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Topic: Star Wars - The Force Awakens - SPOILERS begin pg 38 (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 October 2016 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 1  

Last night, I happened to notice that TFA was available through my cable provider's Free on Demand service. Now, technically, I hadn't really sat down and watched it since I saw it in the theater. As noted, some time back, I'd subsequently caught it again, on disc, but mostly through osmosis, as it was playing in the background while I was visiting a friend.

So, I had a double-feature, last night--TFA, then the Plinkett review.


This was really the first chance I've had to sit and watch the movie in full Analysis Mode, far removed from all the trepidation and excitement of seeing it in the theater. It's a great-looking movie, by and large. That said, Chewie just seems to look horribly wrong (I don't believe that those barking sounds are coming from that cosplay-looking Wookiee costume), as does Threepio (...the original trilogy suits had a weathered, dulled-down look, with patchy areas of shiny gold. The ROTS suit was really shiny. TFA's suit has a weird, satin-y look to it).

I've previously addressed many of my issues with the film. This time 'round, I really got the sense that Finn serves no story purpose and has no real arc, aside from going from coward to sort-of hero. Nor does Rey, aside from a forced Refusal of The Call moment, and Jedi "training" which consists of being told to close her eyes and think happy thoughts.

I stand by my assertions--this is very much a $200 exercise in fanservice, and charming actors/wacky humor taking the place of solid characterization and plotting. There's an incredible amount of laziness, here. Things happen, then more things happen, charcters do things Just Because, we get a tease for the next one, and then it's just sort of over. Say what you will about the retcons and unresolved plot threads of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but that film at least has a solid three-act structure, good pacing, and characters with defined personalities and story goals. TFA contains lots and lots of filler as it moves along, needing to hit certain beats in order to A) Mimic the structure of STAR WARS; B) Get the characters in place for the next action sequence. 

JJ Abrams seems to think that he can get the audience invested by having characters run, yell, and make lots of jokes. But, whereas STAR WARS had humor which came out of well-defined characters bouncing off of each other, the humor in TFA feels more over-the-top and forced in a lot of places, not unlike AbramsTREK. I'm also finding myself more and more in step with the camp which accuses Rey of being a Mary Sue. Rey is a female Luke (and Han) who goes from scavenger to would-be-Jedi who's in charge of Luke's lightsaber, the Millennium Falcon, Chewie, and Artoo all within the span of a few days. If that's not some kind of fan wish-fufillment dream-come-true, I'm not sure what is. 

Is the movie well-made and entertaining? Sure. The actors are fine, the action is solid, the visuals are lovely. But, this really is STAR WARS by rote, and, as Plinkett notes, a soft reboot in the guise of a sequel we'd supposedly been waiting for since 1983. Well, I wasn't. And I don't think that "Well, whether you like it or not, STAR WARS is going from a limited series to an endless series, so what can you do?" is a good enough excuse to justify all of the laziness and agendas being served, here.

If I must be in the minority, so be it, but I find myself amazed at the massive acclaim for the film. Is it a case of lowered expectations? Are my own standards too high? Perhaps. All I know is that I didn't want to see the original characters end up like this, and it shocks me that the rest of the world doesn't seem to care about what's been done to them. I also know that this doesn't feel like a real STAR WARS movie, to me. An entertaining popcorn movie, but not a STAR WARS movie. That intangible Lucas Touch of world-building and old-school morality/mythology is missing. I just can't quite invest in a repainted version of a film series which has meant so much to me. Sure, I'll check out future installments and judge them on a case-by-case basis, but the magic seems to have been replaced by something safe, lazy, hollow, and oh-so-corporate. Meh.


As for the Plinkett review, it doesn't go after TFA too hard (the first hour is spent examining the current state of the franchise, and debunking the ridiculous Ring Theory), but it does raise a number of excellent points, in amongst the usual Plinkett-style crude humor and insanity.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 03 October 2016 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 2  

Greg: Rey is a female Luke (and Han) who goes from scavenger to would-be-
Jedi who's in charge of Luke's lightsaber, the Millennium Falcon, Chewie, and
Artoo all within the span of a few days. If that's not some kind of fan wish-
fufillment dream-come-true, I'm not sure what is.

