This is my first post here, since I learned about this website from a friend.
I am a huge fan of the original series and the expanded universe. So naturally when I heard through the grapevine that Disney was dropping the expanded universe to the level of “legends” I was not best pleased.
I’m one of those fans who didn’t watch any trailers and avoided (as best I could) any information regarding the movie. I went to it with high expectations, and came away feeling a sense of disappointment.
I agree with what RU.08 had to say, and am grateful for his quotes from Forbes. Spot on. There are a lot more issues that, as a expanded universe fan, I would like to add to his appraisal.
I felt the film too closely mirrored New Hope. Which led me to really struggle to maintain suspension of disbelief.
Droid on a desert planet, just happens to come across the force-sensitive scavenger who can pilot the Millenium Falcon as though it were a TIE Defender?! Nope, it’s a good effort J J. A very good effort, but whoever was behind the script, and all of the behind-the-scenes junk (red tape and corporate influences), ruined the movie from the perspective of an Original Trilogy Expanded Universe fan.
I feel strongly that Disney’s choice to dump the expanded universe because it had the potential of spoiling the movie, was a terrible decision, and I saw that played out in The Force Awakens.
So I will now go through, scene to scene pointing out the holes. SPOILERS!
Opening Scene - (which I will call Homage to Old Ben Scene). Poe Dameron - aka Immortal “Maverick” (Top Gun reference) - was too cosmetically clean. He’s on a desert planet, presumably searching for this guy for a while. And he looks like he is wearing makeup and has perfect hair… That straight away raised alarms. Then the Imperials turn up. Wow, what a coincidence. Which just happens to be the personal vanguard of the Top Guy (Kylo Ren - aka Vader-Light), wow, what a coincidence. Then it happens that one of the personal vanguard, Finn (aka Mr SuperMook), has a crisis of conscience (and an attack of hyperventilation… sigh). It’s later revealed that this is his first assignment… Personal vanguard to the Top Guy. Newbie Stormtroopers? Nope. Can’t be doing with that. Add on to Kylo Ren stopping a laser bolt in mid air? Nope. That’s a load of Bantha do-do. The droid escapes, well surprise surprise.
The Scavenger - (which I will call Homage to Luke on Tatooine). I’ll be straight, and it’s not about sexism here before anyone flames me. I just did not like Rey, she was too blatantly Padme mkII (or female Luke). Either play it straight, and make her Jiana, or not at all. Anyway! The scene! Not much to say about this, it’s cool to see crashed Star Destroyers. The scaling was cool. But I found the whole thing of scavenging to cash it in for food, oddly un-Star Wars. It reminded me of some sci-fi prison film (can’t remember - maybe Mad Max?). It should have been credits and then she went to the market. The scratching numbers into the AT-AT was confusing and the whole thing about the orphan left on a planet was clearly a plot set-up for the next films. Too blatant.
The Torture scene - (Homage to Han Solo’s torture) was one of the few scenes done quite well. But again, it does raise some questions. Why are Stormtroopers so vulnerable to force suggestion (as seen later on), and yet Mr Immortal “Maverick” can resist? Because Plot! This seemed forced. And someone will probably postulate that Poe Dameron is such a good pilot and can resist because he is Force sensitive - Force Ex Machina again. It destroys suspension of disbelief.
Finding the Droid - (Homage to the Jawa’s). Ugh, this was terrible. In the New Hope it came across quite natural. It wasn’t Luke who found the droids, it was his Uncle. No, in The Force Awakens, the little droid just happens to be caught 100m away from Miss Force-Ex-Machina, Rey. She with a couple of words pursuades the capturer to relinquich BB-88, because… Um no reason given. Anyway, Force suggestion Ex Machina anyone?
Ugh this is emotionally hard to write!
- Immortal “Maverick” Escapes - (Homage to every Star Wars escape scene - Mark 1). So the Stormtrooper-who-bricked-himself busts Immortal “Maverick” out. Let’s take a Tie fighter (2 seater version?! - Yep, two-seater TIEs… That’s a middle finger up to every Star Wars technical guide fan out there). The fact that they are even using TIEs 32 years after RotJ, on the flagship of the Top Guy is ridiculous, but anyway! But WookiePedia is already adding in the “special edition TIEs with 2 seats…”. The only redeeming feature of this scene that I was mildly consoled by the fact that the Star Destroyer looked like an Allegiance-Class Battlecruiser - that was a nice nod. But Allegiance-Class Battlecruisers didn’t have hangers… anyway, it was still nice. But back to ripping this to pieces. The humour, praised in other posts, I felt was out of place, forced, and jarring. Then they get to the TIE hanger bay. Immortal “Maverick”, who actually says that he has never piloted a TIE fighter, gets the thing activated and flies the thing regardless. Force Ex Machina anyone? All the Mooks in all the world can’t bring the thing down, as it’s tethered to the ship and flailing around inside the star destroyer… Nope. Did anyone see the Star Trek into Darkness nod? reference: USS Vengeance activates the proton torpedo cannons. It’s exactly the same in The Force Awakens (just they didn’t get to deactivate the ship). Anyway, anyone who reads the technical manuals know that Proton Torpedo launchers are not cannons. The last offending scene is how the TIE is shot up in orbit, but still survives re-entry. Nope. They should have been dead, which would have made for a better story to be honest.
Do I have to continue? It goes on and on and on and on. Anyway. I will try to add some more later.