This particular topic could be debated in any of the films threads, but since it covers the ST as a whole, I figured we should make a new thread instead of using older ones or going out of subject in other threads, such as in DrDre’s “TROS Box Office Predictions” thread.
To start things off, I spot many similarities in what’s been done so far, and it’s one of the big turn offs from this Sequel Trilogy (the biggest one is I don’t fully believe Rey’s character and her abilities, but that’s for another thread).
Anyway, as early as opening night of TFA the complaints that it was nothing more than a rehash started. I remember even Harmy, despite having a mostly positive review of the film, stating its plot was very, very similar to Star Wars’. And that’s the one thing I think is objectively true - the plots for both movies are very similar. And when they’re not, the rest, for some reason, is. I’ll get to that. The story of the movies differs quite a bit though, especially given the similarities in the plot.
I think that what gives me (and most) the rehash feeling is that, while in theory the status quo in the galaxy at the beginning of TFA is very different from what was going on at the beginning of SW, when it comes to what happens in the movie, it’s really not that different. In SW we have a big bad Empire, with limitless resources, etc. and a small group of rebels, struggling to fight the huge evil Empire. In TFA, in theory, we have a scattered First Order and a strong, unwilling to act Republic, with a small group of “radicals”, the Resistance. But when it gets down to the film, the FO has limitless resources and unlimited power, the Republic is meaningless and blown to bits without having anything to do, and the Resistance becomes a small band of rebels. So… we do get to the very same point we were in the beginning of SW. That’s not to mention that if not for EU content I never would’ve known of the Republic’s part in all of this and I’d assume, like I did when I first saw the film, that the Resistance was the Rebels and the FO the Empire, and… it made no sense.
TFA is not the only film guilty of resetting the status quo, though. TLJ’s scope is very small, sure, but what happens in the movie is essentially the same thing. In the movie’s environment there’s a limitless-resources group of Imperials pursuing a small band of scattered Rebels, and that’s it. Rey even mentions how “the First Order will take control of all of the major star systems within weeks!” to Luke! So they do end up seeming undefeatable.
Now, if we go deeper than just the setting of the films, there’s the actual plot. TFA’s and SW’s plots are very similar. TFA even manages to have trench runs and a Death Star attack despite the McGuffin question not being about the Starkiller Base at all…
The ending of TFA is, from what I’ve seen, widely regarded as the weakest part of the film because of that, and it’s definitely the most insulting of the similarities. An interesting question is if it would’ve been more original to simply have the ending fully centered around getting to Luke, like SW is about the Death Star, or not, since the way they went basically replayed beat by best something we’d previously seen before. And that’s not to mention how similar the characters are. Sure, they’re following conventional genre tropes, but when the rest of the things are as similar as they are… There’s a lot more to cover, but I’d like to address a bit of TLJ in this first post as well.
With TLJ, things are a bit different. If you think in terms of a mdoern retelling of the OT, as DrDre put it a while ago, TFA left us in the beginning of TESB, with the Empire’s attack about to happen, which is the first thing that happens in TLJ. TLJ takes a lot more freedoms that TFA didn’t, and does create some amazing sequences and masterful moments. But in the end, we arrive at Throne Room 2.0, and this one really is nothing more than a version 2 of a previous sequence. The outcome is different, but it’s still the main character trying to turn the bad guy back to the good side, with a bad guy sitting on a throne. There’s actual repeated dialogue IIRC, and the scene flows so similarly to ROTJ’s scene that this scene was, out of the entirety of both TFA and TLJ, the one scene that made me feel like I was watching a remake, or a reboot of some sort.
Anyway, act 3 of TLJ ends and, well, with it the mini 1.5movie long OT inside the ST. So act 4 of TLJ was interesting because it brought something new to the table, and I honestly can’t wait for TROS and see what’s to come.
I think that the whole “similarity” aspect of the ST hurt the movies quite a bit, in many ways. For example, TLJ feels slow and rushed at the same time, with stuff like Rey literally mailing herself to Kylo and the whole thing being done in half a dozen 5 seconds long shots, while the pace of the film is uneven and… agh, this is another issue again.
Well folks, debate away.