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The Force Awakens: Official Review Thread - ** SPOILERS ** — Page 61

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TV’s Frink said:

It’s hard to square you being reasonable with your preference for the prequels. :p

I confess it is a paradox… 😉

I was once…but now I’m not… Further: zyzzogeton

“It wasn’t the flood that destroyed the pantry…”

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 (Edited)

I don’t get all the hate for it being a “remake” of Star Wars. I don’t think it mirrored that film any more than Terminator 2 mirrors the first Terminator. It hits all the same beats, but does so in a new way, and has a generally different feeling and tone to it.

I really, really liked TFA. It was a fun watch, and made me even more excited for VIII than I already was from my love of Rian Johnson.

The movie made me feel something - I felt excited, scared, tense, a lot of the same feelings I got from watching the OT. Of course it’s no ESB, but in my eyes, no movie ever will be.

I really didn’t care that it didn’t make perfect sense. I’m with Frink’s view in a different (terrible) thread that it’s just a movie and sometimes logical leaps are necessary, but I don’t think that’s the full picture. Some movies rely on the plot’s complexity to entertain, and those do need to be airtight. If you’re watching a movie and focusing on its logos, critiques like the ones I’m seeing - that the Millennium Falcon happened to be on Jaaku, that the tie fighter happened to crash in quicksand, that Maz happened to have the lightsaber - are perfectly valid.

But watching any Star Wars movie with a focus on logos over pathos is a mistake - that’s not what these movies are about. Star Wars has always been at its best when it comes to big emotions. Nobody complains when Luke happens to crash walking distance from Yoda’s hut in ESB, because how Luke gets there isn’t what the movie’s about, and that little logical speedbump is worth it for the great scenes that follow.

Granted, there’s a few more moments like this in the new film than the OT, and I wouldn’t rank it close to Star Wars or ESB, but it’s still my view that if those things really bothered you enough to where you hated this movie as much as the prequels, I don’t understand what you liked about the Original Trilogy.

I'm here to kick ass and watch Star Wars, and I'm all out of ass.

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Thank you for that post. The Terminator angle is one I hadn’t even considered.

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kylechu said:

I don’t get all the hate for it being a “remake” of Star Wars. I don’t think it mirrored that film any more than Terminator 2 mirrors the first Terminator. It hits all the same beats, but does so in a new way, and has a generally different feeling and tone to it.

I really, really liked TFA. It was a fun watch, and made me even more excited for VIII than I already was from my love of Rian Johnson.

The movie made me feel something - I felt excited, scared, tense, a lot of the same feelings I got from watching the OT. Of course it’s no ESB, but in my eyes, no movie ever will be.

I really didn’t care that it didn’t make perfect sense. I’m with Frink’s view in a different (terrible) thread that it’s just a movie and sometimes logical leaps are necessary, but I don’t think that’s the full picture. Some movies rely on the plot’s complexity to entertain, and those do need to be airtight. If you’re watching a movie and focusing on its logos, critiques like the ones I’m seeing - that the Millennium Falcon happened to be on Jaaku, that the tie fighter happened to crash in quicksand, that Maz happened to have the lightsaber - are perfectly valid.

But watching any Star Wars movie with a focus on logos over pathos is a mistake - that’s not what these movies are about. Star Wars has always been at its best when it comes to big emotions. Nobody complains when Luke happens to crash walking distance from Yoda’s hut in ESB, because how Luke gets there isn’t what the movie’s about.

Granted, there’s a few more moments like this in the new film than the OT, and I wouldn’t rank it close to Star Wars or ESB, but it’s still my view that if those things really bothered you enough to where you hated this movie as much as the prequels, I don’t understand what you liked about the Original Trilogy.

Is this not possibly due in large part to the fact that the Terminator franchise deals with, at it’s heart, time travel…? So a re-casting of events seemingly falls almost entirely within the scope of it’s core narrative…

At any rate I am well pleased that you enjoyed the film…

I was once…but now I’m not… Further: zyzzogeton

“It wasn’t the flood that destroyed the pantry…”

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Post Praetorian said:
Is this not possibly due in large part to the fact that the Terminator franchise deals with, at it’s heart, time travel…? So a re-casting of events seemingly falls almost entirely within the scope of it’s core narrative…

I suppose so, but if time travel as a plot element justifies mirroring an earlier film, I would argue that a plot about passing the baton to the next generation justifies that structure just as well, if not better.

