Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Discussion

JohnRedBeardJohnRedBeard Member
edited December 2015 in TV & Movies
I'm surprised no one has started this thread yet. SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven't seen it yet, stop reading this and go see it!

My first impression, best Star Wars movie in 30 years. Maybe not as good as the classics, but much closer in quality to them than to the prequels. This is the movie I was hoping for when Episode 1 was announced.

The plot was a bit TOO similar to A New Hope, with elements of Empire and Jedi added in, but I think that was necessary to bring the series back to its roots. Hopefully in Episodes VIII and IX they'll start to branch out again.

Comments

  • While watching the film, I was loving it - great action, some humour, not *too* much cheesy dialogue, lots of nostalgia and some fantastic new central characters... so when the final credits rolled, I thought "that's a great Star Wars movie, and also a great movie".

    Of course, since then, I couldn't stop analysing it in my head, and also came to the conclusion that the plot was a bit *too* similar to Episode IV, down to almost every story beat. I've also read quite a few online articles discussing, analysing and criticising the movie and a lot of them bring up good points (or reveal stuff from other sources that wasn't explicitly stated in the movie, but you could have inferred it - such as, how does Finn hold up so well against Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle? The answer: Ren is not highly trained, quite injured, and angry - and we saw he has anger control issues - and troopers like Finn are trained in saber-like weapons - as seen in the earlier scene with Finn vs Trooper. He still gets his arse kicked.)

    I think I would have preferred it if Starkiller base hadn't just exploded from its single point of failure (a la the Death Star), but maybe that the Resistance battle disabled it significantly. But, you know, a big explosion looks cool :)

    The <SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER> major character death was slightly telegraphed, and entirely necessary, I think they did that well, no qualms about it from a story point of view, but it still hits the audience in the feels.

    Not sure why they needed to do full CGI for Snoke and Maz when the other non-CG'd aliens looked far more "real" (Unkar Platt etc).
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  • Overall I agree with everything said here so far. My least favorite part was the need to once again portray the attack on the oscillator as a trek through a gun protected trench. This is the third time we have seen this, and every time I think why not just enter the trench farther up passed the guns? I think my favorite part was Han Solo's death scene. It took a whiny emo kid and made me hate him on the same level as Vader, while showing that parents always love their children, even if they don't like them much. My biggest unanswered question though is when Rey was hugging Leia, how come Daisy Ridley's hands look older than Carrie Fisher's?
  • The Starkiller base was pretty cool, in that it was its own planet, with an atmosphere and ecosystem and everything, but I hope this is the last time there's a big, round, planet-destroying space station. Three is enough.

    I'm 99% sure Rey is Luke's daughter, but the big question is, who's the mother. I'm guessing it won't be Mara Jade, which is a shame.

    My biggest unanswered question though is when Rey was hugging Leia, how come Daisy Ridley's hands look older than Carrie Fisher's?

    Jakku's dry climate is murder on your skin.

    how does Finn hold up so well against Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle? The answer: Ren is not highly trained, quite injured, and angry - and we saw he has anger control issues - and troopers like Finn are trained in saber-like weapons - as seen in the earlier scene with Finn vs Trooper.

    I came to pretty much the same conclusions. Kylo's a good fighter, but he was badly hurt (more than he let on), and upset. And we saw early in the movie that Rey knew how to fight with a weapon. She's untrained but probably had a lot of practice defending herself.

    By the way, am I the only one who laughed especially hard at the reveal that Finn worked in sanitation, because of Space Janitors?
  • By the way, am I the only one who laughed especially hard at the
    reveal that Finn worked in sanitation, because of Space Janitors?

    Nope, I did too... Very prescient of the SJ crew! I'm still not sure why, if Finn was in sanitation that he was also required to be in the battle group at the start of the movie.... maybe the stormtroopers have military *and* maintenance duties to perform...
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  • I loved the movie.  I really enjoyed the new characters, and delighted in the interaction with the old, familiar characters.  I agree that Han's death was necessary, if this series is to push forward on its own with Rey and Finn and the rest as the central players.  It's awful hard not to play second fiddle when Han Solo's playing next to you.  The death scene also establishes Kylo Ren's bona fides as a villain worth rooting against.  I liked the way they set up the narrative, and gradually filled in details about different people.  

