THERE BE SPOILERS HERE: the official Force Awakens thread

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  • #1831

    Watch this space for discussion of the movie.

    AVOID this space if you haven’t seen it yet.

    It’s really that simple.

    #8458

    Things to love:

    The red arm never gets explained, but Threepio thinks it makes him unrecognizable.

    Chewie’s got a girl in every port. You go, big Wookiee dog, you GO. I ain’t sayin’ a word to Malla.

    Stormtroopers going “oh hell, he’s throwing another tantrum…uh…let’s go this way.”

    I hope Finn and Poe become a big doofy buddy act and Rey just rolls her eyes at both of them for the rest of the movies.

    The lightsaber fight was down and dirty and desperate, not the ridiculously rehearsed acrobatic stunt work of the prequels. These kids don’t know how to fight with lightsabers – they’re as much a danger to themselves as others.

    I cannot wait to see baby boomers’ heads implode because their granddaughters are going to come out of this thing wanting to fire blasters, run around with droids, and fly spaceships. They probably already wanted to do that before this movie, but Rey will make it irrevocably, universally acceptable for those kids who were too young to know who Zoe Washburne is just yet. No damsel in distress character is ever going to cut it for this crowd again. And that’s awesome.

    Disliked:

    The same “story parallel” thing that the prequel trilogy was guilty of: remember how Luke destroyed the Death Star, but his dad destroyed a whole Trade Federation blockade at the age of eight because he was that much more awesome? And so on: wow, Starkiller Base is soooooo much bigger than the Death Star! And yet it falls harder and faster and very conveniently. (Yes, at a very high cost, but still awfully conveniently.)

    To some extent this problem is writ large all over the movie – a sort of “greatest hits” effect where they’re trying to evoke the memory of the original trilogy. Starkiller Base does the equivalent of destroying Alderaan and then homing in on Yavin in what seems like record time. Han has bounty hunters and pissed-off creditors after him. We spend so much of the movie chasing after a droid who’s got the secret info. And someone has serious daddy issues. Desert planet, forest planet, snow planet. It’s as if we were trying to rocket through the entire original trilogy worth of incident in this movie, which seemed stuffed-to-the-gills at 2.25 hours.

    There were some other hugely convenient things. What caused R2 to reawaken with just the info we needed? Does he detect that there’s someone nearby with a reasonable midichlorian count and run some subroutine that says “wake up with the info we need to find Luke now, his new padawan is here”? (I know I make fun of midichlorians all the time, but that theory would almost make sense.)

    There was a lot to love here, but there was some obvious fanservice than manifested itself in overly convenient plot twists too.

    #8457
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Just came back from the movie, and… yeah… it’s okay. It wasn’t blindingly brilliant like a couple of co-workers seem to think it was. It was okay, but it didn’t blow me away. It was a serviceable Star Wars film. Honestly, I’m surprised that it came out the way it did, considering how slavishly J.J. Abrams worked on it as a devoted fan. It only felt like Star Wars in a few places. Even the John Williams score seemed to be a little off, overused in places and underused everywhere else.

    It seemed like they were trying a little too hard to invoke the feel of the original movie. I found it odd that they didn’t tell the audience that Rey is essentially Luke’s daughter, they just implied it. Even though they quickly let us know early on that Kylo Ren is Ben Solo. And I thought that the Knights of Ren were supposed to be “Force sensitives”, not actual Force users. The fact that Kylo froze an energy bolt in mid-air would imply that he’s got much stronger Force abilities than that of a group of dorks who can sense the Force but not use it to much degree. So that surprised me, I thought the Knights of Ren would be a group of wannabees trying to be something they’re not. Maybe they’d do like the Technomages from Babylon 5 and Crusade, using high technology to mimic “Force powers”. Instead their leader is an unskilled jerk who killed his dad and can barely use his poorly constructed lightsaber.

    I screwed up and went to the wrong showing. I had meant to see it in 3D, and brought my clip-on 3D lenses so I wouldn’t have to wear their glasses over my prescription ones. Highway construction and loads of slowdown meant I got there late and I accidentally walked into the later 2D showing starting an hour later that the one I wanted. So I had to sit through so many frakking commercials, some playing twice in a row. There were commercials for Red Hat Linux. And lots of other junk and movie trailers to contend with. I thought they were incredibly slow starting the movie, turns out I was the one that was slow, not figuring out I was in the wrong place. Especially sitting in a movie with 3D glasses on when nobody else has them, and it taking me a good three or four minutes to figure out it’s not in 3D.

    I’m glad I got to see it before the accidental spoilings begin. I didn’t want to accidentally overhear that Porkins had become the new Emperor, or that Skippy the Droid would be Luke’s prize pupil at the Jedi Academy, or that Watto had taken over the underworld on Tatooine and had put Chewbacca’s family in Carbonite on the last Life Day. That would have sucked.

