Discussion post: The Force Awakens is here!


Did you see The Force Awakens tonight? (Or yesterday, or a few days ago…) Here’s a safe spot to discuss it. Spoilers are very much allowed, so stay away until you’ve seen it! (My spoiler-free review is thataway.)

The rules are pretty simple: Don’t be a jerk, and remember we have threaded comments so you can directly reply to someone if you so wish. (Some comments may get caught up in moderation, so bear with me. I do have to sleep sometime.)

90 Replies to “Discussion post: The Force Awakens is here!”

  1. See I thought it was unoriginal and uninspired. Daisy Ridley is an amazing new addition to the universe but that is one of the only shining lights in a movie with no original storyline.

    1. Agreed, was remarkably underwhelmed by the whole movie.

      In particular felt that Kylo is Star Wars’ weakest Force wielding villain – nowhere near intimidating as Vader or fearless as Maul or conniving as Sidious or calculated as Tyrannus. There is something totally lacklustre about Kylo.

      1. Ah, I really liked Kylo Ren.

        I agree that he was the weakest (in terms of power) of the villains we’ve had thus far, but I think that leaves open the possibility of him growing in power at the same time as Rey over the course of the trilogy. I think this has the potential to add a new dimension to the “hero grows stronger and overcomes the bad guy” narrative from the Original Trilogy, because the story leaves room for the Bad Guy to be growing in power, too, rather than just being the “final boss” of the larger story.

  2. I really liked it, and the characters, but at the same time wondered if there was almost too much retelling of the original Episode IV story. I’m not sure. Maybe that will become clearer on future viewings. I am obsessed with Adam Driver’s character. OBSESSED.

  3. Lots to like, and lots to not.

    * The Good: I liked the interplay of the three news leads with Han/Chewie. BB-8 is fun.
    * The Bad: Another Death Star and trench run, Ray’s force powers reach potency in seconds, and even Finn hold is own against Kylo Ren.

    1. I think both Finn and Rey doing okay against Ren had a lot to do with him being already injured (and/or emotionally compromised) going in. Remember, they made a point to show how powerful Chewie’s bowcaster is, and dude took a direct hit. He was not at 100% by any means.

    2. Snoke also rather bluntly states that Kylo’s training is incomplete. He’s not Vader yet, he’s still Vader-lite. I think our boy’s about to take a level in badass in VIII.

  4. Loved it. Kind of stream of consciousness here: For me it didn’t feel rehashy in a bad way at all. Wonderful sense of humor and fun. Lots of big smiles throughout. I loved the pacing. The movie was always moving forward. Chewbacca and Poe Dameron were surprise standouts for me. Chewbacca’s reaction in the key scene is just what it should have been. I also loved the one glimpse we got of Leia’s force ability. Rey and Finn are terrific new characters. I had no trouble at all with how naturally gifted Rey was. I loved seeing the hallway from Cloud City in her force vision. I was only disappointed by how little we got to see Luke, but of course that’s the big set up for next time.

  5. I didn’t need it to be terribly original. The job of this first Star Wars movie of the Disney era as far as I’m concerned was to reestablish the proper tone, and it absolutely nailed it. I’ll be disappointed if VIII has this much retread, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing for the seventh film in a 40 year old franchise to play like an homage to the first, especially coming off of three entries that are widely loathed for not being enough like the originals. The course needed to be corrected before anything else, and I think TFA succeeds at that.

  6. I think the subject of my first blog post won’t surprise anyone.

    Team Rey Skywalker. You cannot convince me otherwise. :P

    I loved the movie. Surprisingly, my biggest reaction was not Luke, but Han’s “BEN!” I was not expecting THAT and wow did I love it.

    I do wish we’d gotten a little something more at the end, specifically Luke handing the saber back to Rey and saying it’s hers now.

    1. As usual, your reactions mirror my own. I’d been wondering the whole movie what his name really was…it seems so obvious in retrospect!

      And yup, Rey Skywalker. Has to be. I love her so, so hard.

      The rest of it? I’m in wilfull denial and declare the circumstances of Han and Leia to be AU and never to be spoken of again. :p

    2. Did he say “BEN” or “REN”? I heard Ben at first, then concluded I must have heard falsely.

    3. I am not quite on board with the Rey Skywalker theory just yet. I think she may BECOME a surrogate/adoptive daughter to Luke – that’s how I’m reading all the queues – but I don’t think she started out as his. And if she did, who the hell dropped her off on freaking Jakku, of all places? If she’d been with Lor San Tekka at some point, as some of the rumors had it, I could see it, but with Unkar Platt? (He’s the one in her vision.) The only way I could see her ‘family’ leaving her on Jakku was if Ben/Ren did it in a fit of guilt post-slaughter, but there’s no real hint of that from him.

      The ‘Ben’ name is the thing I referred to as me being bratty over in my review. Background: I HATED the idea of Luke naming his son Ben way back in the EU days. HATED IT. Too cliche. I made peace with it when it became (at the time) canon, and I’ll do so again. But it is a bit of a puzzler as to why Han and Leia would name their kid after Obi-wan, as neither of them really had a huge connection to him the way Luke did. Maybe they let Luke name him?

      1. Well in a sense Obi-Wan is the reason that Han and Leia met. Had he not hired Han at Mos Eisley he never would have gone to the Death Star to rescue Leia. Maybe it was a bit of a thanks for introducing us at the cost of your life thing.

      2. I have a cousin born just a few months after me also named Matthew. Both my mom and her sister liked the name so they both just used it. Maybe Luke tried to call “dibs” on the name and then Leia said, “Hmmm….’Ben Solo’…I like it.”

      3. I felt the same way. Why would Han and Leia ever name their kid Ben?? Oh well. I’d just like to know what they were thinking there.