**
Well, yeah, of course it look bad when you point it out that way, but...

...I got nothin'.
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Emery Calame
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Posted: 03 October 2016 at 3:19pm | IP Logged | 3  

I think FA had two major agendas to execute and didn't find space to do justice to both. 

1. Introduce new cast, props, ideas
2. Update/ kiss off the old cast, props, ideas to transfer audience interest to the new cast, props, ideas

I think Rey being a Mary Sue was probably a result of the writers trying to juggle those two agendas and getting a little bit obvious/forced/artificial-flavored/too-on-the-nose/LCD

Hopefully Mary Sue was not their goal but an accident of too many characters and not enough time to make full sense of them before shooting began.

I look forward to seeing Finn with random robot-bits filling up the gash in his back and shoulder. Cyborgs gotta cyborg.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 October 2016 at 9:59pm | IP Logged | 4  

1. Introduce new cast, props, ideas
2. Update/ kiss off the old cast, props, ideas to transfer audience interest to the new cast, props, ideas

I think Rey being a Mary Sue was probably a result of the writers trying to juggle those two agendas and getting a little bit obvious/forced/artificial-flavored/too-on-the-nose/LCD
++++++++++

As noted, something that the Plinkett review touches upon is the notion that TFA is a soft reboot/remake, and simply uses the original cast members to legitimize the whole thing and make it seem like a sequel. Sort of like how JURASSIC WORLD acknowledges the events of JURASSIC PARK...only to then run through pretty much the same events all over again. 

Coming at it from that perspective, it could be argued that things like Rey's ridiculously easy acquisition of Force powers may not be so much a case of breaking the rules as it as an establishment of all-new rules. Disney is clearly picking and choosing elements from both the old films and the old Expanded Universe to recycle and/or reuse, after all.

Anyway, something which again struck me during this viewing--which I've noticed before, but can't quite articulate--is something I've also noticed in AbramsTREK. There's something about Abrams' films. It's..I dunno...it's like somehow the directing/acting style is executed in such a way as to make really dumb and/or illogical ideas seem perfectly sensible at the time. Like, the actors' energy and enthusiasm somehow mask the inherent dumbness of the story and characters, and make them seem smart. Again, it's a vibe I can't quite articulate, but it seems to be a trend in his films. Scenes, dialogue, and moments that by any usual measure shouldn't work somehow come across in a charming and plausible way. I dunno. Ridiculous, over-the-top banter and slapstick somehow makes the characters seem likable. Anyone else here notice this sort of thing?

Like, that whole run with NuKirk getting swollen hands and numb tongue in NuTREK '09. It is ridiculous, farcical, and terrible. Yet, in some insane way, the actors sell it and make it seem strangely plausible. As least to the dumb masses, if not me.

I mean, I find a high percentage of the material in TFA featuring the original characters/actors to be incredibly stilted, forced, and awkward, and yet the majority seems to love it. I don't get it!
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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 2:28am | IP Logged | 5  


I think so many of us were burned, and burned hard by the prequels, that TFA a) had a low bar to beat, and b) just needed to not suck.  There wasn't anything in TFA that made me as angry as stuff in the prequels made me angry.  I think the true test is going to be Episode 8.  Episode 7 was that hybrid movie/remake that seemed carefully intended fully to bring the fans back who had been kicked to the curb by Lucas in his "my way or the highway" cavalier revisionism.  If Episode 8 doesn't tack off towards something more original and less derivative, then I think a lot of the people who came back after TFA will go away again, for good.  That said, I'm a fan of Rian Johnson so I have confidence he can pull it off.

When that random Resistance officer says "It's a Death Star" and the other guy says "No, 'cause that was tiny and this is bigger" that pretty much sums up for me the JJ Abrams "touch"  He has taken things that we liked about Star Wars, plugged in his characters, and then made it all "bigger"  I am not an JJ Abrams fan.  I kinda hated what he did with Star Trek, and most of his other movies I just can't stand.  TFA is his least offensive movie to me, but just the fact that he delivered a good looking, well-acted, space-adventure without fart humor and piles of poop being stepped in, was enough to make me happy.  All in all, I would rather watch TFA than any of the prequels. The only part that I think could be completely removed from the movie and I wouldn't care is the Rathtar scene with the two gangs.  I don't understand the strange love-affair that JJ Abrams has with giant awkward CGI Monsters, but it's the most un-Star Warsy part of the entire movie.  Seems like something that should have been in Galaxy Quest.  (which as we know Abrams has claimed as his favorite "Star Trek" movie).

