Have A Seat, It’s Time To Discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This past weekend saw the release of the much anticipated next chapter of the super popular space opera known as Star Wars, i.e. Episode VII, The Force Awakens.   There has been a lot of hype for this movie, both because of its need to redeem itself from its less than stellar predecessors, as well as interest in seeing where the franchise’s new owner and the film’s visionary would take the beloved property.   Thus far, it has delighted fans, critics, and bank accounts all over the world.  But none of that matters until our little family talks about the movie, which we will now do with great fervor.    I suppose as the author of this post, I should begin with my thoughts…

Note: I intend for this post and its comments to go hog wild on spoilers, so if you haven’t seen TFA, go grab a sandwich or something.

My overall verdict: I liked it!  It isn’t a revolutionary piece of sci-fi film making, but it does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original trilogy.  If there was one SAT analogy that perfectly describes this movie, it’s The Force Awakens : A New Hope :: Creed : Rocky.  It follows much of the structure of Episode IV, but with plenty of unique personality to make the film feel fresh and relatable to a new generation of film goers.  There have been mixed feelings about this.  Personally, I think it keeps it from being great, but by no means did it take away from enjoyment of the film.

The Force Awakens serves as a bridge between the last generation of characters (Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker) and the new faces of the Star Wars universe.  Lemme just say that I find all of the main characters VERY likable.  This was largely attributed to the dialogue, which felt natural and more at home on Earth, as opposed to the flowery, faux-Shakespearean lines that were found throughout the previous six movies.  But the three heroes, Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron, were all charming and had great chemistry between them.  Even the new villain, Kylo Ren, was likable in his own right.  I thought Adam Driver did a nice job playing a young man desperate to prove his allegiance to the dark side, while destroying ties to those trying to bring him back (specifically his parents).  I look forward to seeing all of them in Episode 8.

Of course, the movie is not without its flaws.  Here’s a short list of what I took issue with:

  • Supreme Leader Snoke.  He wasn’t a particularly intriguing figure, and his size is ridiculous.  Also, WTF kind of a name is Snoke?  If you told me my family was being held hostage by some named Snoke, I’d laugh and hang up the phone on your face.  Perhaps his role in the series will be fleshed out more, because he didn’t really seem all that useful, other than to have a figurehead for all First Order villainy.
  • It was painfully obvious that this movie was part of a series.  I mean, we all KNOW it was going to be part of a series, but one could watch A New Hope without ever watching another Star Wars movie and be satisfied.  It felt like there was no solid closure at the end of the movie.
  • Starkiller Base, what’s the deal with it?  How close does it need to be to a star to absorb it?  If it’s close, can this freakin’ planet move?  If the base absorbs the energy of a sun, how is the planet covered in snow?  It seemed like an excuse to have the call back of Luke pulling his lightsaber from the snow on Hoth.  Speaking of which…
  • How was Rey able to execute all of those Jedi abilities?  I’m guessing she had heard the Tales of the Jedi from word of mouth and thought to try each of them out once she knew she was Force sensitive.  Also, how does a supposed Dark Side master lose to a beginner in a lightsaber duel?  I know he was wounded, but someone with that much experience should have been able to handle his business.

However, none of these are glaring enough to take away from J.J. Abrams’ accomplishment.  In the end, I was very satisfied with the movie, and would definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the film.  There is a BB-8 GIF that would perfectly sum up my feelings of The Force Awakens, but I would rather not get a Cease and Desist letter from Disney.  Whatever, YOU GUYS GET THE REFERENCE.




About FRQ

Once ate an entire blueberry cobbler by accident
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42 Responses to Have A Seat, It’s Time To Discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. catweazle says:

    Sandwich sandwich sandwich

    -I think Snope is going to end up being as small as Yoda. He’s compensating by having a giant hologram.
    -Totally agree on Rey hearing all the myths of the Jedi and just trying, but I actually loved it. It was just kind of hilarious that she’s like “apparently I’m a Jedi, what did that Obi-wan guy do all the time? He told stormtroopers to do stuff. May as well try it!”

    Also with Rey, the internet seems to think she was way too powerful too fast. I’d have to disagree. Girl has been living alone on a hostile planet since she was a little kid. She knows how to fight with a staff (which is totally how she fought with a lightsaber). She’s had to learn mechanics so when she scavenges she knows what she’s getting. She’s survived for a really long time, of course she was going to do pretty good. On top of the fact that Kylo Ren was clearly very injured when he was fighting her (need gifs of him hitting his side, stat).

