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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 7:21 am 
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I saw the movie this morning. While it's a way off perfect, it met my expectations, and exceeded them in some regards.

So, let's talk about the film and speculate on what Rian will be doing with these characters!


~~LAST WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS~~

I had a few small complaints. The dialogue too often veered towards exposition that felt clunky, or just restated existing knowledge. 3P0 felt like a parody of himself. I don't mind the plot lifts from the OT; it felt appropriate for that to be what this film is. Thought there was too much Snoke; I think the film might have run more smoothly without him entirely, in fact, and given more time for Hux and Kylo to be established as real threats.

Speaking of Hux and Kylo, they seem like a good place to begin the speculation for Episode VIII. I wasn't expecting Hux to survive!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:04 am 
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Agreed on the clunky exposition, but that's always been present in the Star Wars movies (I just rewatched the original trilogy and was pretty surprised at how much of the dialogue is actually very much spoon-feeding the universe to the audience. As for 3PO, he's always been a parody of himself since the first one came out.

I loved that it was in some ways a reboot, but the true sequel we wanted it to be. My gripes were few and far between and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's my favorite one, which I'll be sure of tonight after I watch it again. The only one that remained a "classic" in my eyes after rewatching them for the first time in a couple of years was the original. That's TFA's only competition IMO.

Also, can we agree: Best visually, best music since ANH, funniest one?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:21 am 
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Definitely the funniest. It's the most beautiful of the series, too, but I don't know if that's necessarily the same as being "best visually". Lucas's composition and design of the original is extraordinary. I need to see it again.

How great was Daisy Ridley?

(Hint: incredible.)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:44 am 
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Day Glo wrote:
Definitely the funniest. It's the most beautiful of the series, too, but I don't know if that's necessarily the same as being "best visually". Lucas's composition and design of the original is extraordinary. I need to see it again.

How great was Daisy Ridley?

(Hint: incredible.)


Oh absolutely. She was made even better by the fact that there were no weak links. Strong casts elevate everyone, which is why I can't wait to see what Rian does with it, since his casts are always perfect.

Seriously though, if this was my childhood Star Wars, I'd have posters of her in my room. Haha.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:09 pm 
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I didn't really have any problem with the clunky dialogue and exposition. It just all felt very Star Wars-y and satisfying to me.

The whole set-up of the movie, diving right into the middle of a scene that feels like it's already been going on and just sort of going off from there, never stopping or pausing was very entertaining. The motivations seemed less clear than they were in the previous six movies however. Characters dove headfirst into conflicts with very little reason to not just hide or walk away. But it was fun conflict, so really who cares? I was along for the ride, and this was mostly because I really liked the new characters.

Rey is a pretty much flawless character that excels at anything and everything and somehow, partly through her underdog status and good intentions, is still believable enough to be likeable.

Finn is just pure simpatico, everything he does is honest and real and you just want to join him and be friends with him and drink blue milk at cantina's with him. I feel like they hinted at him maybe being force sensitive too, and I hope that that is true, because if he's not, then next to Rey he is in danger of becoming too Watson to her Sherlock, or too Jar Jar to her Qui-gon. He needs maybe to be more able to stand on his own feet in the future films. Also: Everything he did was insanely funny.

Poe and Maz were underused and didn't really get to show their characters all that well. If they return in bigger roles I'm sure they will be awesome.

Han Solo came back with full force and didn't really miss a beat anywhere. It was as if forty years didn't go by.

Sadly, the same couldn't be said for Leia. She really doesn't get to do anything except for standing about and looking thoughtful. Also her make-up seemed very weird. I don't know if Carrie did any plastic surgery, she doesn't really seem like the person to do it, and I never noticed it before, but it really looked like she'd lost the ability of moving muscles in her face or something. This woman is pure powerful awesome, please give her a cooler role.

Hux was great. His devotion was really the one thing in the movie that sold the concept of the first order, and his brothers trying to please their father thing that he had going with Kylo worked really well.

Speaking of Kylo, he was, by far, my favourite character in the movie. The way they made his anger management issues both funny and scary at the same time was a powerful piece of filmmaking that really made him as sympathetic and sad as he was dangerous and evil. Adam Driver acted the hell out of the character, and his story seemed as central and important to me as Rey's was.

