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Old 27-11-2015, 18:15   #1
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Disney's Star Wars Films [BEWARE - SPOILERZ]

Figure it was about time we had a shit thread for these kinds of things, just so TH could fag out and me and Iron could moan about how shit it all is.

Anyway, the track listing for the OST leaked on Amazon France. It has since been taken down, but some cunt translated them.

Spoiler: 


Make of this what you will. Could be fake, but I remember Amazon France being the first to put up The Hobbit OST titles, so I suspect it's legit, especially as it has been taken down. I expect the English titles won't be exactly the same, there's probably a few errors in translation.
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Old 27-11-2015, 18:57   #2
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It's gonna suck ass!
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Old 27-11-2015, 19:42   #3
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That's the spirit!
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"Now I absolutely despise the murderer Herzog. I tell him to his face that I want to see him perish like the llama he executed. He should be thrown to the crocodiles alive! An anaconda should throttle him slowly! The sting of a deadly spider should paralyze him! His brain should burst from the bite of the most poisonous of all snakes! Panthers shouldn't slit his throat open with their claws, that would be too good for him! No. Big red ants should piss in his eyes, eat his balls, penetrate his asshole, and eat his guts! He should get the plague! Syphilis! Malaria! Yellow fever! Leprosy! In vain. The more I wish the most horrible of deaths on him and treat him like the scum of the earth that he is, the less I can get rid of him!" - Kinski on Herzog
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Old 20-12-2015, 00:41   #4
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Ok, so I'll break it down into some key points but overall I really enjoyed the film, it's laid some great foundations for the next 2 episodes!

Story

Ok the story, it's both the strong and weak point of the film (obviously). To begin with Finn's decision to leave the First Order was a strange one, sure he saw some bad things but then he proceeds to kill lots of Stormtroopers throughout the rest of the film with little to no regret for his actions.

I quite enjoyed Rey as the lead character, she has that innocence about her in a similar way to Luke in A New Hope, I'm sure her link with the force will be explained further in the next 2 episodes. Kylo Ren, well he's interesting....kind of. I liked the mystery when he had his mask on and we didn't really know much about him but then the plot twist comes in an he's Han/Leia's son and this is where I begin to get frustrated. The dialogue between Han and Leia about Ren(Ben) was very cringe worthy at some points, I hate when films decide to have the parents called their child Son or Daughter, I wish they'd call them by their name. I enjoyed Han's presence in the film but I think we all knew he'd be killed off in this film, his death scene was pretty good and I enjoyed Driver's acting in this scene even to the point where I thought he might've actually decide to leave the dark side and go back with his dad!

So the driving force, pun intended, behind Ren and the First Order. Supreme Leader Snoke, obviously we know next to nothing about him. When they first showed him as this massive person I thought it was a little cheesy but obviously towards the end of that scene it's revealed that it's just a projection so thankfully he's hopefully not actually 30 feet tall! This then leads onto the Starkiller base, oh boy. Probably my least favourite part of the film, everything related to this just seemed to happen so damn quick. In fact the pacing in general was pretty bad throughout the film, it felt like they tried to cram as much build up to the next 2 episodes as they could! And that ending, I guess we all saw it coming. Luke would take on either Finn or Rey, the awkward looking at each other was a little cringe too. But apart from those few points I really enjoyed the film and can't wait till the next episode!

Oh I almost forgot, the chrome Stormtroooper. Why was she even included in the promo for the film? Literally had about 3 lines of dialogue throughout the film and was then taken hostage by Finn/Han and Chewie with no fight back. I'm sure she'll be back in the next films but a weak start.

Visual
Visually I thought the film was great, had a similar vibe to the original trilogy but with a JJ Abrams look to it (thankfully no lens flare!). The use of practical effects was superb, especially for the aliens on Jakku. The scene when the X-Wings first come in was extremely nostalgic!

Soundtrack
Eh..obviously John Williams original music is amazing but this not so much. It suited the film and fit well but there were no standout themes. I think Episode 8 might be Williams last Star Wars film, I imagine they'll bring someone like Giacchino in. Which would be somewhat disappointing as his Jurassic World score was quite boring and generic. I think I'd like to see someone like Desplat takeover, I've always enjoyed his scores.


(I might come back to this tomorrow once I've taken it all in fully)

Stuckmann brings up some good points about the overall influence this film has on the future ones.
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Old 20-12-2015, 08:27   #5
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Updated thoughts

Enjoyed the film, i'd give it a 6-6.5/10 rating. Dog fights were well done, very much enjoyed the First Order and Ren, Han was easily the best thing about the film, but Luke looked great at the end and I hope he appears in it more in Episode VIII

Finn was much better than I imagined, but unfortunately he was given some extremely shit lines at times "Do you have a boyfriend? A Cute Boyfriend" and the excitable shit like "Woo" and "Did you see that!?" those sort of lines really don't sit well with me. Combined with Oscar Isaacs opening double salvo with ren where it was piss takey "I cant understand you" etc, I was rolling my eyes several times at the shitness of the script.