    I loved Rey so much. I loved that there was never a male gaze on her. I loved that she was never the damsel in distress. Finn and Han show up and she’s already running around on her own.

    Finn was great. Finn was adorable. Finn was also a worthy hero who overcame his fears. I think Rey showed some fear, but was mostly just in survivor mode for everything. Finn’s survivor mode was to run the fuck away. The fact that he turned around to save her takes guts. AND he fought Kylo Ren. I am so excited to see Finn’s journey and growth. And I could totally see a Rey/Finn romance, but I’d also just love it if they were best friends forever.

    No, the movie wasn’t perfect. Yes, Starkiller base was the dumbest thing ever. Yes, it was a bit repetitive of A New Hope. But I don’t really care and I’m going to see the movie again today when I get home with my best friend.

  3. Sota says:

    I have a lot of thoughts, but unfortunately work is too busy for me to really put them all here right now. So can I air a grievance that I have been holding on to a long time and now it resparked again? Why didn’t they make Leia a jedi too? Clearly she has some level of the force within her as well. I get that now she’s a general and all of that…but she could totally have trained to be a jedi within the last 30 years. It kinda makes me bummed that didn’t happen.

    • Sota says:

      (or maybe I am the only one who ever thought about it.)

    • artdorkgirl says:

      Here are my two thoughts: She’s already a skillful military leader, so at this point in her life might not be as interested in honing those skills. Secondly, traditionally speaking, Luke was way too old to begin Jedi training. And at the end of the movies, the only Jedi left (that we know of) was Luke. Which really makes me think (as I type all that out) that Ben Solo’s turn to the dark side is, in fact, due to Luke’s hodgepodge training initially.

    • I’ve thought about this too! And this is just my feelings about it, obviously, but I kind of feel like Leia wouldn’t want to be a Jedi. It’s a very specific, detached, monastic lifestyle, and I think she’s just too practical for it all, even though she obviously believes in and feels the Force. The Jedi basically live like monks/nuns, adhering to very specific rules, and I think Leia’s too busy getting things done and living in the wider world to bother with all that mystical, solitary stuff, if that makes any sense. Her personality isn’t suited for it like Luke’s is.

    • catweazle says:

      I don’t care that I’m like a week late on this thread! This also bugged me until I remembered that the Jedi weren’t supposed to have significant others and if I had to choose between Han Solo’s D and being a Jedi I would do the same as Leia.

  4. artdorkgirl says:

    I kinda loved it and I’m super stoked to see it again. Rey was a badass, there was actual ACTING, and it felt like it was taking place in a real world. And there was nary a discussion of trade embargoes. I’m totally on board.

    • FRQ says:

      I disagree. I was hoping for a 40 minute discussion on Republic campaign finance reform.

      • hotspur says:

        There’s a power converter tax under consideration in the Senate that will really trash the economy of Tosche Station and place all time-wasting right out of reach for the average farmboy and his friends. There’s not much to do on Tatooine as it is, so I’m really hoping this thing gets shot down.

        It’s prolly gonna pass though. Tatooine’s senators are totally in the pocket of Big Moisture.

  5. Sota says:

    I think the biggest clincher for this film’s success were the new characters. They were actually super fun and interesting and charming and wonderful in character. There was fantastic nostalgia and storyline with our old friends, but the new friends held their own. And I think that is why it was so enjoyable.

    • SAME. It was so, so refreshing to have new characters that I cared about, that were funny and well-rounded and felt like real people instead of cardboard cutouts.

    • Simon Spidermonk says:

      Yes, exactly. The new characters were all so great that I think it would have made for a better movie if they’d just let them strike out on their own brand new adventure without echoing past adventures. The callbacks were a crutch the new cast didn’t need. Still, aside from the fact that I was seated next to the only child in the theatre and he was slurping through a straw non-stop for literally half the movie, I really enjoyed it. Definitely gonna see it again.

  6. I agree with really everything everyone here is saying! Plus Rey was already so good at Jedi stuff because of how strong the force is with her…wonder who her badass mom is!
    I also liked that they introduced each old character at different times in the movie so each person got their own moment (except chewy and c3po).
    I liked when bb8 and r2d2 met and danced with each other.
    Rey is so great! Finn is really great! Poe is cool! I had a delicious Bloody Mary right beforehand! Great work all around.

