Author Topic: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens  (Read 25173 times)

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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #165 on: December 28, 2015, 11:53:36 AM »
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This is a problem I have with the arms race of stakes-raising taking place in Hollywood movies right now. Dramatic stakes can't just be personal, they have to be global, galactic, universal, multi-versal. The bigger they get, the more numb the audience gets to it, which leads them to believe the answer is to go EVEN BIGGER, when the fact is, the bigger the calamity, the more abstract it becomes. Humans aren't wired to have strong emotional reactions to mass deaths outside their sphere of influence; if we were, we'd never get anything done. We respond to personal tragedy. Those we know, those we identify with, those we see ourselves in. We can sympathize with the other, but we don't grieve them, which is an important difference. To a movie-watching audience, an entire solar system being blown up affects us less than seeing Chewbacca getting shot in the arm, because we KNOW Chewbacca.

So ultimately, the only way for those planets being blown up to affect us is, like JB intimates, for us to watch it affect the characters we know. And for the characters to have had a realistically proportional reaction to it, it would have required grinding the plot to a halt, which simply isn't allowed to happen in a movie that Disney is expecting half a billion dollars out of on its opening weekend.

SPOILERS

A New Hope had a serious moment of mourning that didn't seem to grind the action to a halt, but perhaps the only way to copy that would have been to outright copy it, which itself would have been totally inappropriate.

I'm trying to remember exactly how Battlestar Galactica did this so well. All of our protagonists knew someone back on the home planet who'd been vaporized and then mourned for them like real characters. There was a vivid sense of horror about loved ones being suddenly gone. There was also a sense that civilization itself was in peril. We didn't get much of that in Star Wars. The extermination not only of innocent people, but of governments, infrastructures, societies, elders, and cultural histories seemed to result in a few furrowed brows.

And a random note. I wonder if "Rey" being Spanish for "king" has any significance. Perhaps one day she will rule them all.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #166 on: December 29, 2015, 10:20:01 AM »
+2
SPOILETTES

Natalie Portman's first line in The Phantom Menace: "You will not be so pleased when you hear what I have to say."

The first spoken line in The Force Awakens: "This will begin to make things right."
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #167 on: December 30, 2015, 02:44:50 PM »
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Saw this again and now actually have a higher opinion of it.

I tried 3D this time, and I think 2D is superior with this movie. The novelty of 3D is not worth the emotional connection that you lose.

SPOILERS

Han and Leia have one exposition dump that's really bad. It's about 30 seconds of cringing that you just have to get through. Other than that, many of my other complaints don't hold up under scrutiny. Which is not exactly the result I was expecting.

The Republic/Rebellion relationship is actually crystal clear in the movie. It's all there in the crawl, and then it's repeated later very tactfully. They could not have done much better. We must have been too distracted by the Star Wars-ness of it all for these things to register on the first viewing. And I think the damage from The Phantom Menace is still being felt ó in that you instinctively ignore those details, for fear of reading about trade route taxation disputes.

I really appreciated the way the ships interacted with the landscape. Creating a wake across the water or grazing the sand. The Millenium Falcon sliding across the snow. The way the wrecked space ship dwarfs Rey in those scenes and creates a vivid sense of scale.

I think I located the source of the overwhelming emotion that I felt on the first viewing. Unsurprisingly, it's Daisy Ridley's performance. Reminds me of the way Evan Rachel Wood was the heart and soul of Across the Universe, but intensified. Ridley carries this movie. I would not be surprised if they originally had a lot more exposition and dialogue for her, but they excised it because her performance was doing all the work. Truly remarkable.

Recall the moment when she and Finn are running through the market, with all the hand-holding antics. She finds him after they were separated and goes to help him up. Finn asks her if she's okay ó she says "yeah," and the confused look she gives him is so interesting. The absolute sincerity of her confusion tells an entire story. She has literally grown up without gender norms, so this whole business of Finn being protective of her simply doesn't make sense to her.

By the way, anyone who complains that she is too flawless a character is forgetting that:

- She is fairly delusional about her parents ever coming back.
- She is naive enough that she doesn't see through Finn's obvious lie about being with the resistance.
- She opens the wrong doors in Han's freighter.
- She freaks out after the lightsaber vision, then runs through the forest, yelping as she's almost hit by lasers.
- She then gets caught and captured.

