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Overstreet

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

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Yeah, I've made the same point (if not here, then elsewhere) re: the way the franchise now jumps straight from Han and Leia's courtship to their estrangement (or separation, or divorce, whatever you want to call it), with nothing in-between -- no thriving coupledom, no marriage, no whatever. Doing a marathon of all seven films (or even just the four films that Han and Leia appear in) would be kind of a bummer, that way, I imagine.

I've found myself thinking of the Die Hard films, and how John McClane "saved" his marriage in the first film only to see it fray again in the third film (and then, by the time the fourth film came out, it was confirmed: John and his wife are no longer together). But at least they had the second film, in which they were a cozy couple. (And of course, the marital woes that were part of the set-up to the first film lent a certain plausibility to their eventual divorce in the other sequels.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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17 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Yeah, I've made the same point (if not here, then elsewhere) re: the way the franchise now jumps straight from Han and Leia's courtship to their estrangement (or separation, or divorce, whatever you want to call it), with nothing in-between -- no thriving coupledom, no marriage, no whatever. Doing a marathon of all seven films (or even just the four films that Han and Leia appear in) would be kind of a bummer, that way, I imagine.

Their chemistry and relationship in The Force Awakens feels strained at best, but not intentionally so (i.e. as part of the plot mechanics) and more due to the script or the acting (Fisher doesn't feel quite on her game here as she did in the original trilogy). The loss of both Leia and Han's romance as well as Han's life should be absolutely devastating. For me, it just...wasn't. Was this just me? Am I missing something here?

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It wasn't devastating for me, but it was sad and I thought that part was handled fine enough.

Edited by Attica

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In other news... Star Wars 7 had the biggest "Friday" ever in North America (though "Friday" includes Thursday-night screenings), beating the record set by Harry Potter 8 four years ago, but it had the *third*-biggest Saturday (behind Jurassic 4 and Avengers 1) and it is estimated to have the *fourth*-biggest Sunday ever (behind Jurassic 4 and Avengers 1 + 2). It's sliding already!!!

The film also had the biggest opening weekend ever in North America, the *third*-biggest opening weekend ever overseas (behind Jurassic 4 and Harry Potter 8), and thus the *second*-biggest opening worldwide (behind Jurassic 4).

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We just got back from supper in a restaurant.  I had to laugh when the elderly people at the table next to us started talking about the new Star Wars movie.  It really is the talk of the town.

I didn't bother to tell them of my issues with the film.  I'm not a buzzkill like someone else here.   :)

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On December 18, 2015 at 11:22:28 AM, Peter T Chattaway said:

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).

I remember writing a Star Wars story in grade 3 about Admiral Piett returning to lead the Empire back to glory...

Quote

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.

Yep, happened to me too but I'd seen the ad on TV earlier already too.

 

On December 18, 2015 at 6:06:05 PM, Attica said:

I had thought of that with Rey.  But it seems too obvious and I'm not sure how it fits in the actual timeline.  I mean there was that flashback of the ship leaving, but why would Luke be *there*, and why would he leave her, and this when he would have left with others that were part of his family as the film touched on happening with whomever it was.

There's obviously some sort of connection with Luke, but I don't think it's that, or that close.  Could it be possible that Luke is her grandfather?  But that still doesn't sit right.  I think there's something else going on.  We're missing something.

Spoiler

I think Rey is still Han and Leia's daughter. Why they don't react to her is problematic if it is the case though. But since she's younger than Ren, I could see her being perhaps cared for by a surrogate and then exiled to Jakku because her parents/Luke are worried she too will fall to the Dark Side. Ren seems to know of her existence too (his reaction to the officer mentioning a girl) and he offers to train her during their duel. Perhaps he too has been searching for her.

I could see Imperial troops finding Vader's burned mask on Endor after the battle. I wonder at the scene with Ren talking to Darth Vader's mask. It suggests to me some mental unbalance (ROTJ indicates that Anakin was redeemed at the end; why would Anakin then show Ren "the power of the Dark Side"?). I think Snoke could perhaps be secretly imitating Darth Vader, playing on Ren's ties to his powerful ancestor.

It will take more viewings for me to formulate my thoughts on the film. I expected Han's death but it still makes me sad and is toying with my emotional reaction to the movie overall. I think it is better than the prequels (especially Episodes I and II) but this sequel trilogy will be unique because EU fans will also be comparing the sequels to the post-ROTJ novels/comics. Starkiller Base reminded me a lot of the Galaxy Gun and Kylo Ren as Han and Leia's son during to the Dark Side is much like Jacen Solo's eventual fall to the Dark Side.

 

 

Edited by winter shaker

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Yet they didn't even act as though there was a daughter never mind not noticing that she was.  *Neither* of them noticed her this way.  It doesn't fit.

