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January 19, 2016 9:17 am  #1


Astonished that there isn't a separate thread for this. I've seen it. I'll review the meantime...for those of you who have seen it, what did you think?

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

January 19, 2016 12:52 pm  #2


I already wondered why there are so few reviews about Star Wars. I watched it the day after it's release and I would like to share my thoughts as well. (!!! Spoilers ahead!!!)

I love, really really love the old Star Wars movies (Episodes VI - IV). There was a time where I was able to speak the dialogues simultaneously while watching because I knew the movies by heart. Later I got  hooked on Star Trek as well. So with Star Wars my devotion for Science-Fiction and Fantasy stuff started.
Sadly the movies I to III where overall a big disappointment IMO. They were too modern-looking, too  clinical and I could never really feel any sympathy towards Anakin. I watched those movies once each and  never had the desire for a repetition.
Because of that I went into the new Star Wars movie with not much expectations to be honest.

What I really liked about The Force Awakens...
The movie looks fantastic! Of course it is a modern movie with state-of-the-art special effects but the movie still does look like Star Wars - the costumes, the aliens, some old computer graphics, the worn down Millenium Falcon, it felt very much like good old Star Wars to me.
(There was a lot of cheering in the cinema when things or people from the old movies did appear.)
I liked the new characters very much. Rey and Finn did have a great chemistry together instantly and Poe, though not being in the focus of the story yet, seems a nice chap as well. I am glad they casted fairly unkonwn actors for that roles. And BB-8 is just too cute.

I also liked the humour in the story without getting too silly. There were a lot of hilarious moments and I laughed a lot (Chewie being cold).

There was an interval during the screening (at the point after Rey and Finn met Han Solo) and after that first half of the movie I thought 'Yeah, that's great so far, nice homages to the old movies but not too much.' Well, that opinion changed a bit during the second half.

What I did not liked about The Force Awakens...
As much as I don't like Episodes I - III but at least they told their own stories. The Force Awakens was to some extend a remake of A New Hope. There was once again a young force-gifted person (ok, a girl this time), a reckless pilot, a person with questionable past, a cute robot, a baddie with a mask and a death star (ok, death planet this time) which has to be destroyed (of course this thing also has a weak spot somewhere).
I don't know what might have been the reasons for this copy-cat. Maybe it was the idea of (too much) fan-service, maybe the wish of being on the safe side, maybe the movie-makers thought that the new generation of fans doesn't know the old movies well enough.
IMO the movie could have been so much more, so much better when they just would have had the courage of telling their own story.
Therefore I am also a bit torn about the appearances of the old heros. Little cameos would have been ok, but especially Han Solo did take up a bit to much room in the story for me.
Another big flaw IMO was the baddie in the movie. Kylo Ren was nowhere near as scary and creepy villain like Darth Vader, quite the contrary actually. (Little anecdote: during the movie when Kylo Ren took his mask off my friend beneath me whispered 'He looked much better with the mask on." there were some agreeing murmurs around us). The other baddie, General Hux, was a bit more convincing as an really evil guy. Though the scene where he made his speech on the death planet with the way he talked and the whole look with black, red, white colours, that was a bit too much Nazi-parallels for my taste - I know it's probably a common pattern and stereotype for evil in movie-making by now but I find it a bit too much.

So in the end, though I was a bit disappointed about the lack of creative story telling, I still felt well entertained by the movie and I am happy that Star Wars is back on the big screen. There were really good approaches in this movie, therefore I hope the sequels will becomming a bit more distintivly. There is a lot of room for developement, but I have faith in JJ Abrams.

Last edited by stoertebeker (January 19, 2016 12:54 pm)


"There is a place for people like you, the desperate, the terrified. The ones with nowhere else to run."
"What place?"
"221B Baker Street."

January 22, 2016 6:29 am  #3


I can't believe we didn't have one yet, either!  Of course, I hadn't gone looking since it took me a while to get around to actually seeing it.  Finally got to (in 3D!) last weekend.  Was awesome!   (Obvious, but - spoilers ahead!)

Great review stoertebeker... hit on a lot of the same points as me!  I admit I was never a huge geek for it, but certainly enjoyed the classics and appreciated the world and mythology he set up.  So yes, appreciated what a good job they did keeping the Star Wars feel while furthering the story, and got a grin every time we got to see something from the 'past' or a style homage I recognized (such as the alien 'cantina', style of the planets, style of camera shots on the Rebel pilots, especially when going after the vulnerable part of Starkiller, even the big chasm Han and Kylo are over).  And I say all that, and all those examples (plus the path of the story) just affirms what you said, too, about it veering almost too much into copy-cat territory. 