Weakest aspect of the film was Daisy Ridleys performance. It's almost as if the casting guys said "we want someone like Keira Knightley, but not actually Keira knightley" frankly her acting was awful. The accent was extremely grating as well. Character has potential, and hopefully she develops as an actress as the films go on. The fight scene at the end was really poorly done imo, I have nothing against Rey holding her own against Ren, but the way she kicked his ass quite badly really did a lot of damage to the character of Ren, i'd have preferred a fight that was more equal and then the chasm opens between the two of them meaning they can't carry on.

CGI on Snoke was awful, it was Unexpected Journey Azog bad. Hopefully it improves, or by the next film we find out that that image is very much a man behind the curtain style porjection.

Film really did feel like a greatest hits of Star Wars at times though, which isn't a good thing, Tatooine like planet, Cantina Mk 2, Death Star Trench Run style sequence, planet destroying machine gets destroyed at end of film, character leaves to get trained by a jedi master....didn't really have an identity of its own imo, and did nothing better than what has come before.

That all being said though, I do want to watch it again. It was great to leave a Star Wars film feeling relatively satisfied and I look forward to the next episodes (spin offs i'm unsure about atm)
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Old 24-12-2015, 08:34   #6
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I see this as an enjoyable 8/10 or 8.5/10 film, but honestly, it's not really all that difficult to create an enjoyable film when Harrison Ford is playing Han Solo, is it? He kinda is the Jack Sparrow of the Star Wars universe. That's a massive benefit that the now infamous prequels certainly didn't enjoyed.

And it also helps that Disney arguably copied the best thing about the original Star Wars before they actually owned the Star Wars franchise. Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow (Han Solo) and the Black Pearl (the Millennium Falcon). It's essentially the same equation: handsome, eccentric, charismatic pirate, with a permanent fixation/obsession on a particular piece of machinery.

So that's two decisive advantages that The Force Awakens enjoyed, that none of the prequels benefited from. But besides the fact that old Harrison Ford still kicked ass as Han Solo, and besides the fact that the new leads (Rey, Finn, Ren, and Poe) look promising -- the narrative ultimately felt too satisfied with itself, by virtue of being too inspired by the originals. It lacked the ambition to be something better. It lacked the ambition to use the old elements to create new elements that remain loyal to the essence of it. It literally is Episode IV all over again.

Episode IV: prequel character (Ben Kenobi) introduces Han Solo to sequel characters; Ben Kenobi is then killed off by Darth Vader, but Kenobi's weapon/legacy survives; Death Star is seemingly completely destroyed.

Episode VII: prequel character (Millennium Falcon) introduces Han Solo to sequel characters; Han Solo is then killed off by Kylo Ren, but Solo's weapon/vessel survives; Death Star 2.0 is seemingly completely destroyed.

(note: and Harrison Ford's Han Solo absolutely owns both films.)

If that's the "loyal to the originals" type narrative that Episode VIII will also offer, I'll readily pay for it again because that still qualifies as "quality" entertainment by most or any standards (that is, assuming that Han Solo is somehow successfully retained in the narrative or successfully replaced by a similarly awesome character) -- but, having said that, I'd absolutely love to see some new elements added to the franchise; new elements, not as mere gimmicks to fill the voids between excessively predictable destinations, but as an indispensable factor in what should be more ambitious an essence than the originals could've ever hoped for.

Albeit, to be fair, the only genuinely good Star Wars movies imo are Episode IV and Episode V (and it also helps that the majority of the hardcore fans seem to agree on that point). So maybe The Force Awakens being another Episode IV was actually the most intelligent revival. It convincingly brought back the original feel or "magic" that was never again truly reproduced after The Empire Strikes Back -- the fans needed to see that. In that regard, The Force Awakens is much closer to A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, than Return of the Jedi or any of the prequels were. Which, again, might've been just what the franchise needed at this crucial point.

Bottom line,

The Force Awakens *did* offered everything that was ever good about the original Star Wars. As good as it ever was. Arguably better than it ever was. So fanboys should have close to nothing to complain about -- the new leads work, and Han Solo still kicked ass. But with that said, I just hope that this doesn't turn into another Pirates of the Caribbean.

The massive mistake of The Return of the Jedi was the complete utter lack of substance (which was then clumsily hidden with the use of fillers throughout most of the film). Darth Vader was Luke's father, but the plot didn't really escalated after that iconic moment; instead, what could've been an interesting sequel, turned out to be a teddy bear musical plus some other random shit that added absolutely nothing to the plot, bullshit compilation.

Star Wars needs more substance, if the third in the trilogy isn't going to be another massive letdown (as was the case with the originals and also with the prequels). Hopefully JJ Abrams will prove capable of bringing some soul of his own to the story, rather than just reproducing the old magic that the original creator failed to reproduce -- that same old trick won't work come the trilogy finale.

Furthermore, it would also be cool if the new saga isn't even a trilogy, but a four part saga. Trilogies are somewhat old and tired, particularly when three films clearly aren't enough to satisfactorily answer or try to answer all the potential questions, etc.
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Old 29-12-2015, 17:46   #7
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Finally got round to seeing it. Good, providing the foundations also work in the sequels. For example, Phasma is a complete garbage jobber at this stage so needs a lot of work in Episode VIII. I suspect they're going for another Boba Fett with her, though I thought he was always vastly overrated. Really she should've been in place of that random Stormtrooper who had 100 times more swagger and ability than any regular one.

