main
side
curve

Lit THE FORCE AWAKENS - The Official Movie Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Literature' started by AdmiralNick22 , Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    So, just finished Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    Things I would still see as a missed opportunity that cannot now ever be fixed: For me those three characters of Luke, Han and Leia plus Chewie and the droids work best together. That’s where the magic of the first films came to life for me. For all the sequels ran the characters on different tracks, each still brought them back together as much they could. This opening shot renders that impossible, never mind that Fisher then died last year.

    But, all things considered? That’s about it! Which is far, far fewer complaints than I expected to have given its reputation. What reputation might that be? That it’s a lazy, quick OT rehash. I’d grant that there’s definitely a thematic influence present but, a lot of the time? I was having to do an awful lot of work to directly link it to ANH and, after the first half hour being sufficiently different, I gave up and opted instead to just enjoy the movie.

    Moving onto other charges - that the Republic gets wiped out and we know nothing of it. In terms of what TFA gives the viewer, this’d be accurate. If I take a wider view and factor in the likes of the Bloodline and Aftermath trilogy books, I pretty much know what the Republic is doing and why. If anything it amps up the tragic element of it. Could they have pre-emptively stopped the Starkiller? My answer two years ago was no and the film only emphasises that. So, no change.

    That the Empire would keep on building superweapons despite losing two Death Stars is entirely plausible and credible. They were always about fear and control and their First Order successors simply think taking that further is the way to go. Although, again, knowing the partial origins of the First Order helps when watching the film,as it didn’t just come out of nowhere. Knowing of the Battle of Jakku gives a different cast to the sequences on Jakku, of crashed Star Destroyers and ship graveyards. I really liked the aesthetics of those scenes and flying the Falcon through an engine section of the Super Star Destroyer Ravager topped it nicely.

    The next charge: Wiping out the new Jedi order. This one is far more sustained, there’s only the barest answers given as to what happened and it does feel a bit of swizz.

    Han and Leia - Seeing the film alone makes this one look worse than it is. Best estimates are it all goes horribly wrong about five years before the film. The way Bloodline sketches their relationship also takes the edge off the separation quite a bit too. I wouldn’t have bought Han simply returning to smuggling as, contrary to his claims, he was crap at it. Of far more interest is that Han Solo, once arch-cynic of all things Force-related, no longer is.

    The idea of Luke having buggered off to who knows where, probably following the call of the Force, works for me. Luke got to Dagobah that way, he blew the Death Star on a hunch, all in all it’s got a pretty good track record as far as Luke’s concerned.

    Next, Phasma. Why did she power down the shields of Starkiller Base? By reputation, this was one of the big ‘huh?’ moments of the film. One answer, likely to be the official one, is that Phasma isn’t actually loyal to the First Order, she’s only loyal to herself and, in that respect, her actions make perfect sense. Die for the First Order or screw it over and save yourself? It’s an easy decision for Phasma. Of course, the info I’m drawing on for this didn’t exist until about three months ago!

    The new characters then - Poe I enjoy a lot and it’s pretty clear Isaacs is having a ball with the role. That sense is pretty much infectious. Rey I found to be better than expected, the only cringeworthy section were the ‘don’t hold my hand’ scenes which were far, far too clunky. It was odd that Finn went to do that too, unless the First Order conditioning includes a ‘women, know your limits’ bit. Finn I enjoyed too - the idea of these three carrying Episode 9 on their own works. Oh yeah and BB-8, the droid that sold a thousand pluses, against whose cuteness factor there is no defence. Yeah, I gave in too.

    Onto the villains - Snoke, not really much to go on, save that he’s clearly the puppetmaster. Hux. Ah, General Hux, you total ****-up. Not that you really had a chance to be anything but a total ****-up. The idea of there being a vast military organisation, led by those idolising the Empire, an organisation they are far too young to possibly have any accurate memory of, is quite intriguing. They’re all pledging their service to a phantom, well, save Phasma.

    Onto Kylo - or, more accurately for me, the Taserface of TFA. I know I’m supposed to find it terrifying when Kylo is told Rey escaped, but him going nuts on a computer bank was instead utterly hilarious. Ditto later, on Starkiller Base, he’s going nuts because Rey’s legged it again, calling for guards and it shifts to the corridor outside, two stormtroopers heading his way, they hear him and do a quick 180! It’s like: You going to him? Nope, you goin? Nope, let’s just **** off this way. Even the more serious sequences, like him freezing Poe’s blaster bolt in mid-air or killing Tekka or torturing Poe or Rey, killing Han and the final duel - he’s a total mess, he really is.

    I pretty much enjoyed the way they did all this. Seeing Rogue One last year showed up the sheer fun and excitement that is SW being done with all the new toys EFX crews now have.

    A lot can be said about Abrams, that he’s too fond of setting up mysteries, or likes being too secretive, but it can’t be denied there’s a real nice visual flair to TFA. There’s some very smart aesthetics in this film, all very deliberate choices. Hell, just that image of TIEs flying out of the sun on Jakku gave birth to a SW Top Gun mash-up vid.

    TLJ might prove to be more of a challenge, but that’s for Thursday.
     
  2. Dawud786

    Dawud786 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 28, 2006
  3. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    [face_laugh] Well, I did watch it for free.

    The original plan I had made no allowance for, well, certain developments in Ep 8 that radically alter the nature of Ep 9. It's gone much faster than I anticipated, so bringing the plan forward does work.