Although there was an interesting part where she tells Han her name - "Rey", he flinches a little and we later discover that this is because "Rey" is so close to "Ren."

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3 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

Their chemistry and relationship in The Force Awakens feels strained at best, but not intentionally so (i.e. as part of the plot mechanics) and more due to the script or the acting (Fisher doesn't feel quite on her game here as she did in the original trilogy). The loss of both Leia and Han's romance as well as Han's life should be absolutely devastating. For me, it just...wasn't. Was this just me? Am I missing something here?

Regarding the relationship, all I could think was "These two characters, with that relationship, which we've been wondering about for more than 30 years, and all they can say when they're together is 'It wasn't all bad'?!" Regarding the death, all I was thinking was "This moment has not been earned. Not even close."

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31 minutes ago, Overstreet said:

Regarding the relationship, all I could think was "These two characters, with that relationship, which we've been wondering about for more than 30 years, and all they can say when they're together is 'It wasn't all bad'?!" Regarding the death, all I was thinking was "This moment has not been earned. Not even close."

Okay, so perhaps I'm not crazy. This is exactly how I felt during their reunion conversation and with Leia's awkward moment of grief. On a positive note, the lack of this particular chemistry only emphasized the emotional connection between Chewie and Han for me, and this film actually takes Chewbacca seriously as a character. No Tarzan yells or Life Day here.

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1 hour ago, Attica said:

Yet they didn't even act as though there was a daughter never mind not noticing that she was.  *Neither* of them noticed her this way.  It doesn't fit.

Although there was an interesting part where she tells Han her name - "Rey", he flinches a little and we later discover that this is because "Rey" is so close to "Ren."

Spoiler

True, though her parents are never revealed and in the Star Wars galaxy how likely is it that Rey is not connected in some way to the Skywalker clan?

Hoho, maybe Episode VIII will feature Luke stranded on an island and the Snoke Monster coming after him?

Also, something that bothered me more than I expected was Leia's accent. A world's difference between Leia's voice in A New Hope and The Force Awakens.

I never realized until now how genius Disney is. Avid Star Wars fans consumed the EU and although it was never officially canon, in the minds of many fans the stories of Zahn, Stackpole and others were the continuation of the characters' lives. I read nearly all the NJO but I never felt compelled to read every EU novel because of the fact that it wasn't quite so canonical - something big like Chewbacca dying or Anakin Solo dying, okay, but I good easily get a synopsis for a stand-alone novel like The New Rebellion. But with the new Disney novels now considered canon, a lot more fans will feel forced to go out and buy and read them because they may contain tidbits that tie into the films. The EU's influence on the films has been incredibly minimal (Zahn named Coruscant) but the novels and films may feature greater interface.

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It's like said earlier, we're missing something.  Could it be possible that she is some sort of clone from Luke with programmed memories?

I don't remember enough about the prequels to know if this is possible.

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21 minutes ago, Attica said:

It's like said earlier, we're missing something.  Could it be possible that she is some sort of clone from Luke with programmed memories?

I don't remember enough about the prequels to know if this is possible.

Spoiler

Now this is more idle speculation than anything, but I wonder if Rey is possibly a child of one of the new Jedi Luke was training? The Old Jedi Order barred relationships, but if Luke was trying to restart the Jedi, he may have recruited those already in relationships. So Rey's mother or father, if she is not a Solo or Skywalker, may be related to a Force-sensitive, hence her own abilities.

 

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Attica wrote:
: I didn't bother to tell them of my issues with the film.  I'm not a buzzkill like someone else here. :)

I don't have a problem with people talking about it if they've seen it and liked it. Whatever, man. But when I hear people who *haven't* seen it get giddy at the idea that "all" the critics supposedly like it... well, that's when I cease to be invisible. :)

winter shaker wrote:
: I could see Imperial troops finding Vader's burned mask on Endor after the battle.

Oh, no need for that. Kylo could have gotten it from his parents and/or uncle, who were, after all, *there* when the body of Vader was cremated.

: Starkiller Base reminded me a lot of the Galaxy Gun . . .

Never heard of that one, though I do remember the Sun Crusher. (*Bad* Kevin J. Anderson, *bad bad bad*!)

: . . . and Kylo Ren as Han and Leia's son during to the Dark Side is much like Jacen Solo's eventual fall to the Dark Side.

I had stopped following the EU by that point, but I thought Anakin Solo was the one who went to the Dark Side?

: Also, something that bothered me more than I expected was Leia's accent. A world's difference between Leia's voice in A New Hope and The Force Awakens.

Yep. Also couldn't help thinking that her face might have been cleaned up a bit with CGI. (It's apparently a lot more common than we might think.)

: But with the new Disney novels now considered canon, a lot more fans will feel forced to go out and buy and read them because they may contain tidbits that tie into the films.