It actually feels like just the right amount of imperfection and vulnerability.

A note about Han Solo: He does reject a quest, but it's the quest to see Leia in person. And he doesn't resist it that hard. He's almost asking Maz to force him to go. Likewise, Rey's quest rejection annoyed me even less this time; it's 100% about feeling overwhelmed by the images she just saw and being afraid of her past. More than understandable.

Finn's quest rejection is the only truly annoying one, but Rey serves as an audience proxy by being extremely annoyed at him too. In this scene she's positioned above him and is literally looking down on him the whole time. It's possibly even a meta comment on the whole trope.

Thinking more about Rey's origins. It's clear in the flashback that her parents were taken away from her by force on a ship, and she was kept on the planet by a deep-voiced figure as this happened. If this was a hostile situation, why was she left alive? It's all very strange.

I've read a few extremely wrong things in reviews supporting that she's Luke's daughter. First that she awakens R2 ó no, she's not in the room or even on the same planet at the time. Second, that Maz recognized Rey's eyes ó also wrong. She recognized Finn's eyes. Afterwards she looked at Rey's eyes and was confounded, had no idea who she was. Maz seems to be the closest person to Luke, so I feel like this scene alone makes Luke's fatherhood far less likely.

If Luke is Rey's father, I can't wait for the flashbacks where we see him always speaking to her in a British accent.

c-3po would NEVER say something to the effect of Ďoh how iíve missed you my old friend!í to r2. c-3po HATES r2. or at least he pretends to. on the surface.

If he says something like that, it's a milder version, and he actually smacks R2 a moment later. It only takes a second of consciousness for their banter to begin.

there are a lot of big mysteries left on the table like reyís backstory, but i get the distinct feeling that these mysteries are mysterious because jj and kasdan simply don't know the answers yet, and had to establish something for ep viii and ix to unlock later. i love ambiguity and mystery in the star wars universe, but this is just faint suggestion with no sense of a substantial core.

I disagree. There's so much specific imagery packed into the lightsaber vision that I don't think that can be the case.

- hanís death is so telegraphed and doesnít appear to reverberate through the other characters. when rey gets into the driverís seat at the end, chewie doesnít so much as bat an eyelash. itís just strange.

It's certainly telegraphed ó what were they going to do, convert the principal villain so he could join the already crowded group of good guys? But I think it does reverberate a lot more than you suggest. Chewie roars in anguish and goes on a killing spree. Rey and Finn cry out in horror when it happens. We even see Leia getting gut-punched by the force ó Han's death certainly had more impact on her than the massacre of millions of people.

max von sydow is great example of how hard it is to make this stuff work. iím glad heís only in the first scene because his conviction about this world isnít strong enough to come off the screen and make me believe. heís also stuck saying exposition, so i donít completely blame him.

Yeah. Unfortunately, he had more gravitas in Judge Dredd.

- why does rey suddenly change her mind about wanting to hang onto bb-8 after decisively not wanting him to follow her around? iím okay with a change of heart, but it seems random. i wanted one event, however small, to motivate her change.

I don't think her initial resistance to BB-8 was decisive at all. Seemed like an echo of Luke's brattiness. But moreso, a fleeting resistance to forming an attachment with anyone/anything. Thank God she didn't have to vocalize that, either. It was self-evident.

- luke's weathered face is Great, but that moment is DRAGGGGGGED out so horribly. how long can someone stand there holding a lightsaber?

This actually worked a lot better for me the second time. There's so much going on in Mark Hammill's performance there. He's staring at the lightsaber, flooded with memories, and Rey is letting him have his moment. The subsequent wide shot is best understood as a different POV of the same stretch of time. Then it works quite well.

I feel, by the way, that this is another mark against Luke being the father. There is nothing about the scene that reads omg my daughter. Instead it's omg my lightsaber.

the more i think about it, the more disappointed i am that jj and co didn't come up with anything new on a macro level. killing the emperor seemed to have no effect.

