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Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)


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Can we all stop pretending that JJ Abrams is a good filmmaker now?

Yeah, yeah, this movie is basically a remake of A New Hope -- and it includes a scene where someone describes another character as "an acquired taste", which is really funny because I saw the remake of Point Break the night before and *that* movie had a scene where someone describes another character as "an acquired taste", too -- but the movie I find myself thinking about most often in relation to The Force Awakens is Tron Legacy. Kylo Ren is totally the Clu figure of this movie, whereas the Flynn figure... but I don't want to say anything too spoiler-ish.

In any case, The Force Awakens leaves me admiring {1} the prequels for somehow *not* reminding me every step of the way that they were stealing bits and pieces from the original trilogy, and {2} George Miller for being an actual *filmmaker* who reinvented his own franchise brilliantly with Mad Max: Fury Road, as opposed to a "respectful" fanboy who knows only how to copy his favorite movies.

I also loved how the theatre in which I saw this film played the Duracell ad with the spoiler *before* it played the actual movie itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBh0hgP8wWk

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter T Chattaway said: 

In any case, The Force Awakens leaves me admiring {1} the prequels for somehow *not* reminding me every step of the way that they were stealing bits and pieces from the original trilogy, 

 

 

This film was intentionally reminding us that it was stealing from the originals.  Sometimes its nudge and wink worked, sometimes it really fell flat.  At least they let us know how self-aware they were of all this and that they knew that we would know, and so forth.  In my view their biggest mistake was giving us the next, bigger version of the death star (which has already been done twice of course.)  The main plot points could have been worked out in another fashion that was way cooler and the spectacle in that scene wasn't nearly as great as had been done before (or actually even as great as the battle earlier on in the film), but mind you maybe too much of a spectacle would have taken away from the other important plot point which happened there.

 

Having some familiar stuff was anticipated in this film, but there was also an expectation that it would build into something knew.  It needed to build into a different kind of ending.

 

Spoilers.

Also, related to that, I found it interesting that this film literally passed the baton, but then it kind of literally passed it back (or at least we are left to assume so).  This actually fits with the film as a whole.  It just kept doing that throughout.  The baton is seemingly to be passed into the hands of something knew, but then it's given back again.  It's just that now it's given back to something slightly different but fundamentally the same.

Edited by Attica
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For those who want a sense of the origins of the First Order and the Resistance, let me lay out the narrative:

 

After JEDI, an Imperial group departed for the outer edge of the galaxy in search of some kind of Dark Side power source. When they returned, they returned as the start of the First Order.

At the start of THE FORCE AWAKENS, the galaxy is under the control of the New Republic, with their headquarters based on Hosnian Prime. The First Order begins to make headway on a portion of the galaxy, so the New Republic supports the insurrectionist group, the Resistance.

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48 minutes ago, Ryan H. said:

For those who want a sense of the origins of the First Order and the Resistance, let me lay out the narrative:

 

After JEDI, an Imperial group departed for the outer edge of the galaxy in search of some kind of Dark Side power source. When they returned, they returned as the start of the First Order.

At the start of THE FORCE AWAKENS, the galaxy is under the control of the New Republic, with their headquarters based on Hosnian Prime. The First Order begins to make headway on a portion of the galaxy, so the New Republic supports the insurrectionist group, the Resistance.

Wait, really? Movie-unseen, but that feels like a pretty radical departure from the politics of the Lucas movies (which were influenced by American experiments with that sort of thing in Vietnam and, later, the Middle East).

EDIT: Meanwhile, the soundtrack is up on Spotify. Giving it a listen now. So far, there's nothing particularly memorable--no "Duel of the Fates" or "Across the Stars" (and nothing as memorable as the stuff he wrote for the OT, which is so memorable that it needn't be mentioned). Some of the tracks--like "March of the Resistance"--actually seem to call up some of the PT material, while "Snoke" is almost anti-memorable (certainly anti-hummable). 

Edited by NBooth
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1 hour ago, Ryan H. said:

Snoke's theme is a dead ringer for the theme that plays while Palpatine speaks of Darth Plageuis the Wise in REVENGE OF THE SITH.

Extrapolate from that what you will.

Dang. I hadn't thought of that. Listening now, and you're totally right.

