November 30, 2016
Imagine my surprise when I realized I had seen it already! Oh, at the time it was just called "Star Wars", and it was 1977, but SW:TFA is about as blatant a copy of that first movie as you're ever going to see.
I'm not complaining. The first English words spoken in the film are "This will begin to make things right," and if those aren't a shot across the bows of the three prequels, it's only because the shot actually hit. Director JJ Abrams set out to put the magic back into the franchise, and the best way to do that is to make people forget about the bad movies. What better way to do that than to take what worked and do it better?
For all that the film has been out for a year, I had managed to avoid all but the most basic spoilers... mainly the things from the trailers. That took some doing, let me tell you. But oh so worth it. The scene from the trailers when the Millennium Falcon goes into combat with some TIE fighters at low altitude? I knew something was coming, but I didn't expect it to put a gigantic grin on my face the way it did.
When it's action time, the film delivers in spades. Modernized X-Wings fight updated TIE fighters, lightsaber duels, Han Solo using a bowcaster, there's even a trench run as another nod to the original movie. Really, there's so many hat tips to the original trilogy it's impossible to see them all on one viewing... which is one of many reasons I'm glad SW:TFA is on my DVR. But as with all good films, you're not here for the action. You're here because of the characters...
The only thing that could have ruined the movie faster than having George Lucas involved would have been if the new characters didn't work. Fortunately for everybody, they do... mostly. What few fails the movie has involves them and their oh-so-witty banter. There are moments where I wanted to curse the name of Joss Whedon for making the "overly cool snark" school of dialogue popular, even though he has nothing to do with SW:TFA. Nothing directly, at least, but some points in the script are pretty much lifted straight from Buffy or Firefly, and when that occurs, it doesn't fit quite right. Even if you didn't know it in advance, it's pretty obvious that this is the first film of a series though, because we don't learn diddly-poo about backstories of any of' 'em. Except for Finn, the ex-Stormtrooper, we learn his entire life story. Not hard to do when a life story is "taken from family as a child, trained to be a Stormtrooper since then." Rey, the nominal lead? Well... um... she was left on a planet bysomeone, and has lived there all her life waiting for them to come back. Poe, the Resistance's hottest pilot? That's about it, really. But there's still time to learn about them, and in the meanwhile, we've got all the characters from the first movies back!
I'm not fooling anybody, am I? My GOD that was fun! The bang and the whoosh and the Falcon did that thing and X-Wings over the lake and lightsaber duels at night in the snow and... and... and...
Posted by: GreyDuck at December 01, 2016 08:51 AM (rKFiU)
It had the form, but not the feel.
Posted by: ubu at December 01, 2016 10:05 AM (SlLGE)
Posted by: Siergen at December 01, 2016 03:04 PM (fqStN)
I liked Finn. And Kylo Ren. And what I'm assuming is the whole idea behind Smoke Snoke. And, again, the movie is beautiful. But my interest in the sequels is almost entirely to see if I've predicted the entire story line correctly.
Posted by: Ben at December 01, 2016 04:22 PM (B1bvu)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at December 02, 2016 01:36 AM (XOPVE)
Years pass. The New Republic signs a buncha treaties with the Imperial Remnant. They soon demilitarize. And then the First Order returns to known space and quickly absorbs (i.e. shoots in the back of the head) the Imperial Remnant and begins to be obnoxious. Princess Leia tries to convince the New Republic to rearm, but her pleas fall on deaf ears... so she forms the Resistance to keep the First Order in check.
You know what happens next.
Again, it's be swell if this was actually in the movie... apparently some of it was covered in deleted scenes... but that's what we've got.
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 02, 2016 06:35 PM (vZvpB)
Posted by: Rick C at December 02, 2016 06:45 PM (ITnFO)
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 02, 2016 11:16 PM (vZvpB)
I haven't read the book "Aftermath" either...but I've read a book that contains this story line, more or less.
Although it was a Grand Admiral rather than a Grand Moff.
I'm really not trying to be terribly snarky...but that *does* seem a bit familiar...
Posted by: Ben at December 03, 2016 01:48 AM (S4UJw)
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 03, 2016 04:10 AM (vZvpB)
However, I gave up on Star Wars canon a long time ago. Even within the expanded universe. To me, the two greatest EU characters ever created were Thrawn and Revan. One has been "officially" deleted, and the other was canonized in such a way as to render the character meaningless.
I'm....meandering, now. Sorry.
Posted by: Ben at December 04, 2016 07:37 PM (B1bvu)
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