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Post Posted: December 19th 2015 10:14 am
 
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bearvomit wrote:
3rd best movie of the series, behind ANH and Empire. You nitpicking haters have rose color glasses on for the prequels, apparently. All 3 were shit with horrible acting, horrible dialogue and dated special effects.

"Taxation of trade routes", PFFT!
“Ye gads, whatta meesa sayin’?” goddammit really?
"I’ll try spinning. That’s a good trick. Whoa-ah!” yeah, thanks George for making me look like an asshole for ever liking Starwars to begin with!

J J Abrams just gave fans of the original series the biggest Christmas gift ever, it's not embarrassing to like star wars now!


The irony is strong with this one.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 10:41 am
 
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I saw this for the 2nd time last night, and I still love the hell out of it.

The references to the previous Episodes are not "rehashes," "fan service" or "reboots." If they are, then what the fuck was ROTJ? :?

Couple of things I noticed this time that I didn't catch the first time:

Is that supposed to be Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice saying "REY!" during Rey's freaky flash-back / hallucination after she touches Luke's lightsaber?

When Rey is sneaking around Starkiller Base, she hears two Stormtroopers around the corner having a conversation.
Their conversation goes something like "Have you seen the new TC-17? I hear it's quite an improvement..." :lol:


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 12:34 pm
 
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I just hope that they can move on from planet destroying super weapons and try something else.

We've seen it 3 times now, if it happens again it will surely be yawn inducing.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 12:34 pm
 

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Im really conflicted about TFA.

With all the time, money and talent JJ had (Incl. Kasdan) I have a hard time excepting that this is the BEST they could come up with. Im not saying im a better writer and while I do appreciate the ANH homages, it just played it too safe and as someone else was saying the coincidences were just outrages. I get that this is fantasy but so many things irked me. How does finn even stand a chance against Kylo? How did he know how to even do a stance with a LS? The whole calling Rey to the lightsaber was...meh. It would have been much better if Maz would have just felt that Rey is special and givin' her a sorta yoda like mini session that would end with her handing the saber.

If JJ would have skipped the entire Starkiller base thing and focused on just characters and how Rey learns about the force this movie would have been indeed an awakening. But as it is I would consider it almost a reboot and not a sequel to ROTJ.

Luke not even saying a word was just pure shit. No payoff. HIs involvement was way hyped. And I hated that there was no sorta of semi funeral for Han. He died. No biggie.

Really the only thing i liked was the first half and Adam Drivers conflict. He played that character so so well. Shocked. I wish they would have dived deeper into that.

JJ did better on the first Star Trek IMO. Maybe the pressure was too much but really TFA isn't a worth sequel to ROTJ IMO.

5/10


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 12:36 pm
 

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dromag wrote:
I just hope that they can move on from planet destroying super weapons and try something else.

We've seen it 3 times now, if it happens again it will surely be yawn inducing.



I think it was a major mistake to play it safe and introduce another deathstar. Which is what SK was. Had JJ focused only on the 'family drama' with a few action sequences, TFA would have been truly outstanding because all actors were amazing.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 12:40 pm
 

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Also why did Han and Chewie have to become the comic relief? Why? One joke ok. But come on.

And Phasma? lol. Like some of you pointed out, what was the point? To sell toys? Why wasn't she the one having that duel with Finn? Would have made sense no?


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 12:51 pm
 
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When Han and Chewie entered the movie, it felt like a variety show skit.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 1:21 pm
 
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buzzfunk wrote:
How does finn even stand a chance against Kylo?

He didn't.

buzzfunk wrote:
Why wasn't she the one having that duel with Finn?


Maybe she will.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 1:30 pm
 
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buzzfunk wrote:
To sell toys?


God forbid.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 1:35 pm
 
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I keep seeing the "Captain Phasma was supposed to be the Boba Fett of this movie, but she didn't do anything!" criticism in a lot of places, which makes me wonder... does anyone actually remember Boba Fett or do they just remember the costume?

AOTC: Is a kid.
ANH SE: Walks into the frame and looks at the camera.
ESB: Tracks the Falcon to Bespin, but Vader and the Stormtroopers do all the actual work to capture Han and trap Luke.
ROTJ: Gets catapulted into the Sarlacc pit in silly, slapstick fashion.


I feel it's incredibly premature to write off a character that's clearly been setup for a return. If Finn had fought and defeated her already in TFA, what would be the point in bringing her back? Instead, now you have what makes for potentially a much more interesting character in Phasma that wants revenge on Finn, not just for deserting, but for the disgrace of her being the person that lowered the Starkiller Base's shields and allowed the Resistance to survive.

And while Starkiller is definitely a rehash of the Death Star, I think it was ultimately more about being a quick and easy plot device to wipe out the "Why doesn't the New Republic just fight the First Order itself?" question. I look at the final act being more about Rey and Kylo Ren accepting their destinies as the hero and villain of these new movies than "Let's go blow up yet another Death Star... again!"


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 2:13 pm
 

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Bandersnatch wrote:
buzzfunk wrote:
How does finn even stand a chance against Kylo?

He didn't.

buzzfunk wrote:
Why wasn't she the one having that duel with Finn?


Maybe she will.



Thanks for your wit. Asshat. Everyone has a different way of perceiving things in the movie. The fact that Finn is a rookie ST who knows some lightsaber fighting is dumb. How does he even know how to do the or a stance? But ok.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 2:18 pm
 

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doafhat wrote:
I keep seeing the "Captain Phasma was supposed to be the Boba Fett of this movie, but she didn't do anything!" criticism in a lot of places, which makes me wonder... does anyone actually remember Boba Fett or do they just remember the costume?

AOTC: Is a kid.
ANH SE: Walks into the frame and looks at the camera.
ESB: Tracks the Falcon to Bespin, but Vader and the Stormtroopers do all the actual work to capture Han and trap Luke.
ROTJ: Gets catapulted into the Sarlacc pit in silly, slapstick fashion.


I feel it's incredibly premature to write off a character that's clearly been setup for a return. If Finn had fought and defeated her already in TFA, what would be the point in bringing her back? Instead, now you have what makes for potentially a much more interesting character in Phasma that wants revenge on Finn, not just for deserting, but for the disgrace of her being the person that lowered the Starkiller Base's shields and allowed the Resistance to survive.

And while Starkiller is definitely a rehash of the Death Star, I think it was ultimately more about being a quick and easy plot device to wipe out the "Why doesn't the New Republic just fight the First Order itself?" question. I look at the final act being more about Rey and Kylo Ren accepting their destinies as the hero and villain of these new movies than "Let's go blow up yet another Death Star... again!"


Thanks for this. I agree that the final act was about Rey and Kylo. Just a shame that certain aspects weren't explored more and they had to do another death star like trench run. Just my opinion.

