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Author Topic: Star Wars Episode VII *spoilers*
theamazeeaz
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Saw the new Star Wars. Loved it. Thought "wow, the prequels were awful" the entire time.

One serious plot hole. For someone who got really upset about killing innocent people, you think Finn would have moral quandaries about killing his fellow, uh, redshirts.

I was also amused at how much the story mirrored episode 4. Monomyth anyone?

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Elison R. Salazar
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I'll be the guy to point out that as a film it struck me as sticking very close to formula and being very safe in terms of writing. Much of the film blurred the line between retreading or homaging A New Hope to the point that Han Solo's death immediately became obvious as soon as they entered that area and split up from Fin & Rey.

That being said loved it, made me feel like a kid again, exceeding the prequels and JJ Abrams' previous work on Star Trek.

Movie Bob's take!

Yes, Star Wars is back.

[ December 18, 2015, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Elison R. Salazar ]

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Lyrhawn
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I thought it was a fun watch in the theater. But the more I really think about it the more mediocre I think it was, and not just because it was mostly an unimaginative Mashup of the original trilogy. There was a lot of lazy story telling in there that could have been much better if they'd pushed some stuff back to the next one and give this one more time to develop some people, specifically Kylo Ren.

Otherwise, the stuff they intend to be surprising and shocking (which in actuality it's neither, you see it coming a mIle away) is actually pretty hollow. All the emotional resonance is bound up in original trilogy love and not because of anything this movie did.

Beyond some wasted opportunities, I thought it was brilliantly cast and acted. Daisy Ridley was amazing. though her resemblable to Keira Knightly because incredibly distracting as it went on.

I was surprised by how much I liked BB8. He was a little scene stealer. It was the first time a Droid character hasn't left me wanting to rush through a scene to get past it. I love Artoo but he's not nearly as expressive as BB8.

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Foust
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The story telling and character development was awfully compressed, and I've seen theamazeeaz's crticism of Finn in a few places already; some people think he was basically scared of fighting. I don't think he was; I think he just didn't want to fight for the First Order.

Solo's death was telegraphed, but that's a problem for all story tellers. It is a very difficult line to walk between killing a character off-handedly and telegraphing their dramatic demise. Wash is an example of the first, Solo is an example of the second.

Whatever negative reaction I had to the movie came from the confusing world-building, but Star Wars, for all its EU pretensions, has never been about building a believable world. it is not AsoiF. For example, the relations between the Resistance, the Republic, and the First Order were all woefully underdeveloped. Is this new Republic (lower case-N) just as corrupt and incompetent as the old one? Was it really no big deal at all for it to be wiped out? The only concern the characters seemed to have was for the Republic's fleet.

And - for reelz, why'd Chewie and Leia ignore each other after Han died? It took me right out the movie when Leia went to Rey instead of Chewie.

I had no problems with the way the movie aped the OT. I think that criticism is overblown anyways; some of the plot points were the same, but Kylo Ren is very different from Vader, Rey is very different from Luke, etc. Maybe the best example of this is the castle scene, which people think just aped the cantina scene (weird aliens! weird music!). Nothing in the particulars was anything like Mos Eisley.

I was primed to like this movie, and I need to see it again once the hype wears off. But I remember my hype being deflated the very first time I saw Ep 1 in the theatres with Jar Jar's first appearance; at no point in this movie did I have that same feeling. From Finn and Poe's escape to Rey resting beside an AT-AT to her just plain cool command of the Millenium Falcon, I think this movie was fantastic.

[ December 19, 2015, 07:26 AM: Message edited by: Foust ]

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theamazeeaz
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I didn't notice the Chewie thing, but yeah, that's kind of bad. Leia didn't give him a medal either...

I think it's kind of funny that EU killed of Chewie and New Triliogy killed off Han. Peter Meyhew does need the money though...

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Samprimary
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quote:
But the more I really think about it the more mediocre I think it was
Here's my feeling on the matter:

This movie did not represent mediocre filmmaking, writing, or dialogue. All were essentially well-crafted and had mass moviegoer appeal and followability. Sometimes I really don't like the things which mass moviegoer appeal and followability represent, but I have to remember that the original star wars was pulpy as shit anyway so i might as well accept that star wars is what star wars is, to an extent. And it really just wanted to be a wild, rollicking, fun, weighty naive space opera epic.

And so:

What problems the movie does have come from pacing. Scenes are not given room to grow and culture and give a consistent and workable theme. The scenes feel like they are rushing through the salient plot points and they are on a severe deadline to do so, so each scene doesn't feel like "a scene trying to be a scene" but rather "a scene trying to get out of the way as fast as possible for the next scene"

I don't like this!