  7. hotspur says:

    I like that wherever the plot was sort of a retread of the original chapters, it actually added to them. Like, even in IV, which is great obviously, when Kenobi shows up you just think “Here’s a wise old man who will teach us important things and help us find our destiny.” You aren’t thinking about how he’s a super-conflicted, guilt-burdened self-exile because he failed so hard as a young man that his padawan became a part-robot Space Hitler. And in this movie, when the oldsters show up… VII lets you feel how the past 30 years have been a little rough on them. I really enjoyed that! It was like there were people in this movie.

  8. Sota says:

    Okay I have some more time now for some more thoughts:
    1. There was one moment when at the beginning when Han was trying to talk his way out of his probz with the two groups of smuggler guys…and that gooey round tentacle monster (someone help me with the nerd alien name i don’t know) was rolling down the hallway of the MF and Han was running and the moment was so 100% Raiders of the Lost Ark that I rejoiced with glee! I feel like thats the kind of thing JJ totally does on purpose. I hope it was intentional because it was my favorite part.
    2. I thought the movie did a very good job of treading the line of nostalgia and new stuff. The whole storyline felt super safe though…oh gee another death star. Oh wait a bigger death star! (Thanks Han for speaking our thoughts.) Then I was talking with someone else about it and we decided that it feels so great, but so safe for two reasons…1. JJ was following the method for a successful remake and 2. Disney. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the stories go. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I hope it gets a little deeper with a few more storylines than just bigger death stars and daddy issues for a different generation.
    3. BB8 is SO CUTE! Omg I totally want a BB8. Santa, please bring me a BB8. He was funny! I loved how all the characters got to be funny!
    4. There seemed like there was very little iconic theme music. I get that the Empire theme wasn’t really possible because Darth is gone, but I kinda wanted just a hint more of that.
    5. I loooooved Rey and Finn and Poe(POE IS SO HANDSOME!). The beginning I was like…are we watching a Stormtrooper PTSD movie? This is a very interesting spin. I am pumped to see this crew get into more space shenanigans together.
    6. Han. Can we talk about Han? I know Harrison Ford wanted out of this franchise years ago, but somehow I was still shocked. I wish there had been a few more moments for the shock of that to sink in. Also, if it was me, I think I would stop walking out onto these long bridges over these deep holes in space. Why does every deep never ending hole have a catwalk across it that looks like a good place to fight your nemesis? 😉
    7. I really want to go see it again. I am going to try to convince my Dad to go with me over Christmas. It was so fun to see it opening weekend though…the whole theater clapped when the movie began. Overall…I loved it.

    • Simon Spidermonk says:

      I was sceptical of BB8 when I first saw pictures of him but he was great, so much so that I was kinda disappointed when he pulled the blanket off of R2D2. We don’t need R2 anymore! We have you, BB8!

  9. mordonez says:

    Just saw it last night, and I don’t think my opinion is all that different from many of those stated here.

    I do have to say it was at least as much a reboot as it was a sequel, and I have some serious problems with the Andy Serkis CGI baddie, who was ludicrous. But most of it, I enjoyed the heck out of, and thought they had the tone almost entirely right. I thought Harrison Ford, for someone who apparently didn’t want to be there, was nearly perfect, and they’ve made Chewie more of a character–he was hilarious.

    In some ways, specific plot points were almost on a checklist–Rey sees a ship screaming off into the sky off this godforsaken planet, the party arrives at a wretched hive of scum and villainy, these are not the droids you’re looking for (and drop your weapon), the plucky rebels huddle around a janky display looking at a Death Star 3.0 (and it’s noted that these things always have a weakness–oh, it’s the thermal oscilator? Cool, yeah we’ll bomb that). But I think those familiar tropes were there as fan service and perhaps to hook in the younglings by making a movie as much like New Hope as they could, but “new and improved, with 58% new stuff!”

    Most of that new stuff and new people (and most of the old stuff mentioned above) I enjoyed (or in some cases chuckled to myself about), and I was right pleased with the whole thing.

    Also, Sota, I have to disagree with you about the music–every single time someone got teary eyed or emotional, the “teary eyed or emotional” music cues popped up, and I thought, Imperial March notwithstanding ,the music was almost another callback to New Hope. Not that I have any idea what the music was like in the prequels, because I’m not watching those again.