And Fett in Empire was responsible for tracking them to Bespin. How can you NOT consider that huge? Phasma had nothing to do. It would have been cool for Finn to report to her and she's maybe doing a questioning without her helmet on. would have given her more depth and make us feel for Finn who would be trying to not disclose his displeasure witht he new order.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 2:48 pm
 
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buzzfunk wrote:
And Fett in Empire was responsible for tracking them to Bespin. How can you NOT consider that huge? Phasma had nothing to do. It would have been cool for Finn to report to her and she's maybe doing a questioning without her helmet on. would have given her more depth and make us feel for Finn who would be trying to not disclose his displeasure witht he new order.

But that was really the ceiling for Boba in the movies, and it gets a little watered down in AOTC when you find out hiding in the garbage to track the Falcon was just a move he got from his dad to follow Obi-Wan to Geonosis.

Phasma didn't see a lot of action, but I did like the way Christie carried herself in the role in the few times we saw her -- although I'm speaking as someone that has already seen her as Brienne in Game of Thrones, so I may just be more lenient in knowing she can perform well in an action role. There's still unfinished business between her and Finn, so I'm willing to wait and see how they follow up on it.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 4:06 pm
 
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buzzfunk wrote:
The fact that Finn is a rookie ST who knows some lightsaber fighting is dumb. How does he even know how to do the or a stance?


He doesn't.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 4:08 pm
 
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Yet the prequels had more originality than the few moments in TFA...


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 4:15 pm
 
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ETandElliott wrote:
When Han and Chewie entered the movie, it felt like a variety show skit.


It took a while for them to warm up, and in the end it was only when they were outside in the snow on the Starkiller they actually seemed funny.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 4:41 pm
 
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I spent a couple days contemplating all the flaws in this movie. I thought about how easily it could've been stronger. Then, just went and saw it again and loved it. Again.

Sometimes movies are greater than the sum of their parts. That applies here.

Also, if I hear one more complaint about phasma...ugh. Who cares if she was hardly in the film, she's a bit character. Her lack of role has nothing to do with the quality of the film whatsoever.

I separate complaints on the film into two categories. Legit concerns on story, dialogue, technical aspects, etc. And then complaints pertaining to expectations. Franky I consider the former and dismiss completely the latter.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 5:21 pm
 

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I liked the film, but I don't like how it was basically a remake of ANH. Droid carries important info, main characters have to get that info to the resistance, mentor figure is killed, etc.

The pacing was...weird. I need to see it again. I didn't feel the magic though compared to seeing all the other films in theaters. I loved the film, but as a star wars film, it may be my least favorite. I walked in with no expectations either.

Also, to be honest, Finn was a "major" character just because, in my opinion, Disney wanted to be PC and have a black guy in there. The actor is good and could have excelled in a different role, but Finn was a throwaway character and I was REALLY hoping he'd get killed off. Just a waste of space tbh, and being featured WITH Luke's saber on the poster was a red herring I called a mile away.

I loved Rey though and she carried the film. No doubt in my mind she is Luke's daughter and did have formal training but her memories are either blocked or she repressed them because she witnessed the atrocities at the temple. No doubt "The Force Awakens" refers to her though, and she will carry on the Skywalker torch from here on out.

#bringlandoback.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 6:04 pm
 

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Thanks everyone who's contributed here: I find it really helpful trying to unpack my own mixed feelings about this film. On one level it's a rollicking ride with some great new characters. But if I'm honest there's a part of me that reluctantly wishes I felt more satisfied. If it were any other franchise, it would have been fantastic, but somehow SW is supposed to be different (in my mind at least).

I saw Empire when I was 8, and it was as life-altering as I know it was for many of you. Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing TFA with some kids. From the looks on their faces, I think this film will stay with them just as powerfully as the OT stays with me. If you get the chance, see this movie with kids...

As an adult, I'm learning that the most fun that comes with a new SW film is the anticipation. And that's OK, provided you accept it.

Duke, SI, DP - would be really interested in your assessment of the film.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 6:52 pm
 

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Knowing Lucas had no involvement, I went in without expectations. To me Lucas IS Star Wars. It's nice to get new films, but for me, without his involvement, it didn't reach the level of hype that the other films did for me. It's an interesting new chapter in the Saga and really the beginning of a new 'Saga' compared to I-VI, which was about Anakin/Darth Vader.

I also didn't get at first that the First Order pretty much wiped out the New Republic...like wtf? They glossed over that and that should have been a MAJOR plot point. So basically, there's no one in charge now. Well, maybe Leia.

I want VIII to leave off right where VII left off at...I want to hear that Luke/Rey conversation.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 7:36 pm
 

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ki adi moonshine wrote:
I want VIII to leave off right where VII left off at...I want to hear that Luke/Rey conversation.


I disagree completely. I think a time gap would be exactly what we need. Have Snoke train Ren and complete his training and have Rey train with Luke. I'd like episode VII to begin with Ren doing something intimidating and then cutting to Rey and Skywalker training or talking. I'd like to jump in with these characters knowing each other well.

I just saw Force Awakens again today and feel like it's better the second time. I was able to evaluate it more and look for certain things not that the spectacle of seeing it first had worn off.

I agree 100% that Starkiller base should have been cut. Or it should have seemed like StarKiller base wasn't the First Order's main base. I think we only see like one Star Destroyer in the film lol. Weird. |

Did anyone else catch the voice of Obi Wan saying "Rey" during her vision? I really wish that scene had been expanded. I also don't like how the lightsaber "called to her". I feel this is one of those scenes that needs to be analyzed more once the bluray hits.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 7:45 pm
 
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Bandersnatch wrote:
Is that supposed to be Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice saying "REY!" during Rey's freaky flash-back / hallucination after she touches Luke's lightsaber?

Obi-wan Kenobi as in Ewan McGregor or Alec Guinness or James Arnold Taylor? Is there any audio of this sequence on the web yet?

A link to a comprehensive list of cameos is below. The article says that Arnold Taylor's voice is in the film in some manner.

I like to think that Count Dooku's niece is giving medical care and comfort for Chewie. (He's very brave indeed.)

"How to Spot All the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Cameos, From Daniel Craig to Radiohead"


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 7:51 pm
 

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Bandersnatch wrote:
Is that supposed to be Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice saying "REY!" during Rey's freaky flash-back / hallucination after she touches Luke's lightsaber?

E_CHU_TA! wrote:
Obi-wan Kenobi as in Ewan McGregor or Alec Guinness (or James Arnold Taylor)? Is there any audio of this sequence on the web yet?


It sounded like they were going for Alec Guinness.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 8:08 pm
 
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It has been confirmed to be Ewan McGregor. Initially it was done by James Arnold Taylor.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 9:04 pm
 
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Alexrd wrote:
It has been confirmed to be Ewan McGregor. Initially it was done by James Arnold Taylor.

That's really cool. I'd love to see Ewan playing Ben Kenobi in a "Man With No Name"-style western set on Tatooine between ROTS and ANH.


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 9:34 pm
 
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By the miracle of the Internet, the entire sequence is linked below. Ewan's voice is at the 58 second mark.

http://sendvid.com/i0q9ybuc


Post Posted: December 19th 2015 10:24 pm
 
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Holy fuck balls.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 12:27 am
 

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It sounds like Alec Guiness.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 1:23 am
 

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Bandersnatch wrote:
Is that supposed to be Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice saying "REY!" during Rey's freaky flash-back / hallucination after she touches Luke's lightsaber?