As for ESB, I think Empire is by far a much better piece of *cinema* than Star Wars  Kershner was able to get incredible performances out the cast that Lucas simply could not have. The score was better, the script was better, the cinematography was better.  Thank goodness Lucas had to promise Kersh that he wouldn't interfere.  He kept the promise and we got a better movie because of it.  It probably helps that I was old enough to see Star Wars in the theater on first release, and then see Empire on first release.  I was too young to be bothered that the Empire was still so powerful even after the Death Star's destruction should have restored freedom to the galaxy.  I was just happy there was more Star Wars to be had.  The rebels were still underdogs, but it was also clear by the end of the movie that they were gaining.  I watch Empire more than any other Star Wars movie. 

So do I "love" The Force Awakens?  I don't think I love it, but I enjoy watching it, which is more than I can say for EP1,2,or 3.  It is certainly a soft reboot, no doubt about that in my mind.  The other major bright-side to me is that the old EU has been erased and the new canon at least has a guiding hand behind it, instead of 200 contradictory stories we have one big story that is consistent throughout every medium.  That gives the new Star Wars an advantage. Maybe you don't feel like investing the time in the novels, but if you do, the TFA novelization is a good place to start.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 8:03am | IP Logged | 6  

I agree with a lot of what you say, Greg.

And with Jozef about the Rathtar section. I felt real disconnect when that scene came up. Up to then it felt like a proper Star Wars sequel. New characters, new planet, newish baddies, some decent pacing. I felt invested in Rey's plight. It looked great, had a decent mood.

Then we had Han and Chewie return. But they didn't feel quite right and the film stopped feeling like a Star Wars movie. And Rey's journey became odd -- I was no longer invested in an unfolding story. She started to feel like a construct for the audience to say, "Look I'm in the cockpit of the millenium falcon with HAN SOLO!". Almost as if it was footage designed for a ride at Disneyworld, or something.

The final moments with Luke were great, some of the stuff between Kylo Ren and Rey was good, though I still feel a bit incredulous about the 'she's got this special ability to steal training from him' fudge.

I think it's imperative we do not have another planet-sized ultimate weapon in any more of the sequels... Of course, we have one in Rogue One up next, but I can sort of accept that because it's not really a sequel. It's a, er, inbetweenquel...
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David Spurlock
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 9:52am | IP Logged | 7  

I think I've reached a point where I can't even watch TFA without becoming upset. Now that it's on cable, I've tried watching it and I only see the flaws and I can't continue watching it. I tried last night and just reading the opening crawl was enough for me to have to change the channel. That isn't the start of a SW sequel. It's a child playing with his/her action figures and making it up as they play along: "Luke is missing! We have to find him to restore freedom to the galaxy that was already freed 30 yrs ago!"

Don't get me wrong, I can see the flaws in all of the SW movies but after seeing this Jar Jar Abrams(Still love that moniker, JB!) turd, I can even forgive the prequels to a large extent. At least there was an overall story there. That isn't so with TFA. It's barely pieced together and the only thing really holding it together is nostalgia for the original Star Wars.

TFA is pure deconstuctionalism taken to the extreme. The heroes are all torn down for no good reason at all. This is what frustrates me the most about this new sequel that apparently should not have been made. The galaxy was wide open and what was the best that they could come up with? Tear everybody down from the OT and rehash it all over again. Why couldn't they have taken the original happy ending and left that in place and brought in a new threat to the peace of the galaxy? Why not flip the original concept of the rebellion being the heroes against a galactic empire and have the new republic crumbling from corruption and petty squabbles while a new dark lord rises to power? I don't know, anything would have been better than what we got.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 12:44pm | IP Logged | 8  

All I know is that I didn't have my "PHANTOM MENACE moment" watching any of the prequels. There are things I like about them, and things I don't like about them, but I still feel that there's a legitimate story being told. Highly revisionist and of questionable execution, but one must remember that Lucas--ever an experimental filmmaker--went in fully intending to invert and shake up one's preconceived notions of the original trilogy by forcing in these new puzzle pieces. The success of the experiment is certainly open to debate, but I find the whole thing fascinating, because there's never been anything else quite like it in cinema history. 

