Review—Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS!)

I agree and loved that fact.
It’s really the ‘Awakens’ part. Though Kylo Ren (Han calls him Ben… interesting) was trained by Luke, it was obviously insufficient and hes trying to just make up all the dark side powers as he goes along. Rey however, has it innate, and since she believed all the stories about the force she was quick on accepting it; basically when Han said ‘It’s all true’. She recognized it and started playing with it when Kylo Ren was doing his mind-meld thing. It’s like the Jedi starting from scratch, a clean slate, filled with mistakes and challenges. It’s going to be really exciting in the next movies!


Yes they should have just ended the movie with the Falcon taking off from the planet and stopped there. The hyperspace rush to Lukes planet was really out of place.


Agreed…there were no memorable pieces. When the X-Wings were over the water there should have been an epic older theme but again…nothing memorable.

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They actually cast light now!


I think in the beginning Phasma should have been the one to capture Poe…they shouldn’t even have had Ren in that scene. At least it would have given Phasma some street credit. I mean her character was just really pointless. Fact that she lowered the shields even dumber. I really can’t believe her character was that lame…pointless.

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However, that is not how we see the force being used in the franchise. It
is a learned power. You may have natural skill and heightened talents as
Anakin did with pod racing but he didn’t use force mind control.

Also, your example is still insufficient when it comes to piloting. Ask a
biplane pilot if he can jump in an F-22 and perform drastic aerial
manuevers that pushes the plane to its limits without training and you will
have your answer.

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I assumed that at least some of her skill was force related…

yeah Phasma was largely there as a placeholder for for later movies…Kind of like Bobba Fett’s first appearance.

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Up to this point, yes, But it has now occurred to me that maybe the point is that the Force has “Awakened” (as the big bad not-the-emperor says at one point.) Maybe it can be used without special training now? That might be why Luke was in seclusion - it’s not just that he was waiting for the right person, he was waiting for this moment too? (No, that’s just fanfic speculation, sorry. :smile: )


Well, to be fair, the Extended Universe has had a fascination with increasingly more absurd ways to destroy entire planets for decades now, so that notion cropping back up in New Canon isn’t exactly out of left field. I’m actually just sort of impressed that they hit on an original way of doing it for this movie. Here’s hoping they’ve gotten it out of their system for the next good long while, though; you can only go back to that well so many times.

I forgot to mention it before, but I really liked the visual detail of the New Order being almost entirely made up of younger people, like it’s the product of a recruiting drive among people who either wouldn’t have remembered the brutality of the Empire or, in Finn’s case, because the remnants of the Empire just straight up kidnapped a bunch of children. Makes me wonder how many misguided starry-eyed idealists there are in the ranks.


That’s one of mine as well. At some point, the Dark Side bean counters would have to step in and say, "Hey, look, ROI on these things isn’t quite what it used to be, yeah? How much did we pay for those extra big (consults aide) laser cannon things? The ones that failed? Again? 14 divisions of stormtrooper guards, Seven squadrons of Tie fighters…support groups all over the place, I mean, that’s one day’s loss!!! You didn’t lose a state or a fleet of superfreighters, you lost the whole planet!

It’d be an interesting meeting to attend, I think.


ooh, i like this explanation! which is why he was standing on the cliff at the end, as if he was watching and waiting for someone to show up. i don’t think he expected Rey, though.

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i noted that Kylo Ren’s name was actually Ben, too. i thought that was a nice touch. i’m going crazy trying to figure out who Rey’s parentage is. it’s not Leia and Han, so is it… Luke? (and if so, Luke and WHO??)


and if so, Luke and WHO??

Keira Knightley


Hey, due to her astonishment at seeing greenery on Maz’s world, it’s a fairly safe bet that she’s never even been off-planet. She’s a fairly young scavenger, and one who has lived in the same place long enough to carve an impressive (or depressing) number of daily notches in the wall, like an Alcatraz lifer. I’m pretty confident that taking apart salvaged spacecraft does not overlap much with the skillset required to actually fly them competently, let alone well enough to impress Han Solo. (Her mechanic/juryrigger skills don’t bother me at all, just her flying.) So when would she have had opportunity to learn to fly? Luke Skywalker at least had the benefit of his T-16 Skyhopper and years of runs down Beggar’s Canyon.

I guess that’s what happens when you raise an orphan on a desert planet in that galaxy: they become “the best star pilots in the galaxy” on a diet of salvaged junk, a half-formed dream, and borderline dehydration.

But speaking of “unearned” things, I’m having trouble understanding Kylo Ren’s motivation. He hollers “Traitor!!” like some dyed-in-the-wool Imperial conformist bureaucrat from Accounts Receivable, but we’re not given any indication as to why he embraces the First Order in the first place. The Dark Side of the Force, sure, that’s the quick and easy road to power, and the First Order utilizes the military and political superstructure left behind by the deaths of Palpatine and Vader for this Snoke character to step into like an unusually impressive secondhand suit (“become Emperor without all that tiresome Empire-building!”), but it’s tough to see what Kylo Ren would get out of the arrangement. More than most hotheaded kids of his generation, he would have been raised to be aware of what happens to force-sensitives who tread in his grand-dad’s footsteps. I would have hoped that Luke would have been self-aware enough to avoid repeating the mistakes of Yoda and Obi-Wan (and the young Luke Skywalker himself, who barely avoided the Dark Side by the skin of his teeth when he rushed his own training) and spent especial care and attention on his nephew’s training. I mean, Jesus, hasn’t he seen these movies before?