I'm here to kick ass and watch Star Wars, and I'm all out of ass.

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There’s something I find interesting about Rey. Due to the environment she grew up in, it just adds more to why she’s so great with the Force. When comparing to Luke’s beginnings, Luke has this impatient vibe and a little bratty. Now, hold your horses here, I actually find Luke relatable; being stuck with family and wanting to be somewhere away from home. So again, I have no issue with Luke here, just making this clear for what about I’m about to say.

Rey is basically a toughened up person by the time we meet her. She also exercises key Jedi traits, such as patience, something Luke struggled with for the first two films. Unlike Luke, Rey had no home to come to with someone that cared about her. She didn’t live on a farm where food tends to be plentiful. She instead spent so many years scavenging for a living in order to survive. She stayed on Jakku out of choice because she willingly wanted to wait for her parents to come back, even though day by day (and she literally counted those days as we see in the film), it was unlikely to ever happen.

This is why I’m not really all that disappointed that she had a more tuned relationship with the Force once she understood it IS real. She was able to calm her mind (something Yoda insisted Luke should do) when the time came and it was believable to me due to her upbringing. I’m not saying by any stretch that Luke had a rich and easy life, but in comparison, Luke was living in comfort on Tatooine vs the battle scarred graveyard planet of Jakku.

The Hope Awakens

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hydrospanner said:
I thought it was pretty obvious that Rey is the protogontist.

Bingowings said:
Rey is definitely the lead, in the way Luke was. Finn is more like Leia in being a potential love interest and if the Poe Dameron fan theories come to anything it’s a potential triangle with Finn as the critical vertex.

The protagonist has a desire that they actively pursue throughout the course of the story.
Example: Luke wants to travel to Alderaan with Obi-Wan and learn the ways of The Force.
Example: Luke wants to train with Yoda, to become a Jedi Knight like his father before him.

The protagonist also faces a critical choice at the start of the last act.
Example: Obi-Wan dies, but Luke carries on and decides to join the Rebel attack on the Death Star.
Example: Luke defies Yoda’s warning, and aborts his training to run off to Cloud City to save his friends.

In TFA, Rey starts out as the main character. The first act places her in her ordinary world, at home on Jakku.

At the Act I climax, she flees for her life when the First Order attacks, and suddenly she finds herself entangled in the main plot. She eventually has a goal – to get BB-8’s map to The Resistance. So far, so good.

(Extra Credit: the very best kind of protagonist has both an external goal AND an internal goal they are trying to achieve. In the original Star Wars, Luke’s external goal was to get R2-D2 and the Death Star plans to the Rebels. His internal goal was to learn the ways of The Force from Obi-Wan. This is superior story design to TFA, in which Rey’s only goal was an external one…to deliver BB-8 and the map. Someone might be tempted to interject that Rey’s internal goal was to “make friends” or “realize her Jedi powers” or something like that, but she 1) turned down Han’s offer and wanted to return home and 2) she ran away from the vision and otherwise never actively struggled to increase her force abilities until the last 20 minutes of the movie or whatever.)

Anyway, the story then moves into Act II, and this is where “Rey is the main character” starts to fall apart. Han and Chewie take her (and Finn) to Maz’s castle, but then they are attacked by the First Order, and Rey is captured and taken prisoner. From this point forward, she is no longer the main character. She has no idea what Starkiller base is, or whether or not BB-8 made it to The Resistance. She just woke up in some prison, and her goal is to escape. Her story becomes a subplot. She makes no crisis decision heading into the last Act, nothing. From the time she is kidnapped by Kylo, she is no longer the main character in the movie.

So who is? Well, Finn makes a crisis decision to put everyone in the galaxy’s lives at risk so he can reunite with this broad he just met the day before. Han makes a crisis decision to go and save his son. The lot of them are all actively trying to blow up Starkiller before The First Order kills them. And so on.

The plot is an incoherent mess, and imperialscum was unequivocally right with his comment. There is no main character. The script looks to be an amalgamation of several different concepts, written or influenced by various people. Together they turned into a Frankenstein’s Monster, which is what happens when the entire production doesn’t unite behind one singular vision.