I... I don't know.  They want to branch off the familiar old favorites, sure, and start off in a 'safe' spot for launching this thing again after so many years, but... I so know what you mean about it feeling like history repeating itself!  The new characters were awesome and loved them, but so many times they just seemed to be filling the shoes of the old ones (or, ahem, trying to, in the case of Kylo).  (Hrm... but here's a thought... that many years later, it wouldn't be unheard of for the Order to look back on what happened and think 'we need to do that again, only bigger and better' and take many similar elements)
Similar 'basics' I'm glad they kept, though (because really, some of these are the heart of what is Star Wars):  being a fantastical struggle between good and evil (and not even all the characters are completely one or the other, that's part of their path), the diversity and light-hearted fun of it, and then the thing that even Lucas said was part of his main focus, the relationship between fathers and sons, passed down.  Nice continuation of that, while being awesome about two of the main characters being totally different (and a kick-ass girl coming into her own with both the Force and matching Han Solo).

Also, like you, I instantly picked up on (and wasn't sure how to take) the Nazi-style assembly.  What was their intention there, with comparison, since no way designing it like that and those colors could be a mistake?
Still... so great being given a moment to appreciate where things in that world have gone since 30-ish (right?) years ago with the old gang and references to what's happened since or is now considered legend.  Although bit of an awkward yet somewhat humorous realization about Harrison afterwards.  You know how he was a little vocal about moving on from Star Wars and wanting anything more to do with it?  They were likely elated he agreed to reunite, but probably on the condition that they give his character a good death, I'll bet.    (Which was one of the biggest shocks of the movie for me!)  Awww.

Still love most of the new stuff, though!  And BB8!    So dang adorable.  And already, to smirking amusement, causing various fan debates online I've heard of.  Apparently the design team always considered the little droid a 'her' (inasmuch as a pronoun is assigned to this droid or that), but most people are lazy or didn't know or it's just the silly 'easy tendency' of this language to fall back on 'he' in indefinite/neutral cases, and they just quit correcting people (I don't recall if it was ever used in the movie).  Just find our choice of language tendency interesting in stuff like that.  More interestingly, I was amused by people pointing out a varying interpretation of the scene where Finn gets BB8 to reveal the Rebel base to Rey and keep his secret lie of identity intact, to which they share a "thumbs up".  Which made me laugh at the idea of the droid using an alternate way to return the gesture (even if she was annoyed at him).  Turns out a lot of people got a laugh instead because they thought BB8 was flipping him off (  Ha...  really?      Apparently they were trying to be careful with the design/motion of the whole thing to not look like that.  Although I can see how that would seem, in context.  'Hey, BB8, thanks for revealing your secret, knowing I'm a questionable character, and not giving me away! Thumbs up' *BB8 flips off*  Even more hilarious to picture it like 'Hey, BB8, thanks for believing I'm a good enough person and not giving me away, and revealing their secret location.'  *BB8 grudgingly agrees for the greater good, but sassily reminds him I CAN BURN YOU!*   

Aand... I'm now contemplating way too much out of this movie.  Ha.  Hope to hear more thoughts back!


We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants.  I wouldn't hold out too much hope!

Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay!

I'm working my way up the greasy pole.  It's… very greasy.  And…  pole-shaped.

January 30, 2016 4:36 am  #4


Bump!   Just so curious if anyone else saw/had thoughts/got excited about this, surely?   


We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants.  I wouldn't hold out too much hope!

Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay!

I'm working my way up the greasy pole.  It's… very greasy.  And…  pole-shaped.

January 30, 2016 7:52 am  #5


I saw it a while ago.  Now, I was never a big fan of the original film.  It just didn't get me the way it seemed to get some people.  I was quite excited about the reboot several years ago, because I thought my son would enjoy it - we went to see the first film and were bored senseless!    In fact, it was probably the least enjoyable film I ever took him to see as a child.  I've since watched the others on the small screen, and they were better, but I think I enjoyed the eye candy as much as anything. 

So I didn't have very high expectations of the new one.  But I really enjoyed it!   It was fun and corny.  I liked seeing the old characters and the references (I'm sure I didn't get them all, as it's ages since I've seen the old films).   I actually loved that the suprise weapon was just a bigger Death Star!   Honestly, that was my favourite bit.  I also kind of liked the Nazi imagery just because I thought the over-the-topness was funny too - like they really wanted to make it clear that these are the baddies.

I agree about preferring General Hux as a baddy, but I thought Kylo Ren was kind of OK as more of an impetuous, sulky teenager type - the epitomy of the rebellious child.  We didn't actually see him die, did we, so I suspect he'll be back.

I saw BB8 as giving a thumbs up.  I also didn't realise it was meant to be female - I'd been seeing it as a gender-neutral "it"!

I never really get the feel of space travel and the foreignness of planets and other lifeforms from Star Wars.   The planets are mostly very similar to different parts of earth, and the aliens are mostly similar to people.  I think because I loved sci-fi so much when I was young that I wanted to see something, well ... more sci-fi, and was disappointed.   I suppose I saw it this time as being more of a fantasy setting than a sci-fi setting, and that worked much better for me! 


January 30, 2016 8:33 am  #6


Ah yes, now you really need to speak to my Star Wars geek daughter about this, she's the expert.
But as I understand it, this is how it works.
Star Trek: proper science fiction, based on science, with technology which often then did happen.
Star Wars: science fantasy. A story, just happens to be set in space.


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