Firstly, let me preface this by saying that I REALLY enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Having recently viewed The Force Awakens this past Sunday, I walked out of the theater positively aglow, emanating a soft, blue, electrified joy which pervaded my attitude and colored my perspective for the rest of the day. I was happy, satisfied and thankful; the movie touched me in all the right places and hit all the right notes, playing my body like an especially emotive saxophone spurting out the sweetest notes for perfectly executed homages.

There were a few moments when I thought to myself, “Waitasecond, this is waaay too convenient,” but those moments quickly passed as the movie continued to enchant, re-igniting my suspension of disbelief. Anyway, yes, I enjoyed (and still like) The Force Awakens, HOWEVER….Well, it’s been a few days, and the spell has lifted. And with the dream-state instigated by the film almost completely dissipated, I find myself recollecting those moments where doubt crept into my mind. The mind-numbing mescaline of the homage-injecting film was no longer being mainlined through my tear ducts, and a film that seemed note perfect was now rife with a few undeniable chasms of plot and character. What’s got my britches in a marginally belligerent bunch? Why, these 4 little observations hammering against my usually impervious Star Wars armor like tiny little woodpeckers juiced up on a Monster/Rockstar/Jet-fuel cocktail.

 

1. The Force Awakens was EXTREMELY SIMILAR to Star Wars: A New Hope

New Hope started with a young person struggling to survive on a harsh, desert planet; Rey on Jakku, and Luke on Tatooine. Both characters were removed from their depressing doldrums and cyclical despair after being introduced to robots carrying incredibly important information, information that could change the course of a vast, intergalactic conflict. After the protagonists are introduced to the conflict, it pretty much ends with the destruction of a massive war-planet set to extinguish any fleet or planet-cluster allied with the burgeoning resistance. Oh, don’t forget; before you can destroy a giant war-planet, you must first disable its shield. The Rebellion accomplished this in 1977 during A New Hope, again in 1983 during Return of the Jedi, and one more freaking time in 2015 during Force Awakens. Hmmmm. The Empire (or any comparable offshoot) needs to seriously tweak the defensive designs for any and all future Death Star-class, planet-killing warships.

Yes, we know there were a lot of similarities, and in some cases they were endearing, but there were waaaay too many instances in this film where genuinely offered homages became painfully obtrusive derivatives. Luke Skywalker rides a Landspeeder? Rey sees your Landspeeder, and raises you a…smaller landspeeder-thing.

How about the the scene where Rey scales the walls of the new Deathstar? Well, this reminded me of old Ben Kenobi disabling Death Star counter measures, or Luke skulking about with Leia, attempting to stealthily rendezvous with his crew-mates and disembark on the Millennium Falcon; we saw all of this before in Star Wars: A New Hope.

 

2. Kylo Ren is a Tantrum-Throwing B*tch

When Kylo Ren gets angry, he gets really angry. Lost the location of a BB-8 unit? He asks for the room and cuts the hell out of the nearest computer bank. Lost a Force-sensitive, female desert savage? He’s going to cut the hell out of a previously uncut computer bank. The first time was righteous, violent and effecting; Kylo doesn’t appreciate disappointment, and deals with it poorly. It was actually a little terrifying seeing a powerful character display such chaotic responses to failure. I mean, you don’t EVER want to lose the droid/girl if you’re reporting to him to at the end of your shift.

The second time….the second time was silly. Yes, we all know who Kylo Ren is at this point – nothing more than a scared, whimpering, conflicted young man  – but really, you would think intensive Jedi training might lead to some well learned self-restraint.  When he received the news of losing Rey, he bashed the hell out of things and caused quite a ruckus; it’s a bust-up witnessed by 2 passing Stormtroopers who made note of the chaos, and slowly sauntered away. Obviously, Kylo’s reactions were nothing new, and at this point, were reduced to excruciating comic relief.

 

3. The Force Makes You Capable of Performing Tasks You Never Attempted Before

Rey, being Force-sensitive, could fly the Millennium Falcon without ever flying it before. Not only could she fly it, she flew it with a seasoned pilot’s accumulated expertise. Sure, she spent some quality time with the Falcon over the years when no one was looking, but she never actually flew the thing.

When Rey fought Kylo, she focused on connecting with the Force and immediately became an experienced combatant. So, if Rey wanted to make a chocolate cake without ever having made a chocolate cake before, could she tap into the Force and make the best chocolate cake ever? And if this is a Jedi’s ability, why wasn’t Luke able to tap into this super-fighting ability, becoming Vader’s equal during that harrowing, hand-misplacing battle in Cloud City??

 

4. Very Conveniently Occurring Plot Devices

How do Rey and Finn escape Jakku? Why, by flying away on an old, broken down ship just lying around with the rest of the antiquated, space-faring garbage- the Millennium Falcon! How serendipitous!

Rey, Finn and the gang follow Han to an old cantina to find less conspicuous transportation. Rey is drawn down a flight of stairs leading to a an extremely importation Jedi Artifact- Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber! Waitasecond! Yes, it makes sense that she would be drawn to this item, but….HOW IN THE HELL DID IT END UP HERE!!???

R2 won’t power back up until he’s reunited with Luke. He may have an important bit of information regarding Luke’s whereabouts but refuses to share it. BB-8, having arrived some time ago, finally decides to just inform R2 that he has a section of the map holding Luke’s location, and simply asks R2 for a little cooperation. Hmmmm. I guess R2 just wasn’t in the sharing mood until the movie was down to the last 17 minutes.