    4. I flat-out gasped in surprise when Han hollered “BEN!”

      When I realized Luke might only have 1 or 2 lines, I imagined him scolding Rey for offering him the lightsaber backwards because she should know better. I’m actually satisfied even though he didn’t speak a word … his facial expressions were brilliant.

  7. It felt like a re-make of A New Hope with ideas from Lucas’s older drafts–so we get a female Luke, a slightly different government, and a different type of old mentor who confronts a betrayer and dies. We also get the old concept of the Sith–they are these hulking knights of Ren–a slightly different kind of Emperor, a slightly different R2, a new kind of cantina scene etc. etc. Also, Stormtroopers have swords. I actually liked it though. It was basically a remake masquerading as a sequel but it was just different enough to not be offensive,

  8. I am a frequent lurker on this site, and am so grateful for it!!!
    Random thoughts from last night!

    -Rey is absolutely the coolest. Favorite scene – her grabbing the lightsaber. It feels revolutionary (unfortunately) to have such a powerful female-bodied Jedi!!! Yay!!!!

    – Team Rey Skywalker, maybe this means that the babymomma is Mara Jade!!! (I can dream, right!)

    – There was an audible gasp/yell when Han was killed. And many left the theatre so excited about the movie, but SOOOO sad about Han. I haven’t figured all that out yet. (The kid in me is saying, did they have to kill him? I don’t want to feel sad like this after a SW movie!!!)

    – I realized this morning that I was sad that Leia wasn’t more of a full-on Jedi. Didn’t realize that I was hoping for it, but there you go.

    Thanks again!

  9. How has no one mentioned this yet?….Kylo’s hair!!!! Takes that helmet of and POOF! Perfectly coiffed! (that actually bothered me a little bit, but whatever).

    Absolutely loved it from start to finish. The new characters (including BB-8) totally stole the show and made me feel confident that the new generation of Star Wars is in a great spot.

    I liked the way it is doing the “history repeats itself” thing. I didn’t see it as being unoriginal.

    I also loved how, going it the biggest mystery (for me) was the status of Luke and then BAM! they hit you with that first line of the crawl. Loved it!

    Could you nitpick some little things? Sure. Should you? No. Like I always say about Star Wars movies…enjoy it for what it is, don’t hate it for what it isn’t.

    1. I liked the “history repeats itself” thing, too. Didn’t feel like a bad remake, just that the SW universe had forgotten its history. Poor Jedi, forgotten in a generation – again!

  10. More thoughts the morning after: The identity of Rey’s family is a wonderful mystery but there’s no way she can be a Skywalker or a former student of Skywalker and think that he’s a legend or myth.

    Just to confirm, we saw Coruscant destroyed in this movie, right?

    1. Doubt it. That all took place in the Hosnian system. Pretty sure we all would have known if Coruscant was in a system with that name.

    2. The Coruscant-looking planet was Hosnian Prime. Not sure if the other planets destroyed were all in the same system, but it sure looked that way.

      1. Oh dear, my first reaction was that that was Coruscant and I’m quite sure that for the average viewer who have only seen the six films once or twice, their assumption will be that that was Coruscant. It wasn’t made clear enough in dialogue while the glimpsed image of the planet looked remarkably like Coruscant.

      2. That was one of the things that sat slightly poorly — it didnt’ look like Coruscant — maybe it was a capital out in the quiet boonies of the galaxy where the first Order had been hiding… so sort of like… Topeka? Lincoln?

    3. Since Abrams didn’t reveal her lineage in TFA that leaves it wide open (for possible changes) in Ep.8 (or even 9).

  11. I really feel this movie was way too convienient and had a lot of potential wasted. There were good and bad. Harrison Ford nailed it again. But I didn’t like the out of character qualities and conveniences . Han loses his “home” the for years and becomes a monster hunter for hire?? Grandson of Vader getting bested by a stormtrooper janitor and a women with no force training, but he can stop rifle shots while interrogating? Rey rescues BB-8 and then says beat it? (Its like she had to feed it or something).Rey going from a normal yet skilled fighter to amazing force user in seconds. R2 has been on standby for 20 years then just wakes up. Really han and Leia go there separate ways after there son was taken instead of taking action, the same Leia that jumped on speeder bikes and jumped into garbage chutes and watched as her entire planet was destroyed and entire family killed. I do not expect the direction of the film to go into EU/Legends territory, but be true too the actual cannon characters and characterization. Also how does the First Order wipe out I believe six planets and still not legitimate enough to bring New Republic forces in? Then the planet wide super weapon is destroyed again by a few pilots and a very convenient weakness. I remember hearing that JJ wanted to make this world larger in that the same three people and there struggle shouldn’t shape the galaxy. I don’t want to come off as bitter, and I believe seeing the film again after the hype and the super fan in me settles down and objectively watching becomes easier.
    Please reply and talk with me about the best and favorite thing in my life!!

  12. I’m really interested to see how the whole Luke training Rey/Snoke training Kylo thing will play out. Phasma was definitely underused in TFA, but I get the feeling that we’ll see more of her going forward. I’m curious to see if any of the New Republic fleet survived the attack on Hosnian Prime; it wouldn’t exactly be strategic to have the entire fleet massed in one system. Overall, I really enjoyed the film. Hoping to maybe see Corellia or Chandrila realized on screen in either VIII or IX. Is anyone planning on going to rewatch TFA again this weekend?

    1. I will probably see it again Saturday and Sunday so I can view it more objective and not just a super fan. I saw episode III 3 times in two days

  13. I would have bet quite a lot Rey was Han/Leia’s daughter, so I’m fairly shocked at that result. Judging by the editing (Han and Maz talking, the less harsh way Kylo interrogates Rey), I feel like *somebody* knows *something* about her past, but it’s (hopefully) revealed in Ep VIII?? I loved it overall, though. The banter was great, would love to see more Phasma, lots of wars… I need to see the final lightsaber battle again b/c I thought Kylo lost his hand at least three times lol.