The effect, presumably, was 30 years of peace. That's not bad. The First Order is slowly reconstituted from fragments of the Empire. I doubt they ever believed that evil had been obliterated from the universe.

But it did occur to me that the Republic should have had an IAEA equivalent patrolling the galaxy.
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jenkins

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #168 on: January 20, 2016, 04:39:31 PM »
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looking at the box office as raw data, The Force Awakens pursues Titanic as the second highest grossing movie of all time worldwide.

James Cameron is the only filmmaker to break $2bil worldwide, he did it twice. Titanic in '97, which annihilated the previous record, and maintained itself only until Avatar passed it in '09. for context, Jurassic World currently sits at number four, and the furthest back in time from there is LotR: The Return of the King from 2003, thirteen, $1.1bil worldwide, then at twenty and twenty-one the 90s appear with Jurassic Park and The Phantom Menace.

The Force Awakens made the domestic record, as an example of a local phenomenon. in '97 Titanic made $22mil in Sweden. The Force Awakens has $18mil in Sweden. Avatar also made $22mil in Sweden. Australia didn't gobble Titanic, they did gobble The Force Awakens, but not as much as they gobbled Avatar (note: i regret using gobble). in South Korea The Force Awakens is at $23mil and Avatar made $105mil. in Mexico The Force Awakens is about to pass Titanic, which'll put it $14mil away from Avatar. Canada and USA count themselves the same. the only country i spotted where The Force Awakens made more than Avatar and Titanic is the United Kingdom.

summary: James Cameron, who might feel more like a local phenomenon, he's actually the global one, twice. plus, reminder,

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On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. The maximum depth recorded during this record-setting dive was 10,908 metres (35,787 ft). It was the fourth ever dive to the Challenger Deep and the second manned dive (with a maximum recorded depth slightly less than that of Trieste's 1960 dive). It was the first solo dive and the first to spend a significant amount of time (three hours) exploring the bottom.
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tpfkabi

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #169 on: January 25, 2016, 07:17:05 PM »
+2
I loved it.
Definitely not perfect, but a lot of fun.
I went through the previous 6. I guess I'm weird. Ewoks don't bother me and TPM is my favorite prequel.

SPOILERS

Re: Rey's parentage - If you look up an official description of Jakku, it just so happens to have been the location of the (or one of?) Empire's research lab/facility. Given that someone got Luke's lightsaber from Cloud City, perhaps the Empire had his hand, which means also his DNA.
I have already imagined something alone these lines that probably will not become true.
The Empire was trying to create people strong with the Force. Rey was one of the experiments.
To explain that Rey is not 30 (or whatever time period since ROTJ) the base was hidden and not discovered by the Rebels until years later. When they came a'knockin' Rey hid or was left behind a la space Home Alone. When she realizes the people she knew were leaving she tried to get to them - and then you have the little bit of scene in TFA where Unkar is holding her arm as the ship flies away.

I also have some ideas that Han is not dead or at least may have lived a short time after falling.
The reports that he is in the next film could be smokescreen, or could represent a memorial of some sort - which would also be an opportunity to bring Lando back.

I have to wonder with the way that TFA ended, will they break the tradition of the previous 6 films and not start immediately with a crawl - one has to wonder if Disney will make all directors follow a certain format - and finish the cliffhanger?
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ElPandaRoyal

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #170 on: January 26, 2016, 07:36:17 AM »
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Saw this a month ago and the more I think about it, the less I think of it. After the initial excitement of the Star Wars title, crawl and music, the first scenes seemed to be good until they just weren't anymore. JJ Abrams treats this shit just like another TV Pilot, putting all the elements on screen but leave most of them open to be explored in the next episodes. Plus, I've never seen a movie sequel at the same time so respectful to its original material (to the point of copying a lot of it) and so quick to turn its logic on its head (remember when Luke needed three movies to become a good enough Jedi in order to beat the villain? The hero this time only needed to close her eyes to do it) - the whole second half of the movie just felt boring as hell, when I started to realize that the goal was to just keep all information open for the sequels and wrap up this one just like Episode IV.