I like Finn + Rey, but yes they've gone with the Marvel handbook of awkward charisma and quips which not every film needs. BB8 and Poe get a thumbs up. A good fighter pilot that could conceivably be killed off (so not like Han/Luke in the originals) was needed and 3PO/R2 were used to death so droid variety was beneficial. Did Grunberg die? I don't recall, but I'm sure Iron's pleased if he survived

I don't really like Kylo Ren. He's basically a moody teen, which is exactly what they're going for, and exactly why I have no reason to like him. The bridge scene was good, but it needed more weight behind it. Would've preferred it in the next film with more exposition rather than just "he's our son". The villains overall are pretty bad imo, although Snoke we'll really have to wait and see on. If Del Toro is a villain in the next film hopefully he brings some charisma to the table.

Other things:
- von Sydow and the Raid boys were "wasted" but I imagine they were perfectly happy to accept a small role.
- Starkiller base was a bit laughable. A good idea integrating into a planet but comparing it to the Death Star and doing a Nintendo and saying "look how shit and small the old one is!" was irksome.
- Honestly, I probably could've done without the final scene. Or at least would've liked it executed differently. Just seemed incredibly awkward.
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Old 29-12-2015, 18:59   #8
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Enjoyed it while i sat and watched it, probably enjoy it less now. Not sure its one i will race back to see again and I don't foresee myself sitting down to watch in its entirety, will catch bits and pieces over time. Lots of items I enjoyed about the film, but:

Film was too rushed, the first order destroyed multiple planets and it was treated with a brush of the hand. Although, i rolled my eyes when it was first utilized. Let me guess, next film they have to destroy Starkiller 2. The starkiller recharge was too much like the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot weapon.

So a light sabre is Excalibur now? Only calls to one being?

When Ren took off his mask in front of Rey for the first time, i heard multiple sets of laughter. It was a strange scene and i wanted him to put the mask back on.

C3PO's red arm was never revealed and only exists as bait to buy the comic books - F off.

Snoke was horrible. "even you, leader of the knights of ren have never faced such a challenge". what a horrible resume line.

The gang of asians on Han and Chewie's freighter was from a bad kung fu film. I have a feeling that rag tag group will look much like the rebels in the spinoff film, Rouge One.

The last sabre battle, although meant to be old school, was really awkward feeling to me. Ren, do you even lift bro?

and Grunberg survived.
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Old 30-12-2015, 00:33   #9
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and just what happened when Chewie threw a crossbar bolt at Ren? all film long they were making us aware how powerful that weapon was but i didn't catch how Ren prevented from getting hit from it.

freezing of Poe's shot was OK, but the fact that he walks around with dialogue for the remainder with it frozen before releasing it at the end should have made him one of the strongest purveyors of the dark side around, yet he was a pussy.

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Old 04-01-2016, 14:48   #10
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and just what happened when Chewie threw a crossbar bolt at Ren? all film long they were making us aware how powerful that weapon was but i didn't catch how Ren prevented from getting hit from it.

freezing of Poe's shot was OK, but the fact that he walks around with dialogue for the remainder with it frozen before releasing it at the end should have made him one of the strongest purveyors of the dark side around, yet he was a pussy.
Ren did get hit, that's why he was bleeding when he was having the lightsabre battle at the end and also the reason why Rey "defeated" him, well that and his emotions being all over the place after killing his father.

At that freezing thing was a pretty cool shot, it's clear that whoever Snoke is has taught him different ways to use the dark side.
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Old 04-01-2016, 15:23   #11
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Ren did get hit, that's why he was bleeding when he was having the lightsabre battle at the end and also the reason why Rey "defeated" him, well that and his emotions being all over the place after killing his father.

At that freezing thing was a pretty cool shot, it's clear that whoever Snoke is has taught him different ways to use the dark side.
but were we to suppose the strongest hand held blaster on the planet, as it was shown, was deflected al la the force? He didn't seem to react until hit. i knew he was hit but not sure why it didn't rip his hip off
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Old 17-01-2016, 22:20   #12
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Well here it is. Only a month late. This one’s not so much a review - more a tirade and smattering of random thoughts articulated as best I can be arsed. Strap yourselves in, this post is right off the bollocks scale. I’ll probably be called a joyless pedantic cunt who is just being different from the main crowd and went into the film wanting to hate it, but at least read my memo carefully and see if I don’t make salient points, and reasonable summations as to the reasons behind them. Of course it’s anal (ahem) - that’s what forums are for, to fag out over things. It’s very rare I go this deep.

I didn’t have huge expectations, so I can’t say I was especially disappointed or surprised. I was, once upon time, an enormous Star Wars fag, and the original trilogy will always have a special place in my heart. But the prequels pretty much killed my interest and my enthusiasm for this franchise. The Force Awakens was obviously better than the prequels (not that that’s saying much – how could it not be?). But is it as good as many critics and people are saying? A masterpiece, film of the year, the best in the series since Empire? In my opinion, of course not. To suggest as much is an absurd proposition. I can’t help but feel these people either A) were ready to love anything which remotely improved on the dire prequels; B) had psyched themselves up to unconditionally love the film beforehand and would not be denied or C) in the case of some, were so content with the progressiveness on display that anything else would be a bonus (I’m not going to dwell on this, but it clearly matters to certain types). Can you honestly say you were ‘wowed’ at any stage, blown away by something memorably spectacular? We go to see big-budget blockbusters precisely for this very reason, but this was not the work of a visionary I’m afraid to say. Abrams is many things, but not that. But then, I suspect his blandness and malleable nature was the precise reason for him being given the gig.