    My quibbles are mostly with the hazy sense of which worlds are where, and what the tactical division of the galaxy looks like.  I need some sort of Starcraft map of inhabited systems with worlds lit up in different colors to show where the two sides hold power.  

    Also, how does that planetary cannon thing fire across interstellar distances?  How can a blast of sun-fusion death ray energy go faster than light?  At light speed, it would take years to go from one star system to another; even with a hyperdrive boost, it would take a long time, and then you've got to perfectly calculate the trajectory while everything in the universe is in constant motion.  I am perfectly willing to suspend disbelief, but there just wasn't any explanation provided.  Based on the quick resolution between firing the cannon and seeing worlds get destroyed, it seemed like the distance between everything was negligible.  The odds of striking an interstellar target with a remote weapon like that seem equivalent to if I were going to throw a pebble out the window of my car, while driving on a highway overpass, and somehow toss it down through the sunroof of another car crossing below, and have it land squarely in the opening of a straw in that driver's cup-holder drink.  Difficult to plan, and even more difficult to achieve.  

    The death star at least had to be moved into range.  

    All of that was background noise in my head, while I was busy enjoying the arc of the heroes finding their way through the world.  I wasn't really invested in the planet-busting machinery, compared with the personal narratives.  The ending was superb.  I'll happily watch any future films that follow Rey, Finn, or the other new characters introduced in The Force Awakens.  

    One nice touch I appreciated was the use of the new evil overlord's hologram as a colossal figure, looming over Kylo Ren.  It made a nice alternative to the diminutive holograms we've seen before, and gave this new archvillain the presence of a titan without really giving much understanding of who he is, where he came from, or what his objectives are.  


  • TriencoTrienco Member, Moderator
    Same here. While watching the movie, it just "felt" like Star Wars. The characters worked, the dialogue was fine and I loved the movie. It does however share one thing with Doctor Who: you should not start to think about it too much. So with the background of "loved it", here's some nitpicking:

    -As mentioned, it was too afraid to have its own story and I hope that will change from the next movie onward.

    -Small things that don't seem to make any sense or are even inconsistent within the movie itself. Storm troopers doing sanitation duty? That felt like "I will have this joke in here and I don't care if it makes any sense".

    -The entire part on the freight ship. I might be missing something, but it didn't advance the plot, didn't serve character development, included unlikely coincidences and by far the worst CGI in the entire movie and it was just completely pointless. You could completely cut that part, have Han and Chewie on the Falcon when they board it on Jakku and not miss anything. I'd also have an easier time believing Han pulling off those maneuvers rather than "never been off this planet since childhood and definitely never been flying any space ships"-Rey. Is this a case of "we need this to explain who Han Solo is... to the one person on the planet who doesn't already know"?

    -How did that new super weapon work? Where were the planets they destroyed? It can't be the same system (unless the Republic is so peaceful/blind/stupid to let them build that thing right next door). Can it fire through hyperspace? If it literally sucks up the sun to recharge, then what now? Can the entire planet travel through hyperspace or did they build that thing to literally fire it twice and then ditch it? Can it also leech on suns across the entire galaxy? In which case: why even bother with the big fragging gun? Recharging it seems to be just as devastating as firing it. Without a sun, there's no more orbits and the planets will just fly off into space while at the same time turning into inhabitable ice cubes. Particularly bad for the people stationed on the Starkiller thingy. Feels like "just make it even bigger and cooler, people will be too much in awe to realize how nonsensical that thing is".

    -Did they deliberately set up Phasma as the next Boba Fett? Looks cool, does nothing of value and goes out with a whimper? Let's hope she got out of that trash compactor alive and in time to redeem herself in the sequels.