But that Snoke guy seemed a little underdeveloped too. Also, as there are only two sith at any given time and Snoke looked old enough to be alive during the original trilogy, is Snoke not a Sith? Or is he Palpatine or Vader's secret apprentice? Or is he Palpatine or Vader? He can't be Darth Plagueis, can he? Abrams doesn't seem like the guy who would incorporate something from the prequels into his film. He must be somebody new.
Also: Those other Kylo Ren guys from Rey's visions, where they The Knights Of Ren that Snoke spoke off? Are they dead? Gone? Where they Luke's other padawan's before Kylo turned them against him? Did Luke defeat them all, but missed the strength to kill his nephew Ben Solo, so he went into exile. Maybe not before dropping of his infant daughter at Jakku?
I'm interested in seeing Rian delve deeper into these things.

I do have some problems with the film though: I felt the death of Han was predictable and actually kind of lame. As soon as Kylo walked onto that walkway-bridge-thing I knew Han was a goner. Why would that location be there if no one was going to fall down off of it? While it worked as a device to make Kylo scarier, it wasn't really the end Han deserved. He didn't even get to see Luke again or share one last kiss with Leia. It felt like a John Snow death, killing him off before his arc was completed. Though really, Jango Fett, Boba Fett and Obi-wan also had kind of lame deaths, so I guess it is classic Star Wars to kill someone off in a slightly pointless and mostly underwhelming way. Also: This was because Harrison only wanted to do one, right? Not because Disney or Abrams wanted the character dead. Harrison just said: "I'm in if I die."

But my biggest problem was actually with the Starkiller Base. What planets did they blow up? Could this thing move or was it a stationary planet? If it could move, does that mean it swallows up the sun of the system it destroys, and if so, doesn't that already destroy the system? If it's stationary, does that mean it was built to only fire twice until it swallowed up it's own sun? That's seems like a lot of work for only two shots fired. Even if those shots can destroy entire systems. Also, I personally didn't really like the fact that it was so close to being a remake of A New Hope. The movie started off as it's own fun thing, but slowly turned into a beat for beat retelling of the classic film, which everybody already knows and that felt like a waste of potential. That whole 'we have to do another death star bit' didn't really do anything for me. I would've preferred the first order to be smaller, more extreme. What if they were nothing more than just a couple of Star Destroyers filled with the most radical believers in the former Empire? What if the climax of the film was the opposite of what it was now: Kylo and Hux attacking the Rebel/Republic base. Like a Helm's Deep siege type of thing but with TIE fighters. That would've been very cool to see and way more exciting than this re-hash of something that was already done THREE times in a Star Wars movie before.

But don't get me wrong: All in all it was a funny, faced paced piece of pure entertainment and nostalgia, that could've gone on for five more hours before I would've started to get bored.

I'm seeing it again next week. :D

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Last edited by T-jones on Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Just got back from my second viewing and wrote a quick but very genuine review of it on Letterboxd:

"Having watched it twice in 24 hours, I can safely (and I do mean safely, since I just re-watched the original trilogy this month) say that this is my favorite film of the saga.

The Force Awakens pays tribute the originals without ever being masturbatory, while simultaneously making it a new thing. This is thanks not only to Abrams' distinct directorial style, but to a cast that is so perfectly selected, with everyone absolutely delivering. The star in my eyes, however, is clearly Daisy Ridley, who is sure to have stolen the hearts of boys and girls (and grown men and women) across the planet, so watch out for her during THE REST OF HER LIFE.

The cinematography is the best of the saga, the effects are the best of the saga, the acting is the best of the saga, and the music may very well be the best of the saga, as Williams pulls together a perfect blend of his classic compositions and brilliant new stuff. My second watch was mostly spent paying attention to the score and I was absolutely consumed by it. Granted I'm a huge Williams fanboy, but that only means my standards were high, and they were not only met but surpassed.

In the last year or so, we have gotten quite possibly three of the greatest blockbusters of all time in Guardians of the Galaxy, Mad Max: Fury Road, and this. While dumbdumbs continue to say that this is "one of the worst years in Hollywood history", The Force Awakens is here to remind us all that one movie can completely change that momentum. Not only will it make up for some 2015 blunders, but it's just so purely enjoyable that I can't see it's effect on the industry being anything but positive and long-lasting."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:33 am 
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I have watched the movie once, but I should probably watch it again - this time, without critiquing it as a standalone movie, but for what it is: a Star Wars film.

Disclaimer: I'm not a film buff, or a writer, but I do like to critically analyze films because I like the idea of themes and analyzing unintentional things in art. This isn't going to be an organized review of the movie but more or less my first impressions of the film.