TV’s Frink said:
Hilarious.

You are entitled to your opinion on the film, no question, but when it comes to screenwriting knowledge, you don’t seem to have any, so maybe it would be best if you listened more and talked less when these topics come up.

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Yoda Is Your Father said:
I do wonder though - if they hadn’t acknowledged the history and heroed those moments in the way they did, would we feel unsatisfied in a different way? They had a choice to either do it or not do it, and they chose to do it. Arguably they made the wrong decision, but equally the opposite decision could have backfired.

I see what you’re saying about feeling unsatisfied without such moments but there certainly could have been some middle ground to find. Speaking personally, these events took me out of the story and made me less invested because I can tell that they were written with a large audience in mind rather than for a real dramatic purpose.

TV’s Frink said:

a_moldey_waffle said:

Having said that, the biggest issue I have with The Force Awakens is that it is too reliant on exhibitionism and audience interaction. It is content to rest on the laurels of the franchise and let the already iconic imagery do the work without offering anything new to the table.

I’m going to disagree here. There is so much new, and so much risk taking, that I can’t agree nothing new is brought to the table.

Female lead to carry the movie, who is allowed to stay covered up (in one outfit, no less) and get sweaty and dirty? Huge risk.

Black second lead, as a defecting stormtrooper? Risk.

Han gets killed? Giant risk.

Luke doesn’t show up until the last scene and doesn’t say anything? Risk!

We get a complex imperfect villain completely unlike Vader who idolizes him at the same time. Not to mention a villain who doesn’t look like one when he takes the mask off. We see the force used in new and interesting ways.

I don’t disagree with much of your points, and the movie does play it safe in some ways, but it’s not a safe movie.

Well said. Though my quote was referring more to the mise en scene and world building rather than the characters and specific plot details. However, everything you said is true. (Edited a word).

Lord Haseo said:

a_moldey_waffle said:
Rey has no time to realistically develop as a character because she is too busy saying stuff like “You’re Han Solo! You made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs”

Part of that scene was there to establish that the whole history of the OT is not set in stone. The Galaxy can’t come to a consensus as to Han Solo is. So imagine what else from there are merely regarded as legend or just hyperbole. For me it added depth to the universe in a far more effective way the PT did.

While this has some merit, I can’t help but feel that this was not the intent of the screenwriters. The intent with the line was to rile a reaction from the fans in the audience who are “in” on the joke. So, while I feel that what you’re saying is a valid explanation, I just can’t help feeling that the filmmakers had a much more simple, narrow minded intent with that line and others like it. I can’t prove it; just a feeling.

Mithrandir said:

a_moldey_waffle said:

There are too many moments like when Han runs into the frame for the first time and stands there, waiting for the audience to finish cheering before saying his first line. It’s also off putting the way these moments were structured in that they were paced out in small doses as the film progressed.

It’s like the filmmakers are going: Ok everybody it’s now time to clap for the falcon - 20 min later - Ok folks here comes Han, time for another applause - 20 more min - Now here’s Lei and C-3P0, more applause please.
This 4th walled exhibitionism of OT imagery and characters distracts from the core narrative, which is something a film should never do. You enjoyed those moments in the theater but I can bet you’ll be cringing when you watch the BD by yourself.

Exactly how I felt. I called it flatness in my review, but you put words to this a thousand times better than how I did. It’s a movie that has all the elements there, but it presents them in a way that you think to yourself: “Wow, they did Han appear through that door” instead of “Han appear throught that door”. The implicit but unquestionable presence of “they” is what makes me unable to enjoy the movie.

Yes, to me, it’s exactly how you said. It’s putting the fourth wall in constant jeopardy.

I like what you’re saying about the presence of “they”. That eloquently sums up what I was saying. These were moments where you could ‘feel’ the script almost. This certainly broke immersion for me personally.

Like I said, TFA is a great movie. Heroes are heroes, villains are villains, and we clearly and concisely know what is happening throughout the picture. This can’t be said of the prequel films. I just think TFA tries too hard to please and in doing so loses your immersion and the emotional connection (at least for me).