But the movie is not consistently like that. It's only sometimes like that. Other times, the movie stops with its headlong rush from plot point to plot point and actually lets the scenes breathe. Like when we get to Rey's slice-of-life introduction where we find out what her day is like and what she has to undergo as she waits for something.

I want them to release a four hour director's cut.

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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I thought it was a fun watch in the theater. But the more I really think about it the more mediocre I think it was, and not just because it was mostly an unimaginative Mashup of the original trilogy. There was a lot of lazy story telling in there that could have been much better if they'd pushed some stuff back to the next one and give this one more time to develop some people, specifically Kylo Ren.

Otherwise, the stuff they intend to be surprising and shocking (which in actuality it's neither, you see it coming a mIle away) is actually pretty hollow. All the emotional resonance is bound up in original trilogy love and not because of anything this movie did.

Beyond some wasted opportunities, I thought it was brilliantly cast and acted. Daisy Ridley was amazing. though her resemblable to Keira Knightly because incredibly distracting as it went on.

I was surprised by how much I liked BB8. He was a little scene stealer. It was the first time a Droid character hasn't left me wanting to rush through a scene to get past it. I love Artoo but he's not nearly as expressive as BB8.

So I've been thinking about this, and I too love BB8. But I'm starting to realize that he exists at least primarily so that the characters in Star Wars can run whenever they are in peril. JJ Abrams loves using running to depict plot tension. R2D2 and C3PO simply cannot move quickly, and so the main characters cannot run, unless they have previously deposited the two of them in some place for the time being. JJ Abrams does *not* want to try and write around those two robots, so, BB8! The quick, mobile, cute version of R2 Abrams needs!

I kinda hate myself for loving him so much. The thumbs-up scene was one of the best things I've seen in years.

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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I want them to release a four hour director's cut. [/QB]

Ha! Right?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I thought it was a fun watch in the theater. But the more I really think about it the more mediocre I think it was, and not just because it was mostly an unimaginative Mashup of the original trilogy. There was a lot of lazy story telling in there that could have been much better if they'd pushed some stuff back to the next one and give this one more time to develop some people, specifically Kylo Ren.

Absolutely agree on this. It was 10 pounds of story in a 5 pound sack. They relied on a slew of coincidences and unexplained events to keep the story moving. Poe shows up from the dead with zero explanation, Kylo is not shown being saved- and Ray is suddenly a badass with a light-saber the first time she uses one?

Also that bit with the monsters on Han Solo's barge was begging to be cut, but they obviously spent too much time on it. Also, really? He has a huge cargo ship, and he doesn't even get upset when they completely abandon it for his now at least 50+ year old Corellian freighter?

Also, I'm wondering about Chewbacca. He's an adult when the events of the first trilogy occur (if we aren't just pretending that never happened, so he has now been in his adulthood for going on 60 years. Does he not age? Do Wookies live a really long time?

I was also slightly disappointed with the zero-development approach to the Finn character. Trained all his life to kill, and he's a guy with social skills and jokes, and palls around with Han Solo? It's a bit weird.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:


But the movie is not consistently like that. It's only sometimes like that. Other times, the movie stops with its headlong rush from plot point to plot point and actually lets the scenes breathe. Like when we get to Rey's slice-of-life introduction where we find out what her day is like and what she has to undergo as she waits for something.

I want them to release a four hour director's cut.

Surprisingly, this is one of few blockbusters that I think could have benefited from 10-15 more minutes of run time. They kept it to 2:16, but I think it could have easily gotten away with 2:25. I would have cut some of the action and made the film a little slower, especially in the 2nd act (and around the end of the 3rd act also).

Star Wars episode 4 has exactly the same 2:16 run time, and it has about 3 fewer action set pieces in it. That's not a bad thing either.

It's really at a breakneck pace for the entire film, and you can see where they cut pickups between the storylines to save run time. Some of those cuts are good, but the editing in the more dramatic dialogue scenes was too aggressive. I felt for 2 hours that I couldn't process anything, and so when it comes to killing Solo, I was so winded that i couldn't react to what was happening.

But by far the most egregious waste of time in the film was the monsters on Solo's ship. That scene, even as I was watching it, felt like a scene they added because they didn't trust the audience to sit through a second act without a significant action set piece. I checked my watch when that scene started and thought: "this doesn't feel right."

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
But by far the most egregious waste of time in the film was the monsters on Solo's ship. That scene, even as I was watching it, felt like a scene they added because they didn't trust the audience to sit through a second act without a significant action set piece. I checked my watch when that scene started and thought: "this doesn't feel right."