I've played the game, and viewed the six films in both release and chronological order. And, yeah, it's a very different viewing experience. RETURN OF THE JEDI becomes a much better film with the prequels in place, behind it. STAR WARS is greatly lessened. I can't help but respect Lucas' audacity in tearing his own story apart and reworking it to provide a totally different viewing experience, based on one's generation. I know young people who absolutely love the prequels, and prefer them to the originals, just as I know people who grew up with the originals, and hate the prequels. It really is a matter of perspective, and I'm no longer sure if there's a right or wrong about it. I applaud Lucas for having the guts to try new ideas, and not just rehash the old movies. It may not have been what people wanted or expected, but I appreciate the fact that he went for it.

As I have previously noted, I have the ability to mentally segregate STAR WARS into three distinct experiences: The original, standalone film; the original trilogy that I grew up with; Lucas' six-film SAGA. There are pros and cons to each. I have enough room in my personal "head canon" to accept each disparate version of Lucas' "vision". 


That all being said, my point is that Lucas had legitimate artistic goals in making his films. Aside from the original, they were all independent productions, and had a specific authorial voice calling the shots. These new Disney films exist for the sole purpose of making money and managing the brand. TFA is not really a film concerned with artistic expression. It was designed to appeal to a mass audience--including the international market, no doubt--and to be as safe and non-risky as possible. In some ways, it's very much the antithesis of what STAR WARS started out as--a blockbuster made by committee, rather than an experiemental film made by an eccentric, with the studio not even caring enough to creatively interfere.


As an aside, I'm very curious to see how ROGUE ONE does. The recent Force Friday event didn't make much of a splash, and the film itself is yet another prequel, and one that features a rehash of the actual Death Star, no less. These films can't coast on nostalgia forever. TFA had the advantage of burned fanboys wanting something--anything--that felt at least superficially closer to the "real" STAR WARS of their childhoods. There was a lot of pent-up longing and nostalgia there, which translated into big money for Disney. The prequels were sort of a case of STAR WARS blue-balls: a lot of excitement which led to disappointment and a lack of nostalgic catharsis. TFA is like a really cheap and aggressive hooker who then came along to relieve that pressure. 


I still have weird, mixed feelings about TFA. There's absolutely potential for great films to come out of it, and I think a lot depends on where VIII takes things. TFA's biggest frustration, for me (aside from the treatment of the original cast) is that the cast and the elements are there for great STAR WARS, and yet the story and characters are safe, lazy, and unfocused. One of the great strengths of the original STAR WARS is that almost fairy-tale-esque clarity and simplicity of story and characters. Much has been made of Lucas tapping into the whole Campbellian monomyth concept, and while that idea has been overplayed in the media, there's a lot of truth to it. STAR WARS follows a very classic fairytale structure. TFA doesn't quite know what it's doing or who its characters are, perhaps in large part because it's not designed as a complete and satisfying story unto itself, and therefore feels more like a lot of filler, and/or a teaser for the next film. 


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 05 October 2016 at 2:53pm
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Brian Hague
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The Star Wars fan I know who's a near-lunatic acolyte to Lucas hate, hate, hates TFA with a white-hot passion since no part of it involves the true heart and soul of the franchise, Lucas. To her, the prequels are a magical, supremely imaginative, wonderful experience that stupid haters hate on because they are stupid. Jar Jar Binks was only 19 years old!! No one picks up on that! (Because it isn't in the movie) But at 19, we're all awkward and uncomprehending and trip all over ourselves trying to do what we believe is right! It's so insightful! So human! Lucas is a geeeeeenius! Don't you get it?? A Gee-eee-eeenius!!