EDIT: Again, movie-unseen, but there's a lot of info coming from this movie that makes me think that it's not just movie-only fans who will feel like it's a retread; a certain character has a backstory that was part of one of those multi-novel arcs they did a while back. So there's that. And the build-a-better-Death-Star. It's starting to look like they de-canonized the EU so they could crib its best (and worst!) ideas.

Edited by NBooth
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Okay--spoilers abound below:

Spoilers

Spoilers

Spoilers

So, yes, essentially THE FORCE AWAKENS has the exact same plot as A NEW HOPE.  

  • A droid concealing necessary information and the bad guys hunting for it?  Check 
  • A young, Force sensitive desert dweller obtaining that droid?   Check
  • A grizzled pilot smuggler who ends up helping out the young hero?  Check
  • A planet getting destroyed by a planet destroying weapon?  Check
  • All the Jedi, guardians of peace in the galaxy have disappeared? Check
  • A sneak attack on the planet destroying weapon?  Check
  • A wise mentor figure being killed by a masked villian? Check
  • A weakness on the planet destroying weapon?  Check
  • A hot shot pilot blowing up the planet destroying weapon?  Check

But all in all, the story flies along, and the characterizations work.  The performances are good and entertaining.  And there's enough seasoning of new and of melancholy through the story that I am not terribly bothered by any of the rehashing.  I thought Ford did great work as Solo, and even though I expected the character to meet his demise, I was gut-punched by the nature of it as it played out in the story.  I especially appreciated that the story didn't make a "surprise" reveal  that Kylo Ren was Solo's son, and thus was really able to appreciate when Han called out to him with his true name, Ben.  Chewie roaring in shock and grief was resonant and rich with emotion (more  emotion than I thought you could get out of a creature suit and a bear sound effect).  When I say gut-punched, I knew as soon  as Han called out to Ren that Ren would kill him.  I knew as soon as he held out his unlit saber that that would be the means.  But then, when Han reached out to touch his cheek...ahh I almost lost right there in the theater.  Aghh.

But....here's where I have some problems.  Like SDG's review, of course the whole weight of the consequences of JEDI are glossed over and trivialized.  So the entire Republic Senate and entire fleet is wiped out in a 60 second span?  What the..?  Why was there some random Resistance and why wasn't the Republic better connected?  It doesn't make a lot of sense.  

And Luke has been turned into the WORST POSSIBLE PERSON ever.  What a loser!  So, he trains Ben Solo, who flips to the dark side, and then Luke says, "Screw it, I'm a loser, I'm going into hermitage," instead of trying to fix this issue.  So because he doesn't try to fix it, he inadvertently allows the First Order to blow up the Republic, destroying millions of lives, ruins the marriage of Han and Leia, and leads to Han getting impaled by his now evil son.  If I was Leia, I wouldn't be looking for Luke to save the Resistance, I'd be looking for him to punch him in the nose.  And speaking of the Starkiller Base, wouldn't sucking all the power of the local star do bad things to the planet itself (like, say, removing all heat and freezing everything?  Didn't these guys see SUNSHINE, which was a stupid, stupid movie, but at least it got the effect of a diminished sun correct?)  

I was hoping to see the Luke/Han/Leia dynamic play out in the film--part of what made the OT work is the interactions these characters and actors have with one another.  And I come to the essence of my hesitation around the film:  what else could this have been?   What more could you have done with a new story?  And that's where I'm a little saddened.  As much as I enjoyed THE FORCE AWAKENS, I kept thinking, wow, this could have been done a little better.  The story could have been a little richer.  Even a search for missing Skywalker could have been a bigger driving force, with a greater weight.  As SDG pointed out the weight of the consequences of the OT could have played out more both in terms of the story elements, but also in the relationships of the characters.   If I sat back and thought about it, why would I expect that Solo would have given up on the Resistance after his son goes AWOL?  Would he go back to smuggling?  And I don't think so.  So that, ultimately is what holds me back from unfettered enthusiasm: the story COULD have been so much more, with a more serious look at the natural and organic relationships of these characters (old and new) over the past thirty years.  But it wasn't.  

 

 

 

Edited by Buckeye Jones
typo
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By the way, if this movie is supposed to be ignoring the prequels, why does practically the first line of dialogue use a concept from the prequels ("balancing the Force")?

This movie also suffers a bit from The Phantom Menace's who's-the-protagonist-here-anyway? problem.

Attica wrote:
: This film was intentionally reminding us that it was stealing from the originals.  

Which just made the effect even worse.