This is a problem I have with almost all modern blockbuster action films. They rush from action scene to action scene while hardly giving the audience room to breathe, it's like they don't trust the audience not to fall asleep if there's more than 2 minutes without something exciting happening. It's exhausting. (I think I mentioned in my review of Interstellar that my favorite part of the movie is it took it's time and didn't feel the need to rush anywhere)

The Force Awakens isn't entirely this way (though I was afraid it would be at first) - they do slow it down at some parts, but I think you're right that they could have done away with the tentacle monsters and used that time to slow it down and give us 10 minutes more exposition/breathing room instead.

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Dogbreath
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Also, Wookies have an average lifespan of 400 years.
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Elison R. Salazar
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I think Rey "being gud" with a lightsaber the first go makes sense if we buy into the idea that she's like Anakin 2.0 (Lightside Ver). She just has a lot of natural talent and has the ability to calmely meditate in the middle of a duel giving her the advantage against an injured Kylo.

The Darkside is supposed to be the quick way to power, so I like the idea that if you're naturally predisposed to calm you might have an advantage there.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
But by far the most egregious waste of time in the film was the monsters on Solo's ship. That scene, even as I was watching it, felt like a scene they added because they didn't trust the audience to sit through a second act without a significant action set piece. I checked my watch when that scene started and thought: "this doesn't feel right."

Agreed. I think the main point of that scene was to set up the idea that Han can talk (or, well, blast) his way out of anything. When he confronts Kylo Ren, he doesn't have a plan—he thinks that if he can just talk to him, he can figure something out. And then it goes horribly wrong.

I also agree that it felt like a lot of things were rushed or skipped over entirely. I saw one review that said that the movie could've actually used a little more politics—not Senate committee hearings, but a little something to establish the major players as A New Hope had.

We don't really know anything about the relationships between the Republic, the First Order, and the Resistance, so when the First Order blows up the entire Hosnian system, it feels a little hollow. When Alderaan blows up, we feel it. It was Leia's home. It was Luke and Obi-Wan's destination, where they would convey the plans to Bail Organa to get them to the Rebels. Blowing up Alderaan is a major setback to the heroes.

Blowing up the Hosnian system was . . . bad, I guess, but I'm not sure why beyond some vague mention of the Republic fleet. How badly did this hurt the Resistance? We're not really sure.

Also, where did Poe disappear to for the whole movie? I'm not sure the decision to split them up made much sense, because we don't get to know his character very much, and his reappearance at the end seems really random. So he just gave up on looking for BB8 and headed back to base? Uh, okay.

And the whole map maguffin was kind of lame. If no one knows where Luke is, then how is there a map? Why did that old guy have it? Why is everyone after it now? At some points if felt like Luke must've been missing for a while, but I'm not sure. If he just barely vanished, then it makes more sense that everyone's suddenly looking for him. But I got the sense that he'd been gone for years already.

The characters were great, and the dialog was worlds better than the prequels, but overall the movie left me wanting, especially since so much of it was a rehash of A New Hope. It certainly looks and sounds like Star Wars, but it felt like the pieces didn't quite come together like they should have.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Blowing up the Hosnian system was . . . bad, I guess, but I'm not sure why beyond some vague mention of the Republic fleet. How badly did this hurt the Resistance? We're not really sure.
That was a really, REALLY weird interlude in the middle of the movie. Other than the fact that a lot of people died, I didn't understand the significance of them blowing up a system I've never heard of before whose importance wasn't explained to me.

Oh neat, the really big Death Star can blow up MULTIPLE planets at once...swell...but even though they just destroyed the star in that system, life on the planet seemed to go on just fine until the death rays arrived. Also, the intergalactic Republic can be destroyed by taking out this one system? I mean if it was Coruscant from the Prequels I'd at least have a guidepost to understanding its importance, but to me that whole thing was just a weird side trip.

Apparently if you read the books you actually understand what the larger political situation is. But having not read the books or comics, I had no idea, and the movie never explained it, but it did things that were done as if I was supposed to know.

Also, how could they see the explosions from Mas Kanata's planet? If she's in the same system why wasn't her moon taken out too? Why didn't her sun go dark? And if she's not in the same system, how could they see so clearly what was happening light years away?

Again, it was a fun, mindless Hollywood blockbuster. But anyone pretending this was particularly good on any other level than "turn off your brain and watch"...well, I'm not sure what movie they were watching. And even at that, some bits of it were so distracting I couldn't leave my brain off.