There is much one could say about this film, and certainly I can’t really fault much of it on a technical level. Instead, I want to get straight to the heart of the issues underlying the glossy exterior and obvious appeal to nostalgia. Abrams may attempt to excuse it, but there can be little question that the story is incredibly unoriginal and modelled heavily on aspects of the original trilogy. An opening assault featuring a desperate attempt to hide vital data in a droid and designed to introduce the primary antagonist in ominous fashion; initial events take place on a desert planet with a ‘lost’ youngster finding adventure thrust upon them, and eventually discovering they possess greater ability than they know; we have another superweapon capable of destroying planets; the charistmatic old mentor figure is ‘cut down’ by the chief villain; the Resistance vs First Order is essentially a rehash of Rebellion vs Empire (the Resistance even use the same symbol for Christ’s sake). One could go on.

Is it lazy, a deliberate attempt to replicate a winning formula? Of course, though the success would seem to vindicate this decision. Formulaic isn’t always a problem when you’re following conventions of a particular genre, but this is the seventh installment in an episodic, near 40-year old series, so you expect original ideas. Such a desperate attempt to mirror the basic set-up of A New Hope becomes particularly dangerous in regard to the conflict between the Resistance and the First Order. In any good vs evil fantasy saga, it must be that the forces of good are heavily outnumbered by the forces of evil, as it contributes to the tension and ultimate sense of achievement. In the original trilogy, this was simple, as the Galactic Empire ruled the galaxy, and the Rebellion the fledgling movement attempting to go up against this mighty superpower. But how does one set up the same David vs Goliath conflict in the post-ROTJ world? The answer, apparently, is to poorly write the New Republic out of events, so that the Resistance are a small breakaway response to this dangerous threat to galactic peace. Does this really make sense, given that only 30 years before its members had participated in a bitter struggle to overthrow the Empire? I would say no. Ask yourself this: do you think the USA, or Russia, would sit back and allow remnants of Nazi Germany to emerge as a dangerous expansionist threat once more, apparently failing to observe as they develop a devastating superweapon right under their nose? It’s a relevant comparison to draw. In sum, logic is sacrificed for re-hashing the earlier status quo.

The same is true also in relation to the ships which appear in this film. Let us go through the main vehicles which feature – Star Destroyers, the Falcon, modified X-Wings, modified TIE Fighters, a modified shuttle. The film offers no obvious attempt at giving us an innovative new craft, but merely recycles the existing, iconic designs of the OT with some minor differences. This again is very much a conscious choice, as these ships instantly scream Star Wars. Not only may we demand greater creativity and originality on the part of the production team, but, in terms of film logic, we can rightly question why essentially the same craft are still being employed, some 30 years after ROTJ. Now in principle there is nothing wrong with maintaining older techology, and something like the change in tech evident in the prequels might be going too far. But even in the original trilogy we saw various types of fighters on both sides, with seemingly new variants developed over the six-year span between ANH and ROTJ. By ROTJ, it could be argued that the A-Wing was deemed the most advanced rebel starfighter, though admittedly X-Wings were still employed, probably due to their greater firepower; in any case, the ships complimented one another (Y-Wing for bombardment purposes, fuck knows about the B-Wing). In the case of the TIE Fighter, it always struck me that the TIE Interceptor was a much improved version of the standard TIE Fighter. Now people will probably say “Maybe they didn’t have the money to make better ones”, but to that I would ask how the fuck the First Order could afford to build a gigantic superweapon and recruit and equip a huge new army. Clearly they’re not short of a bob or two, or low on resources. No, there is no logical reason for this, other than Disney wanting to ram X-Wings and TIE Fighters down our throats because, along with the Falcon, they represent the most iconic ships of the OT and provide an instant callback for the audience. Again, lazy.

And while we’re on the subject of the Resistance and First Order, I have issues with the general organization of the two. I felt that little thought went into their presentation, and into making them believable military forces. While the Rebellion always seemed quite efficient (uniformed soldiers, relatively well-equipped, decent manpower) in spite of their size and resources, the Resistance struck me as incredibly rag-tag, and poorly administered. Evidently you want us to think of them as hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, but it goes too far in depicting their patheticness. Clearly, more thought went into the First Order and presenting them as a threat, but again something was woefully lacking in this department. Of the senior hierarchy, we glimpse Kylo Ren – a young, hot-headed Sith (yes I’m using that term, because that’s essentially what he is), General Hux – who can’t be older than thirty and yet seems to be running the show, Captain Phasma (the less said about this worthless character the better). I haven’t counted Snoke because we don’t really know what his purpose is yet, nor is real identity. In any case, where are the more senior officers? Where is the old guard? We are told that these are the remnants of the Empire, so why aren’t those who fought in the Galactic Civil War running the show? We’ve gone from the great Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin to this ginger cunt? Surely the individual commanding the armies of the First Order should be much older, a war hero of the Empire? Vader, for all his zeal and power, clearly deferred to Tarkin. How the fuck are we supposed to believe Hux keeps Ren in check? Compare this to the OT, where the Empire was clearly established as being run by a group of old heads, experienced veterans and aristocratic types, which gave the sense that this was a disciplined military institution with a clear structure. I have to think the change is a consequence of Disney wanting to push younger cast members front and centre. Once more, a cold-blooded production decision proves to be detrimental to the internal logic of the film itself.