    And in conclusion–did Han think when he agreed to help his son in any way at all, that his son wanted Han to kill HIM (“to end this pain”) or whatever?

    Mrsdonez was thoroughly meh about it, but liked it ok. She was more bothered by the recycling than I was. I don’t think she either liked the original trilogy as much, or found it as emotionally important to be able to like a Star Wars movie again as I did. I guess I agree with her that the weird CSI Miami helicopter shot at the end was sort of dumb, but on the other hand, if you’re not going to have any dialogue there, it’s as good a way as any of saying “what’s next”?

  10. flanny says:

    I saw it yesterday with my sister’s family, and I liked it a lot! I’m no SW superfan, so I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts or theories, but I will echo the sentiment that it was just fun and it was great to have fun at a movie. I’m thinking about how I no longer have fun at batman because it’s all sad backstory, but yesterday was a bunch of sad backstory and yet still fun??? Yay!!!
    My favorite part of the movie was bb8, who reminded me of my cat. My second favorite part was after we got out of the movie and were trying to remember Snoke’s name and I called him “Spoon.”

  11. Erika says:

    I just saw it tonight, and, while le and I thought it was really fun, I was really meh about the storytelling. I’m pretty much done with Abrams’ hack writing.

    It’s 30 years later, and the legitimate government is still called the “resistance” even by its supporters? It’s 30 years later, and Luke is the only Jedi? The empire has suffered significant losses but it looks more slick, has at least as many troops and powerful ships as before? Where are they getting their money and resources? Building the first Death Star took 20 years. The second took maybe several years, and building both on any timeline was likely a stretch in terms of resources, but an embattled Empire can build a Death Star out of a planet that can harness a sun? Meanwhile the legitimate government’s entire fleet consists of maybe two dozen X-wings.

    Any vestige of the Empire 30 years later should be holding together with floss and chewing gum.

    Where the hell did Snoke come from if there are no other Jedi? Is he a Jedi?

    Rey and Finn get picked up by Han Solo as soon as they escape? Does Abrams know how big any galaxy is?

    There are tons of other nitpicky complaints I could make, but ultimately they boil down to lack of originality and Abrams’ habit of contriving stories for convenience.

    • Sota says:

      I feel like Snoke has to be some sort of Jedi or something else sucking up the force, especially if he is the one training Kylo Ren. Right? He has to draw from somewhere, unless there is another way to juice power from the galaxy.

  12. catweazle says:

    I finally saw it on Christmas and it was so good! We bought our tickets at the last minute so we were in the first row and therefore the view was not that great and I need to see it again obviously but I kept getting all teary-eyed about the fact that there’s a new Star Wars movie that doesn’t suck.

    In retrospect I think they telegraphed Han’s death pretty strongly and I was maybe too distracted by the fact that the character I have on many occasion described as my idea of the perfect man was back on screen to realize it at the time. But the second he walked out onto that catwalk I knew it was curtains for him.

    Speaking of Kylo, I’m sorry, but I do not for a second believe that he sprang from the loins of Han and Leia. Poor casting, lookswise. Was he adopted or what??? Anyway, I guess casting Adam Driver as a snotty little brat is a good move but there is no family resemblance whatsoever.

    My only other real quibble with the movie outside of minor things is that the sight of Greg Grunberg really took me out of the story. He was so out of place! No way is he a member of the Resistance! I was also semi-distracted by Miles from Lost but mainly because I was like “Who is that cute guy, he looks familiar.”

    SPEAKING OF CUTE GUYS! Oscar Isaaaaaaaaaaaaaac. If only I was still making a yearly Hot List! I objectively thought he was attractive before but the only movie I had seen him in was Inside Llewyn Davis which I really didn’t like so it sort of soured me on him even though he was really good in it. So now that he is in a good movie playing a great character I can fully crush on him! And also I am sorry to everybody who wants Finn and Rey to get together but OBVIOUSLY Finn and Poe are the real lovebirds of this story and I will brook no argument! Finn is wearing Poe’s letterman jacket. Poe gave Finn his NAME. They literally romantically ran into each other’s arms in that reunion scene! I don’t know that I actually think Disney is going to let them represent the gays in this franchise but I do sort of think it’s possible they might make a Rey/Finn/Poe love triangle to echo the Luke/Han/Leia love triangle from the original trilogy (minus the incest factor). And I think that would be great!

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