And I'll say this...Kylo Ren is full of fantastic potential. But as he stands, I prefer Anakin's prequel storyline to his. Even though terribly acted and with awful dialogue, his character got better development.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Oh neat, the really big Death Star can blow up MULTIPLE planets at once...swell...but even though they just destroyed the star in that system, life on the planet seemed to go on just fine until the death rays arrived. Also, the intergalactic Republic can be destroyed by taking out this one system? I mean if it was Coruscant from the Prequels I'd at least have a guidepost to understanding its importance, but to me that whole thing was just a weird side trip.

I think Starkiller Base drained its own sun and then blew up the Hosnian system from halfway across the galaxy. But that raises the question of what happens when it's drained its sun. Can the whole planet travel through hyperspace and go find a new star to drain? Does it not completely destroy the sun but just suck up most of its energy for a period of time? Does J. J. Abrams really have no concept of the distances between worlds, let alone star systems?

quote:
Apparently if you read the books you actually understand what the larger political situation is. But having not read the books or comics, I had no idea, and the movie never explained it, but it did things that were done as if I was supposed to know.
Like I said, it really wouldn't have taken much. The original Star Wars did it with just the opening crawl and a few lines of dialog. Leia's a senator, and Vader thinks she's working with the Rebels. Then the Senate is disbanded, and Tarkin plans to use the Death Star to destroy the Rebels and keep everyone else in line. Also, everyone hates the Empire. That's it! It really wouldn't have taken much to establish those sorts of things in the new movie.
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Rakeesh
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Cards on the table, I enjoyed the movie a very great deal and will see it again.

-----

Like many, I thought there was too much repetition in this movie from the first trilogy in general and the first movie (IV) in particular. To an extent that was unavoidable, and even necessary from a commercial and maybe even storytelling perspective, in order to tie this movie to the almost universally acclaimed 4-6 and distance itself from the...less enthusiastically supported 1-3. But I did feel that was probably the weakest part of the movie, in that it played heavily and repeatedly on nostalgia. That said I personally wasn't too worked up about it, as an experience of nostalgia is hardly always a bad thing, right?

Some have felt the film was rushed, and I agree with that as well, to an extent. That said, I also think that considering the breadth of the story they need to tell in order to make it dovetail nicely much less seamlessly with 4-6, some feelings of being rushed are inevitable. For example, I wonder how the pacing of 4 would have felt if we had the experience of 1-3 *before* seeing it? Would we have felt it glossed over too much and left major questions totally unanswered? I don't know. Maybe!

I felt the monsters-in-ship scene, while fun to watch and having some good comedic moments (and the monsters did look really cool), it didn't quite...fit. Especially from a storytelling perspective. Absent the action it fit even less.

As for Chewbacca, yeah, I've noticed that in all of `em. I think this probably happens because, for most viewers and even a lot of fans (maybe the threshold starts at fans who read the books? I dunno), Chewie isn't a protagonist in the films or even an actual character. He's almost completely an NPC. He could be made a character, perhaps, if he was subtitledbut consider that in terms of dialogue, Chewie and BB8 are on precisely the same footing. Or balling, I guess.

So because of that, I think that the creative decision was made simply not to inject serious characterization stories into the movie for Chewie since he's hardly even a real character in the films, right? Come to think of it he would be a very tough sell even if they subtitled him, because as Chewie exists it would be almost impossible, I think, to get any meaningful facial expression out of him.

I thought the performances were, basically, uniformly awesome.

Even though I saw many of the plot points coming, eh, I wasn't much bothered by that. For mainstream sci-fi stories isn't that almost unavoidable if you've ingested enough media in that line?

I thought the movie could be longer, but then I almost always think that with movies I enjoy, especially big huge-scale dramatic type flicks such as this.

I did feel that *some* explanation, even just a line or two-hell, in the opening crawl would be a good place for it!-was due for the whole First Order/Republic/Resistance angle. I *think* I was able to parse it together, and I have the experience of someone who has watched a lot of movies like this and is very familiar with the SW universe. So if I think it could've used some better explanation, it probably needed quite a lot better explanation.

I think it went down like: Emperor Palpatine is killed (or assassinated, depending on one's politics) and the Empire is thrown into significant disarray. Some systems break away entirely, and others remain loyal, with a greater number falling in between. Because surely some systems dug the Empire, because they benefitted or were simply kept in line. Over the thirty odd years, a conventional stalemate forms between the First Order and the Republic. Within the First Order's territory, the Resistance forms an armed rebellion against it-supported 'secretly' by the Republic. Then, in what was plot-wise surely one of the weaker points of the film, an entire planet which drains a sun weapon system obliterates most of the Republic's conventional forces at a stroke (somehow, they were caught 110% offguard by this doomsday weapon, in spite of there having been two others before it). Then it's back to a powerful conventional military, with two Force sensitives at the top, and a scrappy rebellion. Perhaps the most repetitive point of the flick too, really.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Then it's back to a powerful conventional military, with two Force sensitives at the top, and a scrappy rebellion. Perhaps the most repetitive point of the flick too, really.