    So, what exactly was the awakening?

  14. The politics are a bit wonky if you think about it. It hard to believe that the New Republic wouldn’t want to directly fight the First Order–is there some question of sovereignty or are there First Order sympathizers in the Senate? Or maybe the New Republic doesn’t see them as a big enough threat? Perhaps the First Order’s planet destroying actions in this film will bring the New Republic army into action in the next one? I’m tempted to think the real reason though is that Abrams just wanted them to look like the scrappy rebels in A New Hope, not the polished fighting force of the prequels–but I hope its not that dumb a reason.

    1. I actually found the handing of the Republic thing the only weak spot and I suspect it was an overcorrection for the biggest of the many weak spots of the prequels (having just watched CinemaSins of I and II I had that fresh in my mind), which was sinned by CinemaSins as “Almost as exciting as watching C-SPAN!” I don’t mind blowing up a planet, that’s fine, and in fact I would have been happier with that if I hadn’t seen anything at all of the planet–I didn’t need to see Alderaan except from space, either. I mean, think about the first film, literally ALL we know about Alderaan is it’s “peaceful and [has] no weapons” and it visually looks kinda like Earth so EEK THEY BLEW UP ERSATZ EARTH! I can do that, the shots on-planet just before these people we’ve never seen before are vaporized were both a skotch too “San Francisco gets shot up in Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness” and a bit “Oh no, the Capitol of Panem!”

    2. The “Before the Awakening” book which came out yesterday does talk about the Senate a bit. And yeah, it’s crappy politics.

  15. I honestly think Rey is a Solo and a twin of Kylo. Kylo had a strong emotional reaction to Rey and is angered and unstable by the mention of her.
    Maybe it is just hope but the first few lines dealt with the balance of the force. This is the only real nod to the PT and a possible nod to the canon Mortis Arc of The Clone Wars. This Arc is the one if the few pre New Hope concepts that have been used in the post RotJ and crosses different media outlets and age audiences. It has a prominent feature in the Fate of the Jedi and Crucible and I believe the direction of Luscasfilm is to link all the canon material together. This would fit with the whole brother,sister,balance theory and Kylo struggling with the light side.

        1. Driver is almost a decade older than Ridley, and although Kylo (sans mask) reads younger, he’s not that much younger. We don’t know how long it’s been since whatever happened with Luke’s students, but the Kylo in the vision is pretty tall, and Luke’s been gone quite a while. So Ben/Ren must have been at least a teenager when that went down. And then we have Rey being left on Jakku at a VERY young age. Twins just doesn’t scan, even if you really want to believe she’s a Solo. And why would Leia or Han abandon a (younger) daughter to a bunch of randoms after everything with Ben? I don’t see anything in the movie that points to him having siblings, period.

          1. Maybe she is just a poor orphan who was abandoned by parents who couldn’t take care of her. Maybe the only reason it appears in the dream sequence is that its deeply tied to her emotional core, so it would come up in a Dogobah Tree cave like scenario. Or maybe there’s something really obvious we’re missing here. Next time I see it I’m going to pay more attention to that scene!

          2. If Rey was also a student at Luke’s academy (younger than Ren), then perhaps Han and Leia assumed she was dead? I agree that it’s a stretch.

          3. I really liked this movie. I agree with most of what has been written above, both pros and cons.

            I’m mostly convinced that Rey is going to be Luke’s daughter – in large part because of the (wonderfully) awkward scene were Han offers her a job on his crew (just like the awkward pre-Yavin scene where Han makes Luke the same offer), but also because of her reaction to the lightsaber and her mad skillz.

            Poe Dameron is everything I wanted from a wise-cracking X-wing pilot. Honestly, he’s like a character out of an Aaron Allston novel. We might not get a humorous movie about Wedge, Janson, “Face,” Piggy, and the rest, but Poe is an excellent alternative. Every scene he was in reminded me strongly of Wraith Squadron’s hijinks.

            Still pretty worried about how they’re gonna explain Luke’s absence. Given that absent his help, the Resistance was unable to prevent the destruction of the Hosnian system and Han died, Luke had better have a pretty good reason for hiding himself away. I’m worried that Luke will have some lame explanation for his absence and end up as a dumb character. I guess we’ll see.

    1. I don’t see the twin thing being a possibility. Just wouldn’t work. Unless it’s Leia’s way of hazing her daughter…”No one told me I had a twin sibling until I was in my 20s/30s so I’m going to do that to my own daughter.” I don’t buy it.
      She could still be Luke’s daughter and trigger that reaction from Kylo as they would still both be from the Skywalker family. But as I type this I feel like that’s not going to happen either…if Luke was working to try to rebuild the Jedi order, why hide his daughter on yet another desert planet instead of train her?

      1. Because Ep VIII can now show Luke’s shattered confidence and Rey’s training will rebuild that.

        1. Theory – Luke has a wife, Kylo Ren does his flip out thing, Luke flips out and is freaked that he’s going to lose his own daughter to the dark side – wife hides her, wife tries to help Kylo, dies… no one comes back for poor Rey.

    2. They could be siblings. If Han left after his son’s fall to the dark side, it’s possible Leia could have been early in a pregnancy at that time, and Han wouldn’t have known. If it was around conception, even Leia wouldn’t have known. The age difference would fit if Ben/Kylo was old enough to be training and traveling the galaxy with Luke. Perhaps leaving Rey on Jakku was a desperate attempt at shielding her from her brother. There were also the comments of “Han is the father you never knew,” her affinity for flying the Falcon, and the hug between her and Leia upon her return. They could also be cousins. I’m undecided, but I do think they are family.