    So while the movie did capture the feel and magic of Star Wars, which automatically makes it vastly superior to the prequels in my book, the upcoming movies seem to be left with a lot of plot holes to fill.
  • The Captain Phasma incident bugged me, too, @Trienco.  I guess I just expected more out of the character, for some reason.  She got built up a little in my mind, and in early scenes she seemed important, but then she gets captured without even putting up a fight, and is summarily dispensed with off-stage.  It undercut her badassitude.  I didn't understand why Finn was able to get her isolated like that so easily, and get the drop on her.  Why doesn't she have an escort?  Why are stormtroopers so good at blowing up planets, and so awful at security and surveillance?  I wish they had written a better scene to take her captive, if that's the plot point they were determined to use.  

    I suppose they may bring her back, but the way the explosion went down, they definitely made it seem like the heroes only escaped by the skin of their teeth.  The base commander was given instructions to evacuate with Kylo Ren, but how does he even find the guy, who was shot and then cut down somewhere off the base, out in the woods?  At least Phasma is likely to be able to commandeer a tie fighter in a hurry if she overrides whatever trash compactor door she's locked behind, and has no injury to slow her down.  The whole detonating planet escalated too fast and furiously, pushing dramatic effect over any sort of comprehensible sequence of events.  

    I hope they can come up with a slightly less apocalyptic crisis for the next one.  Planetary destruction just seems like bad resource management.  Conquest I can understand.  But obliterating entire worlds?  I'm no Hutt, but it seems like it would be hard to make a profit, that way.  :}
  • TriencoTrienco Member, Moderator
    @Farlander, given that they can convert an entire planet like this, they probably don't worry about resources. It's all about intimidation and essentially nothing but galactic terrorism. "Play along or we blow up your planets".

    Though given some second hand novel knowledge, the New Republic has pretty much ignored the First Order so far. From the movie, the FO in turn thinks that they are silently supporting the Resistance anyway. So I'd even expect a larger scope, at least in terms of space battles, simply because after a bunch of worlds going poof I don't see how this won't turn into an open and "official" war.

    So my guess is that we get a lot of Luke training Rey and revealing more or even most of her background and at some point a "good old" space battle between two large fleets. They might even contrast Rey's training with Kylo Ren's training.
  • @Trienco wrote:
    Though given some second hand novel knowledge, the New Republic has
    pretty much ignored the First Order so far. From the movie, the FO in
    turn thinks that they are silently supporting the Resistance anyway. So
    I'd even expect a larger scope, at least in terms of space battles,
    simply because after a bunch of worlds going poof I don't see how this
    won't turn into an open and "official" war.
    Given that the planet that Starkiller base destroyed was where the Galactic Senate of the New Republic was... it's only Leia's small Resistance that will be able to declare war... the New Republic's governance has all been destroyed and I suspect even if the Resistance relays the news, not all member planets are going to believe them... (and with Starkiller base destroyed, there's no evidence either). So although we might see more space battles (heh, "star wars") it's not likely to be a big alliance of planets vs the First Order, just because of the mess galactic governance is likely to be in.
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  • TriencoTrienco Member, Moderator
    edited January 2016 PM
    Oops. Guess nobody pointed out that with bad guys having a habit of building planet destroying super weapons, it's not a smart move to have your entire government in a single place.

    Not sure if one should blame that on the Republic or the writing. Realistically speaking (about a fictional world filled with space wizards), the worlds that make up the Republic are still there, they still have or can elect new representatives. How long can it take to form a new government?

    Also noticed that I somehow missed how they actually called it a "hyper lightspeed weapon", but that's okay, I'm pretty sure the effects people missed it, too. Was I missing some visual clues as to the scale and distance?
  • As everyone's said, I loved the feel of the movie. Very authentic. In retrospect, yes, it tracked ep 4 a little too much. I'm hoping this was done consciously as a "see, we get it, we're with you" kind of nod to the fans and now eps 8 and 9 will move in a new direction. A trilogy of nostalgia would be pacifying but not very worthwhile or sustainable.