E_CHU_TA! wrote:
Obi-wan Kenobi as in Ewan McGregor or Alec Guinness or James Arnold Taylor? Is there any audio of this sequence on the web yet?

A link to a comprehensive list of cameos is below. The article says that Arnold Taylor's voice is in the film in some manner.

I like to think that Count Dooku's niece is giving medical care and comfort for Chewie. (He's very brave indeed.)

"How to Spot All the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Cameos, From Daniel Craig to Radiohead"


I didn't realise that was Thomas Brodie-Sangster as one of the First Order officers. I still can't believe George Lucas (or Disney now, before he gets too old) never made a Young Obi-Wan Adventures TV show or movie starring him as a pre-TPM Obi-Wan though. He'd be perfect for it!


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 12:45 pm
 
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ki adi moonshine wrote:
It sounds like Alec Guiness.


it's actually BOTH! They asked Ewen to come in and record and he did. But they also went back and singled out the voice of Alec.

You can listen to the story of how this came about from JJ here:

https://soundcloud.com/user-362156010/wgaw-force-awakens-panel

it's around the 27 min mark.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 1:18 pm
 
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ki adi moonshine wrote:
It sounds like Alec Guiness.

bearvomit wrote:
it's actually BOTH! They asked Ewen to come in and record and he did. But they also went back and singled out the voice of Alec.

You can listen to the story of how this came about from JJ here:

https://soundcloud.com/user-362156010/wgaw-force-awakens-panel

it's around the 27 min mark.


That's fantastic.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 1:26 pm
 
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ki adi moonshine wrote:
I also didn't get at first that the First Order pretty much wiped out the New Republic...


Where did you get that? That is not stated anywhere in the film.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 1:44 pm
 

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Hosnian Prime is the galactic seat of government.
The Senate was moved from Coruscant, to Hosnian Prime in an effort to not repeat "mistakes of the past"
After Hux's speech at the SW style Nuremberg Rally, they obliterated the entire Hosnian system.
The woman visible during that planet's destruction was Leia's envoy, Korr Sella.

millenniumfalcon.com


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 2:02 pm
 

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After a 2nd viewing, the problems become more obvious. And its clear why so many (incl. myself) Think that Empire is the best.

Empire offered so many new and exciting things. It was the complete opposite of ANH. When you first saw it, it was unpredictable. You weren't sure whats happening to the heros. You had the movie opening with an amazing (still to this day) action sequence with Walkers. The walkers back in 1980 were new. No one ever seen something like that before. Then the whole story around Luke learning the force, yoda, Dagobah. It was all so so amazing and new. Cloud city, I mean i remember how i was in awe when I first saw that. Lando. A brilliant character so so well played by Billy Dee Williams. The perfect paced lightsaber fight between luke and Vader with a heart stopping reveal.

In all the design, look and feel of Empire was new. Nothing felt rehashed. It was innovative.

For JJ, having all the money in the world, Kasdan on his side and a decent amount of time I cannot accept Ep 7 a worthy sequel to ROTJ. I cannot believe how many people are blindsided by the fact that its a complete rip of ANH. A complete. TFA aside from a few things brings zero new to the table. Xwings from an older original design. Stormtrooper as well. Basically JJ went through Ralph McQ old designs and just used everything. Introducing characters like Phasma for no purpose. Everything is about coincidences and chances. Rookie Stormtrooper knows how to use a lightsaber. They turned Chewie and Han into Laurel and Hardy. Way too much screen time.

The Starkiller base had some cool design ideas. But again, death star or death planet, it was the same plot device. They knew it so they had to tell the audience "LOOK ITS 3 TIMES BIGGER THO". Of course they found a weakness. It was laughable.

To me the only redeeming thing was the new cast. Driver, Boyega and Ridley did a good job. I esp. liked Drivers conflict and frustration. It was new and somewhat innovative (like a brat, when he slashes the console in anger). I also liked that they showed his face and it was scared at first. They didn't kill him off which was a big whew I thought. I also liked Maz a lot. We needed more of her.

In fact there lies the problem. We needed more of the new and less of the old. I know i know, I wanted Solo to be in too. But if all the OT characters had one cameo, it would have been enough. Killing solo was cheap GOT like move even tho I liked how Kylo killed him.Tragic ok. But no short funeral? Ridiculous.

Im sorry but ever since Into Darkness did I know that JJ is a hack. Hes a overrated director with some talent who borrows and steals. Look at Super 8. A complete 'homage' to Spielberg.

TFA IMO is a missed chance even worse so then the prequels were. With the prequels we already knew how the story ended. But this chapter they could have done ANYTHING. ANYTHING. The excuse that "thats ok because its being introduced to a new generation" is pathetic. Let them watch ANH and all of its glory. It still holds up. TFA is a complete and utter failure in my book. If you get passed the good effects and look at its core, it offers NOTHING new. Not even cool new spaceships or interesting new Alien species. (Maz was ok but she wasn't very original).

3/10


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 3:46 pm
 
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OK. I apologize in advance this is going to be pretty long, please bear with me and I hope I contribute to a stimulating debate!
After 2 viewings and 3 days of nerdy brainstorming I need to write some thoughts out of my head (slight therapy perhaps) and this is the forum I choose first :)
I'm an occasional poster so some might know my posts a little, I have a pretty good idea about a number of you guys here and I must say much respect, regardless of whether I agree or disagree of course. For the record I love the prequels, I might add not in the fashion of "sure they had their flaws, but..", and that will come into play in my reading of TFA, and I think that this film shed more lights on why I do consider the prequels are relevant films and not so easy to top. More on that later.

So, I'll start by saying that overall I like the film, I do think so now at least, I'm glad I went spoiler free and not really excited/obsessed over the last 2 years (having entered my 30's that sorta makes me feel good to observe this ;p ), so it was a pleasant experience discovering it. Mission accomplished in the most simple, but pretty meaningful, way.
That said, there is something of a... not really disappointment, but cold dissatisfaction that several of you guys have expressed really well already, so I won't make another list but rather try to add to these. In a way I largely support those well argued complaints, but I've thought of things that are actually in the movie that can temper these concerns, but not without conditions: these elements heavily depends on what the 2 next films will bring, and that's far from being a given as of now.

Where do I start? the "rehash" debate. While ep4 seems the most obvious, I wouldn't call it a ANH remake. More like a much expected mix of 4, 5, and.... surprise (or maybe not)... 3. Heavy ROTS, dare I say copycat, on several occasions... I'll get to that.
Obviously, they tried to recreate the thrill of ep4, fast moving fun that makes it a bit superficial but having the potential of gaining deeper meaning from the 2 sequels. In that regard, I'll say they succeeded, and that's what makes the movie flowing and quite pleasant to watch.

