Jump to content

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Captain Kelsten
 Share

Recommended Posts

On 15/02/2016 at 10:41 AM, K said:

 

I'm not saying that we should have had a montage of Rey doing her theory test, and several weeks of driving lessons, culminating in her nailing a tricky three point turn on her test, with a final triumphant freeze frame as she throws her L plates over her shoulder and punches the air. It just seemed a bit un-earned that she's pulling off Lando Calrissian-type manoeuvres and flying through star destroyers after the initial few seconds of wonkiness. Luke turned out to be a sick pilot in Star Wars, but that was the climax of the film - it was the culmination of everything he was working towards. In this, it's just the first step in Rey revealing how amazing she is at everything she turns her hand to.

 

I think that was part of the reason why people were saying her character's a Mary Sue - she's annoyingly good at everything. Like, she's immediately a pro-level space pilot. Within a few minutes of meeting Han Solo, he's offering to make her his new sidekick. She nails Jedi mind tricks the first time she thinks to try one. She twats an experienced and powerful evil Jedi the first time she picks up a lightsaber in anger. I realise Luke went from whiny yokel to the guy who kills the galaxy's most powerful and evil man, but that was over the course of three films. He had Yoda to teach him, plus there was the unseen period between each film that gave his character more breathing space. With Rey, it feels like she had a whole trilogy's development compressed into one film.

 

In fact, reading the Force Awakens art book, I get the sense that TFA was meant to be a bit slower, and was supposed to cover less ground. It's a breathlessly quick film, and the pace keeps your interest throughout, and that's a good thing on the whole. I just think that covering so much ground in the films leads to all this slight clumsiness like the Falcon being unlocked and fully fueled, ready for a quick getaway, or Fin going from being shocked by massacring innocents to grinning slaughterer of his own comrades, or R2D2 waking up and revealing the final plot token. I've no issue with the film being fast-paced, but it felt like they were joining the dots by the quickest possible route due to the pace and pressure of the production, whereas with a bit more time, I think they could have come up with something that was equally quick, but less clumsy.

 

 

Funnily enough I expressed the fear pre-release that they were going to make a character inexplicably good at fighting with using a lightsabre/the force - going from complete newbie to competent in far too short of a timeframe - but I thought it might be Finn based off the trailer forest lightsabre shot.

 

Joining the dots, competently but without real deep thought or care, really kinda describes the film. Something else you said also made me think of describing it thusly: the Force Awakens undermines itself again and again. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 17/02/2016 at 2:25 PM, K said:

TFA goes way beyond using motifs from the original film, though. It's so similar to the original film that it feels like a remake, and that was a big drawback for me. I found it harder to suspend disbelief and invest myself in the film, because I kept being reminded of the similarities to a different film.

 

I'd disagree that this was the only option for the filmmakers, as well - they could have called back to the original film without almost literally recreating it. Even something like making Jakku visually and aesthetically different to Tatooine would have helped.

 

Absolutely. I think that really, really, really holds the film back. 

 

I also think it's purely an excuse for laziness, and for people reflexively becoming defensive about themselves feeding on nostalgia, to say that you had to shove all this 'HEY REMEMBER STAR WARS' stuff in in order to make the film work.

 

No. No, you didn't. It was a choice, not a necessity. Disney did it to appeal to the lowest common denominator, to get that Pavlovian response going in fans, because they know that nostalgia makes people crazy and it (probably literally) overloads parts of their brains.

 

As someone put it very well earlier in the thread: this is Star Wars and the audience for these movies would have willingly followed you (the director of a new Star Wars film!) anywhere. They really would have. 

 

With a whole universe of possibilities at their fingertips, and the original movies being such a wildly popular touchstone to the point where they had become their own cliches, how can it be justified for a movie in TFA's position to be so damn unoriginal, lazy, referential and fan-servicey? 

 

I mean, JJ et all demonstrate that they can make a good movie that seems like it was made by a human being, featuring action, adventure and charm. It's a hundred times better than the prequels. So why weigh this talent down with such a creatively moribund plot and structure?

