The Force Awakens: *Spoiler* Talk

Discussion in 'General Chit Chat' started by Borsk, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    I've seen it once (Saturday night) and will see it again in a couple days. Here's a few general thoughts...

    Writing:
    I liked the way the dialog was written and the way the characters interacted with each other. As with other JJ Abrams movies, the plot wasn't as strong as I'd like. There were quite a few extremely fortunate coincidences. There were also a few places were it felt like the plot was contorted to serve a "set piece" or effect rather than to progress the story. So, it was a bit of a mixed bag. The character writing is more important though ... and that was well done.

    Acting:
    Everyone in the cast did a great job. I don't recall a bad performance in the whole thing. That's a credit to the director.

    Casting:
    I don't have any problems with the people they cast. However, the attention to casting women in non-traditional roles did feel a bit over-the-top. When you go out of your way to cast for a specific gender or race instead of the best person for the character, it's still racism or sexism (even if you're making a minority choice). I'm not referring to Daisy Ridley as Rey. She's the best person for that character. This is more about the "evil" characters. It's not believable that an evil organization like The First Order is an equal opportunity kidnapper when it comes to the gender of their stormtroopers (I'm referring more to the 'extra' female stormtrooper than Phasma). It's a minor thing. Casting choices should be logical, not political.

    Characters:
    I was disappointed in how little Max von Sydow was in the film. I like Oscar Isaac, but he seemed to be wasted in the movie as well (I don't really understand why he left Jakku). Rey doesn't seem to have any character flaws at all. The fact that she's so perfect already doesn't leave much room to grow (unless she's going to wind up on team Kylo Ren or die soon). All the other characters were fine. Still not sure why C-3P0 has a red arm ... other than to try to sell more toys. Captain Phasma was disappointing. I'm assuming she's in the movie just to sell toys as well.

    CGI
    I could have done without the space monsters with all the tentacles and eyes. That scene didn't work and the CGI was less than impressive. I think they were going for a Dianoga/trash compactor monster? Supreme Leader Snoke looked like a giant sized Gollum (not a compliment). All the other effects were fine.

    Misc
    The similarities with other Star Wars movies didn't bother me. I think they could have probably gotten away without trying to make a Deathstar rip-off, but I can live with it.

    The status of Luke Skywalker and how little he was used in the movie was not a surprise. Kylo Ren being the son of Han/Leia was not a surprise. Killing Han was not a surprise (although it's still a bit of a shock to actually see it). Step #1 in making your new bad guy more hated than Vader, have him kill Han Solo.

    I think Rey must have been trained to be a Jedi as a girl and had her memories erased/altered. Touching the lightsaber partially triggered those memories. That's the only explanation that will satisfactorily explain how she was able to do some of the things she does in the film. I don't believe she's Han/Leia's kid (it would bother me a bit if they go that route). It's possible that she's Luke's kid. However, I'd rather her be Obi-wan's grand-daughter or descended from someone outside the Skywalker family tree. I'd also be fine with her parents being insignificant to the story.

    I'll be disappointed if Snoke isn't Darth Plagueis.

    My favorite part of the movie was Chewie's immediate reaction to Han's death.

    With Han dead, Chewie has more time to hang out with Lando.

    I enjoyed the movie and will probably enjoy it more with the 2nd viewing. I just didn't think it was the best Star Wars movies I'd ever seen.

    Here's how I'd rank 'em:
    1. New Hope/Empire (tie)
    2. Return of the Jedi
    3. The Force Awakens
    4. Revenge of the Sith
    5. Phantom Menace
    6. Attack of the Clones
     
  2. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    I haven't seen it yet thanks to it being released at a silly time of year for me (schools' summer holidays and Christmas holidays mean cinemas willbe very busy, even during the usually quiet daytime sessions).

    Almost every review I've read says it's largely just ripping off the Original Trilogy, plus a bit of the Rebels animated show - one review even says "I Just Finished Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens & It’s Great BUT… I’m not going to give away any spoilers because I can’t spoil a movie you’ve already seen."