Seriously, as a friend of mine put it on Facebook, every dramatic moment in this film is undercut by the fact that you're conscious of it being a reference to the earlier films. One very pivotal plot twist is undercut even further by the fact that it not only replicates a story beat from the first film, it also makes you think of... I'll try to be vague... some of the stories we've heard about the making of the original trilogy over the years. (Instead of thinking "Oh how sad" you think "Aha, Harrison Ford and Lawrence Kasdan finally got their wish!") And of course, you see this moment coming long before it comes: there are literally No Surprises in this movie.

Ryan H. wrote:
: At the start of THE FORCE AWAKENS, the galaxy is under the control of the New Republic, with their headquarters based on Hosnian Prime. The First Order begins to make headway on a portion of the galaxy, so the New Republic supports the insurrectionist group, the Resistance.

So the New Republic is supporting an insurrection against the insurrection? Oh-kay.

Yeah, the movie didn't clarify how widespread the New Republic is *at all*. And why are they headquartered on Hosnian Prime, rather than Coruscant?

It also wasn't clear to me whether the planet-sized superweapon flies around at all or simply shoots other planets from afar. I thought I heard a line of dialogue to the effect that it transwarps -- er, hyperspaces -- its planet-destroying beams from a distance, but the superweapon *also* drains all the energy out of the nearest sun, and surely it can't do that more than once? Surely it has to go looking for another sun to drain at some point?

: Snoke's theme is a dead ringer for the theme that plays while Palpatine speaks of Darth Plageuis the Wise in REVENGE OF THE SITH.

Speaking of Snoke, I thought he was one of the bigger flies in this movie's ointment, for a whole bunch of reasons (not least that he reminded me of the awful CGI orc leader from the Hobbit movies -- so much for all those "practical effects" we kept hearing about!).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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23 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:


Ryan H. wrote:
: At the start of THE FORCE AWAKENS, the galaxy is under the control of the New Republic, with their headquarters based on Hosnian Prime. The First Order begins to make headway on a portion of the galaxy, so the New Republic supports the insurrectionist group, the Resistance.

So the New Republic is supporting an insurrection against the insurrection? Oh-kay.

Yeah, the movie didn't clarify how widespread the New Republic is *at all*. And why are they headquartered on Hosnian Prime, rather than Coruscant?

To be fair, the OT never bothered with those kind of clarifications, either.

Re: Snoke, I think he's going to turn out to be this trilogy's one significant link to the prequels.

Edited by Ryan H.
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1 hour ago, Buckeye Jones said:

Okay--spoilers abound below:

Spoilers

Spoilers

Spoilers

 

And Luke has been turned into the WORST POSSIBLE PERSON ever.  What a loser!  So, he trains Ben Solo, who flips to the dark side, and then Luke says, "Screw it, I'm a loser, I'm going into hermitage," instead of trying to fix this issue.  So because he doesn't try to fix it, he inadvertently allows the First Order to blow up the Republic, destroying millions of lives, ruins the marriage of Han and Leia, and leads to Han getting impaled by his now evil son.  If I was Leia, I wouldn't be looking for Luke to save the Resistance, I'd be looking for him to punch him in the nose.  And speaking of the Starkiller Base, wouldn't sucking all the power of the local star do bad things to the planet itself (like, say, removing all heat and freezing everything?  Didn't these guys see SUNSHINE, which was a stupid, stupid movie, but at least it got the effect of a diminished sun correct?)  

 

 

One of the ways this film is seriously off is --

it has a very warped view and use of death. Not that Star Wars has ever been good about that, but I find it odd and disatisfying that the wight of a death is in inverse proportion to how long one has known a character. The principle death in the film is felt most strongly by the person who has known the dying character the least amount of time, even though another character is there who has basically shared a life with that character. (Not to go all Celluloid Clloset/Love & Death in the American Novel, either, but the film's inability to conceive of how marriage changes a relationship or to even recognize, much less explore, Han-Chewie relationship as a de facto partnership that has more in common with a partnership than a friendship is another way in which the film subordinates emotional mimesis to the needs of the plot.) 

As you say, Luke's implied response to death is puzzling given what he knows about his father and his supposed maturation process in Jedi. I know differentiation isn't simply a byproduct of age, but still, this appears to be emotional regression in service of plot needs rather than character development.