The biggest points of nostalgia of course are the returning characters. The film apparently can’t find much of a role for R2-D2, presumably so as not to steal BB-8’s thunder and give their new droid a clear shot at stealing the hearts of audiences (to be fair, it’s probably the best new character in all honesty). C-3PO’s back – inexplicably with a red arm – and pointless without R2 to play off, as you realize how much you hate him. Inevitably, we can expect BB-8 and C-3PO vying for R2’s affections in the next film, to much bitching and ‘hilarity’. Leia’s back, looking and sounding like crap, which is of course a distraction. Again, her role is fairly minimal, and you can’t help but wonder if these films really have a purpose for Fisher (especially with Han dead), or if she’s just there because Disney really wanted Han and Luke, but knew that only getting those two would probably make them look sexist and ageist.

We were all pleased to see classic Han and Chewie on-screen again as if little had changed (aside from the physical), with Ford actually giving a shit for the first time in a while. And one could not deny that the glimpse of a superbly-bearded Luke at the end was stirring stuff, even though we’d have loved to have seen more than 30 seconds of him. But looking deeper, I can’t help but feel that the film does a great disservice to these iconic characters, betraying their rich development in the OT. His son gets taken, and because he can’t deal with it he fucks off Leia and goes back to his rogueish, smuggling ways? I don’t buy that Han post-ROTJ would behave in that way. It would have been infinitely more true to the character, and more interesting, to have him become embittered with grief, teaming up with Chewie to search every corner of the galaxy for his lost son over the best part of two decades, much like John Wayne in The Searchers (obviously, here he does not know that his son became Kylo Ren – that revelation would come later). He never left Leia, but the two became distance as a consequence, and she’s obviously heartbroken at how things have turned out. Thus, when we meet Han, he is bitter yet determined, not knowing that his son is in fact Kylo Ren. We would see glimpses of the old Han, but there’s a distinct change to the character as well. Instead, we get a reboot of the Han character, so even in his advancing years he’s gone back to being the charming loveable rogue of A New Hope. And why is this? Because again, this is what Disney want. They do not care if the actions betray the character. Thus similarly, Leia was always feisty and driven, so why does she just passively welcome Han when seeing him again, as though he hadn’t fucked off like that? Why is she entirely sympathetic as to him leaving her and going back to his old ways when she needed him most? Surely she should be angry with him, at least initially, before they have the cathartic heart-to-heart? Then slowly, the pair could rekindle their love as the film progresses, before the inevitable heartbreak. But no, we can’t have a more cerebral storyline that would require good writing and truthfulness to the original characters.

I get that Han died most probably because Ford desired it, so I can’t really blame Disney for that. But what is clear is that they merely wanted Ford to pull in viewers, and gave little real thought to the Han Solo character and the potential for him to interact with Leia and Luke rather than their precious new characters. The Force Awakens represents such a missed opportunity in this regard. Imagine that Han encountered Luke again for the first time in almost two decades, with all that rage and grief over his son’s capture under Luke’s watch erupting. Imagine Han pouring his heart out to Luke on-screen, almost wanting to hit him, as Luke struggles to respond and Leia emotively tries to reconcile the pair? The potential for drama here was sensational. We’ve waited over 30 years to see these characters, and this is what we get? They’ll never get the chance to explore that dynamic on-screen again. Instead, we glimpse Luke for 30 seconds at the end. Admittedly it makes for a stirring ending, but this was the character I care most about, and wanted to see. Effectively omitting Luke from the film smacks of the writers struggling to incorporate him into the narrative. Indeed, we know this to be the case, but not for the reasons you might think. One of the writers recently gave an interview in which they noted that Luke was much more prominent in early drafts, but, due to concerns that he would draw the focus and audience interest away from Rey, they consigned him to a brief cameo. Of course, we can’t have that. Well done Disney – out of concern that no one would give a shit about your new characters, you sidelined Luke and wasted fantastic potential for drama. And going back to unbelievable actions, do we really think the Luke of ROTJ would fuck off to solitude at the first sign of trouble, dumping his (probable) daughter on a distant desert planet in a fate not dissimilar to his own? Some resolve that. Is this really the same person who went to all those lengths to save his friends at every turn, and even willingly submitted to the Empire in order to try and turn his father away from the dark side when it seemed a hopeless cause? In coming up with some flimsy excuse to get him out of the picture, Disney again damages a character carefully built up in the original trilogy, his depiction standing in stark contrast to what he stood for. Apparently, shit men who abandon all responsibility to their family and friends seem to be a dime a dozen in the Star Wars universe. Psychologists would have a field day.