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kylechu said:

Post Praetorian said:
Is this not possibly due in large part to the fact that the Terminator franchise deals with, at it’s heart, time travel…? So a re-casting of events seemingly falls almost entirely within the scope of it’s core narrative…

I suppose so, but if time travel as a plot element justifies mirroring an earlier film, I would argue that a plot about passing the baton to the next generation justifies that structure just as well, if not better.

Ah…perhaps therein might lie my chief difficulty…perhaps I simply do not like the next generation…possibly because it makes me feel old…? 😉

I was once…but now I’m not… Further: zyzzogeton

“It wasn’t the flood that destroyed the pantry…”

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a_moldey_waffle said:
I just think TFA tries too hard to please and in doing so loses your immersion and the emotional connection (at least for me).

I definitely felt this, but I feel like a lot of it came from the audience I saw it with. I didn’t think Han’s introduction was really that reverent and it didn’t break my immersion too much - it was the cheering in the theater that pulled me out of the movie.

I'm here to kick ass and watch Star Wars, and I'm all out of ass.

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TavorX said:

There’s something I find interesting about Rey. Due to the environment she grew up in, it just adds more to why she’s so great with the Force. When comparing to Luke’s beginnings, Luke has this impatient vibe and a little bratty. Now, hold your horses here, I actually find Luke relatable; being stuck with family and wanting to be somewhere away from home. So again, I have no issue with Luke here, just making this clear for what about I’m about to say.

Rey is basically a toughened up person by the time we meet her. She also exercises key Jedi traits, such as patience, something Luke struggled with for the first two films. Unlike Luke, Rey had no home to come to with someone that cared about her. She didn’t live on a farm where food tends to be plentiful. She instead spent so many years scavenging for a living in order to survive. She stayed on Jakku out of choice because she willingly wanted to wait for her parents to come back, even though day by day (and she literally counted those days as we see in the film), it was unlikely to ever happen.

This is why I’m not really all that disappointed that she had a more tuned relationship with the Force once she understood it IS real. She was able to calm her mind (something Yoda insisted Luke should do) when the time came and it was believable to me due to her upbringing. I’m not saying by any stretch that Luke had a rich and easy life, but in comparison, Luke was living in comfort on Tatooine vs the battle scarred graveyard planet of Jakku.

So essentially Rey was initially trained in the force at a young age…said training remained dormant…but her bare and meager existence upon a treacherous world allowed her implicit training in its usage during her intervening years awaiting the return of her family…?

It is a possibility…indeed a potentially plausible explanation…although I suspect it not to have been at all officially considered. Still, it bears pondering…

I was once…but now I’m not… Further: zyzzogeton

“It wasn’t the flood that destroyed the pantry…”

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Post Praetorian said:
So essentially Rey was initially trained in the force at a young age…said training remained dormant…but her bare and meager existence upon a treacherous world allowed her implicit training in its usage during her intervening years awaiting the return of her family…?

It is a possibility…indeed a potentially plausible explanation…although I suspect it not to have been at all officially considered. Still, it bears pondering…

I currently sit on the fence when it comes to the theory that Rey was previously trained at a young age. I certainly think it’s a solid theory, but if it’s not the case, that would be fine too imo.

Still, living all those years in isolation, where the only person that matters is you, you tend to discover a lot more about yourself. What makes you angry, frustrated, depressed, happy, enlightened, motivated, etc and how to deal with it. Now, I’m not saying her time in isolation was her training in the Force. What I am saying is that she developed key traits of a Jedi should embrace, such as I mentioned, patience.

The Hope Awakens

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Post Praetorian said:
Ah…perhaps therein might lie my chief difficulty…perhaps I simply do not like the next generation…possibly because it makes me feel old…? 😉

I totally understand that reason for not liking it. If you don’t like the new characters and the story and effects just didn’t grab you - I disagree, but I get where you’re coming from. The people I don’t understand are the ones who didn’t like TFA because it “didn’t make any sense”.

I'm here to kick ass and watch Star Wars, and I'm all out of ass.

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Alderaan said:

TV’s Frink said:
Hilarious.

You are entitled to your opinion on the film, no question, but when it comes to screenwriting knowledge, you don’t seem to have any, so maybe it would be best if you listened more and talked less when these topics come up.