Also the mass destruction of planets (plural) in comparison to the destruction of say Alderaan reminded me of the destruction of Vulcan or mass deaths in Star Trek. I mentioned elsewhere that I see the long shadow of Marvel over the movie. The rising death count, the use of violence as short hand (this is how evil they are) where the emotion has dissipated by the next scene is really disgusting quality of contemporary film, imo. Obi-Wan nearly lost his lunch when Alderaan was destroyed. Leia's response to that should have scarred her for life and informed her feelings at this new round of mass violence.

Granted Star Wars movies (as opposed to serial/parallel stories) have always more or less used the politics and setting as a backdrop/maguffin to expore high-schoolish emotional plotlines. It's basically 90210 in space. I'm okay with that so long as there's some self-awareness there. But when a film is simultaneously vacuous and pretentious, that's when it really grates.

 

Edited by kenmorefield
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I had a 3... mayyyyybe 3. 5 star... (on a 5-star scale) Star Wars moviegoing experience. I'm composing my review in conversations with the Looking Closer Facebook group. As many frustrations as delights... probably more. As a sequel, there are a lot of Crystal Skull-ish weaknesses here.   

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Has anyone mentioned yet how awful Domnhall Gleeson is in this film? What a caricature of over-the-top stick-up-his-butt British fascism, or whatever. None of the personality of Grand Moff Tarkin or Admirals Ozzel and Piett (or even Commander Jerjerrod, and good Lord why do I even know these names).

Ryan H. wrote:
: To be fair, the OT never bothered with those kind of clarifications, either.

It didn't need to. The Republic had evolved into the Empire, and a number of star systems (such as Alderaan) were rebelling against the Empire. It was all pretty clear-cut.

Part of the problem with The Force Awakens is that it needs to fill in 30-40 years of back-story (which is a much longer gap than exists between any of the other films; it is, in fact, quite possibly longer than the timeline covered by all six of the original films). We come to this film wanting to know what happened after Return of the Jedi, and the movie doesn't tell us, except in drips and drabs.

(It sucks big-time that, if we were watching a marathon of all these films, we would jump straight from Han and Leia's courtship to Han and Leia's separation. And I was also really annoyed by the bit which rips off the Dagobah-tree scene from The Empire Strikes Back, except where Empire gave us an impressionistic, slightly abstract series of images that resonated because they pointed ambiguously to the darkness within Luke and therefore the darkness within *all* of us, The Force Awakens uses this device simply to fill in more of the back-story's plot.)

: Re: Snoke, I think he's going to turn out to be this trilogy's one significant link to the prequels.

Yeah, I've heard those rumours, and if they turn out to be correct, then *that* plot element is pretty stupid, too.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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44 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

: Re: Snoke, I think he's going to turn out to be this trilogy's one significant link to the prequels.

Yeah, I've heard those rumours, and if they turn out to be correct, then *that* plot element is pretty stupid, too.

I, for one, wouldn't mind that angle.

But Snoke is quite unimpressive here, in part because they try to make too much of him. There's only so much you can do to make a hologram a compelling presence, and this smacks of trying way too hard.

Edited by Ryan H.
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To clarify my earlier comments about the debt this film owes to Tron Legacy:

Kylo Ren is basically the Clu figure. Clu was the creation of Flynn and turned against Flynn and assimilated Tron (though for a while we were led to believe that he had actually *killed* Tron). Clu also committed an act of genocide against all the spontaneous electronic lifeforms that Flynn had discovered (exccept for the one who escaped, natch). Then Flynn disappeared for decades -- not only from our own world, but from the world ruled by Clu. (Flynn was still in the digital world; he just lived in hiding somewhere on the outskirts, far away from the part of that world that was ruled by Clu.) Eventually Flynn's biological son enters that world and the story starts, and it ends with Flynn sacrificing his life to defeat Clu... and somewhere along the way, we discover that Tron had actually been converted into a villain but is now a good guy again, so there is a hint that we will see Tron again in the sequel.