So, I like TFA simply from the perspective that I only have to hear one thing from her about it ("I hate it!") and we're done! Quite the time saver, believe you me! :-)

Rey's status as a Mary Sue/Author's Pet is made canon the moment Han is amazed by her fix-it-uppable-ness and murmurs some sort of dazed paean to her wonderfulness to Chewie, even getting a little sad that the Author's best-bestest character won't accept his invitation to come hang out with him on the Falcon forever, since (gruff, determined Shirley Temple voice) she's all business and has important Stuff To Do! That level of validation from existing franchise characters over the new one is a sure sign the author is pleasuring him or herself with a rolled up copy of the script to the detriment of everyone involved. Pure amateur hour, whatever the paycheck received says to the contrary. It turns a good performance from Ridley into something stomach-churning and unendurable.

That Finn does not get these moments, generally gets kicked around, and gets to be the coward until, y'know, he HAS to fight shows that he was knocked down to third lead behind Poe Dameron fairly definitively in the writers' hearts if not their minds. His arc also makes no sense. He's in his mid-twenties and has NEVER been in a firefight before? Ever? What was the Empire (cough! Sorry...) First Order doing with him since he was a tiny tyke? Certainly not training him! Certainly not conducting any sort of psychological profile on him. Sanitation work, right? For decades... Nothing else, until that one day when he's suddenly supposed to be a soldier...

I get what Greg's saying about J.J.'s penchant for spackling over truly stupid plot points with tee-hee's and shouts of "keep running," but it never translates into anything but stupidity for me. The ship Rey and Finn were running to was not that big, but the dozens of attack craft overhead shot it to pieces pretty effectively, causing them to change plans and run towards... the much bigger ship... That would be really easy to hit from above since it's a gigantic circle... But which thankfully no one involved in blowing up everything around them is firing at... And soon: rolling Cloverfield monsters!

It's not numb-tongue and inflate-o-mitts level stupid, but then it wouldn't be. Star Wars is a franchise deserving of J.J.'s respect, unlike that self-serious, whack-a-doodle comedy thing he was doing before... But it is all nevertheless stupid.


Edited by Brian Hague on 05 October 2016 at 12:54pm
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Emery Calame
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To me it's sort of like Dune Messiah in that to keep the story "alive" you have to break the fairytale ending that was the payoff of the prior story and you do it in some transitional addendum? Blech.

You take what people loved about the original Starwars, have a quick 25 year reunion and then INTO THE MEAT GRINDER WITH IT! The king is dead! Long live the king!

Meanwhile you have these new critters who get short shrift because they had to make space for the reunion. And you are supposed to be all excited about them but you're left feeling like the prior three movies you loved were pointless. Luke lost his fosters and left home and fought a war and was saved by his father so he could face plant and have his student form a terrorist army that decapitates the republic while he stares at waves and mourns? Han Solo leaves his wife to be a goofy and unsuccessful monster smuggler because his son is nuts?

Well shit. 

I wrapped Boba Fett in foil and left him in the freezer for decades for nothing. I should have been a Ninja/Rambo fan.


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Emery Calame
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 1:19pm | IP Logged | 11  

Did Luke even feel all the deaths of the Republic's capital system? Was the force even disturbed? Was that was had Luke staring at the waves? 

Nobody tells us. We just see Rey handing a sad, fatty, old, unkempt, burned out, Brian-Wilson-looking mess his dad's old light saber that he might well have slashed the Jedi Temple younglings to death with...
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Greg Kirkman
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Something which has fascinated me about the sort of mass hypnosis I've seen in the reaction to the film is in the various perceptions of Luke Skywalker. People seem really eager to speculate and/or read into his minute or so of screentime. Some people think he's been hiding out and formulating a plan to save the day. Others think he looks sad because he could sense the death of Han Solo. Other still think that he's looks like he was expecting to see Rey because she might be his daughter. Basically, people are seeing what they want to see in that moment, and even using it to justify and/or smooth over plot issues. 