I think dialogue wise there were a lot of things said that didn't need to be said, which is weird because there are instances where "show, don't tell" worked effectively (exposition regarding Kylo's family here and there building up to Han's confrontation with Kylo vs. the final scene where Luke and Rey didn't have any dialogue, but the scene heavily implied that there was a bond between the characters).

There were a lot of scenes that didn't need to happen (Rathtar action scenes), and maybe the screen time could have been used to flesh out other characters (such as Max von Sydow's character, who seemed to have a significant link to the Skywalkers'). I was more interested in whether or not he oversaw Rey on Jakku.

I think the music wasn't very good, which was a bummer. There are some pieces that were amazing, such as The Resistance theme, as well as Rey's theme, but it just felt empty at times, uninspired, somber, and lacked the emotion that ANH and TPM had.

The pacing of the film was weird in the middle. From the introduction to when the main characters meet Han and Chewie, the pace was great. Everything after this felt rushed until Rey gets captured, and I think that if it slowed down a bit it, or we were given less information would be nice.

I really enjoyed the choreography, and the acting. I think everyone in the film did an amazing job at bringing the world to real life.

I am really excited to see how Rian ties some loose ends together and fleshes out the story from here on out. I hope he takes some greater risks than J.J!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:29 pm 
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Saw it last night. Not a perfect movie, but close! But that doesn't matter, because it was AWESOME. It was 90% amazing old star wars, and 10% bad choices.

The great:
1.) Daisy "Rey" Ridley. What a great character. It's almost as if that Joseph Campbell fella was onto something with the hero's journey. Can't wait to see where her story goes, especially in Rian's chapter.

2.) Film, man. 35mm film. There's something about it. I still to this day think that "The Phantom Menace" is the only prequel that feels like a Star Wars movie, and sure enough - it's the only prequel shot on film. And hey, I own a Red camera. I love what digital can do and will use digital for most, if not all, of my own personal projects, but film has its place in the market and deserves to be around as a creative choice for filmmakers forever more. It DOES have an impact, however subconscious it may be.

3.) The form of the universe is structurally STAR WARS of old. *golf claps*

4.) Rian, you've been handed what appears to be a golden fucking opportunity with a beautiful set up. The way they ended VII and dropped that perfect setup into your lap has me frothing at the mouth. Can't wait to see what you do with it - I'm sure it'll be absolutely killer.


The bad:
1.) There's more creature CGI than expected for a movie that was so adamant to declare itself old-fashioned, and unfortunately this includes the new, big baddie, Snoke (? that's his name, right? The giant fucking hologram guy...) Understandably some things aren't possible, but my god, this is your big bad new emperor replacement (it would seem). Gonna guess that his hologram is actually just considerably larger than his real-life self.

2.) The Han Solo / Chewy introduction and immediate fight sequence. Had the stink of JJ's Star Trek in there, for sure. No real stakes pertaining to the plot, other than the fact that the lead characters all needed to survive it (and of course they all would).

3.) Fin's intro. Wait, what? Back up the truck... A stormtrooper with feelings? The movie smartly glossed over it and kept running, but it was a LOT to swallow, given we've never seen, in canon, a stormtrooper with any sort of conscious what-so-ever.

All the bad was forgivable, of course, and the movie is still SOLID. Just my musings, because this is the internet... and lord knows we all love sharing opinions on the internet.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:49 pm 
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I agree with pretty much everyone in this thread in some regards!
Chad Peter wrote:
3.) Fin's intro. Wait, what? Back up the truck... A stormtrooper with feelings? The movie smartly glossed over it and kept running, but it was a LOT to swallow, given we've never seen, in canon, a stormtrooper with any sort of conscious what-so-ever.

This point in particular I think is interesting. I wonder if there was written or deleted material involving Finn and Phasma that looks at the Stormtroopers' protocols and training in more detail that might have fleshed this out.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:40 am 
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Day Glo wrote:
I agree with pretty much everyone in this thread in some regards!
Chad Peter wrote:
3.) Fin's intro. Wait, what? Back up the truck... A stormtrooper with feelings? The movie smartly glossed over it and kept running, but it was a LOT to swallow, given we've never seen, in canon, a stormtrooper with any sort of conscious what-so-ever.

This point in particular I think is interesting. I wonder if there was written or deleted material involving Finn and Phasma that looks at the Stormtroopers' protocols and training in more detail that might have fleshed this out.


