyfriend and I both predicted he would die before it happens. I do wonder who the old guy sith lord person is. Ren wasn't really an interesting villain, but maybe that will change later. All in all it was a nice movie, although not as good as I hoped. I am curious how the next two movies will be and how the plot line will develop.

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    1. I'm glad you got to see it! I felt like something was missing. So I agree with you. Too much of a remix. I liked Rey, I hope we get more character development of her in the next movie, and I liked Poe too. Finn didn't do much for me either.

      Yeah I don't see Luke just running off. It was really a sore point for me that he doesn't show up until the end. I saw the director make a comment to the effect that people had to be reminded of Star Wars and that's why he made it so similar to Ep 4, but I just don't buy that . The fanbase is rabid and this movie would have done just fine if they had written an original story.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it though, and I feel bad whenever I rag on it because I don't want to be Mr. Negative lol. I'm really hoping the next one is better and has a lot of Luke/ Rey/ Poe action.

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