    There's also people saying it's too "fast" - both in terms of the story zipping along (it would have to be if it compresses the entire Original Trilogy into one movie ;)) and the over-complicate over-busy scenes, which are typical these days.

    I'm not sure whether I'll be able / bother to see it in the cinema - I'm certainly not wasting the extra money on the 3D or IMAX versions. I might just wait and get the DVD instead.
     
  3. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    I have a number of issues with the story, but my main issue is that it felt like i must have either missed a movie that explained some of the things or it's setting up future movies/stories. The movie doesn't stand on it's own IMO, and i think it should.
    I like Rey but BB-8 and chewie were my favorite parts. None of the other characters really had enough to make me like or dislike them. I did also like Maz. she didn't get a lot of screen time but hopefully she can return in future films.
     
  4. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    Since it's the first part of a Sequel Trilogy, it wasn't ever meant to stand alone - none of the movies (except perhaps the original one) can completely stand alone. There are apparently a few bits coming into the movie that aren't explained (C-3PO's red limb for example) ... but then with a 30 year gap, there's bound to be some story "missing". Some of those explanations will no doubt be in the preceeding "Journey to The Force Awakens" novels and comic books (maybe even a future animated series).

    Reportedly the Vatican doesn't think Kylo Ren and Snoke are evil enough. :)
     
  5. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    I think when you see the film, you'll see what i am trying to say but i'll go on.... First off, i like the movie, it just has plot issues.
    It feels like one of these movies, like hunger games or harry potter, where they take the last book and try to make two movies out of it. It doesn't feel right and the first part of the two part ending doesn't go anywhere and isn't really very good. I would argue that you don't have to see the all 6 harry potter films before you see number 7. it would certainly help to have seen some of them and i would argue that each of those first 6 harry patter films, feel complete.
    For Star Wars, i have seen the first 6 movies and i still don't know what's going on in some areas of the movie. i won't go into each one but i will use Rey's ability to use the force as an example. there is a seen where she mind controls a stormtrooper. up until about a 3rd of the way through this film, she didn't even know that the force was real. she though they were just stories. Out of nowhere, she not only knows what the jedi mind trick is, but she also knows how to do it. this seems out of place or awkward or convenient. One simple line of dialogue earlier in the movie could have made that scene fit better. Borsk (and i'm sure others) has a theory on her background that could explain this, and i would argue that in here flashback scene, they could have hinted at that theory and that would have worked for me.
    On the other hand, Finn works for someone who uses the force all of the time. At least on one occasion Finn sees him use the force. So, Finn has some idea of what the force is and how the force works. One of the humorous lines in the film is when Finn suggests to Han that "We should use the Force" and Han replies to him, "It doesn't work that way".
    the short version of this is, the problems i have with the story could have been fixed with a simple line(s) of dialogue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  6. darthskellington

    darthskellington Dark Lord of the Typos

    I liked the the movie the first time around, but really liked it the second time. First trip was taking it on all in, and digesting it. Second go around got to enjoy it and take in more of the background details. I think the biggest plot gap was actually cut in a deleted scene early in the movie that would have given more political background for what is going on. This is also explained concisely in the Visual Dictionary. Basically, you have the Republic (big political machine), the First Order (big military machine that sprang up in the Unknown Regions in secret), and the Resistance (watchdog group founded by Leia to keep tabs on the First Order since the Republic is bogged down in politics and/or doesn't want to risk open war). The Republic turns a blind eye to Leia's activities against the FO. Second important thing not explained in the movie, but in books is that when Mon Mothma reinstated the Senate, the seat of power was moved from Coruscant and rotates from planet to planet among member systems. The system we see attacked is the current home of the Senate.
     
  7. darthskellington

    darthskellington Dark Lord of the Typos

    As far as characters, I think impressions taken depend greatly on your own point of view (as always) and upon how much background info you know going in. It has been announced that ALL actors are back for the next movie, so we are pretty much guaranteed to get flashbacks that further explain details. Also, it was announced that Phasma would play a very small role in this movie....so if you knew this up front (like Erica did) you weren't surprised. If you didn't (like me), then she seemed pretty short on screen time. It has been reported that originally Poe was going to die early in the movie, so his appearances later may not be that relevant to overall plot, but they kept him around for future use. After the second time around (and with the benefit of some background info from guidebooks), my enjoyment of the movie was greatly increased and I can really appreciate the characters for who they are, and what they may be setting up for. And I think all the characters will have further background development that will make some of their actions/developments in this movie make more sense.