Just to reiterate, I did truly enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However…I think if the public was in a very unforgiving,  Star Wars-hating mood,  there was plenty of ammunition available to tear down the latest Star Wars installment.

YAY!

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Regarding the last bit about R2’s re-awakening. I took it as Luke telling R2 to awaken. If Luke could feel the torture of his friends during ‘Empire Strikes Back’, wouldn’t he have felt the death of his friend, and by whom? So maybe Luke decided it was time for him to come back, and woke up R2. I am in agreement with the part the BB8 had a smaller part of the map storyline, but will let it go.

    • Exactly what I thought. Luke was holding R2 in “standby” mode until it was relevant and safe to power him up again.

  2. Rey was a skilled fighter already, we saw her take down a gang at the beginning. When she used the force to fight Kylo, I took it more as her calming down and letting it flow instead of panicking and it helped her make the right decisions, not magically made her more powerful and skillful. At least that’s how I took it,

  3. Regarding #2, it’s part of what makes his character different from Darth Vader. It shows how immature he is and how, no matter how hard he tries, he will never live up to his idol.

  4. Pretty much everything was in the film…it’s just easy to miss. Also important to note when Rey centers herself “Luke’s These” begins playing and R2 awakened when she set foot on the base. Leia and her embraced knowingly (like family) without having seen each other previously…or had they? As for the lightsaber they very specifically say ‘That is a story for another time” this is the first of three movies. Everything wasn’t answered in A New Hope either.

  5. Fin nor Ray would have lasted 2 minutes against a trained Jedi. He could have used the force to yank the lightsaber from their hands, lifted them off the ground and cut them in two in about 10 seconds, they had no skill in the force to resist, Yeah Ben was injured but he was a trained Jedi he could have easily dismissed any physical pain.

    • Kylo Ren is no Jedi…Not even close. His half ass built unstable light saber and pull to the light proves that in my opinion. Vader was Vader for 20 years the time New Hope takes place. Ren has a lot yet to learn and the film makes this perfectly clear.

      • the “unstable saber” is supposed to show the chaos and anger within. a sith thing. and no he is no jedi but he was trained. he stopped a freakin blaster bolt in mid air. he should have made short work of the both of them.

        • He lets his anger get the better of him, if he was calm, which he was during the lazer bolt scene, but by the end of the movie he was just pissed

    • the dark side feeds on pain and suffering. that’s why I assumed he kept hitting himself in the side where he had been shot to draw power from the pain. yeah should have been about a 10 second fight. he should have wooped finn in about 6 seconds and then took ray out before she even woke up.

  6. I got the feeling that rather than Rey using Force sensitivity to ‘suddenly’ acquire skills, it was more likely the actions bringing back memories of training she had as s very young girl, before Luke left.

  7. Do not agree.

    1. Yeah! That’s what makes it so good.
    2. They are Sith, and anger makes them strong. Let the butthurt flow.
    3. It’s called the Force. We’ve seen this a bunch of times. Now it’s not OK?
    4. Again it’s called the Force. It is guiding them… We’ve also seen this a bunch of times.

  8. What about Kylo Ren being cheaply taken from Darth Caedus and Ben Skywalker (Luke and Han had no reason whatsoever to name their son after Ben Kenobi!)? What about the scenes with Kylo Ren & Han Solo / Luke & Rey being prolonged over the point of dramatic effect? What about thoughtless fanservice that raised hope especially within the more hardcore fans just to fall flat without any impact (I mean… I can’t be the only one noticing the Mandalorian flag outside the cantina, expecting some badass – Boba Fett like – shit to hit the fan and not even getting disappointed but completely ignored.

    Don’t get me wrong. After all I liked the new installment. But I think your criticism falls kinda flat and misses out some crucial points

  9. I felt like R2 woke up because he sensed the force had been awakened in Rey. Maybe he felt like it was finally okay but she’s so much like Luke.

  10. Yep. Just as I expected. The tweedles will love it at first, but slowly begin to hate it as the regurgitation of web critics gains momentum. Just like the prequels. He will be referred to as Jar Jar Abrams by the time episode VIII is released.

    Tweedles. smh.

  11. “The Force Awakens was EXTREMELY SIMILAR to Star Wars: A New Hope.”
    Uh, duh. JJ Abrams is the director deluxe of reboot.
    All the Star Wars movies are the same movie over, and over.

  12. I like to think that Rey could already use the Force but is not aware of it. We see her climbing a lot with complete confidence and she could be using the Force for a path or even for strength.

    I’m slightly peeved that you didn’t add Finn to the list. Such a weird character to the film. As well as that last scene of the movie. No one just stares at you while you are panting and looking all determined to hand over a light saber.

  13. Is there no one that seem Starkiller base is somewhat “fantastic”. It can harvest a whole suns energi inside its core, and fire it against multiple target lightyears away an hit them minutes later. And how does the “planet” travel to the next sun to havest?

  14. Mostly agreed, but I think they did a decent job of explaining how the light saber ended up where it had.
    I sort of wonder if JJA wasn’t slightly trying to remake the original, but with less retarded Lucas inserts. I’ve been obsessed with Star Wars ever since TFA came out, whereas before I’d never given it much thought because that man just could. not. be. controlled. Or edited, or criticized.
    I’ve read through the utterly PERFECT Bane Trilogy & a couple of other SW novels. My god, Bane was amazing. Just made me that much more disdainful of GL, even if he is due a lot of credit.

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