I’ve just seen Star Wars The Force Awakens for the second time, adding my $15 to the $1 Billion the movie has made so far (as of this writing). I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, and as you read through this post, I don’t want you to think that I didn’t. First time, I went with my family, who also enjoyed the movie. But they’re not as invested in it as I am, or, I assume, as you are. My second viewing was with another fan. She has been into Star Wars for the long haul, too. Her immediate impression was interesting, and over burgers, we continued to discuss the movie which prompted me to write this post today.
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, but plan to, please bookmark this post for later
Here we go.
“It was Star Wars (A New Hope), scene for scene, but everything was just easier. Every character was a ‘Mary Sue’.”
Yes and no. The similarities are, in my opinion, undeniable, but I don’t think they did a scene for scene reboot. The movie did remind me of Star Trek Into Darkness (imagine that) in that it had the flavor of familiar territory, a story we already knew. The trailers kept calling it ‘Star Wars for a new generation’, and I think that’s apt.
Yes, there’s a lot of the same stuff/plot points. Seeking out an ‘old friend and ally’ on a desert planet (Max Von Sydow – and who was he supposed to be?). Orphan on a desert planet (seems like there’s a lot of desert planets out there?) who just happens to be strong (or stronger? Strongest?) with the Force and doesn’t know it (yet) and who just happens to have been hidden/left on the desert planet. A Resistance (funded by the legitimate government (The Republic)? Or, is the First Order the legitimate government?) fighting against… Um… Unsure on this part? I think, maybe, the galaxy is split? Some of it is under the Republic, some the First Order? It’s not really made clear, and that’s an issue. Also, why is it ‘The First Order’ and not just The Empire? Why the name change? A lot of questions and plot holes there that aren’t ever really answered. You have ‘the stolen data’ – in the original, it’s the plans for the Death Star, in this one, a map to Luke Skywalker. Both are placed in a droid for safe-keeping, both movies feature that droid moving through the desert and ultimately captured by scavengers. Jakku’s settlement is sparse compared to Mos Eisley, but you have the same escape of the Falcon during a Stormtrooper attack as seen in the first movie. Include sneaking around inside the Imperial (okay, First Order) base, the exploitable flaw/weakness in the super weapon’s design, and the snub-fighter attack, and I can see where someone might think it was a scene for scene reboot of the original movie.
As for everything being easier for every character, well, yeah – it felt like it was a lot easier. Rey speaks droid and Wookie and a host of other languages. Who taught her? The flashback shows her being left with someone (Plutt, by the sound of the voice?) and then later is on her own, so, who raised her? Taught her to fight, to survive? Finn breaks his conditioning (mind control?) the first time he is sent into battle? Begging the question, how much conditioning is done? The suggestion is, quite a bit, so how does he break it so suddenly? Poe ejects Finn from the Tie Fighter but rides the ship down as it crashes and escapes without leaving any sign of his escape on the desert floor where every step Finn takes leaves a deep foot print? Han and Chewie locate and capture the Falcon minutes after Rey and Finn escape Jakku and start repairs?
Yeah – a lot of easy there, and that’s just the first part of the film.
“It was the Harrison Ford movie.”
Yeah… I kinda think that was totally on purpose. Of the three original stars, Harrison Ford became ‘the star’ thanks to Raiders of the Lost Ark and a slew of other films throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Fisher and Hamill never really saw the same on-screen success he did, though they both had successful careers in other ways. So it doesn’t surprise me that Ford would have such a large role in this film.
Having attempted to avoid as many spoilers as I could prior to seeing the movie, I’ve no idea if Han’s fate in the movie was a pre-condition to Ford’s involvement. His desire to have Han Solo die in The Empire Strike’s Back has been exhaustively documented, though. With that in mind, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he had Han’s death written into his contract.
“Starkiller Base made no sense.”
On several points, I agree. Starkiller Base sucks down the power of a star to charge it’s weapon. Ok. How many charges does a single star provide? We see Starkiller Base in orbit around a star (hence the light, the atmosphere, plant life). Based on what we see of the planet itself, it’s a cold, snowy world (so, we have several desert planets (Tatooine and Jakku) and ice planets (Hoth and Starkiller Base) in this galaxy?). At this point in the movie, it’s already fully charged? Is that why it’s so cold? Have they already pulled half the star’s mass/energy to power the weapon? If so, that could mean the world was once lush and green, but the reduction in the mass of the local star has made it much, much colder.
I can buy that.
However, I’m not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV – but, if that’s the case, what does losing 50% of it’s mass (based on how the ‘next’ charge of the weapon effectively sucks down the entire star) do to a star? Would it begin to collapse?
Which brings me to – all the Republic planets (or the government planets? or…um…?) are close enough to each other, and to Starkiller Base, and Maz Kanata’s world, to be seen by the naked eye through the atmosphere of each planet.
So – the First Order built Starkiller Base in plain sight of the Republic and the Resistance?
And, no one did anything about it?
This implies they’re all within the same star system, or their star systems are dangerously close to one another.