The problem is, they arguably rushed to end it like ep5, just " 'cause ESBisthebestofalltiiimeee", without having the necessary time to build up the dramatic tension. Here, I assume they made the not-so-well-calculated bet that the 6 films gave the background to move faster this time, and in an interesting paradox I think that shows how much this film is actually quite new and fresh story-wise: we are not yet used to this new context and as a result, among other things, the death of Han and the conflict with Kylo didn't have the proper time to build its dramatic gravity to make us really be moved by it, it lacked meaning at this point, and it's a shame because it's, well, freaking Han Solo. To me and others I'm sure, it felt a bit like "oh well we couldn't kill him in 6, let's get this done"... well, 8 could certainly have achieved it a lot better.
Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually learn that the trilogy is pretty faithful to Lucas treatments after all, but I speculate that the murder of Han by his son would have been in the second film, with a younger Kylo, the start of the New Republic/FO/Resistance/Jedi Order and following incident happening more on screen in 7, but that they wanted the meat of the drama already in 7 instead with less politics and build-up. I'd bet his "not about spaceships" comment implies the unnecessary Starkiller base plot wouldn't have been in his movie. Just my two cents.

On top of that, the one thing I've not read online so much: I did see the imprints of ROTS somewhat all over the place, especially on my 2nd viewing. First, in the pretty clear intention of recreating its remarkable dramatic intensity. It's there in visuals, tone, music, pacing of the 3rd act, and more... I "feel" it unquestionably. The first sign of it for me was early on during the TIE escape, in terms of overall movement, enthusiasm, and specific stuff like the blue missiles bit... oh, and particularly here, heheheh.... the whole CGIIIIIII (sorry, couldn't resist :p ). CGI was great and as expected heavily present in the movie, let's put it aside.
Then, the final act... as much as Abrams blablahh about the duels in holy ANH and ESB, I didn't feel it at all. Instead, the duel screamed Sith' "battle of the heroes". Only (understandably) shorter and a little, just a little, more grounded. Most blatantly at the end of it, when Rey and Kylo hold each others arms towards the air right before the final blow. But also, when they cross the sabers near the cliff, exact copy of Dooku and Anakin "you have hate, you have anger, but you don't use them" moment. Finally, Rey repeatedly pushed the blade forward aggressively, parallel to the ground, very similar to specific moments of Palpatine against Windu. I actually do think this is very cool and interesting. (+come on, double bladed saber for Rey in 8 :) )

With all that said, the issue is this in fact does make sense, but at the same time exposes how much the whole mess-of-a-marketing campaign was unsurprisingly misleading and completely hypocritical. To some they insulted the prequels, to others like myself they cowardly ignored them on a PR-only level. Yet, they are in truth and facts hugely popular and lasting films, and pretty bold and unique, and I have no doubt that a filmmaker like Abrams can only dream of turning a Greek tragedy into a one of a kind blockbuster like ROTS, even if he might be critical of some clunky dialogues he'd change here and there and such. Purely rationally, there was no f***ing way Disney and LFL would not put elements from, and capitalize on, the highly successful (financially, critically, arguably artistically) latest Star Wars movie. Only they have been laughably coward about it because of a bunch of vocal bitter fan-boys in their 40's and some tabloids.

Here is the thing: this is the first Star Wars sequel that can be so unquestionably described as a mix of this one, that one, and this one. And actually there is something completely understandable here, if not pretty much unavoidable. It is the first post-Lucas movie, under Mickey Mouse no less, it HAD to prove itself legitimate and in that sense, be something of an homage first and foremost, before allowing itself to move on daringly (hence the pivotal questions: will they, and how?). That gave a pretty great, fun film and obviously a labour of love, but more than ever it shows how much all previous films were indeed one of a kind independent cinema, fueled way, way more by concerns beyond profit and dare I say, to a degree by the consciousness of a sense of responsibility in the story it tells.

As some said, this time it is slightly crossing the line, from poetry to "applying the proven effective receipt". I choose to be as affirmative mainly influenced by the point of vue of my girlfriend: I made her watch all movies (1 to 6 order) 2 years ago, she enjoyed it much, but she really got hooked and understood the meaning it can have a few months ago when she rewatched it all alone. She is quite fascinated by the repetitions and how they play out differently on specific aspects that brings significantly different outcomes, especially in the telling of the generational transmission, and transmission of the secrets, just like George openly insists on.

Interestingly, she came out of the theater telling all the things I pictured myself possibly nitpicking about prior to seeing the movie, but having anticipated this it ended up not affecting my enjoyment of the first viewing as much. And despite having seen them only 2 times, she said the repetitions were way more blatant, beat by beat, and thus less subtle in this film + the symbolism, like the Starkiller -red, white, black- Nazi gathering which I'll talk a bit more about, much more over the top obvious than any OT Empire iconography. Her biggest disappointment seems to be the killing of Han, due to its rushing.
Well, she is a smart lady and I care for her judgement ( :) ). Moreover what's interesting and refreshing to me, hence why I bring it up, is that she is as much a casual movie-goer as a lover of the saga now, she doesn't know anything about the internet drama around SW, or the marketing of TFA/anything behind-the-scene, and had no time to build typical unreasonable SW-expectactions... she basically went only with fresh eyes and her education into the Dagobah cave.

One striking observation she made, which I haven't read elsewhere online yet, is that Adam Driver's Kylo portrayal lacks subtlety in the fact that he has obvious classic exterior traits of a villain: the mid-long dark hair with the bright tortured eyes and the strong nose etc... She finds that below the old fashioned corny surface, the hidden, human subtlety of casting Christensen precisely is his somewhat apparent banality, which leave all the room for the true concern, his inner conflict that deserves digging and questioning, while not underestimating it, in order to understand and hopefully learn something from it.
In that regard, it is quite ironic to witness how much they borrowed from the most controversial, if not maligned, performance in all Star Wars, again only carefully not claiming it but no less obvious and carefully done. And even more ironic is the recent comment by Driver caught on camera, "f*** yeah it's better than the prequels", which makes him slightly come across as an idiot here (no offense to the guy, just his comment). Clearly he was the most "prequel guy" in the whole picture (at times unmistakably mimicking Christensen), with arguably Oscar Isaac on the other side of the spectrum, who was pretty gloriously -70's baby-. Being the "prequel guy" is not even a bad thing, especially coming from me, but so it'd be wise for him to not be arrogant looking at the prequels as mediocre films easy to top, as pointed earlier.
It does bring up an interesting topic, because his performance seems to be overall well received, yet as I've argued, more conventional, safer by being less unsettling, and thus more "Hollywood"... Disneyfied if you will. Hehe. We may get something more polished but we may lose what refreshingly set Star Wars apart of Hollywood conformism. (Well, worthy of discussion for another time, the tricky differences and similarities/mutual influence between these 2, separated entities until 2012).