Aside from wanting Ford’s considerable pull, Disney’s chief interest in terms of characters (and indeed their sole novel attempt at ‘refreshing’ the saga) are the new lead trio. Finn is fine, some dodgy overly-modern dialogue aside. His arc is rather questionable however. The idea of an imperial trooper with a conscience, who objects to killing innocents when first thrust into action, is undoubtedly an intriguing one, offering great room for deliberation and exploration of character. This, however, is quickly thrown out of the window as he gives little thought to slaughtering the comrades he’s grown up with and known for years. His decision to aid (and before long join) the Resistance seems much too swift and unbelievable, given that he would have been brain-washed into viewing them as the enemy for God knows how long prior to this. I would have much preferred to see him more conflicted, and slowly transition to joining the Resistance. Alas, the character development is far too simplistic and one-dimensional for that.

I won’t dwell on Kylo Ren. He’s effective enough as a villain, chiefly because he’s more of the same, albeit a bit more hot-headed given his age and more man than machine. Driver did okay in the role. He probably takes off his mask too early – it might have been better for Solo to take this off for the first time during the bridge sequence. With regards to Snoke and the Knights of Ren idea, I would like to have seen more of the Knights of Ren (as glimpsed in the flashback), because at the moment it basically seems like the two Sith dynamic again, with nothing to distinguish this apparent new group. They are Sith in all but name as things stand. Indeed, I can’t help but wonder if Disney merely wanted the term Sith dropped (but not the basic concept) given the strong connotations with the prequels, with one after all featuring the term Sith in its title.

Now we come to Rey. Contrary to popular belief on here, I have no problem with women as heroic leads in principle. Where I do object, however, is when such characters are absurdly overpowered. There is seemingly very little Rey cannot do - hardy survivor, skilled mechanic, superb pilot, efficient with a lightsaber. Never having piloted a spaceship in her life, she’s manning the Falcon like the best of them within a couple of minutes (note that even crazy George was sane enough to appreciate that only Han and Lando – owners of this ship – could fly it with such expertise). Hell, she can even teach Han new tricks about a ship he flew for decades. Give her a gun and she can pick off stormtroopers with precision to boot. Force or not, the OT endeavoured to carefully set-up Luke’s skills – his skill in flying his T-16 (very different from a speeder), his hunting rifle. Here, there is nothing to suggest Rey has used a gun or done anything other than ride her speeder. Moreover, Luke needs time to be ready to use a lightsaber properly, and undergoes extensive training in this and in utilizing the force. I mean, if you’re going to make your character so proficient at so many things, at least try and provide some logic behind it.

In and of itself, in fantastical films such as this having an overpowered character is not a fatal flaw of course. My real issue is how Rey’s empowerment negatively impacts other characters and the overarching narrative of the film itself. Kylo Ren and, to a lesser extent, Finn, seem – to me at least – to be defined by their relationship to Rey. When Finn was cast, a big hoo-hah was made about him being black. But I see now that the controversy masked Disney’s real agenda. For Finn being black had nothing to do with it – rather, he is merely a modern cinematic man. By this, I mean that he is presented as fairly weak and bumbling throughout, particularly through his dynamic with Rey. She accosts him a submissive Finn the moment she spies him, setting the agenda for the remainder of the film. Of course, she does not need Finn to hold her hand. When on the Falcon, she is in charge, frequently barking orders to an inept Finn. She saves a hapless Finn twice – with the Rathtars and again at Kylo Ren’s hands. And while Finn and co journeyed to the Starkiller base to save Rey, you will observe that she has already freed herself from her immediate predicament through her own mind control techniques. As such, the parties sort of meet up with one another, and Rey is not seen to be actively rescued. This is a crucial distinction. At the end, Finn is incapacitated. It matters not – he has served his purpose in reinforcing Rey’s strength and independence throughout the film. And for the record, I’d be hugely surprised if they actually went with an interracial romance in the next two films, given that Disney know this will impact box-office figures in important areas like China. They’re progressive liberals, but money governs all. I suspect this is why they’re apparently looking for a mixed-race/black actress for Ep VIII, to give Finn a love interest. Rey probably won’t have one at all, as that would only detract from the image they’ve carefully presented thus far.

More than Finn however, Rey’s empowerment cripples the character of Kylo Ren and deals a severe blow to the integrity of the film and new trilogy as a whole. The film does a decent job in building Kylo Ren up as a formidable villain. He even has the honour (dishonour?) of killing Han Solo, a Star Wars and cinematic icon, an astonishing feather in his cap and doing his kudos the world of good. Whatever you think of Han’s demise, this is a real coup for Ren’s character. And yet within minutes the film undoes all of this by having him clearly – clearly – bested by Rey in a mental and physical duel, only saved by the ground parting. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.

