So I saw The Force Awakens on Christmas Eve.
Based on initial viewing – meh.
First the good points (and I’m going to be quick).
It did not look like the prequels, it had the look (so far as you can try such a thing) and feel (you can never really go back…) of the originals.
Also I knew as soon as the usual episode scroll rides to the top of the screen that we were not going to get bogged down in senate debates and Jedi council meetings, and conversations that take place on a couch, etc. We were going to get what we came for.
Unfortunately that brings right to the bad. I was almost, no I was, hoping for a council meeting, a senate debate or something. This was a JJ Abrams Star Wars, all guff and action and not a single attempt to explain anything.
Now explanation is not always necessary. In movies in particular, if you can express it through action instead of explanation through dialogue, that is the proper way. In Return of the Jedi we needed no explanation to know what is going on behind the mask as the Emperor is electrocuting his son before his eyes.
But The Force Awakens, as I said, is a JJ Abrams film, he delights in doing things that have to have an explanation and then refuses to do so. It is as if the man enjoys pushing people out of the world of his own films.
Firstly, the trailers for The Force Awakens all had the black storm trooper (he is black when he takes off that helmet, his uniform is as any other stormtrooper) he looks like a man that has just suddenly emerged from a terrorizing nightmare. We are led to believe that this is the person of the new trilogy. But it is not, it belongs to some little girl. A girl who serves the modernly well-worn bromidic falsehood that little girls can fight and defeat men twice her size.
And that would be fine, if we were given some plausible (plausible here is plausible by the rules of the world created) reason for why she can do this. For instance, waif, Carrie Moss’s character, Trinity, in The Matrix (we’ll pretend it’s only one movie much like a lot of us pretend there was no Star Wars prequels) had the ability to severely kick the hell out many men, usually simultaneously. How? Simple, she was in the Matrix. Just as Morpheus was able to leap across a city street from atop a skyscraper, so, Trinity, trained Matrix-style in kung-fu (and everything else) can kick the crap out of men twice her size.
We are given no explanation as to why this little girl (I judge her to be around 16 or so) can take on three guys and the character of Finn who is/was a stormtrooper also way bigger than her. And it doesn’t stop there she has the ability to fly the Millennium Falcon right off the bat, and to enact repairs on it. The only clue I can pick up is when Finn (the ex-Stormtrooper) asks her how she is able to do these things, she says, “I don’t know.”
Later in the film she comes into possession of Luke’s original lightsaber – the one that was originally his father’s, Darth Vader, when he was a Jedi and known as Anakin (known as Anakin in original trilogy backstory not the prequels!). And she can use it bam-o! Insta-skill! She uses it to defend off the new baddie (can’t remember his name Ren or Kyle or something) and she even defeats him. Now she did defeat him when he was already injured by a blast from a laser gun, and that he wasn’t a full Sith but a student (a student that had some pretty sick skills). But he is still wielding pretty strongly.
About that lightsaber of Luke’s she finds. Does anyone else remember that falling to the bottom of the shaft at Bespin after Vader cut off Luke’s hand in Empire? How does it turn back up? Abrams is beyond explanation! This is the man that lobotomized Star Trek don’t ya know?
She doesn’t know how she is able to do these things.
Well, I don’t know either. What I do know is Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars couldn’t do any of the things this girl can do. He couldn’t fight, wield a lightsaber, use his mind to influence things or people. If this girl were in the world of the original trilogy, the new sithy (granting her making it that far) would have chopped her in half without effort.
Little explanation is given to the current status of the galactic civilization.
They killed Han Solo. My new t-shirt is going to read: Han Shot First, Then Abrams Did
The new bad kid in town, see, is Han’s & Leia’s son who was a student of Luke’s (I’d say spoilers but none of there are presented as revelations and it changes nothing knowing now or finding out at the theater).
Abrams has a problem making movies. I don’t think he trusts himself as a storyteller, it would explain why his films are just a messy slapdash of action sequences. Just keep running until the credits roll, keep up the dazzle and no one will care that we were still writing the script while filming. I heard that was the case with this film.
He made the Han and Leia relationship, they had good times, had a child, he wasn’t a man who could be tied down, but hey baby we had some good times didn’t we? I mean, heck, did he just finish watching an Alan Alda movie before writing this?
And Han went back to being a scoundrel? I thought he was a changed man? That is what we were given at the end of the original trilogy. I remember people! I’ve watched these not under 50 times each! Are we given any explanation as to why this would happen?
I get that by doing these movies makes clear that they didn’t all just ride off into the sunset, but heck, did everything have to go south? Is that why their kid is such an emo-sith-brat? Because daddy wasn’t there? Apparently we are to think this. Han left Leia and emo-boy to go ripping people off with Chewbacca.
The man had matured, gained everything he could want, fell in love, and threw it away – for what? Plot? So, he was an absentee father. So when Leia sends him with the new generation Star Wars kids to defeat the new Death Star she tells him to bring their son home. How bad are we to feel when his son (and this is a spoiler) slams his lightsaber through daddy’s chest?
I cried. THAT WAS HAN SOLO YOU BRAT! AND EAT SHIT ABRAMS!
But I think I felt bad for another reason as well. The smear job they did on Han. As a matter of fact Leia is the only one of the old (human) characters that hasn’t been screwing around and screwing things up. Luke, apparently, started a new Jedi academy thingy. When Han and Leia’s son went bad and slaughtered all of Luke’s students and took up with the First Order (think New Empire) Luke goes and runs off and hides in the hills of Scotland! Excuse me, you have a rogue student who knows the deadly ways of the force and is going all Dark Side, and you’re going to go run and hide? At least Yoda in the prequels didn’t go into hiding until the Emperor had defeated all opposition, slaughtered all his students, had one of the most powerful Jedi turned to his side, a massive clone army – EVERYTHING. What is Luke running from?
An emo-sith wannabe that ends up getting defeated by a girl with absolutely no training whatsoever. Does anyone remember Luke’s training?
Another character broken down. We do live a pretty sick culture, no? What am I going to find out in the next film, Leia used to do alien gang-bang porn in the neighboring galaxy before she joined the rebellion?
Another thing. Anybody within ten years of my age (mid forties) knows exactly the one thing they wanted in this film. LUKE SKYWALKER. Well, Abrams is going to piss on your face on that count too. You will get less than one minute of Luke at the very end of the film and no lines. He just is standing there looking severe.
I mentioned a new Death Star earlier. It is pretty much a Death Star built into a planet that saps a sun’s energy and uses that a a death beam. Cool idea to see in a movie even thought the idea is about 80 years old in written science fiction. But it is another Death Star because it serves the same plot function and story framing as did the Death Star in the originals 4 and 6.
Point is there is nothing in this film that is not wholly derived from the prior films. Anyone who has seen Abram’s take on Star Trek knows what I mean. Not a freaking thing. The only thing different here is the uniqueness of Abrams incompetence. Especially as compared to Lucas’s in the prequels.
One difference is that while Lucas felt compelled to explain everything through dialogue (including things that didn’t need to or shouldn’t have been explained), Abrams never feels the need for any explanation and tries to fly by it in action sequences.
I am going to watch it again after my last day of work in a few days. Hopefully I missed a bunch of stuff… I wish
I am out of time.