  16. Maybe it was just I red herring but I feel the consensus is that there is something about Rey the legacy characters know but have not divulged that we will learn about in the next episodes as the sequel’s I am your father moment, but I would not mind if Rey is just a force sensitive hero with no extraordinary parentage as long as her story is a good one.

  17. I have seen it twice now. The first time (Thurs night) – I told my wife I was “wonderfully disappointed” — it was a greatly fun film (a bit derivative, but hey), the new cast had a wonderful chemistry, and it was fun. However, I was disappointed because all that EU history that I had known was wiped out and I didn’t get the answers *I* was looking for.

    When I saw it the second time (fri morning), I was just delighted. There are qualms and nit picks that I could make, edits I would have loved to see… but by in large it was fun. And once I knew it wouldn’t answer the questions I wanted answered, I really, really enjoyed it for what it is. It was a great opening act to the story.

  18. Oh, and my own private moment of laughter.

    On Star Wars the Old Republic, my character legacy name, given 3 years ago, is “Bensolo”…


    Well, how about I not log in for just a bit, then, eh?

      1. My joke doesn’t work if it’s not Solo, and since Han used the name, I’m running with it =o)

  19. I love Rey and I like that the trust of the trilogy is the return of the Jedi. I like Poe and Finn as a bromance, BB-8 was wonderful. The Maz character is phenomenal.

    I don’t like that this film seems to be made by fans of only part of the SW saga. The universe has been artificially shrunk to make the Resistance feel like the Rebellion for some reason, even though the the threat of the 1st Order is clearly something the New Republic should be putting it’s full forces behind fighting. How can a Order like the 1st possibly build something larger than the Death Star and the New Republic not know about it or, again, send everything they have against them? The story feels like A New Hope, Empire and the old EU before the PT all wrapped into a rehashing ball. There is nothing really surprising or original here. In fact the ship design work is just lazy, since there is nothing really significant or inspiring that has been added to the canon because of the film.

    The movie sadly creates new background aliens when the PT and the OT have given us plenty to populate the universe, sure add some new, but don’t negate the past. There is such a fear hear of the PT and it’s damaging to the film TCW and Rebels as well as the new canon of books, have for the most part showed how to seamlessly integrate all of SW and it’s sad that the team here does not embrace all the good all of SW has.

    There is also not enough time to even give us some explanation that is sorely needed since the pace of the movie is so fast that every character is perpetually out of breath or sweating so much that there is no time for exposition. 30 years have passed in the galaxy and the PT has happened, yet for some reason it seems just as small a galaxy as the OT gave us. There are too many nods like trench runs and not enough that is fresh or vibrant.

    The onus is now on Episode VIII to give us something truly fresh for this new trilogy.

      1. I would say balance runs throughout all SW. There a couple references to the PT at most, but for the majority of this film, it’s as if the PT did not exist or the larger universe of the PT, TCW and Rebels. It’s a lot more like the old EU, when the EU was just aping the OT such as in Darksaber.

        1. Something Lor San Tekka says to Poe about lack of Jedi putting the balance out of whack.

          I can’t remember exactly, and in my head I think I’m mixing it up with something Maz said about the First Order. Anyone who nabbed the novelization want to pitch in here?

          1. A major theme was balance (as opposed to the light fighting and concurring over evil).

            Max Von Sydow tells Poe that there must be balance, and that the Jedi must rise to bring balance to the force (not get rid of the dark… which as a theologian I note is a more of an Eastern thought than what was in the OT… that was one place the OT didn’t go).

            Also, Maz points out that there is only really one fight… which dovetails with that idea of balance – that the two are constantly balanced, and that in reality there never is a golden age of peace.

          2. Thanks for the context! Eric, I just want to point out that in Eastern thought the notion of balance is more about seeing past the dualistic and conceptual nature of good and evil to reality as it is, not balancing them in some measurable way. In this sense, “balance” is in the OT: Yoda says the rock and the X-wing are only different in Luke’s mind, “you must unlearn what you have learned.”

      2. In the OT, there’s the Force and the Dark Side, which is a corruption of it. This fits with the western idea of the universe being controlled by a good God and evil being a rebellion against Him. In the PT Lucas changed the Force from a good thing to a neutral thing, making both the Dark and Light sides essential part of the Force, closer to an Eastern concept of the universe. TFA seems to be of two minds–Maz talks about how the most important thing is to fight darkness, but Sydo’s character at the beginning talks about how the force must be in balance, and how the lack of Jedi has caused it to become unbalanced. Perhaps the Force in only in balance when the light side is in power? This would explain how Vader fulfills the prophecy in ROTJ by forsaking the Dark Side and killing Palpatine, essentially wiping out the Sith entirely, and how Ben and Snoke undo Vader’s work by forming the Knights of Ren and slaying Luke’s Jedi trainees. I’m not sure if we’ll ever know how the Force works or what balance is because as far as I know, no one has ever definitively explained it. Maybe Lucas knows?

    1. I think a big part of the new alien design is that the art department wanted to make new stuff. It is a bit sad, but at least we got an old Akbar. My guess is they want to communicate the idea that the universe is stuffed full of different aliens, so no matter where you go you always see new creatures.

      I am a little miffed that the Resistance, Republic and First Order relationships were completely unexplained, but my guess is the books will sort it out. Here’s how I think it may be set up: The New Republic is tiny and has very little control of space outside of a few systems, and every other system is independent. The First Order is a growing force that the Republic is afraid to fight openly for fear of a war that would end badly, so they send funds to any planet that is willing to fight back, and Leia is leading that resistance. My guess is the Republic Fleet is guarding the Republic systems and will only show up for emergencies.

      1. I just never felt like the relationships were so nebulous in the rest of SW. In the OT, the relationships are so mythic you immediately get it and in the PT they are so familiar to history that again, you just get it.