If I had to guess, after seeing it a second time, I feel as if everything in the movie had been set up and manipulated by Luke, including Finn's "turn" away from the first order, which is why Kylo Ren even gave pause and glanced at Finn at the end of the first scene. Something with Force manipulation tipped him off. hahaha... I'm way overanalyzing.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:27 pm 
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I saw it again - one of the things that struck me on the second viewing was that although Finn's initial refusal to shoot may be an act of principle, his decision to free Poe was made as much in fear as hope.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:22 pm 
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Day Glo wrote:
I saw it again - one of the things that struck me on the second viewing was that although Finn's initial refusal to shoot may be an act of principle, his decision to free Poe was made as much in fear as hope.


I think it's more a move of opportunity as much as it is what you said. Wait, I hate what I'm doing, I just got in trouble, and we just capture the best pilot in the galaxy... Hmmmmm...


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:42 am 
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I thought it was really bad, and even worse than the prequels. Some thoughts:


-Stupid opening. The shot of the Star Destroyer was presumably supposed to mimic the startling opening of A New Hope, but just felt badly exposed, opaque, and not thrilling in the slightest.

-The first scene on Jakku. We get Oscar Isaac somehow reduced to seeming forced in his acting, Max von Sydow doing absolutely nothing, a firefight that looks like it doesn't belong on the CW, much less in a SW film, and Emo Vader committing a cursory execution that has no weight, given the emptiness of what preceded it.

-Starkiller. A ridiculous amalgam of the Suncrusher and Death Stars. Why on earth would you make a carbon copy of the Death Star?

-Finn. What did this guy do, besides be ineffectual, goofy, and attempt to throw off badly written comic quips? The main characters in the OT were all good at something, which is a key attribute of any budding heroic personage. I like Boyega and he did a good job with the accent, but the character is a stooge.

-Rey. Her character was badly conceived. Somehow she can pilot the Falcon with more skill than its previous owners (having presumably never ridden anything more complicated than a landspeeder-type vehicle), and is fully conversant at an expert level with seemingly all mechanical devices and electronics? Luke didn't just magically become an ace pilot. He (and Biggs, a guy who was not Force sensitive, but still a great pilot) mastered their degree of piloting skills by shooting womprats in T-16s on Tattooine, in many ways with its canyons and the small size of the targets resembling in a rudimentary fashion some of the challenges of the Death Star run. You can even compare the dangers of being shot by Tusken raiders as being directly analogous to blasts from turbolasers or enemy fighters, if you wanted to. George Lucas actually thought about this stuff back in the day.

- I'm just as puzzled by Finn and Rey somehow being able to wield a lightsaber against a force-trained antagonist without being killed in an instant. The writing completely elided necessary narrative development. The sequence on the Falcon in A New Hope when Obi-Wan was training Luke to channel his force sensitivity to sense the moves of the sparring droid that floated around is the kind of attention to detail and rationality that wasn't present here.

-Han. Does nothing.

-Leia. Does nothing.

-Luke. Does nothing.

-Gleeson. A completely hammy and unmenacing Tarkin wannabe.

-Snoke. Lame character design (like some reject from Middle Earth or a random February release fantasy movie), absolutely no interesting dialogue. A 9th rate Emperor wannabe.

-Captain Stormtrooper. What did she do besides get apprehended and then ostensibly thrown into a garbage compactor? :lol:

-Cantina rip-off with no memorable music, to boot.

-Finn and Poe hugging each other like they're Luke and Biggs or something, despite having met like 5 hours ago. Same with their whooping exclamations of triumph and camaraderie, which are ludicrously unfitting given how little development has occurred in the relationships between any of the characters.

-How does anyone who's seen the original trilogy believe for a second that Luke, in the event of a trainee going rogue (much less his own nephew) and becoming a dark side thug, would just up and exile himself to some island while havoc spreads and that family member tears apart the lives/marriage of his sister and brother-in-law/friend? How does anyone believe that Han and Leia would act more like he's a wayward son who decided to do drugs 24/7 or something, rather than an interplanetary butcher? "Tell him to come home!" What!!!???

I just found the whole thing so utterly derivative of A New Hope, moment-to-moment, without ever achieving the mythological wonder or masterful storytelling on display in the OT. It was like bad fan fiction.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:10 am 
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Yikes...

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:20 am 
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Chad Peter wrote:
Yikes...


And I loved Abrams' Star Trek 2009, so I was really excited for this.


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