*nods*
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Lyrhawn
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According to the books (and my understanding is that this is SUPPOSED to be official canon now), the First Order is a secret society. The New Republic is the governing body of the entire galaxy, but the First Order forms in secret by like-minded individuals who want the Empire back. The Republic has largely demilitarized and doesn't really take the First Order seriously (which seems an unconscionable lack of good sense given recent galactic history but whatever), but the Resistance thinks they are a real threat and form to hunt them down and keep an eye on them, tacitly supported by the Republic.

I guess you can more or less guess at what's mostly happening without explanation, but it would have required SO LITTLE actually explanation to smooth things along. And it was actually kind of important if anyone cares what that Starkiller base was shooting at, which I still don't really understand.

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Rakeesh
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Hmmm. Well in the film I'm almost certain they were calling it the Republic rather than New Republic?
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Samprimary
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man every time my brain wants to kick up a pedantic, niggling, terrible-nerd nitpickery fest of the movie, I get real close and then I don't.

I have few complaints that don't just boil down to "but it's not MY starwars!"

the film largely succeeded at its dual goals of "it has to establish ALL these characters fundamentally to act as THE flagship reboot of the most iconic movie series of all time" ~AND~ give people the "I'm watching a star wars movie feel" that we've been craving since 1997 kicked our collective nuts in with trade negotiations.

I'm a-ok with that.

But I still want them to fix the pacing.

I want the extended director's cut that's about an hour longer.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Hmmm. Well in the film I'm almost certain they were calling it the Republic rather than New Republic?

I think they refer to it ONCE as the New Republic.

I need to see it again.

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scifibum
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I think most* of the complaints I've seen have some validity - if only, in some cases, to those who are way more invested in the SW universe than the average causal fan - but I don't care.

It had the right feel. It was funny. It made me happy.

*I'm having a problem with those who have a particular problem with Rey. This is a fine response with which I agree:
http://io9.gizmodo.com/please-stop-spreading-this-nonsense-that-rey-from-star-1749134275

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I think most* of the complaints I've seen have some validity - if only, in some cases, to those who are way more invested in the SW universe than the average causal fan - but I don't care.

It had the right feel. It was funny. It made me happy.

*I'm having a problem with those who have a particular problem with Rey. This is a fine response with which I agree:
http://io9.gizmodo.com/please-stop-spreading-this-nonsense-that-rey-from-star-1749134275

Er, the only disagreement I have with that is I think the author is wrong in their definition of "Mary Sue". The people calling Rey a "Mary Sue" (which I've yet to see) are doing so because they have no idea what a Mary Sue story is. The term refers to an author inserting an idealized, self-aggrandizing avatar (of any gender) of themselves into a story who, by virtue of being the super awesome version of the author, is generally unreasonably good at everything, smart, beautiful, and beloved. (See Ender in Exile for example...) It doesn't mean "any female character who is really good at something" and as such, Rey is pretty clearly not a Mary Sue.

If she also happened to startlingly resemble one of the writers, parrot whatever social/political/cultural beliefs the author holds (bonus points if there are characters who hold the opposing beliefs who are revealed to be weak, dishonest, or just straight up villains), and be obnoxiously well loved and awesome and just win at everything, then you could make that argument.

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Samprimary
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I'm just copy pasting myself here ok

I think it was a great movie, even though it was caged into being such a risk-averse offering. It is THE reboot of THE most iconic and most profitable movie franchise of all time, and it absolutely has to abide by three requirements:

- It has to establish and give us a connection to all the new blood, and an interest in following their stories.

- It has to "feel like we're watching a star wars movie again" ... it is required to capture that sort of naive heroic epic feel and touch on all the touchstones and have people going to it say that previous quote instead of saying some variety of "it's pretty fun but it doesn't really feel like star wars anymore"

- It has to avoid being the prequels at all and reassure the viewers that we're not going down that road again.

It succeeded at all three, but it had to throw an uncomfortable amount of character development into its running time and default to a lot of super risk-averse derivation of the original movies.

The cost of this is uncomfortably breakneck pacing in a majority of the movie — scenes didn't get to breathe enough to set a more consistent tone and mood and let characters establish themselves better with their interactions. The movie only sometimes puts the brakes on its pacing and lets us slow down and open up on the setting and the characters, and it's a relief when it does (see: Rey's character reveal on Jakku).