    #8455

    Some in-universe story logic thoughts have occurred as I write my review (which may end up being longer than the script for the movie).

    Brace yourselves, because this involves bringing the prequels into the discussion.

    The Jedi were still spoken of in Luke’s youth, as were the Clone Wars, but clearly there was little record of what had actually happened to them. Anakin’s part in the story, Order 66 (I almost typed “Odor 66” – the new Star Wars fragrance, from Chanel!), it all vanished. (Dunno what the now-invalidated comics and novels say, but I imagine the Jedi temple on Coruscant was razed to the ground, records and all.) Even young Anakin only knew that Jedi carry “laser swords”. It seems that the average person was as likely to meet a Jedi Knight as you or I are likely to meet a real live ninja. Heard stories of ’em? Sure. Ever met one or seen one? No.

    This affects The Force Awakens in two ways.

    The Jedi fell because they failed to impose their code, which emphasizes a lack of emotional attachments to others, upon a kid who was hip-deep in emotional attachments. Worse yet, one of the Jedi’s own best and brightest, Obi-Wan, couldn’t terminate the monster that kid was becoming. Why? His own emotional attachment to Anakin. Denial of emotional attachment, in short order, brought the Jedi down. (Palpatine was successful because he perversely played on Anakin’s emotional attachment, and knew exactly how to pull his strings.)

    So now we hear that Ben Solo was “sent away” to train with Luke. Not so bad, right? That’s his uncle. But if Luke was attempting to force the (already proven not to work) Jedi code on Ben, he simply set the whole damn cycle up to happen *again*. Anakin fell to the Dark Side because he wouldn’t let go of the one he lived; Luke defeated the Dark Side, at least for a little while, because he wouldn’t let go either (wouldn’t betray his sister, and wouldn’t kill his own father), but he *would* sacrifice himself – the step Anakin couldn’t take. Because the details around the fall of the Jedi are lost to history, Luke has simply set the wheel spinning again.

    But what if someone found some records? That might be even worse (but grist for one hell of a story). Follow along.

    If someone figured out that the Sith were bad, sure, but the Jedi were just as misguided in their own way…and figured out that this cyclical juggling act of “balancing the Force” kept bringing hell down on every who *isn’t* directly allied to either side…what if the general, non-Force-using populace decided that Force users, regardless of “alignment” (to use an RPG term), need to be identified early…and done away with? (Sort of like how, in Doctor Who, the Time Lords are looked upon as favorably as the Daleks: because their conflict ends up killing everyone else as collateral damage, let’s just get rid of them both.) Maybe the vast majority of the universe cares nothing for light and dark; they’re just tired of their grey existence in the middle being endangered by the fighting, and want to eliminate all the threats.

    To a dark place, this takes us. But…again…possibly one hell of a story.

    #8456
    ubikuberalles
    ubikuberalles
    Moderator
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    My thoughts are jumbled and mixed together so I’ll just dump them here. Lucky you!

    I’m not afraid of spoilers. There have been many times I would skip to the end of a book to check out the ending. Mostly I do it out of curiosity but also because I was getting bored with the book and I was wondering if I would like the end. Many times the ending simply confused me (no context, usually) and so I trudge on.

    However, I was a little bit messed up when I heard a brief review of the movie prior to my seeing it. It was basically a rant about how the whole movie was nothing more than yet another simple story about the rebels blowing up yet another Death Star (albeit this one was the biggest one yet). “Oh dear” I thought. “This movie may suck hard.”

    Fortunately that was premature and I really should learn not to let these rants bother me. They tend to be finely focus on one particular issue the author has a bone to pick with and never truly give a proper review.

    Actually it’s the previews that screw me up more than anything.

    Remember this preview: Phantom Menace Trailer?

    My initial impression of what the Phantom Menace was going to be like was from this preview. I had so many good thoughts about the movie. And then I watched the movie. What a let down.

    So I was a little nervous when I saw the Fan supercut trailer. Was I going to be let down like Phantom Menace let me down? That was in my thoughts the first few moments of the film Friday morning. Fortunately I was not disappointed.

    I’ll talk about my impressions of the film later. Meanwhile, here’s John’s Scalzi’s non-spoiler review of the movie. I agree with much that he has said.

    #8459
    ZLoth
    ZLoth
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    As probably one of the last geeks outside of China that is finally seeing this film, I saw it this afternoon because, well, I’m on vacation this week, and I’m seeing it in the daylight. Ever had a old TV that lost it’s vertical hold? That’s me.

    Was it a good movie? Yes. Was it an entertaining movie? Yes. Was it a great movie? No. Will it hold up to repeat viewing? Yes, and I think we are going to rewatch it for all the stuff we all missed. I think C3P0 had a line about why he had a red arm.