JJ Abrams tried to do something like this with the last Star Trek film, but there were... issues... with getting the various rights holders to cooperate. I'm sure he's enjoying the more centralized Disney approach, which allows him to let other people do some of the work for him, storytelling-wise.

Joel Mayward wrote:
: . . . and this film actually takes Chewbacca seriously as a character. No Tarzan yells or Life Day here.

Yes, I remember noticing (and possibly noting, either here or on Facebook) that one of the TV spots showed a close-up of Chewie's hand pushing a detonator or something, and it struck me that we'd never quite seen Chewie as an active *agent* in that way -- as the sort of person who gets close-ups of his hands doing things, I mean.

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2 hours ago, winter shaker said:
  Hide contents

Now this is more idle speculation than anything, but I wonder if Rey is possibly a child of one of the new Jedi Luke was training? The Old Jedi Order barred relationships, but if Luke was trying to restart the Jedi, he may have recruited those already in relationships. So Rey's mother or father, if she is not a Solo or Skywalker, may be related to a Force-sensitive, hence her own abilities.

 

See, now we're talking.  This is an interesting line of thought that would make some sense and would make for a potentially interesting plot in future films.  There's stuff that could be done with that but it also wouldn't be too on the nose as her being of direct relation to the Skywalkers would be.

Another thing that I found myself thinking today is that the film makes a point of showing us that Rey is fluent in understanding a variety of languages.  I wonder if they are setting up to go somewhere with that.

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I really enjoyed Chewbacca's interactions with Rey as she first piloted the Falcon with him.  I generally really liked how the film handled him, except for that one scene just after they returned.  Him and that other person grieving together would have solved problems on a couple of fronts.

Edited by Attica

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: Starkiller Base reminded me a lot of the Galaxy Gun . . .

Never heard of that one, though I do remember the Sun Crusher. (*Bad* Kevin J. Anderson, *bad bad bad*!)

Spoiler

The Sun Crusher too...the Galaxy Gun initially because it seemed as if Starkiller Base could fire across systems. It didn't seem to be near the planets it destroyed. I think the Sun Crusher just drained the energy out of the star, leading to temperature and environmental catastrophe but I could be wrong. Actually, speaking of the Sun Crusher, Ren has a bit of Kyp Durron in him too. Durron fell under the thrall of the ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun while a Jedi apprentice at Luke's academy.

Quote

winter shaker wrote:
: I could see Imperial troops finding Vader's burned mask on Endor after the battle.

Oh, no need for that. Kylo could have gotten it from his parents and/or uncle, who were, after all, *there* when the body of Vader was cremated.

Spoiler

I don't know why Luke would want to keep it around though. Vader's mask and suit are more symbolic of his path as a Sith than as a Jedi. Unless Luke wanted it as a visual reminder - a warning - that he could fall to the Dark Side as well. But the cremation of the armour always seemed to me a gesture of burning up the legacy of Vader.

Quote

: . . . and Kylo Ren as Han and Leia's son during to the Dark Side is much like Jacen Solo's eventual fall to the Dark Side.

I had stopped following the EU by that point, but I thought Anakin Solo was the one who went to the Dark Side?

My EU reading ended after the NJO. I do recall Anakin flirting with the Dark Side - possibly even in NJO. But ultimately it was Jacen who succumbed, partly as a result of Anakin's death (in Star by Star). I might have raised this already or if someone has an answer - will Disney continue Star Wars Legends?

Also, here's a fascinating article about the bits of EU that "sorta" ended up in TFA:

http://mashable.com/2015/12/20/star-wars-force-awakens-expanded-universe/#KX4EFrwikmq4

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11 hours ago, Overstreet said:

Regarding the relationship, all I could think was "These two characters, with that relationship, which we've been wondering about for more than 30 years, and all they can say when they're together is 'It wasn't all bad'?!" Regarding the death, all I was thinking was "This moment has not been earned. Not even close."

Exactly. Contrast that with the death of someone like Qui Gon--a character we only knew for one movie. We got an impassioned "NOOOOOOOOO" from Obi Wan, a heartfelt final conversation as he died in Obi Wan's arms, and a big funeral scene. When THIS character dies, we get one angry cry and then... maybe a couple frowny faces from other people. No way. No. Way. It was totally mishandled. It was part of a bigger problem of rushed pacing during the third act.