The Flynn figure in this film is divided between Luke and Han -- or, rather, the Flynn and Tron figures are shared in different ways by Luke and Han. Kylo, like Clu, is a next-generation figure, and, again like Clu, he has turned against his mentor (Luke) and killed all of his mentor's wards (Jedi trainees, instead of the spontaneous electronic lifeforms) and driven his mentor into hiding (both Luke *and* Han leave Leia and the Resistance). Luke, in particular, does the Flynn thing of retreating to a place far away on the outskirts of the community that he is abandoning, and there he remains until the very end of the movie, where it is hinted that he will finally come back as a character in his own right in the sequel, just like Tron. Meanwhile, new characters -- Finn and Rey -- enter this world and the story starts, and eventually Han sacrifices his life to stop his son, just as Flynn sacrificed his life to stop his creation Clu. The movie ends with Han's Wookiee partner flying off with Rey (who I'm guessing is the one trainee that survived Kylo Ren's genocide, or something like that), just as Tron Legacy ended with Flynn's son riding a motorcycle off into the sunset (figuratively speaking) with the Olivia Wilde character.

Have I missed anything?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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THE FORCE AWAKENS works on the level it needed to most: giving us a new set of characters to care about. For that, Abrams deserves a lot of credit. He's no visionary (as demonstrated by how little imagination this thing has in narrative or visual terms), but he does a great job of working with his cast.

Let's face it, the original trilogy was never very successful on the level of narrative. The characters drew people into the world of STAR WARS and made the films classics. (It's also on that level that the prequels utterly fail, whatever merits they might otherwise have.)

I'm hoping Johnson's EPISODE VIII is significantly more substantial on a narrative level than THE FORCE AWAKENS, but even if it isn't, as long as it makes hanging out with these characters as enjoyable as THE FORCE AWAKENS does, I'm happy to go along for the ride.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Nathan Douglas wrote:
: Just a heads up: spoilered-out block text still appears normally in the previews that show up in unread section.

Whoops. Well, fortunately, only the most recent comment shows up in the "unread" section, so simply by posting a subsequent comment here, you solved that problem. :)

Ryan H. wrote:
: This film works on the level it needed to most: giving us a new set of characters to care about. All the new major figures deliver big time.

Really? If Poe Dameron is a "major figure", then no he doesn't; he's barely even in the movie to begin with. Finn and Rey are okay, but by definition they have no past, or no memory of their past, or something, so they are basically ciphers to themselves as well as to the rest of the audience. And neither of them get a chance to go the full Jason Bourne on us. Too much resolution is deferred until the next movie (or the one after *that*, etc.).

Similarly with Kylo Ren. We know too little of his past; as you say, they're going to spell that out in greater detail in one of the later movies. (We knew very little of Darth Vader's past in the original Star Wars too, but he wasn't given quasi-protagonist treatment there.) And the other villains? Captain Phasma is just another toy-in-waiting. Domnhall Gleeson's character, as I noted in an earlier comment, is ridiculously over-the-top and caricaturish, especially compared to his Imperial predecessors. And Snoke kept reminding me of that awful CGI orc leader from the Hobbit movies.

It is precisely because none of these characters hold a candle to the characters of the original films that I find this movie seriously wanting.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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5 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Nathan Douglas wrote:
: Just a heads up: spoilered-out block text still appears normally in the previews that show up in unread section.

Whoops. Well, fortunately, only the most recent comment shows up in the "unread" section, so simply by posting a subsequent comment here, you solved that problem. :)

Ryan H. wrote:
: This film works on the level it needed to most: giving us a new set of characters to care about. All the new major figures deliver big time.

Really? If Poe Dameron is a "major figure", then no he doesn't; he's barely even in the movie to begin with. Finn and Rey are okay, but by definition they have no past, or no memory of their past, or something, so they are basically ciphers to themselves as well as to the rest of the audience. And neither of them get a chance to go the full Jason Bourne on us. Too much resolution is deferred until the next movie (or the one after *that*, etc.).

Similarly with Kylo Ren. We know too little of his past; as you say, they're going to spell that out in greater detail in one of the later movies. (We knew very little of Darth Vader's past in the original Star Wars too, but he wasn't given quasi-protagonist treatment there.) And the other villains? Captain Phasma is just another toy-in-waiting. Domnhall Gleeson's character, as I noted in an earlier comment, is ridiculously over-the-top and caricaturish, especially compared to his Imperial predecessors. And Snoke kept reminding me of that awful CGI orc leader from the Hobbit movies.

It is precisely because none of these characters hold a candle to the characters of the original films that I find this movie seriously wanting.

Eh, your complaints about Finn and Rey seem largely insignificant to me. The performances do the heavy lifting for the characters and succeed. Even if the characters haven't yet figured out who they are, they're still well-defined in terms of personality.