        1. Actually, I feel less manipulated here than the PT. Because the more I try (and fail) rewatch the prequels, the more I realize “I only care, and not much, because that one grows up to be Darth Vader and MUCH cooler, that one somehow ages into Alec Guinness, Yoda becomes a somehow-more-realistic Muppet, that one I knew was the Emperor when I saw the cast list, and I guess that one exists because someone has to be an incubator for Luke and Leia. All the rest of you are walking corpses–oh, hey, a face to put on someone who gets vaporized on Alderaan, cool!” And I have the sense that the script operates on the assumption that’s enough. I don’t really care where Boba Fett came from. (If a stand-alone movie totally retcons that, I will be completely fine with it.) I do not care about the trade federation or a video-game sequence of a factory, can we MAYBE explain more about Dooku and try “show, don’t tell”? Here, I know just enough about the main characters to be interested in what’s going on and hope to find out more. I don’t feel pandered to.

  20. Rey is Bobba’s daughter
    Rey is a Kenobi
    Rey is a Jin
    Rey is somehow related to Mace Windu
    Rey is a clone of Anakin
    Rey is a clone of Luke made from Luke’s severed hand
    Rey is another virgin birth like Anakin
    Rey is a robot
    Rey is Poe’s long lost sister
    Rey is actually a man
    Rey is Jabba’s Son’s daughter
    Rey is a Naeberrie
    Rey is a Lucas

  21. Okay, hard to process ALL reactions, but the biggest, overall one was: This movie was made by someone who watched and loved the same Star Wars movies I did. Did he make all the same choices I would have? Of course not. Did I come out feeling like this wasn’t Star Wars? No. Did I have moments where I was genuinely really invested in the story and really concerned about characters? Absolutely.

    I think I have changed my position on watch the prequels/don’t watch the prequels–I didn’t, but I watched CinemaSins of TPM (almost a whole half hour, two parts, and there may be a movie that got a higher overall sin total but I don’t recall one) and AOTC. (They’ve also done the OT, because No Movie Is Without Sin. Those were much shorter.) It was a good reminder of what the PT was like without having to sit through them. And it helped HERE because while, besides the unnecessary notion of the Republic/Resistance thing, the other flaw I thought it had was I felt like the movie needed to pause a little more for breath. But one thing constantly pointed out in the CS prequel reviews was the fact they spend far more time walking and talking and sitting and talking and making references to events that actually sound like they’d be a lot more exciting to watch than what we were seeing. Here it would have been nice to get a couple more quiet moments, something that ANH and ESB in particular have a few of, even if it’s only a minute of Obi-Wan walking around or Vader consulting with Tarkin on something. Here it’s ninety miles an hour almost from the get-go. But OTOH when we drop into the middle of the action while I’m not 100% sure exactly what’s happening I get the gist and want to keep following. We could have removed the ‘monster movie’ moment on Han’s ship and kept it to outsmarting the guys after him and that would have slowed things.

    Speaking of which, they sold me when I desperately want to find out what happens to Finn, Rey, and even Poe (who does not have as much to do as I might like and I don’t actually see him right now as much of a protagonist, more like Wedge if he had more to do in the movies. But I liked him and want to see more.) Not just “how do they tie in directly to the old characters”, just these characters.

    And okay, JJ, you got me. BB-8’s adorable. I don’t know if it’s he, or she, but it’s adorable.

    As far as ignoring the prequels, besides where mostly that’s a good thing (it’s hard to root for an Alliance to Restore a Republic So Big It’s Unworkable and Run By People Who Are Evil, Stupid, or Both), there was the “balance” stuff, and there was also that apparently Snoke (anyone who complains about the name: Sheev Palpatine and Jar-Jar Binks. You have no grounds for complaint) took all the worst ideas that the Empire (if we just make the super laser BIGGER) AND the Jedi (“Let’s take small children from their parents and strip them of their idenitites, what could possibly backfire there?”) ever had, gathered them up, and said “I’d like to double down.” Their method of recruiting is straight out of the Jedi playbook. And of course, how about the notion of Luke going looking for a Jedi Temple at all, a concept that’s never mentioned in the OT?

    Elephant in the room: I knew the ‘big spoiler’ but even knowing it, they actually had me wondering if they’d figuratively pull the trigger as it was happening.

    And hate me if you want, but honestly, one takeaway I had was…”God, please don’t let them do Indy V. If they do, please recast Indy. I can’t watch that, I really don’t think I can.”

    As far as the weapons and stuff….obviously, physics got drunk after the OT. After this one, physics got drunk, went home and shot itself. But fine.

  22. I LOVED the movie. I think when Mark Hamill said “Nothing’s changed, I mean everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed” he couldn’t have described this movie better. I don’t care that it resembles the OT, I just love that about it because it’s something familiar but at the same time feels a bit refreshing in a way. Also, I’ve seen a few people complain about the potency of Rey’s powers and she grew into them so quickly. Watching the movie, I thought about that. But, at the same time, if she is Skywalker’s kid, then wouldn’t that make sense? She’s a descendant of Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, the most powerful Jedi ever? I mean, his grandkids would be pretty powerful right? I don’t know just my speculation and I’ve read some other great ones too. I loved this movie and thought J.J. did a great job.

    1. I had the distinct impression watching the movie that Rey’s rapidly advancing powers strongly implied that she had some training in the past and either has forgotten it or had her memory wiped. Just like how when Finn tells her that her piloting was fantastic she tells us she had no idea she knew how to do that, she just did. And using the Force to influence the mind of the trooper is something you don’t just guess at, it’s something she remembered how to do. My wife strongly felt that (and other things) were implying she was Luke’s partially trained (but hidden) daughter…

      I have no problem with how she and Finn fought Kylo well. Finn clearly can handle herself well with that staff (then add her recalled Force training). Finn as a trooper must have melee weapon training. I think the whole purpose of the sequence with him fighting the trooper with the electro-staff thingy weapon was to make his later fight with Kylo believable.