Additionally, it seems obvious that a large amount of coherence in the overall explanation of what the hell was the deal with the resistance vs. the republic vs. the new order was obviously left bleeding to death on the cutting room floor, and we have to sort of guess or presume that the republic is back but it doesn't fight the first order directly and only the resistance does that, or something, or whatever, okay.

Finally, there's a ton of safe but subpar soft-boot-remaking and aping of the first Star Wars. In some cases, it works fine. Another X-Wing trench run? Ok, whatever, I'm not complaining. But the Starkiller Base is a pretty wasted element and smacks of serial shonen and this time it's a bigger and worserer threat! — and it's a bit sad to watch the reboot have to come at the expense of saying, essentially, that the old guard all failed and their efforts are mostly undone.

But in spite of anything I'm saying here, the movie's just fun and refreshing and cool and I have no major complaints. It's Star Wars. It's got lasers and pew pew and laser sword fights and exploding things and witty banter and exciting new characters I can't wait to see more of and find out what's gonna happen. It will have completely succeeded at hurling star wars back into the forefront and it will have reinvigorated the franchise completely in advance of the coming series of movies.

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Samprimary
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Hang on, last minute correction — I'm being informed that as a terrible star wars nerd, I'm required to be explicitly partisan about this movie and if I liked it that means that if you didn't like it you're wrong and I have to, uh, insult and fight you, apparently? I guess that's how it works now.

So I guess if you didn't like this movie you're basically martin shkreli if he was also a juggalo who invented pop-up spam, slavery, and mosquitos, and while I'm glad you're taking the time off of running comcast and the chicago police department to discuss how much Star Wars failed to satisfy your retchingly pretentious demands of cinema, trying to comprehend your opinion would be like snorting donald trump's neckbeard stubble off the chernobyl elephant's foot and you are the definitive proof of why camus was wrong when he said we can or should imagine sisyphus happy. Movie was perfect. Fight me 1v1 IRL.

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Lyrhawn
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I'd mostly agree with your three criteria, except one.

I think part and parcel of Star Wars and the "feel" is imagination. Newness. All of the Lucas movies, love them or hate them, tried something new. They were imaginative. They built something.

This was, by and large, none of that. In fact, this was the very opposite of that. Abrams, terrified of failing (the way Lucas did), but trying something new, tried nothing new at all.

But otherwise I agree. It was a fun movie that's very enjoyable so long as you don't look at it too hard.

As for the Mary Sue thing. Mary Sues are usually two things: 1. The author putting themselves into a story to hang out with established characters, like, if I was to make myself a wizard student at Hogwarts and hung out with Harry and Hermione. 2. Usually incredibly perfect at just about everything.

Rey fails as a Mary Sue at the first thing. But it's easy to see why she smacks of Mary Sue-ness at the second. She's maybe the most perfect, adept character Star Wars has ever had. And the problem people usually have with that is that perfection usually isn't very interesting or believable. But we'll see where they go with her. She's an interesting follow up to Leia and Amidala, both of whom were very strong women, but also flawed.

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Samprimary
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Ep 4 was itself heavily derivative, trying a definitely new setting but with an old story.

Ep 7 was itself heavily derivative of Ep 4

Eps 5 and 8 will, presumably, be taking the series into its dark low part but breach new ground and be even better than what came before.

Eps 6 and 9 will be about ewoks

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Lyrhawn
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Derivative of Kurosawa films and Campbell's Monomyth sure.

But adapting it to being a sci-fi fantasy opera was itself a fantastic bit of imagination.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'd mostly agree with your three criteria, except one.

I think part and parcel of Star Wars and the "feel" is imagination. Newness. All of the Lucas movies, love them or hate them, tried something new. They were imaginative. They built something.

This was, by and large, none of that. In fact, this was the very opposite of that. Abrams, terrified of failing (the way Lucas did), but trying something new, tried nothing new at all.

But otherwise I agree. It was a fun movie that's very enjoyable so long as you don't look at it too hard.

As for the Mary Sue thing. Mary Sues are usually two things: 1. The author putting themselves into a story to hang out with established characters, like, if I was to make myself a wizard student at Hogwarts and hung out with Harry and Hermione. 2. Usually incredibly perfect at just about everything.

Rey fails as a Mary Sue at the first thing. But it's easy to see why she smacks of Mary Sue-ness at the second. She's maybe the most perfect, adept character Star Wars has ever had. And the problem people usually have with that is that perfection usually isn't very interesting or believable. But we'll see where they go with her. She's an interesting follow up to Leia and Amidala, both of whom were very strong women, but also flawed.