This leads quite naturally to the "cringe-worthyness" topic. We all have to be honest, we love these movies despite (or partly because of?) their clunky melodramatic serial scripts, this objectively happening since 1977, and not 1999. I really expected they would tone it down to counter the usual criticism. To an extent they did, all the actors are solid, hands down, and there's a partial change of tone, but still consistent overall. Yet here is the thing, there is still a lot of cringeworthy moments in this film, and I'm honestly not sure, about all of them, whether they are stylistic choices or failed attempts at being cool ... With Lucas it was very different; it is well documented that he went for a deliberate tone from the start, and particularly re-asserted in the prequels, especially with the infamous "romance" (in my book not precisely a romance). I have a sense of humor I guess, and I get some good laugh at how ridiculously kitschy the Anakin-Padmé scenes can be, and at the same time their relationship and many things that are being told through their dialogs has something very serious and relevant which gave and give me fascinating thoughts and discussions.
Certainly "Funny-bad" on the surface, unmistakably deliberate and the mark of a liberty taken by the artist, accepting himself as "the king of wooden dialogue", in doing his singular mix of high and low art-piece of popular cinema... and at the same time, deeper statements worth considering if one takes the time to look into it.

Now in this one, they managed to make some things less corny, only to create another kind of (heavily) corny elsewhere, which I'm not sure what to think of yet. Some of it in Han and Leia interactions, between brilliant and (forced, self-referencial) clumsy, or for example the whole gangs and monsters sequence felt a bit gratuitously silly. Hux big speech is by far the worst moment in the film for me, because really he just needed the little mustache and the troopers only needed to open their hands to make the Nazi sign... there you crossed the line JJ. In contrast to that, Palpatine in ROTS was absolutely over the top, but in a more whimsy, frankly burlesque way, and only after having been fascinatingly, down-played, manipulative in some of the best written scenes in the whole saga. Last thing, I agree Snoke is pretty boring, especially as CG-dude in the most practical film of all time :wookiee: , and had they just used his ominous voice without showing his face in this film I bet he'd be an instant classic now... ah well, we'll see what he grows into.
I choose to be indulgent because it has indeed always been part of Star Wars, but my point is more that the people involved should better have restrained themselves with half-assed statements implying they were going to "right the wrongs" of the prequels "going back to the feel of the original". I think they only proved, and hopefully will humbly learn more, how tricky it really is to "get" the "Star Wars feel", in its old fashion exuberance and way of carving singularity out of archetypes and clichés. (... despite "having seen ANH in theater at 11 y.o.")

Now onto the story! I agree there is a sense of rendering the events of the 6 films pointless. Still, after some thinking I get a sort of reassurance, and hope, from the absolutely brilliant and successful opening crawl (and opening scene). It clearly states the rise of the first order is DUE to the disappearance of Luke. Then, Max Von Sydow says there can be no balance without Jedi. That to me is the biggest acknowledgment of the entire storyline, right under our nose during the 1st minutes of the film, while the most pointed one I've seen is the reference to the clone army (cool stuff by the way, nice world building around the training of the First Order army too).
So, based on this I can look at the state of the galaxy as a temporary storm, already compromising the fragile balance, that did emerge nonetheless. As the Force affects all living beings, I can accept the idea that it causes regressions, to the point for instance that Han falls back into being a scoundrel again... I realize I'm being very indulgent, and ok let's go for it....
But : this line of thoughts can only end up making sense if the next 2 movies address it, and it better be brilliantly addressed including taking into account many elements from the prequels to fit in a 9 movies epic (!). They have an enormous task here, and on several other levels.

I too would have loved to see the big 3 reuniting and they surely missed the occasion due to trying to make 2 films into 1, yet what I read through this turn of events is pretty great: it can be observed that the "Oedipal knot" is still affecting Leia, which causes that when she finally get a chance to reunite with Luke, it's at the expense of reuniting with Han who in turn pays the price by falling at the hand of their own son...... well, that can bring up some pretty heavy story, true to Star Wars and its generational questions deep core, but at this point I'm honestly pretty clueless, whether this interesting triangle situation just happen to be pure luck in how they wrote their script, or is it cleverly deliberate...
here is why: the heavy repetitions of situations, lacking the little but determining differences the prequels introduced in their own repetitions, make it difficult to know if it's simply lazy rehash, or a bold decision to start with the repeating of mistakes, for a very powerful and telling overcoming that will be grand but harder to do now that there is only 2 movies left, both of which must avoid further rehash in order to have any meaning.
In other words, TFA will prove to be a brilliant mystery-filled opening or the beginning of an eventually pointless repetition trilogy, in that regard it is completely dependent of its sequels, while the 2 previous first acts had more of a proper stop. It is where TFA is as much very safe and very ambitious, because they better have the whole thing well planned. Its cliffhanger ending and confusing nature are both its strength and weakness. What gets me optimistic is its very clear statement of "things are not what they seem", with Rey, Finn, Kylo, (Phasma too), introduced under masks, Snoke in holograph like Sidious, "Not-Tatooine, Not-Hoth, Not-Death Star, Not-Corsucant" etc.... This tells me that at least some of the confusing elements are done on purpose to be revealed later on.
but it won't be easy to figure it out, like now they will have to deepen the relationship between Han and Kylo in the absence of the former, not to mention fixing some superficial plot holes... will they be up to the challenge? That's some trial, and honestly Abrams, some of the "story group" guys, or K. Kennedy for that matter, don't really seem to be particularly bright intellectuals.......

Some of my doubts also come from this attempt at "bringing back the childhood", as much for the audience as for those making the films themselves. Abrams has a sort of selfish way of listening too much to his inner-11y.o., especially in his understanding of the Force (recent interviews), which resulted in "super powered Rey" that many seem unhappy about (the "reverse midichlorians effect"?). This tendency to look for a gone past is pretty much the contrary of SW ideology, I guess it's ok for the 1st movie, but moving forward they will have to be much smarter. Rian Johnson doesn't seem like such a nostalgic at least, so let's hope they study their mythology, philosophy, psychoanalysis or whatever can fuel their imagination to dare and avoid bleak repetition indeed, moreover screwing up the earned happy ending from ROTJ.

I was waiting for more Luke as much as anyone, yet there is something great about his scene: although Hamill is the voice-over star, one of his biggest talent in the OT is how crystal clear his facial expressions are (Sam Witwer rightfully points that out often), Binary sunset for starters, and indeed I saw a million things on his face in ten tiny seconds, and that's pretty true to SW storytelling that has always been beyond dialogs, and visual first... yet, mixed feeling obviously after all this wait.

Let's not forget the political aspect: it's pretty clear they wanted to avoid prequel criticism of -booooring-, I think it's a shame, but fair enough. Yet frankly, I think ANH was much more effective in its brief but on point political allusions. Me, a SW nerd, I believed for 20 minutes that they just blew up Coruscant, and I'm still not sure what does it mean that this system got blown up. There was the new senate, but does it mean another planet will take its place? So how big is the Republic? Or was it just meant to be the destruction of it so we have rebellion vs empire all over again? That's pretty sloppy. I just read a thing or 2 online from recent books and some exposition dialogues about it could have made a big difference without making it painful to watch. I also can't help wandering if Disney pressure (active or passive) will affect the political nature of Star Wars in favor of a broader dumbed-down "fight against evil dark side" ... after all, it's hard to defend that this big corporation is acting in the best interests of the people and common good, at least in the current economical model................... eh, I'm open to pleasant surprises. All in all the Nazi analogy is a bit safe, and somewhat outdated. But there is something interesting about the First Order still. -To be continued- :?