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My complaints with Han's death scene are not so much with the acting or reactions of the cast.  It's more that I was unsatisfied by it--I don't know if it's rational or all that, but I would have wanted Han's death to be more significant with respect to the global story--a sacrifice to save those he loves, instead of getting skewered by an evil son who's entire relationship with him consists of hints and whispers with 2 minutes of onscreen interaction about Snoke.  Even if they had dialogued about their own relationship, I may have found it more powerful.  Even if Han needed to stop Ren from attacking Rey or Finn, or Chewie, some type of intervention.  That would have been more satisfying.  Solo's entire arc was from moving from irresponsible scoundrel (all he cares about is money) to loyal friend (Yeah--and my friend's out in that!), to leader of others.  But here we find him regressed to irresponsible scoundrel again, with a bit of lip service as to why, but I wanted more.  I wanted some acknowledgement of Han's growth in the other films to be present here.   So, I feel like his death is one that leaves so much unresolved, so much hanging as an open thread, fraying away so much of who he was.  That's my beef--I wanted more from Han's character, mostly because I really enjoyed his character,  that I felt a little cheated by.  I think my reaction remains, cool!  I liked it!  but I still wish it was more than it was, and it sure wasn't all that it could have been.

Actually, I have a perfect analogy--its like Christmas when you were a kid.  Some times you unwrapped the present that had been sitting under the tree and you were blown away--its perfect!  But sometimes you open the present, and its a good present, you just wish it had been a better one.  that's the FORCE AWAKENS.  It's good, but I really wished it was better.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Like I said, I loved the bridge scene, in part because it wasn't a big story moment.

It was just a very genuine moment between father and son, and the searing sadness of that reunion suddenly sold me on the whole bleak trajectory of these characters after JEDI in a way that nothing else in the film did. That Abrams takes a moment just to allow a father to quietly watch his son, silently observing him after years of missing him, is a beautiful thing.

I'm intrigued by the way that THE FORCE AWAKENS adjusts its portrait of villainy to more contemporary categories. The main baddie is essentially a school shooter who killed his schoolmates and joined up with ISIS. (The First Order's origin story, as detailed in the VISUAL DICTIONARY book I flipped through at Barnes & Noble, is seriously ISIS-y.)

Edited by Ryan H.

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winter shaker wrote:
: I don't know why Luke would want to keep it around though. . . . Unless Luke wanted it as a visual reminder - a warning - that he could fall to the Dark Side as well.

Works for me!

: But the cremation of the armour always seemed to me a gesture of burning up the legacy of Vader.

FWIW, I believe in the comic-book adaptation, Luke left Vader's body behind on the Death Star, instead of slowing down his own escape by dragging the body onto the shuttle.

: But ultimately it was Jacen who succumbed, partly as a result of Anakin's death (in Star by Star).

Oh, okay. I thought Anakin both succumbed to the Dark Side *and* died.

Ryan H. wrote:
: I'm intrigued by the way that THE FORCE AWAKENS adjusts its villainy to more contemporary categories. The main baddie is essentially a school shooter who killed his schoolmates and joined up with ISIS.

Well put!

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1 hour ago, Buckeye Jones said:

My complaints with Han's death scene are not so much with the acting or reactions of the cast.  It's more that I was unsatisfied by it--I don't know if it's rational or all that, but I would have wanted Han's death to be more significant with respect to the global story--a sacrifice to save those he loves, instead of getting skewered by an evil son who's entire relationship with him consists of hints and whispers with 2 minutes of onscreen interaction about Snoke.  Even if they had dialogued about their own relationship, I may have found it more powerful.  Even if Han needed to stop Ren from attacking Rey or Finn, or Chewie, some type of intervention.  That would have been more satisfying.  Solo's entire arc was from moving from irresponsible scoundrel (all he cares about is money) to loyal friend (Yeah--and my friend's out in that!), to leader of others.  But here we find him regressed to irresponsible scoundrel again, with a bit of lip service as to why, but I wanted more.  I wanted some acknowledgement of Han's growth in the other films to be present here.   So, I feel like his death is one that leaves so much unresolved, so much hanging as an open thread, fraying away so much of who he was.  That's my beef--I wanted more from Han's character, mostly because I really enjoyed his character,  that I felt a little cheated by.  

Yes, that's what I was getting at, but you said it much better.

Also, has an actor with second billing in a movie ever had less screen time/screen presence than this one? Wow.

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Slate has a good article written by two Star Wars neophytes: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/im/2015/12/what_the_force_awakens_is_like_if_it_s_your_first_star_wars.2.html

"JW: The biggest laugh line in my crowd had something to do with a “garbage compactor.” Lots of garbage jokes in this movie! So Katy, a couple of Star Wars fans I know have referred to the movie’s “big twist.” But to us, it’s all twists. What do you think the big twist was?"

I guess, given that this movie is so built off the template of ANH, that it makes sense as good an entry into the saga as anything else.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Entertainment Weekly reveals that there is a lot of Michael Arndt's work in this narrative. I figured that they'd given up a lot of his stuff. The arguments here are... interesting. I can understand them to some degree, but it's all in the (no pun intended) execution.

Warning: This is an article about the biggest of spoilers.

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