Fuck this shit, the worst part being the fact that next year I'll be in the theatre again. Probably complaining. Nostalgia does this to you.
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polkablues

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #171 on: January 26, 2016, 10:56:14 AM »
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SPOILERS

Re: Rey's parentage - If you look up an official description of Jakku, it just so happens to have been the location of the (or one of?) Empire's research lab/facility. Given that someone got Luke's lightsaber from Cloud City, perhaps the Empire had his hand, which means also his DNA.
I have already imagined something alone these lines that probably will not become true.
The Empire was trying to create people strong with the Force. Rey was one of the experiments.
To explain that Rey is not 30 (or whatever time period since ROTJ) the base was hidden and not discovered by the Rebels until years later. When they came a'knockin' Rey hid or was left behind a la space Home Alone. When she realizes the people she knew were leaving she tried to get to them - and then you have the little bit of scene in TFA where Unkar is holding her arm as the ship flies away.

This is probably the best theory about this plot point that I've seen.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #172 on: January 26, 2016, 10:59:04 AM »
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Interesting. Who did she believe her family was, do you think? I'm not sure I remember, did we actually see a mom and dad in the distance being taken away?
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polkablues

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #173 on: January 26, 2016, 11:16:13 AM »
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Just a spaceship flying off, if I'm remembering right.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

diggler

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #174 on: January 26, 2016, 05:14:35 PM »
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SPOILERS

Re: Rey's parentage - If you look up an official description of Jakku, it just so happens to have been the location of the (or one of?) Empire's research lab/facility. Given that someone got Luke's lightsaber from Cloud City, perhaps the Empire had his hand, which means also his DNA.
I have already imagined something alone these lines that probably will not become true.
The Empire was trying to create people strong with the Force. Rey was one of the experiments.
To explain that Rey is not 30 (or whatever time period since ROTJ) the base was hidden and not discovered by the Rebels until years later. When they came a'knockin' Rey hid or was left behind a la space Home Alone. When she realizes the people she knew were leaving she tried to get to them - and then you have the little bit of scene in TFA where Unkar is holding her arm as the ship flies away.

Hey, that's pretty good.

The problematic thing with her being Luke's daughter is that they never set up who her mother was and this series would never miss the opportunity to set that up. This sort of explains that away in a very interesting context. It also explains why a great battle took place there. Kylo's throwaway line about clones would no longer feel like a random prequel shoutout.

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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #175 on: March 04, 2016, 11:11:33 AM »
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I very much like this theory about Rey's parentage, specifically her mother:

http://decider.com/2016/03/03/star-wars-rey-mother-felicity-jones/
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Just Withnail

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #176 on: March 05, 2016, 01:11:27 PM »
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Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker could be gay

So, probably not his daughter.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #177 on: March 13, 2016, 12:56:57 AM »
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This is one of the most densely nerdy things I've seen.

Lots of good info, though. For example, Rey almost certainly named herself.


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Alexandro

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #178 on: April 12, 2016, 10:10:55 AM »
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count me in JB's camp all the way with this one.
I have never been so into Star Wars, and the first one particularly baffles me because it's kinda slow and boring. I tried to see it a few months ago and it's all so silly I can't help but tune out.
Yet I get and even enjoy Empire Strikes Back because it's darker and has more dramatic impact for me. The prequels, for all their flaws (and they are all deeply flawed) at least had Darth vader's evolution to cling to, although in retrospect they are too bad to be saved.

This one is what they all should be: fast, fun and entertaining. Likeable characters, funny interactions. Good payoffs.

Back in december I was so overwhelmed by all the fans and the incesant talk about this movie I just couldn't bring myself to watch it.

Last night at some point I had to recognize this was doing everything right. I was completely involved in these character's movements and they were all new, no nostalgia ingredients yet.

The only weak link to me was Carrie Fisher. I think the fact that her character evolved into such an important authority kind of fucks with her ability to be pissed off and have the fun bickering she used to have with Ford, who by the way, totally nailed every one liner and bit he was given to.

All in all, just like DiCaprio winning his damn oscar, I think this film gave worldwide popular culture a big sigh of relief.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
« Reply #179 on: May 04, 2016, 08:56:07 PM »
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