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

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3 hours ago, Attica said:

Buckeye Jones said:  

 I very much appreciated the final wide shot of that sequence which held for just a beat.  Very good stuff.

-

You mean when a certain character fell?  Yeah that was well done.

Actually, there's a very wide shot after that fall, with the remaining character dwarfed in the shadows.  That's what caught me this time. 

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Oh.  Okay.  I don't remember that at the moment.

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Ren stands alone, his lightsaber pointed down.  It only lasted a second.  Then Chewie shot him.

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Peter T Chattaway said:  

Rod Dreher disparagingly compared BB-8 to the Ewoks for his "Pixar cuteness" (I quote from memory) the other day. It'll be interesting to see if anyone else picks up that vibe.

 

 

I thought BB-8 was cute, but not "Pixar cuteness."  He sat fine with me, but mind you I've never had much of a problem with the Ewoks, so my sensibilities are  possibly out of step with a lot of critics in these regards.

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Buckeye Jones said:  

Ren stands alone, his lightsaber pointed down.  It only lasted a second.  Then Chewie shot him.

 

 

Ren also came across as a powerful yet confused child in further scenes.  

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4 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Hmmm. There's no evidence that Shmi (Vader's mother) was Force-sensitive, so I don't know why any other branch of that family would be. But if Snoke *is* Darth Plagueis, i.e. the one who created Anakin and put him in Shmi's womb, then who knows what he may have done with other members of her family.

Whoa. I never knew this (having almost no knowledge of anything outside the movies). Does that mean Anakin wasn't really "conceived by the midichlorians"?

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Yeah, apparently that was a red herring. Anakin's origins as the result of Darth P's meddling was heavily implied in the opera scene in ROTS and was apparently even clearer at one point (and was canon in the EU-that-was, it seems). Unfortunately, not enough makes it into the film to draw many conclusions about its broader significance (though it would significantly complicate the franchise's Oedipal themes).

Edited by NBooth

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Ryan H. wrote:
: But I've said that this film is only meant to function as a mash-up of reunion special and a pilot for a new series, and on that level, I think it mostly succeeds.

It hits what it was aiming for, I suppose. But I think it was a big mistake to aim for that. (There's a video making the rounds, on why The Force Awakens is worse than the prequels, and I was amused when the narrator complained that The Force Awakens was just a TV pilot like the first episode of Lost. What sounds like praise (or at least appreciation) to some is criticism to others...)

: We already know that Johnson asked Abrams to make changes to The Force Awakens to allow him to take certain narrative elements in different directions. The Force Awakens was meant to have more closure than it offers, but Johnson asked that certain narrative reveals be withheld for later in the trilogy.

Oh, this is the first I've heard of that. Weird. So Abrams had *that* to work around, too.

Attica wrote:
: I mean maybe there is actually hope for future films as good as Empire, or even, dare I say, better.  

Empire had the advantage of having to follow up just one film. It didn't need to ignore the existence of any others, the way that e.g. Star Trek Beyond is reportedly ignoring Star Trek into Darkness (or the way that The Force Awakens mostly, but not completely, ignores the prequels).

: Could Snoke have always been behind the scenes pulling strings when it comes to the Skywalker family . . .

I don't know about always pulling strings, but apparently in the novelization Snoke tells Kylo that he watched the Galactic Empire rise and fall, so he's certainly been behind the scenes somewhere...

Rushmore wrote:
: Does that mean Anakin wasn't really "conceived by the midichlorians"?

Practically from the moment The Phantom Menace first came out in 1999, fans were speculating that it was no coincidence that the film introduced both <a> an objective material connection to the Force that can be measured (and, therefore, manipulated), and <b> the apparently miraculous conception of Anakin Skywalker. One person I knew at the time said it was obvious that Anakin's conception wasn't *really* miraculous -- that it was more akin to a feat of genetic engineering -- and that someone had created Anakin specifically to create the *appearance* of fulfilling the prophecy, or to manipulate the prophecy, or something like that.

Six years later, in Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine came verrrry close to confirming these speculations, when he told Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis (who happened to be Palpatine's mentor, until Palpatine killed him). According to Palpatine, Darth Plagueis was unique among all Jedi/Sith because he had the ability to create life -- and when Palpatine says the words "create life", he looks at Anakin in a way that indicates he's dropping a huge, huge hint here.

(And keep in mind that the Jedi first discovered Anakin on Tatooine, which is practically next door to Palpatine's home planet Naboo. When Palpatine says at the end of Episode I that he'll be watching Anakin's career with great interest, I think he knows *exactly* where Anakin came from, in a way that nobody else in that scene does.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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10 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Ryan H. wrote:
: We already know that Johnson asked Abrams to make changes to The Force Awakens to allow him to take certain narrative elements in different directions. The Force Awakens was meant to have more closure than it offers, but Johnson asked that certain narrative reveals be withheld for later in the trilogy.