Side note: the french dubbing (my second viewing) was sadly pretty rubbish overall, just like for the prequels. Not completely failed, but hit and miss at best. Weirdly funny thing, the FN designation is coincidentally the designation of the nationalist (well, fascist) party here. On the other hand, the dubbing of the OT is legendary, those were the days...

F*** it, I spent my whole sunday afternoon writing this :lol:


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 3:57 pm
 
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Mike_Droideka wrote:
Hosnian Prime is the galactic seat of government.
The Senate was moved from Coruscant, to Hosnian Prime in an effort to not repeat "mistakes of the past"
After Hux's speech at the SW style Nuremberg Rally, they obliterated the entire Hosnian system.
The woman visible during that planet's destruction was Leia's envoy, Korr Sella.


Ok, I didn't realize that. Is that in the novelization, or in one of the new post-ROTJ books?

Edit: I just downloaded the Alan Dean Foster TFA novel on my Kindle, so I'll find out soon enough.
And this will be the first time since 1977 that I've read a Star Wars movie novelization. :?


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 8:25 pm
 
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For me, one of the worst moments in the movie was when See-Threepio showed up and he just didn't even feel like he belonged there.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 10:42 pm
 
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Mike_Droideka wrote:
Hosnian Prime is the galactic seat of government. The Senate was moved from Coruscant, to Hosnian Prime in an effort to not repeat "mistakes of the past"

Bandersnatch wrote:
Ok, I didn't realize that. Is that in the novelization, or in one of the new post-ROTJ books?


The goverment being destroyed was explained away with a couple lines. I missed that too, because the entire act had no MEANING. We didn't know who the government was. None of our characters had any relation to the Hosnian System. It was an element to serving a story that moved so quickly that I didn't have time to care about.

Contrast that scene with the destruction of Alderaan: The planet is the destination for our heroes. R2-D2's mission is to deliver the plans to Bail there. It's imminent obliteration is used as a threat to convince the Princess to betray the Rebellion and we see through Leia's eyes the emotional impact of losing her home. This is how you set up a turning point in the story that affects every character in the journey. It gave the Death Star gravitas.

I'm going to my second showing tonight. Open-minded enough to give it another chance.


Post Posted: December 20th 2015 11:27 pm
 

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Still processing my first viewing last night with the family but my initial reaction is extremely positive. As a Star Wars fan I feel JJ Abrams delivered a successful sequel to ROTJ. All of the questions I had going in as far as the state of the galaxy and where our favorite old characters had ended up were answered in an exciting and fulfilling way. The audience I saw it with were laughing and applauding throughout the film. I think the new (and old) characters are perfectly capable of carrying the torch for the next couple (or 5) films.

Were some viewers saw retread I saw a fresh, modern, and more stylized take on Star Wars than what’s been done in the past. Several parts of the film my mouth was hanging open because of what was happening on the screen. I think the first of these moments was when Kylo Ren froze Poe’s laser blast with the force. Right out of the gate this was a bad guy that was instantly likeable, doing something Vader had done (stopping laser blasts with the force) but in a much more intimidating way. I admit there were two or three times in the film I said in my head ‘Empire’ or ‘New Hope’ (the Millennium Falcon chessboard for example). But I didn’t let it snap me out of my engagement with the story or characters, or ‘suspension of disbelief’ which is sometimes a challenging thing to do for us Star Wars fans.

The very few complaints I would have revolve around my expectations, and reading certain spoilers and then it not happening in the film. For example even in the ‘Art of’ book there were designs for a Resistance ‘super weapon’ called the Warhammer (or sledgehammer from spoilers). JJ did some awesome space stuff in Star Trek 2009 that led me to believe that this would be a great addition to the Star Wars’ epic space battles but it wasn’t in the film that I remember. And a few moments that obviously didn’t work (Finn-Rey meet cute after they escape on the falcon is one that stands out) but nothing really majorly negative for me. (I enjoyed all of the Han and Chewie moments fwiw).

There were inspired moments though out the film that more than make up for any complaints I have, like the ‘sunsucker’ which I thought was an awesome visual concept, things getting darker for our heroes. Or the opening shot of the film, the Star Destoyer eclipsing the planet. Or the flashback sequence for Rey when she touches Luke’s saber, JJ showing a force vision in the same way he did the Vulcan mind meld in Star Trek. These moments were magic to me and made me feel like a kid again, getting caught up in big spaceships, laserswords, and charismatic bad guys. Top it all off with a Led Zeppelin album cover for the final scene and I couldn’t be happier.

Speaking of that final shot, I can tell you what I expected from what I heard from spoilers: Rey handing the saber to Luke (at night) and him turning it on, looking straight off of the 1977 poster (but older of course) with a big huge JJ Abrams lens flare, then iris out. What I got though was more measured and less 'fan director' than I expected from Abrams. I respect him hugely for making it past the hellish gauntlet he’s been through in making this film, sticking to his guns, and delivering a commendable Star Wars feature film he can be proud of.

For the Star Wars fans (and were all fans or we wouldn't be here) that have had a less than stellar experience with the TFA, I can relay a similar experience I had with Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'. Rotten Tomatoes 99.999% positive, read the book and loved it, but I just could not get into the film or feel suspense for almost anything that was happening on the screen. The 'scenic' mars shots looked like earth with an orange filter on it to me. Finally when he was getting off of Mars I finally FELT some emotion and compassion for the character. I felt ripped off after seeing The Martian. Looking back, the problem very well could have been with me but I have yet to revisit that film. I'm sorry some of you had that experience with our beloved franchise.

One last note on the John Williams score (which I thought was superb and meshed with the visuals extremely well). There was definitely at least one memorable theme that I had in my head since I saw the film. Referencing the soundtrack it’s ‘Kylo Ren joins the Battle’ that runs into ‘The Abduction’. Sounds like a great new ‘bad guy theme’ for TFA to me!

8/10

PS: My family is mostly younger girls and got mixed reviews from them. They had trouble following the story (THEM: I think that's Princess Leia, is that Princess Leia? ME: No honey, it's Rey.) 12 year old boy thought it was great though.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 10:27 am
 
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A few additional thoughts....

I liked the movie better, overall, after seeing it a second time Saturday night.

To me, the biggest challenge this film had was making sense as a continuation of a story that had the ultimate fairy tale happy ending, as ROJ did. How in the hell do you create a continuation from that which makes sense. Credit to JJ and Kasdan, they were able to pull it off, and they did it with just one sentence from Han Solo, describing Luke training a new generation of Jedi and one of them going bad. It was a key moment of exposition in a film that badly needed more of it.