 

I really think they could have made something special here. The film, when it's trying new things and in its form and feeling, feels quite lovely at times. But it's just....what is in the service of? Something incredibly tired, you realise later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 17/02/2016 at 2:48 PM, Darren said:

Return of the Jedi was criticised at the time for being a very conservative sequel, in particular for using another Death Star as the big threat rather than anything more original.

 

I daresay if TFA had come out in 1986 it would have been criticised for being even more conservative than ROTJ. But because we've had thirty-odd years and the prequels between, to me TFA feels less like a rehash and more like a statement of intent. It basically says, "Forget those awful prequels. We aren't making films like that. Remember the awesome originals? We're making films like that."

 

But it is a rehash. It absolutely is. The things that are good in TFA show that it could have easily been a great movie with a new and original plot.

 

If they had any artistic integrity and said 'no, we're making a new movie, going to new places, and this film isn't just going to be an exercise in focus-tested brand synergy' then I think we could be talking about a movie that could be truly amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 17/02/2016 at 2:53 PM, Alex W. said:

Would we be having the same conversation if it just "felt" the same or just had the same plot, rather than both?

 

Yeah, it's good to point that out because the film was both tonally and narratively so, so familiar that it gets dragged down by the weight of its opaque aping. 

 

In fact, the film is such an obvious remake of ANH that it *actively* undermines its own dramatic potential by effectively telling you by giving you insight into what is likely to happen in the plot.

 

So, for instance, it's super duper ultra obvious that Rey is going to be a force user. So you've effectively buggered what is written as a dramatic, surprising development by your insistence on copying and rehashing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 19/02/2016 at 0:46 PM, Darren said:

 the general consensus seems to be it's much closer to the quality of the originals than it is to the prequels.

 

Undeniably so! And yet in being so much better, in seeing it soar away from Lucas' prequels, it is even more exasperating the film squander its own innate potential on a creatively drained plot, story structure and tonal feel. It's like a photocopy of a photocopy, except at some point it got restored, remastered and made into an expensive giclee print - at some point you'll notice it and be all 'but that was just that old document I photocopied a million times, not the weird and esoteric piece of art made it out to be at first glance'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 03/05/2016 at 0:45 AM, kensei said:

 

Kylo stopped a blaster bolt in mid air, can probe the minds of people to get information, created his own crossy, noisy lightsaber, can easily force choke and grab people and has been trained at some point to some degree by both Luke and The Dark side dude. He's the son of Leia, and her family has been very strong with the Force. The filmed showed me he was reasonably formidable and ticked a lot of Jedi/Sith boxes. The tell bit that he needs to complete his training was outweighed by that. Also surely there has to be some element of maintaining practice to be good? Even if Rey was force trained, if you don't practice things regularly then you don't stay good at them. Jedi go on about training a lot.

 

Maybe it's the direction that's getting me. I can see what Abrams was going for; Kylo is injured, emotional and weaker. The fight with Finn should establish he's vulnerable. But he still deals with him quite easily. Then it plays out as Kylo is completely on top, then Rey closes her eyes and she's completely on top. If it had have been more back and forth, if Finn had have compounded the damage more in the first fight then I might have bought it. Or If the film had have used Kylo's tantrums and lack of control to undo him - it had demonstrated that a lot earlier. But it just felt like Rey flipped a switch.

 

I didn't find the Rey/Ren fight at all convincing. It felt very fake and forced to me and I didn't buy the scenario the film was selling me.

 

I've criticized various things, but if I take the film on its own merits entirely, this is one of the few things I immediately disliked as I was watching the film. I didn't buy it at all. 

 

I'll join the many others in saying that Rey is way, way, way, too super great at everything in this movie. It detracts from her character, actually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 03/05/2016 at 8:31 AM, kensei said:

 

The Matrix is very good at this sort of heroes journey. Neo is shown to be very powerful, but he needs trained and shown things. He fails before he succeeds. Rey never really fails, and she never really needs shown anything.

 

Yep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved the film, saw it twice at the cinema and was day one for the Blu-Ray, but I do think this is a fair criticism.  However if you look back to ANH, Luke doesn't really fail either and manages to blow up the Empire's greatest weapon on his (not the Squadrons) first try.