    On a side note, the other thing I liked about the new setting for this movie is that it is not a complete 180 from the old Expanded Universe. The basic concepts of the New Republic, Luke reforming the Jedi order, old vestiges of the Empire moving off to their own territory, and even some of the family dynamics, mirror the old EU. I found this to be refreshing. Hoping we get more connections than we do disconnects with the future movies.
     
  8. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    NOOOOOOOoooooo......!!!!

    Flashbacks don't belong in a Star Wars movie. There have never been any before (well, except for the Prequel Trilogy being a "flashback" after seeing the Original Trilogy). Flashbacks are a lazy, amateurish way of trying to telling a story that simply make it overly confusing. Plus Abrams has an extremely bad history with flashbacks (as well as anything else) thanks to the complete mess he made of "Lost" with them.
     
  9. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    darthskellington:
    There are some books that lead up to the movie, some of which are kids books. Yesterday I found the kids' book Before the Awakening (by Greg Rucka, British / Australian version published by Hardie Grant Egmont). It's a collection of three stories about the new main characters prior to the movie ...
     
  10. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    During the week the New Zealand Herald newspaper has a small box with "Fletch, Vaughan and Megan's fact of the day". Today's (10 February, 2016) fact is ...
    :rolleyes:

    (Fletch, Vaughan and Megan are hosts of a radio show on a station owned by the same parent company as the newspaper.)
     
  11. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

  12. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    Apparently the up-coming Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens game is going to have extra scenes that help explain some of the "conumdrums" left open by the movie.
     
  13. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    LOST was a very good tv series. The flashbacks were effective. They can work in Star Wars and are likely necessary. Maybe they're referred to as "force visions" instead.
     
  14. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Some of the recent books have been good at somewhat filling in the backstory. Lost Stars and Bloodline being prime examples. But nothing in those books really changes my opinion of the shortcomings of a pretty good Star Wars movie.
     
  15. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    The title of the clip is "JJ Abrams doesn't understand Star Wars". I could make a strong argument that George Lucas doesn't understand Star Wars either. Almost every change he's made to the OT has been a mistake. The prequels were a disaster made marginally better due to The Clone Wars cartoon series (which a lot of people don't like either). At least with JJ Abrams, I feel like he made a movie that he wanted to see. Unlike Lucas, who seemed to be making movies based on what he 'guessed' other people wanted to see.
     
  16. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    The problem, as most reviews stated, is JJ Abrams basically and lazily remade / rebooted the original movie(s) as he thought they should have been made and with fancy new special effects. Episode VII wasn't really a new movie at all - it's largely all been there, seen that, got fifty T-shirts and the bed set. I did buy the Episode VII DVD, but stil haven't bothered to watch it yet.

    George Lucas was making the movies he wanted to make ... the viewers' opinions were completely irrelevant. The main issue was the technology available at the time in bringing his vision of the universe to life, as well as time and money issues with the studio for the original movie.
     
  17. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Mid-1970s George Lucas (with unlimited money) would not have made The Phantom Menace.

    I would much, much rather watch VII again than any of the prequel movies.
     
  18. Buzz Bumble

    Buzz Bumble Furry Ewok

    George Lucas said pretty much all along that he started in the middle of the Saga because he knew people would find the begining "boring". :)

    Many people's "problems" with the Prequel Trilogy stem from the fact that they saw the Original Trilogy as kids and for some silly reason expected the Prequel Trilogy to be "grown up" ... which would have made a horrible ill-fitting mess. Some people complain about Jar Jar, when he's not really any different to the ewoks or even C-3PO's banter. Some people complain about the script being "stilted" and the acting "wooden", we'll none of the movies are excatly high-brow art, and they weren't ever meant to be. :)
     

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