Similarly, Poe is a thin character made winsome thanks to a strong performance. His role is slight here but will likely be bigger in the sequels.

Kylo Ren is terrific and is probably the best of the new characters. Driver delivers the best performance in the film. We don't know the character's full story, but that's part of the appeal: the film gives us enough to make the story work while still having me curious for more.

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The characters were well acted.  Rey was interesting but I think it was largely because she was put into interesting places, scavenging inside an Imperial ship, living inside a walker.  But then she became interesting because of her relationship to Han Solo and her abilities, but also because of the mystery surrounding her family.  She was also a good balance of tough, yet compassionate, young, yet wise.  Her character was fine.

 

Finn's character led to some of my biggest problems with the movie.  He was too capable and knew too much. Are we *really* supposed to believe that a new stormtrooper who had never been to battle before was able to hold his own against a half trained Jedi who had turned to the dark side? Are we *really* supposed to believe that this stormtrooper had that much knowledge of the inner workings of the new death star?

Are we really supposed to believe that a stormtrooper without a name, who had been brainwashed from youth can become such a good guy so easily?

But this film undermined a lot of things in the old films. Why spend years training as a Jedi when some dude can just pick up a lightsaber and keep up with you in battle, or some girl can use the force (when she barely understands it) in more powerful ways that you? Why send spies on a dangerous mission to find the plans for a death star when you could just find some stormtrooper and get the information from him? Why go through the trouble of sending a team down to Endor in order to bring down the shields when you could just hyperspace behind the shields? For that matter, in this film why couldn't the X-Wings have hyperspaced beyond the shield, I mean the film has already made a point of showing us how great of pilots they were and those ships are surely more agile thant the Falcon?

Edited by Attica
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In apparent response to this Jacobin piece, the folks at The Worker's Spatula offer their very own Humourless Marxist Review:

 

Quote

Much of the trilogy centres around a conflict within “the Force”. The Force is meant to have a “light side” and a “dark side”. Therefore, it is a unity of opposites. Clearly George Lucas is familiar with dialectics, and hopes to foster an understanding of Hegelian thinking among young people. This is an effort to be commended. However, “wise” Jedi figures, supposedly “progressive” within the Star Wars context, understand their relationship to the Force in terms of their own ideas, not material relations. The Jedi preach idealism in its purest: As Obi-Wan Kinobi puts it in the second film: “Fears leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to the dark side.” Where is exploitation in all of this? Where are the class relations? History does not progress by means of ideas, ideas reflect the progress of history! Progressives are therefore judged by their relation to the revolutionary masses, the motive force in history, not bourgeois ideals! Get it together, George Lucas! Are you even a Marxist?!

 

Edited by NBooth
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The film was fun enough in the theatres.  Some of its problems gave me a bit of a "good grief" but I was largely able to overlook them.  It was today after thinking it through that they became more glaring and then new issues arose.

I predict that a lot of people are going to love this film, and then the backlash will come, and then they'll settle somewhere in the middle.  It's not a great film, but it has some great scenes and does a great job with some of the characters (especially Han Solo) even when these characters are working in and around some story elements that fall flat.

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14 minutes ago, Attica said:

But this film undermined a lot of things in the old films. Why spend years training as a Jedi when some dude can just pick up a lightsaber and keep up with you in battle, or some girl can use the force (when she barely understands it) in more powerful ways that you? Why send spies on a dangerous mission to find the plans for a death star when you could just find some stormtrooper and get the information from him? Why go through the trouble of sending a team down to Endor in order to bring down the shields when you could just hyperspace behind the shields? For that matter, in this film why couldn't the X-Wings have hyperspaced beyond the shield, I mean the film has already made a point of showing us how great of pilots they were and those ships are surely more agile thant the Falcon?

Well, I just rewatched EMPIRE, and Luke was whizzing his lightsaber around half trained.  But I take your point.  The hyperspacing behind the shield didn't bug me, because I didnt' think of it until you pointed it out.  What bothered me mostly about the Starkiller Base, other than it saw the end of my favorite character, was that how in the world did some fringe-y organization build a planet sized weapon in under 30 years?  And why didn't they freeze to death when they sucked up the star?   And wouldn't weird gravitational things happen once you've sucked up a star?  And how come you could suck up a second star in a matter of hours?  But most importantly, if you're going to have an ice planet, where where the WAMPAS!!!???

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