It's really amazing just how much people are reading into a few seconds of Luke taking off his hood and having an ambiguous look on his face. Now, it's hard to say how much Abrams and company knew about plans for future films when filming TFA, but I would not be terribly surprised if Abrams' direction to Hamill consisted of no more than, "Take off your hood and look sad.", rather than conveying any sort of deeper meaning which will be followed up on in VIII. How Luke is characterized in VIII is probably gonna be the thing that truly makes or breaks this new cycle of films, for me. If Luke's character is royally screwed up (and, from what we've seen, what with the whole running and hiding thing, he probably already is), then that's a major dealbreaker, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm just glad that he wasn't directed to say, "Hello, there!", because that would be even more obvious, on-the-nose, and "homage-y" than the film already is.
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Brian Miller
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Quit trying to make us hate this movie!
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Emery Calame
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 6:17pm | IP Logged | 14  

Episode VIII starts with Rey getting knocked unconscious by the water people who are like sand people but more damp.


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Greg Kirkman
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starts with Rey getting knocked unconscious by the water people who are like sand people but more damp.
+++++++

...mudpeople?
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Emery Calame
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Posted: 05 October 2016 at 10:56pm | IP Logged | 16  

I think we'd better stick with water people. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 October 2016 at 9:02am | IP Logged | 17  

TO BE FAIR I tried to watch it again last night. I couldn't. I just couldn't. It was like watching my most cherished childhood toys being played with by three year olds.

(And, yes, I was 27 when I first saw STAR WARS, but that's still part of my childhood. As is tody.)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 22 October 2016 at 11:14am | IP Logged | 18  

I'm reaching a point where I can't help but wonder if my highly analytical mind and knowledge of how the sausage is made is preventing me from enjoying films and shows that I would otherwise love. On the flipside, I also wonder if the majority of fans and filmgoers have developed increasingly low standards for entertainment, these days. As if being poked in the eye with a blunt stick rather than a sharp,one is now deemed a "great" filmgoing experience. Not to speak of TFA specifically, mind you. I'm just generalizing.

The "three-year-olds playing with beloved toys" analogy seems apt. I have pretty much no faith in the major studios to come up with much beyond reasonably non-threatening eye-candy and spectacle, these days. The era of wacky sci-fi art films like STAR WARS or clever, genre-blending comedies like GHOSTBUSTERS seems long gone. In their place are cash-grab retreads which lack the same sort of passion, brains, and heart. 

And, again, on an almost primal level, I cannot believe that so many fans have so eagerly accepted the dismal fates of our beloved heroes. It's almost as if everyone is willing to see them dragged through the mud (or killed!) just to get that high of seeing a STAR WARS movie in the theater again. And the convenient excuse for plot holes and character issues is, "just wait until the next movie, because they'll probably explain it then".

Granted, films are suppose to be emotionally engaging, but when a good chunk of TFA's reviews boil down to "I cried when the opening crawl appeared on the big screen" or "I cried when Han and Chewie came aboard the Falcon"...well, that doesn't really serve as a proper, objective analysis of the film's story and characters, does it? 

Can a purely emotional reaction make a bad film seem good, or a good film seem bad? Where is the line drawn? Since when do emotional reactions and nostalgia reflect upon the critical reaction to the actual quality of a given film? A heck of a lot of the reviews I've seen seem much more about the emotional experience of catching up with a beloved universe/characters than about the mechanics of the storytelling and characterization.
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Jason Scott
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Posted: 13 November 2016 at 6:37am | IP Logged | 19  

Tried watching it again last night with the commentary from the new 3D Collectors edition.

It's a movie that looks good, and definitely trades on the nostalgia, The commentary suggesting that this was often the main priority for the director.

But I'd agree with what folks have been saying here, that slapping a horrible future on what was a 'happily ever after' ending will forever taint the originals. Sadly this seems to be something that modern day filmakers are not grasping at all. The recent Independence Day sequel was even further guilty of this.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 November 2016 at 11:28am | IP Logged | 20  

Emotional reaction and nostalgia are very real parts of the movie-going experience. As such, they're fair game for review. I don't feel they outweigh more objective considerations such as cinematography, storytelling, and the like, but they can't be dismissed either. If all the reviewer focuses upon are the warm fuzzies or cold prickles he gets off the screen, he's not doing his job well. I loved those soft-focus wipes and general look of TFA. The characters and story were less than engaging and failed overall in putting forth any real ideas or giving the viewer a truly creative experience. The choices made with the characters kept throwing me out of the film time and time again.