I think an element of the film people are missing is the total lack of exposition. A film with such a large time gap from its predecessor, in my opinion, needs a little bit of exposition to catch the audience up on where we're at. This is something Lucas excelled at, though he was wrongfully criticized for it in the PT. Fleshing out that the Republic home base was on the Hosnian system, and that the central government was now destroyed, was an idea that was totally glazed over in the film and not given its proper weight.

This is similar to a criticism I have of TPM, that I would have liked to have seen the Trade Federation be presented as a bigger, more sinister threat. Show those camps Panaka referred to. Let us get a glimpse of the horrors they inflicted upon the Naboo people so we understood the strength of the enemy the Jedi and Gungans faced.

There were a number of strong musical cues in the film that weren't on the soundtrack, such as the Rey-Ren duel and Han's death scene. Why these weren't included in the OST is baffling. Anyone with a grasp of English can come up with track titles for those sequences that wouldn't spoil the corresponding scene.

Han's death scene (a great musical moment) was totally telegraphed, but at least for me, that didn't take away any of the emotion of the scene. Incredible staging, lighting and overall drama in that scene, with Chewie, Rey and Finn looking on.

The final saber duel between Rey and Ren really stood out on a second viewing, because of the uniqueness of the environment and the raw nature of the battle. This is something Lucas would have been proud of, given his desire to create as many environments as unique as possible, from one film to the other. A dark, snowy forest was simply an awesome setting for this duel. Ren's messy hair and sweaty face right before Rey closes her eyes makes that shot so real. A masterful job in that sequence by JJ and the editors.

If we assume Rey is Luke's daughter, do we think Han knows this? I watched his facial expressions closely during his interactions with her, and I think he at minimum, suspects a link between the two, especially when he's offering her a spot on his crew. It slightly parallels the scene in ANH in the Yavin hanger when Han says to Luke "WWhy don't you come with us? You're pretty good in a fight, we could use you."

Tons of parallels/mirroring between the Han-Kylo Ren scene and the scene when Luke unmasks Vader. This really felt like a Ring Theory moment in the film.

Did anyone else notice C-3PO waving at Rey and Chewie flying away in the Falcon with a golden left arm? The red arm, which showed up with no explanation, appears to have been replaced by his regular arm, again, with no explanation.

SUCH a tease when Maz addresses her possession of Luke's blue lightsaber with "that's an answer for another time." I liked Maz as a character, and wished she had a larger role in the film. It seems like she's someone through which the audience can learn more of the ROJ-TFA history.

Kylo Ren's unmasking during his interrogation of Rey felt totally unnecessary, and detracts from when he unmasked himself in the confrontation with Han on the catwalk in Starkiller Base. Give that action some stronger meaning by only having it happen once.

Another bit Lucas would have added, were he in charge, was a short scene showing Ren and Hux flying away from Starkiller Base right before it explodes. A casual fan wouldn't know they weren't killed when the base blew up because even though they talked about leaving, we didn't actually see them leaving. Fans like us, who pay attention to the off-screen news, know that the entire cast is coming back for Ep. 8, so of course we can assume Hux and Ren were on a shuttle when the Base blew. But that appears to be a story point that wasn't filled in properly on screen.

Ren has the potential to be a truly memorable villain, and JJ did a terrific job of showing us how unstable he was. None of his stuff felt too forced to me either, which is so easy to do in those circumstances.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 2:45 pm
 

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CoGro wrote:
• Snoke CG was very distracting, especially because of how grounded the rest of the creature execution was. I didn't like the design and his scenes didn't add much to the overall story. They would have honestly been better off not showing him at all in this movie.



All I could think of was Darth Gollum.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 2:48 pm
 

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Monari wrote:
4) Coincidences - I know that Star Wars is based on coincidences, but they just seem to be too much of a stretch. Rey and Finn just happen to run by the Falcon, which happens to have its doors open and its keys in the ignition, then they just happen to be close enough to Han for him to register them on his sensors, Rey just happens to find Luke's saber at Maz's, who just happened to have it, Chewie just happens to find Rey and Finn in the middle of the forest, Artoo just happens to wake up at the end of the movie in time to provide his part of the map. Gah.



I attribute that all the being the will of a living Force.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 2:51 pm
 

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Monari wrote:
7) Snoke looked like Gollum..


in fairness...
Thats like saying Han Solo looks like Indiana Jones, right?
Same motion capture actor.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 5:16 pm
 
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Monari wrote:
7) Snoke looked like Gollum..

Khrome wrote:
in fairness...
Thats like saying Han Solo looks like Indiana Jones, right?
Same motion capture actor.

It's CGI not in the flesh Harrison Ford.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 7:59 pm
 
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That's the easy answer, and it's also an incredibly lazy hand-wave.

"Something happens? Oh, uh, it was the Force."

However I am resigned to the fact that it's probably the only explanation that we will get.


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 9:06 pm
 

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I like the film, but I figured out what I believe is wrong with it.

Pacing.

Every Star Wars film begins with a battle, slows down a little bit with some exposition (necessary exposition) and character introduction, and then moves into more action and character development and conflict. The thing with this movie is that it never slowed down. There was no exposition. Even ANH had some, not lengthy exposition, but Obi-Wan had quite a bit with Luke, which was focal to the entire trilogy. All we got was Han briefly saying he knew Luke and that the Jedi and the force were all real. I hated the anticlimactic way we got the identity of Kylo Ren, even though I called it a mile away. That should have been a special moment.

We get hints here and there but Kasdan, ironically, advised JJ not to spell anything out. Which was dumb, considering how much exposition Empire had and how it absolutely dragged in the entire middle portion. Personally I'm glad Kasdan and JJ are off of VIII and IX; really excited for Rian Johnson. I want these films to tie into the entire SAGA, not just a re-hash of the OT, which TFA was a poor imitation of (loved the characters though and it was an enjoyable film because of that).

A lot of people didn't even realize that the Republic capital, well the entire star system went kaboom in that sequence; it was mentioned but again a more explicit statement would have been helpful because if I can't grasp that on my first viewing, and I am very attentive, I doubt most fans even realize it. And that was a major plot point. Now there's only a small band of resistance fighters to stand up to the First Order. Sound familiar?


Post Posted: December 21st 2015 10:13 pm
 
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Snoke was a true blunder, not just in terms of the story, but the way it was done. Lucas was at least smart enough not to CGI an uncanny valley humanoid and fill the entire screen with it.


Post Posted: December 22nd 2015 1:11 am
 
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Topeka wrote:
The goverment being destroyed was explained away with a couple lines. I missed that too, because the entire act had no MEANING. We didn't know who the government was. None of our characters had any relation to the Hosnian System. It was an element to serving a story that moved so quickly that I didn't have time to care about.

Contrast that scene with the destruction of Alderaan: The planet is the destination for our heroes. R2-D2's mission is to deliver the plans to Bail there. It's imminent obliteration is used as a threat to convince the Princess to betray the Rebellion and we see through Leia's eyes the emotional impact of losing her home. This is how you set up a turning point in the story that affects every character in the journey. It gave the Death Star gravitas.

