Not sure if you’re familiar with that user, but he has aspbergers or something. I used to think he was, as you say, but as far as I can tell he’s serious as far as he can tell.
Anyway, my immediate thoughts after arriving home from the theater:
Really enjoyable film, overall. JJ’s work as a director was really phenomenal. He captured a great blend of old and new style film. Of course I never felt like I was watching a film from the 70s, but it had the same kind of earnest vibe through many sections of it, including just about every time Han opened his mouth. On that note, I wasn’t expecting Han on screen, just Harrison Ford, despite how many people said he brought the character back. He really did, and I was impressed. He nailed the humor, the sentiment, the action. All of it.
Carrie? Not so much. But I know she doesn’t act anymore. It turned out better than I expected, and not including her wasn’t an option. But you can just tell that, despite JJ probably loving the fact that he’s working with her, the need to use her is somewhat a burden. Most of her lines are short. I may be wrong, but they seem to have DVNR’ed her face. Wrinkles come and go. That was… kind of a bummer (unless I was looking for something that didn’t happen in reality). There was one shot where only a slight shift in camera happened, making it almost a jump shot, probably to piece together parts of her lines that worked best. I think I’m being overly harsh because she was the only weak link among an incredible crew of actors. It was good to have her back. Her non-verbal acting was pretty good, and her one actual scene with a conversation was functional enough.
Luke. His lacking and Han’s fate were the two things that I definitely had spoiled for me. His appearance itself was pulled off very well. Very nice last shot. I suppose we won’t know what we were possibly missing until the next Episode or two are out. If Harrison had no chance of coming on for VIII, I’m glad he got all the ‘old folks screentime’ on this go.
I was impressed by the new cast. Driver, as everyone has said, completely nailed it. They cast another great unknown with Daisy. Finn pulled off the humor pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised with him, having seen only nonsense shouting bits in the trailers. Unlike Harmy, I think the Maz CGI worked pretty well. I’ll agree for Snoke, though. No, that face couldn’t have been produced easily with conventional effects. But a fractured face could have been pulled off. Even heavily modified video of a real actor. The Snoke effect really didn’t work for me. It could get better or worse when he’s not a hologram.
Harmy also pointed out that the CGI ships were really unpleasant to his eye. I think almost every one of the gratuitous shots was in the trailers. I thought many of the other ones worked well, and that the problems that the fighter battles did have were due to the ‘camera’ work rather than the action itself. Yeah, could have been better for us cranks who are critical of CGI-fests, but I liked 80-90% of the ship battles, and the rest were surely created with the trailers in mind.
The script, as far as the dialogue goes, was stellar. The plot was enjoyable. I agree of course that it’s on the simple side. It did hit a lot of the points of SW/ANH, but it never felt like I was watching a reboot of that film. It was a major concern of mine, as on paper the parallels were starting to feel huge. But it’s the characters and the actors that brought this script to life, not the plot points. Still, could have used something besides Starkiller. I liked the idea of it being able to wipe out the Rebels even without a strong empire. It didn’t need to be floating orb subject to X-wing attack, though. The real threat in the film was new, and it was about Kylo determining Luke’s location. We worried for Luke and Rey, but the Starkiller was just an excuse to get the X-wings airborne. 😦
I’m still processing how I feel about the plot in general. The pacing, the flow, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed many of the points, and I wouldn’t say the overall plot disappointed at all. But I think the missed opportunities to do more will become louder with rewatches. If JJ really wanted that ANH feel, it could certainly have been more self-contained.
I am curious to see what we grumps thought of the color timing. I thought the color looked nice, overall. Most of the exterior shots had natural timing to them. But there was a lot of variety, and I thought it worked. A lot of blue. A few orange shots, but little of the dreaded orange n’ teal. If anything, blue and red was more common. Also: Lens flare was never something that bothered me, but I think zero lens flare would have been the correct amount for JJ on this one.
My ranking as of right now places it above RoTJ. Subject to change.