Endlessly trading on nostalgia isn't the best course of action since it takes apart the train to fuel the engine. Clearly, like so many industries, Hollywood is going to strip those resources as far as they can, whenever they can in search of profits, consequences be damned. It's not like most studio heads have long careers to worry about. Get in, make money hand over fist, make it fast, get bounced out. The future is a nebulous concept at best. If existing properties are just lying there for the taking, like found money, by all means do not walk by. New properties? Sure, we'll take a look at them, but schedule my meeting with the all-but-100%-guaranteed money-maker first, okay?

TFA is not great, but then for many, "great" isn't what they're looking for. A simple good time at the theater is enough for them. It's apparently all the film-makers were going for in this case.


Edited by Brian Hague on 13 November 2016 at 11:29am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 November 2016 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 21  

Greg is correct that a large number of people who consider themselves STAR WARS fans are setting their bars very low. They want to cheer when tge logo comes on the screen and whoop at (largely out of context) "references" to the original films. (And, let's face it, they started this as far back as EMPIRE, when Lucas began gutting his own mythology in favor of saga-building.)

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Sam Karns
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Posted: 16 November 2016 at 5:05pm | IP Logged | 22  

Does any of this matter when a new Star Wars movie comes out every year?

Disney will milk it with every fan wank moment from the original trilogy and everyone will pay top dollar to see them over and over and over again.

Heck, someone on this forum at one time said "In order to know if it's bad, I have to see it."  And the suckers did, it was called The Force Awakens.  With those kind of Box Office numbers Disney just can't lose.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 November 2016 at 10:33pm | IP Logged | 23  

Disney will milk it with every fan wank moment from the original trilogy and everyone will pay top dollar to see them over and over and over again.

++++++++++

I'm not so sure. 


The numbers for ROGUE ONE are gonna be interesting to watch, but the brand as a whole seems to be protected, in that it's not a numbered film, and is a "STAR WARS STORY" offshoot. If it were to underperform--or even fail, which is highly unlikely--I don't think that would deplete the goodwill that Disney generated, last year. TFA is the film which brought in massive amount of cash, and a new generation of fans, and I think that it is the sequel to that film which will determine the future of the series.

I'm convinced that TFA represents a release from the long-term STAR WARS blue-balls which had gripped so many fans who felt burned and crushingly disappointed by the prequels. ANYTHING that wasn't helmed by Lucas and which looked and felt reasonably close to the original trilogy was pretty much a guaranteed hit with the fanbase. TFA was designed to be safe and familiar so as to draw fans back in.

Now, if it underperforms, ROGUE ONE may well represent a refractory period for this new era in the franchise's history, but not one which could sink the ship. I truly believe that EPISODE VIII is gonna be the one which makes or breaks NuWARS for the foreseeable future. Will the movies continue to coast on nostalgia, or try something new, bold, and invigorating? We shall see. If it's the former, the luster is gonna wear off, sooner or later. I think the combination of events which made TFA a smash success (the prequel/Lucas backlash, Abrams whetting appetites by turning STAR TREK into STAR WARS, getting Harrison Ford to come back, etc.) are a one-time deal.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 17 November 2016 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 24  

I think the combination of events which made TFA a smash success (the prequel/Lucas backlash, Abrams whetting appetites by turning STAR TREK into STAR WARS, getting Harrison Ford to come back, etc.) are a one-time deal.
------------------------------
I'm fairly confident that the next numbered sequel will be sold on it being the true return of Luke Skywalker and people will eat it up.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 November 2016 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 25  

Greg, I agree those elements are one-time-only occurrences, but the name Star Wars alone all but ensures sales in novels and merchandising. There's no reason to assume it won't do so in films for some time to come. People may grow tired of it eventually; they may want something else from their entertainment entirely, but that would take a sea change in the market, the sort that moved us away from cartoon shorts and movies like "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes." For now, Disney has the closest thing to a certainty one can have in the film industry. 

The individual performance of this film or that will be seen as the fault of the film if they're bad, and the success of the franchise if they're good. That's likely to continue for some time. It would take a number of really bad films in a row for people to question the viability of the Star Wars brand itself.

On the other hand, we know from experience that we can count on Abrams and Bad Robot to give us a number of really bad films in a row... :-)

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