For the record, while I strongly disagree with the idea that that Rey is not the main character, I was not responding to that. I was responding to your characterization of that idea as “absolutely and unequivocally true”. Perhaps someone who liked the movie and has the same Advanced Screenwriting 101 course credit you have can chime in and agree with you, otherwise I still find your absolute certainty hilarious.

But anyway, the point was Rey’s character was a risk for the studio to take.

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TV’s Frink said:

timemeddler said:

hmm not much in the movie to like. one of the dumbest was line “thats the republic”, soo the republic consists of about ten planets?

I don’t remember who said this and what exactly they said, can you elaborate?

I think the destruction of the republic was some what bypassed.

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Alderaan said:

imperialscum said:
There is no real lead. Finn has just as much weight I would say. It is a similar mess as TPM.

This is absolutely and unequivocally true.

Saying that Rey not being the main, focus character for 100% of the movie is the same thing as TPM is definitely not absolutely and unequivocally true. You need to look at the effect that the lack of a single main character had on each film.

TFA split main character duty between two likable characters (you can argue to what degree this happens, but I can see the argument that Finn is at least partially a main character), and the film kept its momentum up as focus shifted between the two. Regardless of which one was driving the action, I cared about the events we saw as we followed either one.

In TPM, the lack of a protagonist (along with many other failings) kept people from having a window through which to care about the film’s events. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a clear protagonist, it’s that none of the potential protagonists were interesting enough to make people care.

It’s easy to take shots at a movie by saying that it failed to hit certain beats, or to say that the “best kind of” protagonist needs to conform to some kind of specific structure, but I don’t understand why Rey not being the only main character means it’s not a good movie.

I'm here to kick ass and watch Star Wars, and I'm all out of ass.

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The notion that a film needs to have a main character to be good was always a misguided one. The issue with TPM I think is it doesn’t know who it wants its main hero to be mostly because Qui-Gon in many ways steals away from Obi-Wan’s characterization, and Anakin shows up too late. The problem isn’t that the film doesn’t have a main character, it’s that the two characters who should be the most important aren’t.

Anyway, Star Wars never really had a definite main character. Sure, it’s Luke’s journey and all, but there are arguments to be made for Han or Leia being the main character as well (arguments I used to have on the playground as a kid). Star Wars has always been an ensemble narrative, TFA follows that (and Rey is obviously the main character).

I think the simple fact is that Episode VII was always going to have detractors. Expectations were high, and if it didn’t meet your expectations, you were bound to be disappointed. I think in many ways the nitpicking arguments are essentially just the people who didn’t take to it (because it wasn’t exactly what they wanted) latching on to the little illogical things simply because they couldn’t get properly into the film (not because the little illogical things kept them from properly getting into the film). For someone like me who loved the film, I was somewhat distracted by the little illogical things the first time, but I was able to put them behind me the second time (once I knew they were there) and just enjoy the film for what it was.

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TV’s Frink said:
For the record, while I strongly disagree with the idea that that Rey is not the main character, I was not responding to that.

It’s pretty clear that she was intended to be the main character. But a main character has a goal and actively pursues that goal throughout the film. Not just any goal, mind you – she must actively struggle to achieve THE GOAL, emphasis added. None of that applies to Rey after she is kidnapped by Kylo. Her character suddenly becomes “an idea” (turning on its head the cliche of rescuing the damsel in distress).

Typically, the male leads will blow up the bad guys and save the female. In TFA, the male leads arrive to save Rey, but she’s already free and winds up saving them).

That’s great, but it’s just an idea that wasn’t well orchestrated with the rest of the plot. You can’t make a good film with a lot of unrelated ideas, and that’s why TFA plot falls apart, and the film is just mediocre. Rey should never devolve into a cute idea in the last act of the movie … her character should be more strongly defined than that and striving to achieve “THE GOAL” right down to the bitter end.

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Bosk said:

TV’s Frink said:

timemeddler said:

hmm not much in the movie to like. one of the dumbest was line “thats the republic”, soo the republic consists of about ten planets?

I don’t remember who said this and what exactly they said, can you elaborate?

I think the destruction of the republic was some what bypassed.

Agreed.