Rest assured, I’ve heard it all. “Oh he was wounded by Chewie and Finn, and emotionally conflicted having killed his father, blah blah blah”. “Oh he’s never fought a lightsaber duel before”. Okay. I could just as easily make the points that no one knows what Ren has done with a saber, that Rey had never even picked up a lightsaber before, never received any training in using such a weapon or the force in general, and that she would have been equally upset by the events that had transpired (probably thinking Finn was dead or dying). People can argue the toss over the believability of this episode all day. I would lean towards it being preposterous, but that’s not the main issue here. The problem, rather, is that in allowing Rey to best Ren so comprehensively, Abrams and co destroyed the aura surrounding their chief villain, who they had previously endeavoured to construct as a formidable presence in the vein of Darth Vader. They made him look incredibly weak here. Stopping short of Rey killing Ren – which will undoubtedly happen at some point – there is no where else for their conflict to go. Honestly, you might as well have killed him now. This was incredibly poor storytelling. Imagine having Luke defeat Vader in a lightsaber duel at the end of ANH, only for him to be miraculously saved. Not only would that be nonsensical, not only would it damage Vader’s credibility as a villain - it would be absurd as a cinematic narrative. By having Luke soundly bested by Vader in film 2, the stage is set for him to come back stronger for a final duel with his father at the climax. This is basic storytelling. Instead, they’ve shot their wad and sacrified Ren, all for the sake of empowering their lead character to ridiculous levels. It is the clearest evidence we have for Disney’s preoccupation with progressiveness and agendas rather than the internal logic of the films. The problem is certainly not limited to Star Wars, but rarely have we seen it shoehorned in to such a suicidal degree.

Is Rey a Mary Sue, as some suggest? Maybe. I certainly can’t speculate on the preferences of individual writers, but with producer Kathleen Kennedy promising the introduction of ‘really strong women’ in Disney’s Star Wars films, you can’t help but wonder. While I would like to think that this is a positive attempt to extend the appeal of this traditionally boy-centred series to young girls, I’m not convinced Disney’s intentions were entirely noble. I suspect that certain liberals running the show wanted their feminist agenda tickled, and in this regard Star Wars, like Mad Max (only magnified greatly), offered a glorious chance to put a female lead in a major blockbuster, the pull of the franchise allowing for such a risk without really harming box-office.

Other new characters were generally underutilized or forgettable. I fail to see the point in casting an actor of Max von Sydow’s calibre for such a meagre role. Third-rate Yoda knock-off Maz was terrible, in terms of design, performance and execution. The same can be said for Snoke, though I would expect considerable improvement with this character going forward. Poe Dameron was wasted. I like Isaac and the role showed some promise, but after the opening section he is a peripheral figure (which suggests to me little changed in terms of character after he was pegged to die in an earlier drift). Captain Phasma was handled laughably. No doubt she’ll have more to do in Ep VIII after all the poor feedback, but after all the hype this was really rather surprising. I suspect that the character was originally the one supposed to fight Finn in that sequence, but of course, we can’t disappoint Daniel Craig can we? In relation to that part, it was clearly absurd. Take off the ‘this is badass’ specs for a moment, and ask yourself why, all of a sudden, we’re supposed to buy a bog-standard stormtrooper as something other than cannon fodder. Then, ask yourself why standard troopers are not only armed with anti-lightsaber equipment but unperturbed by the idea of going up against someone wielding a saber, as though they expected to encounter Jedi at every turn. If Phasma was the one fighting Finn, you could at least buy that this was an elite trooper, perhaps specially trained for such an eventuality. Moreover, it would at least give Phasma something to do, and develop the personal feud with Finn. IMO, it would have been better to not have Phasma speak until unmasked by Finn upon capture at the Starkiller base, the identity providing a considerable shock to him and the audience, and allowing scope for humour and such. It would also be less gimmicky for the character’s gender to remain hidden until that point, as it shouldn’t really matter anyway. And as for having the guys from The Raid as part of that group chasing Han, again pointless and gimmicky. Why bother wasting these guys talents? Would it not have been better to cast them as members of the Knights of Ren and have them utilize their capabilities? They might appear again, but as things stand you’re just left wondering ‘why?’.

I’m getting bored now, so I’ll just make some random last points:

- I’ve seen people remark “Thank God we’ve moved away from the politics of the prequels”. That’s all fine and good, but at least George A) Tried to do something different with the prequels; and B) Actually went about providing much-need exposition. Far too much went unseen and unexplained in this film, either left to our imagination or – apparently – to be explained later. That doesn’t wash for everything, and leads onto my next point.

- The coincidences – them stumbling across the Falcon, Maz having Luke’s lightsaber (“I’ll explain later” – very convenient), and so forth – have been well-documented, and I need not add to the chorus. Lazy, insipid writing is the order of the day apparently.

- In general, the designs of aliens felt uninspired, especially when compared to the tremendous ones glimpsed in the OT. The film attempted to mimic the legendary Mos Eisley Cantina scene and failed miserably, not unlike the similar effort in AOTC. This was in large part due to the denizens being so poorly conceived. It’s all fine and good using puppets and prosthetics, but why bother if you can’t come up with anything remotely memorable?