  23. I loved The Force Awakens.

    I thought it was fun and entertaining and beautiful. This next thought might produce an eye roll or two, but I’m at that time in my life as a Star Wars fan where the movies are more than just movies to me. So when I watch a Star Wars movie I don’t really pick it apart like a film critic. The Star Wars saga is a story and this is just another chapter. TFA introduced me to new characters and worlds and I loved every single one of them. I can understand some people’s frustration for the need of a completely original story however I do not think that should deter anyone from going to see the film. Oh, and history tends to repeat itself! ;D

    Also, Team Rey Skywalker (I will be so devastated if this is not true).

    Maz/Chewy 100%

    1. I agree because ibfeel like I’m in the same mindset. I don’t mind that this was super original. “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it” I think the classic star wars formula worked, but it was refreshing to see it with new characters. I’m also Team Rey Skywalker. I mean, she’s gotta be Luke’s kid.

  24. I loved it!

    Does anyone else see a Finn/Rey/Poe love-triangle thing happening? They’re being groomed to become the 3 main characters of the movie, and the dynamic feels a lot like Han/Leia/Luke’s.

    I agree with a previous comment made about the aliens in The Force Awakens being too different from the PT and the OT. I felt that the scene in Maz’s bar had too many unfamiliar faces — and most of them look as if they came out of Pan’s Labyrinth.

    The first time I saw it, I hated Kylo Ren. After the second time though, I enjoyed his character more. It threw me off that his real name was “Ben”. It made me hope that there was some innate good in him that would make him do the right thing.

    In the trailer, when Luke mentions Leia, doesn’t someone hand her a lightsaber? I didn’t see that scene in the movie… and Luke was talking about his family then, so that gives me hope for REY SKYWALKER.

    1. “Does anyone else see a Finn/Rey/Poe love-triangle thing happening? They’re being groomed to become the 3 main characters of the movie, and the dynamic feels a lot like Han/Leia/Luke’s.”

      After watching the film, no, but Rey and Poe have a brief moment in the novelisation, that makes me think yes.

  25. I at least liked all and loved most of the characters except Snoke. Snoke was a disappointment. To my surprise, I actually kind of like Kylo (or Kilo, as I like to say), even more than Vader. (Let’s be real, Vader was ultimately pathetic and never lived up to any of his potential.) I liked his erratic behavior and instability. I wasn’t expecting his lineage to be revealed so soon. Threepio had the best and most hilarious entrance. Artoo broke my heart. I love BB-8 even more. He truly is “one of a kind.” Chewie broke my heart, too. So did Leia. And Rey. And Luke. And just about everyone else. I was pleasantly surprised to see Max von Sydow’s face (and his respect for Star Wars at the London premiere) and wish that he didn’t get killed off in his first scene. I got major Jacen feels, man, but it was even worse because Ben’s fall had the effect on Han and Leia’s relationship that Chewie’s death did. And HOLY KARK FRICKING REY. Rey is written and performed so kriffing well. She’s got to be the best character and the best hero that Star Wars has ever seen. She kicked Kylo’s ass. Twice. I was floored when she turned Kylo’s mind probing right back at him. He was TERRIFIED. The audience cheered when the lightsaber flew past Kylo into Rey’s hands. It was really hard not to start sobbing seeing a woman in the big lightsaber duel of a SW movie. That girl has power. Kylo’s face wound/scar will be a constant reminder that she basically destroyed him. The first time that she even ever used a lightsaber. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t learn Rey’s heritage (her first reaction to touching the lightsaber really makes me think that she’s Luke’s kid), but she’s such an amazing character on her own that it doesn’t really matter. Daisy Ridley was astonishing. I can’t wait to see Rey terrify people more. I hope that Phasma gets more screen time in the following movies. Same with Billie (Lieutenant Connix, right?). I was sad that Han and Luke didn’t get to see each other again. This movie gave us some great new perspectives. I hope that Rey and Chewie stick together longer; they make an adorable team. Please excuse me as I listen to the score repeatedly for eternity.

  26. I’m still processing, but this felt like a much more grown-up film than any of the prequels (or even the originals). The battered or broken relationships, the dashed hopes and lingering disappointments, the ongoing struggle, the sense of disillusion — I don’t know quite how to put it into words, but I feel like this film was made for older fans and was very much a product of the post-9/11 political climate in some ways. It’s harder to tell the difference between friends and enemies. Many of us have had to harden our hearts against the sort of pain we didn’t see coming — not because we’d never experienced pain before, but because we’ve lost our naivete about it, our expectation that all can be put to rights in the end. We know better now. If Episode IV was “A New Hope,” Episode VII was “A Sense of Resignation About A Fundamentally Unjust Galaxy” — though I expect that hope to be renewed in the next two films. God, I hope so.

    Kylo Ren is clearly Anakin Skywalker’s grandson. THAT HAIR THO.

  27. Novelization is worth a read/listen (I grabbed the audiobook). R2 waking up and the map situation seemed clearer. There’s more Leia too including her feeling a great disturbance in the force. Rey and Poe got a brief moment too which I wish the film had included.

  28. I’ve seen TFA twice already, I’m seeing it again on Wednesday and you know what? I wish I was going to see it a few more times before 2015 is out. It’s a really good film, not just a good SW film, but a good film full stop. I think TFA will bring many new fans to the SW fan culture, both young and old.

    So many positives, Maz is a fabulous addition to the SW family, I wish she was in the film a lot more. Hopefully, given the hints that she’s know Han and Chewie for years, Maz will be a major character in the upcoming young Han Solo film.