    My Neil Degrasse Tyson moment was also around that sun sucking thing. Like, skip the laser part; you've already destroyed the solar system just charging your batteries! :)

    Feminist Frequency did a review and made a point I haven't seen made elsewhere. That this movie furthered the same black and white, good/evil dichotomy from the past movies. Characters are either inherently good or inherently bad. Sometimes they switch, but it's always either/or, no gray areas or complexity. Always having an agent of the dark side (and a duo of sith) sort of makes defeating them pointless since they'll just get replaced by a new pair. What progress is actually being made in each struggle? That overly simplified good/evil thing can be a little too simplistic to sustain a 9-movie universe without starting to wear thin. I too hope Abrahms finds some way to complicate this good/evil thing. It would really help evolve the franchise into something even deeper.

    All that said, I loved it and want to see it again and again. I loved Rey and thought they did such a great job making a strong female lead without falling into the usual tropes of "strong female leads".
  • but if everything is grey and everyone is the same then how are things progressing then? seems to me to be even more silly. and why? why does everything have to be dark and more like real life?aren't people like me allowed to escape? or are we forced to just wallow in this hell we call earth?
    rbray18 everywhere that matters.
  • There's a lot of space between "good guys are always good and bad guys are always bad" and being so gritty and complicated you can't root for or root against anybody completely. A little nuance wouldn't be the worst thing. E.g. what exactly is the dark side? "Evil"? Just by definition? Or is evil the byproduct of something else? If you look at most struggles in life or in stories there is an antagonist, yes, but they generally aren't just wearing a sash that says "evil" on it. They have ideals and beliefs that may be composed of virtuous things but add up to awful behavior towards most people. E.g. any war ever. :) Having that sort of depth makes the struggle more engaging.

    I don't actually think Star Wars will break this dichotomy. It's pretty ingrained in the mythos, for good or for worse, and it's hard to imagine how you would change that elegantly. It does limit the depth of the stories it can portray though. It will always be good guys who do good things because they are good guys versus bad guys who do bad things because they are bad guys.

    I say all this academically. It doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the movies. Just thought it was an interesting analysis that I couldn't disagree with. It would not surprise me if that simplification begins to wear thin after a while though. "Oh look, Darth Wigglesworth died and got replaced by Darth Picklebottoms. Neat new helmet." :)
  • well it just seems people only want the latter anymore. like say jessica jones or daredevil. i have negative interest in either. might as well call them sopranoes or sons of anarchy or spartacus or black sails or the shield or any of the hundreds of other shows all exactly the same.
    rbray18 everywhere that matters.
  • Thank goodness I've finally seen the movie and can participate in discussions like these. Now, my Star Wars universe knowledge is okay, I'd say. It's not extended far enough into the comics or novels, but I have delved into some of the mini-series, the video games, and random snippets of info here and there. After such a long time with a lack of incredibly impressive Star Wars media, or at least in my opinion, this movie was such a pleasure to see. Every moment and scene had me captivated and drawn back into the universe I had so missed over the years. I even remember turning to my friend half way through the movie asking how much we had left, just to be joyfully told we were only halfway! I nearly screamed with excitement as the movie felt incredibly lengthy, in a good way. I will say there were a few scenes that bothered me slightly though, specifically Han Solo's final moments. Not to say that the scene itself wasn't great, but it seemed to happen at an...awkward time in the movie. To the point where it seemed like even the other characters forgot that it happened, seeing as Leia was the only one that even reacted back at the Resistance base. Heck, no one even seemed to bat an eye when Chewbacca came of the Falcon with only Rey and Finn in hand, and no Han in sight. I dunno, maybe I'm just being overly dramatic for that, but it did seem somewhat down played for such a major character. 
  • JohnRedBeardJohnRedBeard Member
    edited January 2016 PM
    I might have been reading too much into it, but my impression was that no one else at the resistance base knew Han had been killed right away. The only people who saw it were Rey, Finn, and Chewie, and none of them were in radio (or whatever technology) contact with the base. I think maybe Leia felt his death through the force. She wasn't trained as a jedi, but she IS a Skywalker, after all.
  • The plot was, occasionally. there-work of New Hope for new generations. It was alright, fair action movie, but I love the second trilogy too, so It was one of the best movies in 30 years.
  • I thought that discussion about new Star Wars film will fade after passing 2 weeks after the premier) but not, it`s not really such simple thing to stop the discussion about it)) 
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