Was Amidala a flawed character? To have personality flaws, you need to have a personality. What did one of those 1.5 hour reviews of why the prequels were terrible say? Describe a character without mentioning what they looked like or did (oh hey, it's summarized here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RedLetterMedia)

I would argue that Finn and Rey are designed to hang out with the established characters. They are not the authors in a way that Corran Horn and Talon Karde were Zahn and Stockpole (who posed as these characters with an actress hired to be Mara Jade). However, Han wanted to hire Rey (does Han hire people?), Leia hugged her instead of Chewie and Luke is going to train her as a Jedi).

Rey is good at fighting, finding, fleeing, flying, Forcing and fixing.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
According to the books (and my understanding is that this is SUPPOSED to be official canon now), the First Order is a secret society. The New Republic is the governing body of the entire galaxy, but the First Order forms in secret by like-minded individuals who want the Empire back. The Republic has largely demilitarized and doesn't really take the First Order seriously (which seems an unconscionable lack of good sense given recent galactic history but whatever), but the Resistance thinks they are a real threat and form to hunt them down and keep an eye on them, tacitly supported by the Republic.

If that's true their vocabulary is dumb. You don't call something "the Resistance" when it's on the side of the government and hunting down a criminal organization. "The Resistance" implies opposition to an occupation government.
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
According to the books (and my understanding is that this is SUPPOSED to be official canon now), the First Order is a secret society. The New Republic is the governing body of the entire galaxy, but the First Order forms in secret by like-minded individuals who want the Empire back. The Republic has largely demilitarized and doesn't really take the First Order seriously (which seems an unconscionable lack of good sense given recent galactic history but whatever), but the Resistance thinks they are a real threat and form to hunt them down and keep an eye on them, tacitly supported by the Republic.

If that's true their vocabulary is dumb. You don't call something "the Resistance" when it's on the side of the government and hunting down a criminal organization. "The Resistance" implies opposition to an occupation government.
+1
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Elison R. Salazar
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Force sensitives, the kind that become Jedi, are normally incredibly adept and skilled because they can literally see the future. It isn't legitimate to call them Mary Sues.
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PSI Teleport
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I agree with most of the criticism of this movie. That said, I sat through this one and kind of enjoyed it, which had never been true for me and Star Wars before. Also:

quote:
Also that bit with the monsters on Han Solo's barge was begging to be cut,
I'm pretty sure this is how they got their all-important PG-13 rating. My kids are just the right age where I spend most of my movie time screening the PG-13s trying to figure out what they stuck in there in order to get the 13. Sometimes it's one unnecessary sex scene, like Iron Man. Sometimes it's the golden F-bomb. In this Star Wars, it definitely felt like the "horrifying aliens that eat people" scene.
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Jon Boy
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Kylo Ren killing Han was also pretty brutal, as were the lightsaber duels at the end. I wouldn't be surprised if it would have been PG-13 even without those stupid monsters, even though it was definitely at the milder end of the scale.
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Dogbreath
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I figured it was the storm-trooper bloody hand print / massacring villagers at the beginning thing. The opening sequence is pretty dark and violent.

FWIW, my (mild) criticisms of the movie here doesn't mean I don't like it! I've been to see it twice already...

[ December 26, 2015, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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Heisenberg
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Some stuff from the novel, which is halfway decent and has a lot more room for exposition.

-Ben Solo turned early. It is explicitly stated that the scene on the bridge is the first time Han has seen his son as a full grown man.
-Han is the reason Leia and he are split. He basically ran away to try and be the same person he was at the beginning of Episode 4, because he couldn't handle losing his son. He hasn't seen Leiain years.
-One year after Endor, the New Republic defeats the Empire in a final battle over Jakku. A peace treaty is signed between the Republic and the Imperial Remnant.
-Over time in the Remnant, the First Order organises from zealous Imperials. They emphasise superior training and equipment to make up for their much reduced numbers.
-The New Republic never takes this seriously. They basically Chamberlain the way to their destruction.
-No mention is made of Coruscant. Like, at all. It's weird.

My crazy prediction - Leia goes Dark.

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Dogbreath
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Thanks for that, Heisenberg. It fills in a lot of holes.

I normally despise movie novelizations, but I might actually get this one, just for all the exposition/backstory it provides.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
I think the main point of that scene was to set up the idea that Han can talk (or, well, blast) his way out of anything. When he confronts Kylo Ren, he doesn't have a plan—he thinks that if he can just talk to him, he can figure something out. And then it goes horribly wrong.