    I have never seen Daisy Ridley in anything before, well aisde from PR material for TFA, and she blew me away with her portrayal of Rey! We may no longer have Mara Jade or Jaina Solo, however in Rey we now have the lightsaber wielding, Force strong leading lady that I’ve longed for in SW films. Daisy knocked it out of the park, the scene where Rey steps off the Falcon onto Maz’s planet is the perfect example of how good she is, I totally believed she was seeing greenery and bodies of water for the first time in her life. Bravo Daisy bravo.

    John Boyega and Oscar Issac, both of whom I was much more familar with, are both great too. The banter between Finn/Rey and Finn/Poe is precisely how it should be for a SW film. I’m really looking forward to seeing the threesome of Rey/Finn/Poe continue their adventures in the rest of the trilogy. They are worthy successors to Luke/Han/Leia (and order is intentional as Rey=Luke, Finn=Han & Poe=Leia).

    The chemistry between Daisy and John is so good, that I find myself desperately wanting to see the pair of them cast in a romantic comedy together! Better yet a musical romantic comedy :)

    BB-8 … it was love at first sight! BB-8 is brilliant, like R2’s cute younger sibling. See that’s the thing about the new characters, they’re so likeable that I didn’t mind that the original Star Warriors didn’t get much screen time.

    I really didn’t like Kylo Ren at all … but then that is the point, he’s the villain, we’re not meant to like him. Hux too I couldn’t stand, which is the mark of a decent villain, you’re rooting for them to be defeated.

    Okay I’ll admit the Starkiller weapon seemed like something out of one of the 1990’s EU novels, back when each EU novel seemed to have “super weapon” of the month. Also Kylo stopping a blaster bolt is one thing, but leaving frozen in mid-air seemed like overkill.

    I kind of figured Han would die, I mean Harrison Ford was never going to come back to SW unless it was for just one film, and he finally got his wish to kill Han off. That said I expected Han to go out with more of a blaze of glory, however his death makes Kylo more of a monster I suppose. That for me was the twist that Han went out without a fight, without his blaster in hand, or at the controls of the Falcon. Instead it was quite touching and shocking at the same time, Han’s hand of Kylo’s face ,,, brought a tear to the eye.

    I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I think the reason for Luke’s tiny role in the film, is due to Mark Hamill’s appearance. Not that I’ve any room to talk, given that I’m the size of a Hutt, but Mark seems to have quite a belly on him in his single scene, which makes me wonder if his role was reduced because unlike Carrie Fisher, he didn’t get more into his OT shape? I mean now Mark looks so fit and slim at the premiere, so hopefully he’ll be in the next film a lot more … I could be very wrong about this, but to me it seems Disney made JJ Abrams put the OT cast in a lot more than I think he would have liked, just my opinion.

    Considering JJ didn’t have anywhere near as much creative freedom as George Lucas did for his SW films (George was his own boss, while JJ had to answer to the Mouse), I think JJ made the best darn SW film he possibly could given the demands and restrictions no doubt placed on him. I’ve longed enjoyed JJ’s work, especially Alias and Fringe, and as hoped he once again gave us a fantastic female lead (Thank you JJ).

    I think once again the opening film in this SW trilogy will be the best, just like ANH and TPM before them. Good start to the trilogy, quality is always better than quanity.

  29. Huh, well that was a thing. My wife, who’s not into SW at all, thought it was great and I was more, “Eh.” I thought the first 30 minutes of the film, especially Poe and Finn’s escape, were fantastic and I was totally hooked. Jakku was splendidly realized and rendered. The Rey/Finn banter there was fun. The film had a rocking momentum that had me at the edge of my seat until… The monster’s were let loose on Han’s ship, and that where the air was let out of the balloon and the movie gets wonky. Make no mistake, I enjoyed it, but I’m a bit disappointing the franchise as a whole has the same strengths and weaknesses as before (but with a few new weaknesses).

    I’ll try to have my Pro’s and Con’s be a little different from the 90 or so above:

    – I’d watch Daisy Ridley read the dictionary for hours. She’s an incredible find, and I can’t wait to see her in other films. Here’s hoping she can handle the success (and avoid the Dark Side of Hollywood) and has a great agent helping her select roles…

    – Maz, a big surprise. I was dreading that sequence. I mean, the SW universe has had characters like her forever, but I’m really intrigued by this one. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her on screen (but I bet we have).

    – Poe Dameron – The peppy, cocky pilot who’s everyone’s best friend is the character of the film in my mind, and we saw waaaay too little of him. If you saw the trailer, then you saw his contribution. He has the best line in the film in my opinion. He destroys the super weapon, and what does he arrogantly tell everyone? “*MY* mission here is done.” Awesome… Here’s hoping there’s waaay more of him in Ep VIII

    – That tie fighter escape sequence in the first half hour… Thrilling… I felt 10 years old watching that.

    – Kylo Ren’s being incompletely trained and kind of an emotional mess – That made him scarier to me.

    – Hux – He did the most with vocal intonation and facial expression that anyone given his pat villian dialogue could do. Love that he and Ren don’t see eye to eye, and that he stands up to him.

    – The best sequence with Threepio in the entire SW universe to date.

    – I’m going to catch flack for saying this, but I’ve seen a lot of JJ Abrams movies (most, I think) by now and he has some major flaws that are all on parade here that are uniquely his own and not of the SW universe. They are:
    ** Terrible handling of spacial and time passage relationships – I feared this, and it was definitely the case here. Better than the Trek films, but still bad, like he doesn’t want to be bothered to explain them…

    ** Small universe – Yup, a huge problem in all his films. No matter how grand the intent, they manage to feel straight jacketed, like a Sci-Fi TV show that has to do a “bottle” episode to save money.

    ** Great carnage that goes unnoticed by all main characters – SW was always criticized for the lack of reaction of Leia to Alderaan blowing up. How many planets did we lose here? 5? How many billions? Did anyone shed a tear? Did anyone even care? Do they even talk about it?