Again, not a scientist here, but, I can’t look up into the sky and see planets in other star systems. I can see stars. This feels wrong to me.
Should we just let it go because, Star Wars?
“Poe trusted Finn way to quickly.”
Poe’s trust of Finn implies the Resistance (and by extension, the Republic) has no knowledge of the conditioning/brain washing used by the First Order on their Stormtroopers. Why else trust one so blindly?
Finn says something at one point along the lines of, “Like so many others, I was taken from my home as a child.” and then trained to be a soldier. He makes it sound like a known thing, a given – this is how the First Order operates – conscription.
Why trust someone in that situation? Especially given Flinn’s comments and fears later about ‘First Order spies and sympathizers’?
In addition, once Poe escapes – he doesn’t search for BB-8? He runs home to the Resistance. Given how easy it was for Finn to both find the (lone?) settlement in the desert, and BB-8, I’m surprised Poe didn’t as well.
Which begs the question – where did Poe go after the crash? Another settlement? Another spaceport? He had to get off the planet and back to the Resistance somehow. Given how Finn found the very settlement/spaceport where Rey and BB-8 were, it makes me think that was the closest place, suggesting Poe got there first and left without even looking for his droid or completing his mission?
“Another Death Star?”
Yeah. About that. Reminds me of Heroes. Every season had the same threat – the end of the world. Even the reboot.
“We’re going to build a Death Star, this massive space station capable of destroying an entire planet. It’ll have this massive power source and be completely mobile.”
* * *
“Um. They blew up the Death Star.”
“Are you shitting me? How?”
“Chain reaction via an exhaust port.”
“…and the Emperor wants another one.”
“Oh, FFS! Fine. We’ll build another one. But we’re shielding that exhaust port!”
* * *
“They blew up the new Death Star.”
“Are you freaking kidding me? How?”
“Flew into the superstructure and took out the power regulator and the main reactor.”
“Gets worse. The Emperor was ON it at the time. He’s toast.”
“Oh, boy. Great. Just great.”
* * *
“Hey! Let’s build another one! But this time, no internal power. We’re gonna suck down a star!”
“How did every First Order Stormtrooper recognize Finn?”
Interesting question. Phasma (a complete throwaway character, which is sad for the actress, imho) indicates that Stormtroopers must have permission to remove their helmets. Goes to the conditioning/brain washing aspect of the First Order. If no one takes off their helmets, everyone is the same, anonymous. Yet Finn is recognized without his.
Not sure what that’s about, and it’s certainly not explained within the film.
“Safety is not a concern with Imperial construction and design.”
Or, in my own words, there’s no such thing as OSHA in space. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is (in America) the folks responsible for making sure we have safe working conditions in the workplace. Some of it is silly, some is common sense stuff – but whatever, they try to make things safe.
The Empire, and now the First Order, build things like walkways over seemingly bottomless chasms without hand or guard rails. I know this is a silly thing to notice or be bothered by, I do.
But it seems that whoever built these things took notes from the mines of Moria…
“Rey is Han Solo’s daughter.”
“Isn’t it obvious? She has to be the daughter of Han and Leia.”
“She flies the Falcon on instinct. She immediately connects with Han as a ‘father-figure’. She has the Skywalker Force-strength.”
Okay, then, why don’t Han or Leia recognize her?
“Maybe she was taken from them at birth and they were told she died. Maybe she and Ren are twins like Luke and Leia.”
Then, why take her and not him, too?
“I don’t know, but the lightsaber reacts to her, to Skywalker blood.”
Don’t get me started on that lightsaber. Wasn’t it lost in Cloud City? When will the new novel about the Ugnaught who finds it (attached to a decomposing hand) and sells it come out? And couldn’t her ‘Skywalker blood’ mean she’s Luke’s daughter?
“I don’t think Luke has sex or is interested in it as a Jedi. I remember reading that Han and Leia had twins, though.”
In the canon that got thrown out and relegated to fan fiction status, yes. It no longer counts.
“..that’s stupid and confusing.”
Tell me about it.
“Where did Snoke come from if he’s Sith?”
This is one of those confusing plot holes consistent with all the movies, imho. Yoda says in the first prequel, “Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.” Yet, at that point, you had Palpatine as the Sith Master, Dooku as his former student, and Darth Maul as his current/recently deceased (though not really according to Clone Wars) apprentice, which makes three.
I believe the implication is there are only two Dark Side users who can call themselves Sith at any one point (which is silly, of course). Luke can use the Force in the first couple movies, but he’s not Jedi. Jedi is a title, something that comes through training and dedication. Sith could be something similar in that you could have people using the Dark Side of the Force, who aren’t counted as Sith.
Snoke could be one such being and, when the Emperor and his apprentice, Vader, die, Snoke takes up the mantle of Sith Lord, seeking out an apprentice.
There’s also the mention of the ‘Knights of Ren’ in the movie, of which Kylo is the leader. This implies there are other Dark Side users (and we even get a glimpse of them in Rey’s flashback/vision quest).
“There was a lot of humor in it.”
Yes. And I’m okay with that.