I'm going to my second showing tonight. Open-minded enough to give it another chance.


Perfect explanation of the problem with the entire Starkiller base plot. There is no set up for it (in the opening crawl or otherwise), emotional or narrative stakes associated with it, or payoff when it's destroyed. I'm not opposed to the enemy faction in the ST trying to build "another death star" but it was clearly an afterthought as a plot device. It was also visually strange the way it worked. I always figured it would blast a sun causing it to supernova and destroy the surrounding systems. This looked way wonkier and was tougher for me to understand how it worked.

Updated thoughts post-IMAX. (the technical presentation of the film in IMAX is fantastic. From the crispness of the video to the awesome sound, It is the best way to see the film. The 3D was also far better in IMAX).

I'm letting the film grow on me if for no other reason than I want to remain excited about future Star Wars movies. I have to accept that we're never going to get a Star Wars film as good as ANH, ESB and ROTJ. It just isn't going to happen. Those films are products of their time, with master filmmakers working at the height of their powers. The next best thing I can hope for are entertaining and relevant chapters of the Star Wars saga that I can emotionally invest myself in. It's all about expectation management for me going forward.

It is yet to be determined whether the sequel trilogy will deepen the Star Wars mythos and resolve lingering story points in the saga, or if it's just a cash grab for Disney. I'm not judging here whether the movies are independently well-made but rather if they're necessary in light of the fairytale ending in ROTJ. I personally don't want Star Wars movies for the sake of it. I want something meaningful, something worthy. Intellectually I know there are stories to tell post-ROTJ but that doesn't mean they should be made into episodes of the saga.

Is this a 9-episode saga? 12? Infinite? I'm not clear on Disney's intentions here. I know the Star Wars universe is vast, and that these stories can be told forever, but like any great myth I believe there needs to be an end. I hate contrivances in storytelling and I believe it's damaging to original works when filmmakers/studios don't know when to leave well enough alone. I don't want to see a 40 year old "Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts" or "Lord of the Rings: The Second Coming of Evil." I thought I wanted to see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" but what I found out from that experience is that I needed to see "CoGro Gets a Lobotomy."

Here's what I've learned from TFA and the ST so far: the creative braintrust is afraid to introduce fresh ideas to Star Wars, and/or resolve anything that might have a connection to the PT. Rian Johnson could take things in a new and fresh (or ballsy) direction, but I get the sense that folks are trying to distance Star Wars from the prequels SO much that they're ignoring even the positive threads that came from them. Will Anakin's virgin birth ever truly be dealt with? Why are the Skywalkers so important, and would the galaxy be better off without them? Should the Jedi order be rebuilt? What does it mean to bring balance to the Force? These are dramatic and interesting issues that our new cast is well-equipped to bring resolution to.

TFA nails the humour and characterization that made the OT great. I think most people have been able to agree on that. It's easy to like Rey, cheer for Poe, and laugh with Finn. It's also fun to hate Kylo Ren. The film has a far tougher time with plot and pacing and that's where I keep getting frustrated with it. Star Wars has always been good about nailing its story beats, for good or bad, and I think the story gaps made TFA stick out to me. The major beats don't hit the audience like they should because the set ups aren't strong enough. Few examples:

- Starkiller base obliterates the Hosnian system, which allegedly is the political capital of the New Republic (or some shit, it's never made clear). Why should I care? Topeka nails why this is a big problem with TFA and how it's contrasted with Alderaan's destruction in ANH. I can't hate the First Order for destroying something my characters don't have a relationship with, and there can't be a payoff to destroying Starkiller if 2/3 of the movie had nothing to do with stopping it. Contrast that with ANH where the entire plot of the movie has to do with destroying the Death Star.

TFA is about finding Skywalker. This should have been a chase movie, or a treasure hunt movie. It didn't need to be about blowing up a battle station.

- Kylo Ren is revealed as Han Solo's son. While every person on this forum guessed it a year ago there still needed to be a bigger set up for the reveal. We got a crumb from MVS's character but there could have been more of a hint from Han's speech on the Falcon. We needed to spend a bit of time feeling Han's pain about losing Ben (and thinking that maybe he had been killed, the same way we were led to believe Vader killed Anakin). Maybe the first trigger is when Finn references seeing Kylo Ren on Jakku. The mystery could have been revealed on Tokadana during a first encounter between Han and Ben where Han calls out to him to stop what he's doing. Could have been a massive holy shit moment: everyone is trying to stop Kylo Ren, and Han is trying to talk sense into him. All of the heroes would be like "what the hell is going on here," and Han would have to explain the truth to them. Then you'd get the Kylo/Vader scene (Ben would feel a pull back to the light after seeing his father), followed by Snoke's challenge to Ren to kill Han. That meeting then on the catwalk could have been even more powerful if Kylo had seen Han earlier - he'd have more to think about. It could have echoed ROTJ's Luke/Vader conversation on Endor where Luke thought he was making real progress before Vader pulls back.

I did enjoy the movie more on second viewing. It's not the worst of the movies but it definitely feels the most different. I have nitpicks like Chewie looking very off in a bunch of scenes (especially when the stunt double is in play), the convenience of Artoo powering on at the end and Rey having the skills of Jedi Knight minutes after learning she was Force-sensitive. I suspect this will get explained so I have more patience for that one. The score has grown on me a bit, but it's not as instantly thematic (or Star Wars feeling) as anything in the previous movies (including the PT).

Few other points:

- Hux has nothing to do in the movie.
- Snoke did not need to be CGI.
- Threepio has some great lines. He made me laugh. I want him to be in Episode 8 more; I wish Artoo and Threepio were central characters in all the movies like they had been in the OT.
- That said, BB-8 is fantastic in every way.
- If Rey is not Luke's daughter, then the ST will lose a lot of dramatic tension between its main hero and main villain. Plenty of folks seem to hate the idea of Rey being a Skywalker, thinking it's some kind of retread. Don't understand that POV. I really hope this isn't a misdirection and Rey ends up being a Kenobi (huh?) or some random (who cares?)
- There needed to be a scene where Han was properly mourned.
- Rey's vision might be one of my favourite scenes of the movie. Lots of good stuff in there.

This was a very safe Star Wars movie. I'm truly happy people care about Star Wars again, average moviegoers have a new entry point into the series, and that it's regained its title as King of the Box Office. I'm just hoping by the time Episode 9 screens in 2019 we've gotten a story worthy of what came before it. One of the best things to come out of TFA is that it raises a lot of interesting questions that can create a lot of creative debate and discussions about what comes next. From that standpoint, mission accomplished.


Post Posted: December 22nd 2015 2:36 am
 
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I really want to know why they chose to CGI Snoke when they went out of their way to use practical effects and such for so many other alien characters.


Post Posted: December 22nd 2015 3:40 am
 
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Or Maz for the matter. Anytime she was onscreen I though what an incredible animatronic could have been made. While there was nothing terribly wrong with either of the CG characters, they didn't blow away with performance or photorealism.


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