 

So TFA is a bit shallow, but no worse than ANH.  I would imagine that the next film will have her failure moments, which will bring the inevitable comparisons to ESB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with that @Ivanho.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts @Punished Smitty. They're all valid criticisms but I'm inclined to forgive them, just because to me it felt like all the riffing on the original films (and obviously ANH in particular) was deliberate rather than lazy. It was the first film made under the new management and this was them showing they can make a "proper" Star Wars film, better than the old boss could in recent years.

 

Having said that, I'll be much less forgiving if the next film features an ice planet, jedi training in a swamp, Ren chopping Rey's hand off etc. (although I could forgive that last one - it's like poetry, it rhymes :) ).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's kind of like Jurassic World. You come out of the cinema and think, "phew, that actually wasn't awfu!", but then have no real compunction to go back to it either. Guardians Of The Galaxy kind of pissed on Star Wars' chips when it comes to breezy space adventures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Except the second half of GotG was pretty dull. A big fight for a planet of people I was given absolutely no reason to invest in. I did like Raccoon and StarLord and Groot, but could care less about their mission.

 

But I really care about Han/Chewie/Leia/Finn/Rey and am rooting for the Resistance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Star Wars blew up half a baker's dozen planets you didn't care about, and your fondness for the old characters was established decades ago.

11 minutes ago, jonamok said:

I did like Raccoon and StarLord and Groot, but could care less about their mission.

So that means you did care! Checkmate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I adored GotG, but I'd question the "no real compunction to go back to it" thing for TFA. Loads of people saw it two, three, four or even five times around release, and I ended up going back for a second watch just hours after the first. Obviously this is partly just due to fondness for the series, but I really love it to bits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

YES, that. 

 

I'll also add It was also the first VHS film i had, we recorded it when the BBC showed it for the first time and watched it pretty much constantly for 5 years. My brother and I wore the tape out in the end. 

 

So TFA recaptures that hokey space adventure popcorn fest of the first film. Sure it follows a new hope almost beat for beat. But i just don't care it's fun, it has quotable line, has  a hero that i can like, a bad guy with issues. spaceships and laser guns. 

I don't feel the need to analyse it, par it down to find plot holes and inconsistencies. It's a film, just a film and in the grand scheme of things it means nothing. Except to an 8 year old me that wanted a space ship and an adventure and cool buddy like Han solo.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And of course this is just us falling into the nostalgia trap that Smitty correctly pointed out. He's absolutely right. But it's nostalgia that's been positively triggered, if that makes sense, by the feeling of the film, rather than the visuals. If it could be triggered by any old rubbish so long as it had lightsabers, R2-D2, and people saying "I have a bad feeling about this," we'd all still be raving about the prequels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Ivanho said:

I loved the film, saw it twice at the cinema and was day one for the Blu-Ray, but I do think this is a fair criticism.  However if you look back to ANH, Luke doesn't really fail either and manages to blow up the Empire's greatest weapon on his (not the Squadrons) first try.

 

 

What about when he gets an electric shock up the bum from the lightsaber training drone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TFA is a like Abrams Star Trek reboot: it zips along at a great pace, has really likeable characters and seek snappy dialogue but leans on nostalgia a bit too much and basically breaks down a bit if you think on it too hard. I enjoy both films though, and can happily get over the flaws to rewatch them.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness on the other hand is an abomination. And it is in part because they ignored the problems of the original. I just don't want VIII to do that. Disney are hopefully a safer pair of hands and it's a different director, so I'm optimistic. But I'm just saying if anyone's blood is magic, I'm tearing up the cinema.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like sand was Darth Vader's kryptonite even before he was a shambling robot man full of dust-sensitive parts?

 

"Damn, looks like I can't go find my son on Tatooine, they don't make an Otterbox for my fucking chest lights yet."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, -Ben.Johnson- said:

You guys think it's a coincidence that Rey and Luke were both raised (as far as we know) on sand planets, when Darth Vader is clearly not a fan of sand, and makes a point of it to Padme?

 

The reason Rey lives on a sand planet is Emperor Waltatine decreed to Darth Abrams that their new Battle Franchise should be built as close to the specs of the original as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.