I had to stop reading this thread to comment on this. I think Han walking on to that bridge wasn't a choreographed death for the viewers and a surprise for Han. Han knew EXACTLY what he was walking into. And chose to do it. He accepted the imminent and obvious threat that his son represented. He knew what the price would be for his last chance to talk and try and turn his son back. His last comment about "Ben" was "Our son is dead." to his mother!

Han knew. Han choose to offer his life as a love sacrifice...even though you killed me, I still love you. Delivering that message was worth dying for.

Anyway...back to reading this thread.

[ December 26, 2015, 10:09 PM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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I really, really liked it.

For me the worst moment was when the ground split between Ren & Rey.

My biggest complaint is the names of all the new characters are monosylabolic and confusing.

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The Black Pearl
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I'm with Lyrhawn. Enjoyed it in theater but I appreciated it less by the time I got to my car.

Ending was eh. I'd prefer it just had left Luke out of the film entirely.

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The Black Pearl
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I think I liked Poe's disappearance/re-appearance. Although I wanted more of him and a little more interesting dialogue (at times)
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Stone_Wolf_
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Anyone else catch that Kylo Ren's real name is Ben Solo? As in "Been So Low"?
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Bob_Scopatz
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Ha! Reminds me of the blues song in the cantina scene from the Phineas and Ferb Star Wars movie.

...which, by the way, is hilarious.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Midichlorians are are like a virus that is geared toward infecting as many hosts as possible, and which has multiple strategies for doing so...some of which rely on standard infection mechanisms and others of which require more elaborate control of the host organism. Under the right conditions, involving high enough concentrations in a reasonably small area, they achieve sentience and can exert full control over several organisms at once. They can communicate instantly over vast distances and his can cooperate on elaborate plans while controlling multiple nexuses through massively infected hosts.
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scifibum
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I watched it again with my two oldest kids and the oversimplifications started to bother me by how much they contrasted with the graphic violence and horror. If it's a movie for kids, then let's not have as much nightmare fuel, and let's have our heroes avoid indiscriminate killing. If it's not a movie for kids, let's bring up the IQ of the dialogue and logistics just a bit.

I shouldn't have rewatched it. :/

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Orincoro
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I watched it a second time with my wife at a matinee showing. I enjoyed it just as much the second time, because I got to anticipate the jokes a bit- which were if anything, more funny the second time around.

What started to bother me even more though, was the weird pacing, and the almost total lack of a sense of time passing. As you watch the movie, you begin to realize that from the perspective of the audience, it's possible that everything in the entire film happens in a 36 hour period, and none of the characters ever sleep during that time. The one exception is Rey, who appears to go to sleep after the events of the first day, and meeting BB8. But that's it.

It would take 15 seconds and a cut to give the sense that time was passing, but they kept dialogue and exposition going at all time when there was even a moment where the characters traveled in space. There was literally no sense at all that they ever stopped talking, or that it took longer than about 3 minutes to get anywhere.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Agreed.
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Lyrhawn
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I saw it for the second time yesterday. And I enjoyed it much less. It was still funny, still entertaining for what it was. But none of the nostalgia moments worked. The whole thing on Han's ship with those weird alien monsters felt like a waste of time. The plot holes seemed even bigger. Rey's mastery of everything within seconds of trying it was a little more silly.

Now, I still enjoyed it. It was fun. But it felt more like a cookie cutter action movie than a Star Wars movie in many ways. I still don't understand all the hoolpah and the positive reviews from professional critics.

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theamazeeaz
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To be fair, there's not a lot of sense of time for space travel for analogous parts of the other movies. For example, how much time passes between Luke and Ben getting on the Falcon to the Death Star to the rest of the movie? We don't really know. Ditto with the Hoth escape to Cloud City (hopefully Luke spent more than a day with Yoda, but still).

I still enjoyed the movie the second time. The first time was a treasure, though-- everyone clapped at the first appearance of Han, the Falcon, etc, and I had *no clue* what was going to happen, which I don't think has ever happened with a Star Wars movie (I'm impressed with my grown-up self, I lived on theforce.net/read the novels for the other ones) Also, I knew about Vader/Luke before seeing the originals at 9, it just permeates American culture (if you can find a foreigner who's really never seen the films or heard of them, watching the Empire Strikes Back with them is a LOT of fun).

Many people had nice things to say about the prequels when they first came out, and I think it takes a few years for people to decide if most movies are worth it or not. I think the consensus of sticking this one between the two trilogies in quality and that they are the same movie is going to stick. I think Star Wars is like a Dan Brown book-- wonderfully exciting, but if you look too hard, you'll see the cracks, and if you read a second one, you'll figure out the formula.

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