    Star Wars (and, to a lesser extent, Raiders of the Lost Ark) succeeded because they felt like big budget Saturday morning movie series which both Lucas (born 1944) and Speilberg (born 1946) both grew up on watching on television. You know what else was probably popular? How about movies about knights and princesses, and the knights of the round table? Take away the the SciFi elements, and thats what the original Star Wars was. It was relatable.

    Flash forward 38 years. Now, we have the kids who grew up watching Star Wars over and over, and can probably quote entire scenes from it. It also indicates a change in the filmmaking styles.

    I also liked the fact that there was hardly any “royalty” in it. It seemed like higher education and the “finer arts” went aside, and everyone is picking up the pieces, and speaking “street cred”. Also, it was a nice way to wipe out the prequels, and start fresh. In this case, we went back to the “used future” where new parts are hard to find, so you use what you can.

    However, something bugs me. We had the original Death Star, Death Star big brother, and now, Star Killer, the Death Star’s Death Star. If the rebels are just a rag-tag fleet, why build super weapons. Unless, besides the evil we know about, there is an evil that we don’t know about.

    Also, is it just me, or does it feel like Kylo Ren is one of those “Super Fan Boyz” for Death Vader, and wanting to emulate him? Hmmm….

    @earl wrote:

    The lightsaber fight was down and dirty and desperate, not the ridiculously rehearsed acrobatic stunt work of the prequels. These kids don’t know how to fight with lightsabers – they’re as much a danger to themselves as others.

    I’m surprised they didn’t pull out the blasters. Sword fights look cool, but they are inefficient compared to a blaster.

    @earl wrote:

    I cannot wait to see baby boomers’ heads implode because their granddaughters are going to come out of this thing wanting to fire blasters, run around with droids, and fly spaceships. They probably already wanted to do that before this movie, but Rey will make it irrevocably, universally acceptable for those kids who were too young to know who Zoe Washburne is just yet. No damsel in distress character is ever going to cut it for this crowd again. And that’s awesome.

    In fact, it’s seemed that Ray and Leia wa the most mature people of the movie. 🙂 Nothing wrong with girl empowerment.

    #8460
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    It still bothers me how the Starkiller Base works. It somehow drains all the plasma energy off a giant star until it’s extinguished and stores it inside a planet much smaller than a star, then… fires that shot across the galaxy, totally ignoring the incredible distances between the outer rim of the galaxy and the core of the New Republic? Either that, or all those destroyed planets, the Starkiller Base, and the forest planet where they witnessed the destruction of the New Republic from are all in a close proximity to each other. That didn’t make sense at all. At least the planet was destroyed more realistically than the two Death Star’s “poof” moments.

    #8461

    It’s exactly the same improbable planetary proximity that allowed Spock to witness Vulcan’s destruction from his exile on the snow planet in the 2009 Star Trek movie, if you think about it. Further proof that J.J. really just wanted to be making Star Wars all along.

    #8462

    Flack
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    I saw the movie on December 17th in Disney’s El Capitan theater in LA (across the street from the Chinese Theater) and then promptly got on a cruise ship the next day and have been largely without internet access for 2 1/2 weeks. I will say there was an impressive number of people wearing Star Wars t-shirts on the cruise and in Hawaii. We exchanged knowing looks frequently.

    While watching EP7 I thought it was great. It wasn’t until I got home and started thinking through things that I downgraded my opinion to “good.” The more I thought about it the more questions I came up with. I really need to see it again when I’m not so excited so I can have a more level-headed opinion.

    One of the biggest questions I had was, why did Kylo Ren have so many Force powers at the beginning of the movie (stopping the laser blast, reading people’s minds), but didn’t use any of them when having a lightsaber duel with Finn? It seemed to me one good Force choke could have ended that really quick.

    Most of the movie seemed to be a combination of “been there, done that” scenes (yay, another Deathstar that’s easily blown up — who keeps designing these things?) combined with crowd pleasing throwbacks. That being said, if it’s job was to get people excited and re-interested in Star Wars, it did its job!

    #8463

    Keep in mind, by the time he fought with Finn, Ren was bleeding out (and even better, he kept thumping the wound and making himself bleed out), so he probably wasn’t operating at full capacity, whether you’re referring to the Force or just basic reasoning.

    I’ve finally put a full review up here.

    #8464

    Flack
    Participant
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    Yeah, I was completely baffled by the chest thumping part. I had no idea what that was about.

    #8465
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    I really need to go see it again, hopefully in 3D this time. I need to see it so I can make sense of what I saw the first time.

    #8466

    Here’s what you missed:

    #8467

    Flack
    Participant
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    YOU EEEDIOT.

    Anyone else see the spat between Emo Kylo Ren and Very Lonely Luke on Twitter?

    http://entertainment.ie/wtf/This-Twitter-spat-between-Emo-Kylo-Ren-and-Very-Lonely-Luke-is-what-the-Internet-was-made-for/374982.htm

    #8468

    So has the cumulative box office for The Force Awakens recouped the entire purchase price of Lucasfilm yet?

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