    There will, of course, be a Part 2 in two years time.
     
  4. masterskywalker

    masterskywalker Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2001
    I went into each sequel film spoiler free, and it's always best to evaluate a film on your own perceptions rather than what the group, or critical consensus is.

    I think Equilibrium is a better movie than the Matrix, you might feel differently, but that's okay!
     
    Vialco likes this.
  5. Revanfan1

    Revanfan1 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2013
    So @Jedi Ben if I'm reading your review correctly, you overall enjoyed TFA, but for your misgivings re: the Jedi and the Republic?
     
  6. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Republic is pretty much covered well by Bloodline and the Aftermath trilogy and I'm on record as being certain they couldn't do anything against the Starkiller.

    Killing off the new Jedi off-screen I can't agree with. There's not really that much that can be said about the Jedi, just going by TFA though.

    I did watch TFA with certain advantages not available at the time.
     
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  7. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    The best explanation for Phasma and the Shields is to use the 3 question rule from Austin Powers :p

     
  8. Nobody145

    Nobody145 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Funny enough, my opinion of TFA has improved after TLJ. There's still a lot I dislike about TFA, but it plays it safer than TLJ. And annoyed as I am with many of TFA's plots (and the background in general for the sequel trilogy), at least TFA's plots progressed, compared to TLJ.

    Personally, its kind of like how I regard NJO in a better light after how awful LotF and FotJ were. You think something's a horrible story, then an even worse story comes along and makes the earlier one doesn't seem quite as bad. (Not to mention the NJO is still a much better story than the sequels could ever hope to be, though they have a few similar story elements.)

    I just hope in another few years IX won't be so bad as to improve my opinion of TLJ either. I remember those almost eager days before TFA came out and I still had hope, and I managed to stay spoiler free too. Maybe JJ will do a good job with IX... yeah, I'm not holding my breath for that.
     
  9. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    I would argue that many (not all) of TLJ problems come from the TFA and having to follow on from that. JJ had no intention of following on from his mystery box nonsense and RJ was left having to deal with it.
     
  10. Nobody145

    Nobody145 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2007
    I agree, TFA's plot has huge problems (starting out with a "map to Luke", then switching to not-Death Star attacking not-Yavin, after blowing up not-Coruscant, then switching back to "map to Luke" in the last ten minutes) but while TFA is still too "modern" for me, compared to the OT and prequels, its tone is still closer to the OT than TLJ. Ripping off too much from the OT is a problem, but TLJ also rips off a lot from the OT and mixes it up with many other problems, but that's better left to another thread.

    People theorized for years what direction VIII would go after TFA. Most predictions were totally off, partially due to being random guessing, and also due to TLJ going for a very different tone from TFA or the OT. The mystery box nonsense is really annoying, and honestly I'd probably rank the sequels below the prequels by now. Well, maybe on par with TPM, but I'd rather watch RotS again (warts and all) before TLJ again.
     
    fett 4 likes this.
  11. Rogue_Follower

    Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2003
    lol
    You mean the TIEs flying out of the sun on Takodana. You know, the planet where every single other shot was overcast and foggy, probably around mid-day.

    (Yes, this sounds pedantic, but it exemplifies some of the issues I and others have with the film: JJ wanted make something that looks cool and superficially Starwarsy, other things be damned. And I do think that shot looks cool and Starwarsy. But when you think about it for more than a few seconds, it's disjointed. It's concept art that looked cool, but doesn't really fit where it was put into the film. Even though you can explain it as the TIEs coming around from the other side of the planet or whatever, it's not good visual storytelling.)
     
  12. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Oh yeah, it was that other place.
     
  13. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Glad you liked it, how do you think it stands if you ignore all the info you got from the EU books/comics?
     
  14. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    It'd be a lot weaker - why is the Republic the way it is? Where did the First Order come from? How long has Kylo been nuts?
     
    Nobody145 and Gamiel like this.
  15. Link1130

    Link1130 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 13, 2002
    That really jumped out at me in my most recent rewatch of TFA right before heading out to see TLJ. It doesn't ruin the movie or scene for me, but it is definitely a cool shot entirely for the sake of a cool shot regardless of the context its in.
     
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Might it just be the TIEs above the atmosphere?
     
  17. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Kasdan Star Wars retrospective in the New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/...rticle&region=Footer&contentCollection=Movies

    There's some good tidbits about TFA's development that it was a lot of jabbering heads, Larry says that it was "No way to make a movie" until they basically just locked down with him and JJ and cranked it out. But, more importantly, both Kasadan and Ford talk about the how/why they decided to put Han where he was:

    LAWRENCE KASDAN It had been 30 years since we saw Han. We’d all gone through 30 years of life, and what it tells you is, you make the same mistakes again and again. I’d gotten older. But my personality hadn’t changed, and I didn’t think Han’s would change. But what do you learn, one way or another? What does life teach you? How does your experience make you a more interesting person? And all the regrets you have, and all the disappointments? That was the basis of Han.

    FORD For me, that was the ultimate value and the pleasure of playing that character. I loved the fact that he turns out to be a reasonable continuum of character, but acknowledging the reality of the passage of 30 years. Boys will be boys. There’s no accounting for that.
     
    Dr. Steve Brule and Gamiel like this.
  18. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
  20. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    I loved Equilibrium.
     
    Dr. Steve Brule likes this.