Oh, this is the first I've heard of that. Weird. So Abrams had *that* to work around, too.

Yep.

Let's hope Johnson knows what he's doing, because he's the one who is really determining the shape of this trilogy (having written VIII and outlined IX, with potentially more involvement to come).

I suspect they chose Trevorrow for IX because he'll be safe and can follow the established trajectory. They don't want someone who will come in and rock the boat.

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Lucas forgets it isn't the 19th Century, says he sold the franchise to "white slavers."

 

Quote

“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” Lucas said. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing. … They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”

 

He says that the new movie is too "retro." And, in spite of the fact that he uses a retro[grade] vocabulary, himself, to discuss the issue, I think he's probably right. 

Edited by NBooth

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The man was born during World War II; he's technically not even a Baby Boomer, he's from the generation before that. I'd cut his vocabulary some slack.

And yeah, I agree with him about the "retro" thing.

Side note: a friend referred me to Terry Teachout's basically dismissive blog post about the film the other day. What surprised me was that Teachout begins by saying that he hadn't seen a Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980. After deciding Star Wars movies were beneath him for 35 years, *this* was the movie he made an exception for? Oy.

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1 hour ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

The man was born during World War II; he's technically not even a Baby Boomer, he's from the generation before that. I'd cut his vocabulary some slack.

At any rate, Lucas himself has said it was a  “very inappropriate analogy.” 

“I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of Star Wars because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger’s leadership,” Lucas said in his statement, issued Thursday afternoon by Disney. “Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks.”

 

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Variety wrote:
: . . . issued Thursday afternoon by Disney.

Uh-huh.

If you watch the interview, it's pretty clear that Lucas was joking when he made the comment; he laughs and everything. I can see why people took the comment so very very seriously when they saw it in print, but in context it wasn't so bad.

The more concerning bit here is that Lucas *also* seems to be walking back his "retro" comments ("such exciting directions"?).

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5 hours ago, Justin Hanvey said:

My review and argument that Abrams was the perfect choice to play gatekeeper to a new trilogy. I'll stand by that.

Nice review, Justin! And it's good to see you back here as well. I've missed your input the past year.

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57 minutes ago, Gina said:

I've been gone a while too, but wanted to share my take on the gender role conversation that's been going on with regards to the movie.

http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/articles/entry/12/28682

(Funny how a blockbuster can bring us all out of the woodwork. :-) )

I noticed on my second viewing of the film that they also made a point of putting a female pilot into one of the X-Wings.  

 

Welcome back to both of you.   :)    

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Attica wrote:
: I noticed on my second viewing of the film that they also made a point of putting a female pilot into one of the X-Wings.  

That's not new, surely, is it? There were female pilots in the space battle in Return of the Jedi, no?

Gina wrote:
: He knows the story of that famous tyrant (though he seems to have slept through the part where Vader finally turned away from darkness) . . .

For what it's worth, in the novelization (and thus, perhaps, in at least one version of the screenplay), Snoke talks to Kylo about Vader's turn away from darkness (and how does *Snoke* know about that!?), and Snoke blames Vader's "sentiment" for the fall of the Empire. So when Kylo fights against the "light", he is explicitly fighting against giving in to "sentiment" the way his grandfather did.

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2 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Attica wrote:
: I noticed on my second viewing of the film that they also made a point of putting a female pilot into one of the X-Wings.  

That's not new, surely, is it? There were female pilots in the space battle in Return of the Jedi, no?
 

 

I don't think there female pilots in RotJ, but there were definitely female pilots in The Phantom Menace attack on the Trade Federation command ship.
 

Anyway, I don't have time to make a longer post, so I'm only going to touch on one particular aspect about The Force Awakens that I came away with. I was visiting family and friends in Sacramento this weekend, and had a game night scheduled for Saturday night.  Since I knew the topic of the evening was going to be The Force Awakens, I got around to seeing it Saturday afternoon.  Count me among those who weren't very impressed. I'd only rank Attack of the Clones lower.  When it ended, I turned to my sister and said that the first thing they need to go back and change is the opening title card.  It shouldn't read, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...", rather, it should read, "A long time ago, in a solar system far, far away..."  I'm not sure how he managed it, but JJ Abrams has succeeded in turning what has felt (until now) to be a large universe, into a small neighborhood.

 

edit - BTW, saw this a day after seeing CreedCreed definitely is the 7th Movie in a Series winner for 2015.

Edited by John Drew

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2 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

For what it's worth, in the novelization (and thus, perhaps, in at least one version of the screenplay), Snoke talks to Kylo about Vader's turn away from darkness (and how does *Snoke* know about that!?), and Snoke blames Vader's "sentiment" for the fall of the Empire. So when Kylo fights against the "light", he is explicitly fighting against giving in to "sentiment" the way his grandfather did.

Interesting point. I wonder why they didn't keep it in the script. Maybe it was simply cut for time, but it seems rather important.

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