    ** Not letting exposition or explanation get in the way of the action – A reaction to the prequels perhaps, but notable in many of his outings and particularly painful here for fans like readers of blogs like this desperate for info…

    – Going to take flack for it, but Boyega – I’ve loved him in other things and felt he overacted, well, everything a bit.

    – Was Gwendolyn Christie in this movie? No, really? Perhaps just came in for a voice recording or two? SUPER disappointed she wasn’t better used.

    – Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb dumb [sing with South Park’s melody]- R2 powered down, then miraculously wakes up? The resistance didn’t know any intel about this base until Finn shows up? The New Republic’s actions?

    – Were there any Easter Eggs? Superfans of the Journey to the Force Awakens, Rebels, TCW, or really anything in the new EU didn’t have much to recognize here as far as I could see. In fact, I felt bad for new generations of young fans introduced to SW via Rebels and TCW, as there wasn’t much familiar here for them.

    – Snoke – Already saddled with a stupid name, the huge, swollen Gollum figure and bland dialogue had me deeply missing Ian Mcdiarmid.

    – Luke without dialogue – It worked for what it was, but still… Kind of amazed, given that Hamill is 64 and an amazing voice talent, that they were cool to, you know, just wait another 2 years or so to do anything with him. Gutsy…

    – Not sure if I wanted more of a Han Solo memorial or funeral or even anything said at all after his death…

    – I love Adam Driver and am glad everyone thinks he did a great job, but I wonder if he could have upped his expressiveness just a tad (he’s certainly more than capable of it).

    – We will yet again need to wait for the EU books to fill in details of the film universe that we should have been given during that run time… The more things change the more they do feel the same…


    One legitimate gripe about TFA:

    As much as I appreciate JJ Abrams efforts to create all sorts of new and fantastic alien species (which were very cool) I don’t think there were enough of the already established alien species in the movie (Ex : Ithorian, Aqualish, Quarren, Weequay, even prequel species like Kel Dor, Pantoran, Dug). There were a few specific examples… But not enough in the background scenes. Some were reminiscent but different, like the fat “Trandoshan” who probably isn’t a Trandoshan.

    As a longtime Star Wars fan, I was a little disappointed by this. JJ could also have mined the thus far Legends Expanded Universe-only species like Barabel or Nohgri for designs, even if their back stories would have been different.

    It made the movie feel a little more generic sci-fi-ish and less Star Wars-y. Kind of like the original Marvel comics with their randomly created alien species.

  31. I know you all want it, but I really don’t think Rey should be a Skywalker.

    Why? Because of the title: The Force Awakens. When Rey runs into Poe and starts her adventure, she begins to unintentionally rely on the Force and it turns out she has a powerful connection to it, so much so that Snoke and Ben both acknowledge that “there has been an awakening.” Was Rey abandoned? Yes. Why? I have no idea, but Maz tells her that the people who left her aren’t coming back. Perhaps she was a slave and she was sold to the scrap dealer but not her parents? Or maybe she’s a princess who was hidden because another royal family was attempting to destroy her line? Or maybe her folks had bounties on their heads? Whatever the reason, I firmly believe she has no force user history in her family–she’s just a natural, a chosen one, a new awakening. If this is true, she’d be even more noteworthy than Luke, who wasn’t just a farm boy but the son of Vader. If Rey is just a lowly abandoned scavenger girl who rises to become the galaxy’s only hope, that would be way more exciting than if she’s just another Skywalker.

  32. I really hope you’re right… although mainly because I want Kylo & Rey to get together non-incestuously >.> or for there to be a Kylo/Rey/Finn love triangle. Aside from that, I think Luke taking her on as a surrogate daughter would be just as powerful a story, if not more so. Why does everyone have to be related??? My coworker says Finn is going to turn out to be Lando’s kid… What sense does that make?? They’re both black so they must be related?! WTF, ppl.

  33. Finally saw the movie. Some thoughts.

    Star Wars is a family affair. The most moving parts of the film, in my opinion of course, were the interactions between Han Solo and our own Princess, now General, Leia. This is especially true at the end, in the interaction between Han and his son, Ben, now trying too hard to turn himself into Darth Vader. The plot is the usual Star Wars stuff until we get to this, the most profound part of the story.

    The young people among us will be more interested in the interaction between Rey and Finn, or Rey and Luke (which will occur in the next film, I guess) or even Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben, as well they should be. Who is Rey? I think we all have some guesses about that. I’m sure there’s fan fic already brewing on the subject. Who is Finn? Was it fate that Finn was a terrible Stormtrooper? Or was it just that Finn was a coward, an opportunist, or perhaps another Han Solo, willing to abandon a regimented military life to live by the skin of his teeth? How did Luke Skywalker’s beloved lightsaber end up gathering dust in the basement of an intergalactic bar?

    As the child of one reviewer was reputed to say, “This is our Star Wars.” Thus, the children come into their own. By my count, we are going into the third generation of this remarkable franchise.

    The heart and soul of the film, however, is left to the wisdom of age. It is between Han, Leia and their son Ben, now taken by the Darkside. Like parents everywhere, Han and Leia love their son for what he is, for what he could be. They wait for his redemption even as he himself does not see that he is lost. Although he kills his father in the end, he does not lose his father’s love. No amount of evil will ever drive it from him. Han, a character without any mystical power whatsoever, marks Ben as his own and that will never fade.

    It is the power of love over evil – the great theme of this great story.

    Leia is the moral center of Star Wars. She always was. Carrie Fisher’s performance as the damaged, fragile but persevering Leia is inspirational. Harrison Ford, as the ever practical Han Solo, gets to play mystic this time around, a lovely paradox. Yes, there’s lots of tantalizing hints in visions and by play, but this can wait. The DVDs will explain these to us whether we will or no.

    Meanwhile, we can revel in the fact that the Force is alive and well in the galaxy

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