After I saw the movie last night (well, that would be around 5:00 this morning), I was mostly pleased with the movie, and most of my quibbles were minor. It bothered me how well TIE fighters could dogfight in atmosphere, and I really didn’t buy that the Millennium Falcon, the most storied single ship in the history of the Rebel Alliance, the MVP in both Death Star battles, and Han Solo’s favorite ride, could lie dormant, dusty, and near-forgotten in an unguarded desert junkyard–though apparently ready to leap back into service at a moment’s notice after a decade of simmering in the sun. I was ready to believe that Finn and Rey had just stumbled upon another YT-1300 stock light freighter (the white Chevy Astro panel van of the galaxy, ubiquitous and mostly-reliable and fundamentally indestructible) and I would have been just fine with that.

But now larger issues bug me. Han and Chewie apparently forgetting the vast majority of their character arc from their previous three movies and abandoning their career of service and high-mindedness to revert to mere profiteering, which turns out to be no safer and not much more profitable than galaxy-saving. Leia living through 35 years as a revolutionary and having nothing to show for it but a lost son, a broken marriage, a never-ending war, and a continuing demotion from Princess to Senator to General. I always felt she was smarter than Luke and Han combined, but now all three of them come off as failures unsuited to their times.

I went in to the movie with carefully managed expectations, not only due to the prequels, but due to Abrams and what he did to Star Trek. I mean, having the Starship Enterprise constructed on the surface of Earth rather than in a sensible orbital drydock just because you think seeing that ship perched in a wheatfield in Iowa would make for a nifty-looking image betrays a science-fiction mindset that really bugs me, one that can’t really differentiate between Impossibilities That Our Minds Will Accept As Plausible (hyperdrive, noisy space battles, near-instantaneous interplanetary communication with no time dilation factor, etc.) and Ridiculous Implausibilities That Take Us Out Of The Story (like C-3PO, a perfectly ordinary off-the-shelf protocol droid, being built from spare parts by a clever orphan slave who grows up to father the kid who happens to buy the same droid from wandering junk vendors, or all those times people plummet from very, very high places in the Abrams Trek movies without so much as a sprained ankle).

But now I’m bugged by too many of those things. Kylo Ren has both innate power in the Force and training in it, both from Luke and from Snoke. Because of this, we see him do things we never even saw Vader or Palpatine do, like freezing a blaster bolt in mid-air, or simply immobilizing a determined foe in place with a wave of a finger. And yet the guy can’t win a lightsaber duel against two kids who have never brandished a lightsaber in anger (or training) their entire lives; one a fresh-from-the-Academy Force-insensitive stormtrooper who at least has a modicum of Basic Training you’d think he could fall back on, and a completely untrained and newly-realized Force-sensitive who happens to avoid standing on the collapsing ground a couple of times. I think Kylo Ren is a great character on paper, and I’m surprised how much I like Adam Driver’s performance, but I think his role in the movie is weirdly under-realized and unmotivated and strangely underwritten. Kinda like that ending, which is anticlimactic and somewhat nonsensical. Really, the Falcon had to park so far away? Chewie wouldn’t come to see Luke? Luke wouldn’t come down the steps to meet them? As if he didn’t hear or see or feel their arrival?

And as tiresome as it was for everyone to have to take on another planet-obliterating spherical superweapon with a trench run, everything about that was so perfunctory (including taking down the shield generator) there was no real feeling of triumph or anything about that moment. Even John Williams seemed not to notice that the bad guys had been dealt another significant defeat.

All that said, I liked the movie. The mood and pacing were swell (though I thought it did drag a bit toward the end of the second act), and it’s not nearly the trainwreck it could have been. If Abrams didn’t make it unnecessarily difficult to suspend my disbelief, it could have been great. I’m seeing it again on Monday, so I’ll give it another chance to wow me.

Nah, I don’t buy it. Artoo is a lot of things, but he’s still a machine, not Force-sensitive. Artoo waking up at just the right moment somebody shows up with a missing piece of a map is pure lazy story-telling hooey. Somebody could have taken one more working creative lunch and come up with any number of more effective (or less nonsensical) ways to reach the same dramatic end without relying on a weak thread like “years-dormant droid with a key bit of information suddenly activates when near a sufficiently Force-powerful person who coincidentally happens to have the rest of the map.” Here’s the simplest solution: Artoo was programmed to wait until the microchip that BB-8 was carrying comes within a few feet of him.


Heh. Just as Anakin was parented by Shmi Skywalker and the Holy Spirit of Midi-chlorians, so is Rey the offspring of Luke and that selfsame spirit. It’s why she’s so strong in the Force. I’d love to have seen that gestation!

I swear, these movies are so much more interesting in the moments that have nothing to do with the hokey religions.

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It was a solid remake. But who knew it was going to be a remake??? I guess its really just about selling toys and stuff like this:

Anakin could pilot the fighters at the end of E1, he also had a natural ability of fixing things.(And that will be my last reference to those movies forever) Rey has that and also she’s spent her life scavenging through wrecked star destroyers, she has to know empire engineering inside and out.

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Oh, got it. Because it has some of the same characters and a humongous planet-sized weapon, it’s a “remake”, despite being completely different in every other aspect, starring an entirely new cast.


I appreciated that the reaction to Starkiller Base among the old guard was “uh, so, it’s a really, really big Death Star. Let’s blow it up.” To me, that was sort of the point. The folks in charge of the New Order are all very young, untested, brash, and overconfident. Kylo Ren’s so desperate to prove his ancestry that his big statement is “we’ll build a GIANT Death Star!”; as far as we know, none of those in charge were even alive when the old Death Stars were built. This showed them that doing what the Empire did, but bigger, doesn’t work; they have to be more clever about things.