- The music was efficient if falling considerably short of John Williams in his pomp (though that’s to be expected, given his age and the nature of the material). Watching the film, I only noticed 3 new films – Rey’s (due to prominence, not because I liked it), Ren’s (simple but effective), and the Resistance (because it reminded me of the Nazi theme in Last Crusade and that of the Trade Federation, it didn’t sound right to me as a good theme). That’s not to say there were probably more, just that they didn’t stand out to me. The Force theme seemed a touch overused (and the B-phase used too infrequently for my liking), Leia’s theme appearing more often than I expected, and I’d have liked to have heard more of Han Solo and the Princess, along with some other existing material. Not much else to add here, suffice to say that a Williams score remains better than 90% of the crap conjured up by newer composers these days, so it was welcome nonetheless.

- In addition to what I’ve stated, there are other things that struck me as peculiar, bits which I’d have done differently. Going to Jakku and back at the start, for example, was clumsy. Ren knew the data could not have gone far, so why go to the inconvenience of taking Dameron back to the ship when he could have just interrogated him there? With regard to Kylo Ren, I’d have had the revelation as to his real identity come during the scene with him and Han. You might say this would be cliched in Star Wars terms, but given the rest of the film this is hardly a workable defence. I’d have liked Han’s death to be more emotional. Perhaps a sweeping rendition of his theme coupled with Chewie going much more mental would have worked here. Indeed, I found it particularly surprising (nay, stupid) that Chewie simply appeared to walk past Leia when he returned at the end, with her hugging Rey instead (a person she’s seemingly never met, or at least not seen for many years). Imagine how emotional an acknowledgement scene between Leia and Chewie could have been here? No, Han’s death was curiously underplayed, which puzzled me in truth. Finally, I thought the ending was a touch awkward. It might have been more atmospheric to have it play out at night, and have Luke reach out and grasp the lightsaber (to swelling second phase of the Force theme), rather than standing there looking in disbelief (you think he’d have some idea this moment would happen, or at least that there had been severe disturbances in the force).

That’s about it. Christ. It took me a fucking month to write pages of bollocks on a film I didn’t particularly like or should really give a fuck about. Fuck me. Perhaps the next film will surprise me by throwing a few curveballs (Ren killing Rey), but we know it won’t. Ren will most likely kill Luke at some point to get his mojo back, because we know these OT characters are essentially expendable once they’ve done the required job of blooding in the new cast (namely Rey). When all is said and done, it all comes down to poor writing and characterization, influenced I suspect in large part by a variety of studio-enforced mandates.

You cunts better read this. I demand replies.
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Old 17-01-2016, 22:49   #13
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Old 17-01-2016, 23:01   #14
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Good man. Even if you don't, thanks for not taking it further as I cannot be arsed to argue over this shit film anymore.
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"Now I absolutely despise the murderer Herzog. I tell him to his face that I want to see him perish like the llama he executed. He should be thrown to the crocodiles alive! An anaconda should throttle him slowly! The sting of a deadly spider should paralyze him! His brain should burst from the bite of the most poisonous of all snakes! Panthers shouldn't slit his throat open with their claws, that would be too good for him! No. Big red ants should piss in his eyes, eat his balls, penetrate his asshole, and eat his guts! He should get the plague! Syphilis! Malaria! Yellow fever! Leprosy! In vain. The more I wish the most horrible of deaths on him and treat him like the scum of the earth that he is, the less I can get rid of him!" - Kinski on Herzog
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Old 17-01-2016, 23:17   #15
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Many of the last points you make all in line with what i felt- the film was rushed the entire time. For some reason they slowed it down for the Han and Chewie freighter scene complete with asian street gang. Another portion of the film where rey somehow knew how to interact with every control board on the ship. But after that scene, it was all rushed again.

I had not thought of the idea of Luke and Han in a scene where Han could share his feeling for Luke losing his son (or not blaming him - either way). Its almost as if Hamill and Ford never overlapped in time on set - which may have happened given the broken ankle.

Rey was so overpowered that i haven't even taken time to complain about it. But i have complaine about the underpower of Ren. First we see him stop a blaster bolt in mid shot, and hold it while he chats - that was too much power, but then after that he is a snibbling adolescent - much like a young anakin. I am not sold on Ren for another film or two. I am not sold on anything other than Luke. I don't care to see Snoke, certainly don't want to see a cgi body have a light saber battle if that is the route they will take. But i would expect more mental sparring with Snoke and Skywalker, perhaps throwing object at each other like the Senate based Yoda and Sidious scuffle. Maybe Ren kills snoke, who knows.

I am not certain Hamill can pull off being the center of attention next film for 70 or 80 minutes. He seems too whacked anytime i see him. I thought that could have bee a reason for the lack of Han-Luke interaction. There was some rumor that Hamill was very difficult during this film - not sure if that meant some complaint about not really being in it or that lack of exposure was a result of him being difficult.

Regarding Ren and Hux. Clearly they tried to shift the balance from Vader-Tarkin arrangement. In the first scene with them and snoke, it was clear Hux was battling for attention, and perhaps trying to be the first to break news to snoke. When they glance at each other i felt it was Ren saying, you dirty bastard. It reminded me of the classic Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis story, where Lewis would steal jokes on stage that Martin would create beforehand.

I think you summed it well with there being lost opportunities throughout. They could have implemented many that you provided and likely have had a more memorable film instead a regurgitation of star wars past.

Last edited by IronCity; 17-01-2016 at 23:23..
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