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Elsie

Star Wars Episode VII - I have held my peace long enough!

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If you haven't seen the latest Star Wars film; tough. It’s been out long enough, is still running in some theaters and not only was it the biggest grossing film of 2015, it might be the top for 2016 as well.  If you haven’t seen it by now you’re obviously not remotely interested in it.

 

Are you sitting comfortably for an Elsie TLDR post? In the words of Lando Calrissian, here goes nothing …

 

I went to see Star Wars in 1977 as a 10 year old kid and like everyone else, it blew me away. When Empire came out I had no idea that Vader was Luke’s father; when James Earl Jones said that line I remember standing up and screaming at the screen, “No! You can’t be!” and my Mum having to calm me down. By the time ROTJ came out in ’83 I was 16 and fully engrossed in the Star Wars universe and folk lore. I read books and comics and always hoped that there would be something else. 

 

Then in the early 90’s the author Timothy Zahn penned a series of Star Wars books starting with Heir to the Empire, a story set around 7 years after ROTJ. Han and Leia had got married and had kids, Luke was searching for lost Jedi and the galaxy was trying to rebuild post the defeat of the Empire and death of Palpatine. The enemy in these books were led by Grand Admiral Thrawn (a master tactician banished by Palpatine due to his increasing influence in the Imperial Fleet) and a dark Jedi named Jorus C’Boath. This trilogy of books followed on perfectly from the end of episodes IV, V & VI and expanded the Star Wars universe to include visits to Chewie’s planet, Kashyyyk and a new alien species called the Nogrhi; the stealthiest and toughest adversary for a Jedi. T'was Awesome stuff.

 

In the late 90’s Lucas started talking about making episodes I, II & III … and we all wish he hadn’t. The less said about these abominations, the better. For me, just as there is no Indy IV, there is no Star Wars I, II & III. They don’t exist. I will never watch them again

 

Roll forward to 2014 and the news that finally, there would be a new Star Wars movie and it would follow on as Episode VII. Oh. Hell. Yeah!

 

Not much leaks out about the story and it’s superbly kept under-wraps, we knew they weren’t going to follow any of the story lines in the books (which is a crying shame as the Zahn books were so good) and they would be taking a different route. Well, I thought, that’s not too bad as JJ did a decent job with rebooting Star Trek and creating a new time line. What could possibly go wrong with Star Wars, especially as Uncle George wasn’t going to be able to f**k it up?

 

[yoda]Go wrong what could hmm?[/yoda] 

 

How about Every-God-damn-thing?!

 

The world was sold an utter and total lie. Star Wars : The Force Awakened is the wrong title. It should have been called Star Wars : The Force Rehashed. We did not get Episode VII, we got a ‘Greatest Hits’ version of the first 3 movies. It had no new story. Period. It was a film written by a Disney committee that (I can pretty much guarantee) watched all three original films and created a checklist of the best bits. This ‘list’ was then made into the new film:

  • Start on a desert planet - Check
  • Find a young hero that doesn’t know they are strong with the force? - Check
  • Drop a plucky droid into the mix to meet the hero(ine) - Check
  • Have them being chased by Storm Troopers - Check
  • Escape from the planet in the Millennium Falcon – Check
  • We’ve had a Death Star, a bigger Death Star, now let’s have a Death PLANET  - Check
  • Almost-but-not-quite comedy lines - Check
  • Blow up a planet when you can do multiples - Check
  • The Death PLANET to be run by a Brit - Check
  • One of the hero’s is captured and taken to the Death PLANET – Check
  • There is a rescue mission – Check
  • How can we defeat Death PLANET? One team does down to take out the shields, the rest have a Trench Run to blow up the Death PLANET - Check
  • An old hero dies – Check
  • The Death PLANET is blown up – Check
  • It’s all setup for a sequel  - Check

Apart from a moody-emo kid playing a wannabe Darth Vader (who is even worse - how was that even possible!? -than Hayden Christiansen) There is absolutely nothing new in this ‘new’ movie.  

 

If I was 10 years old again I would have loved this film. You did not / do not need to know a f**king thing about the Star Wars universe to have been able to watch or understand it.

 

And that’s why I am so utterly p*ssed off about it. I was promised Episode VII, a follow on story to move the story on but it was nothing of the sort. It was a blatant reboot of the same bits of story we’ve already seen before. When Sony released “The Amazing Spiderman” (only doing it so they could keep the license from Marvel a while longer), at least they admitted it was a reboot and there was nothing new in the story.

 

After watching if the first time on the day of release I thought it was OK. But after sitting down to think about it and then watching it again I got the "I've seen this all before" feelings. I feel totally let down by The Force Awakened. I wouldn't have minded if Disney and JJ had come out to admit that it was a blatant reboot (as Sony did with Spiderman) but to lie and say it's a whole new story was bull****. Disney spent a bank vault of cash to but the franchise from Lucas and they wanted an immediate return. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they made a safe, "Greatest Hits" film to get bums on seats and rake the cash in.  

 

I've seen it twice on the big screen but I have no intention of ever watching it again. I feel more let down about The Force Awakened than I do Jar Jar f**king Binks. At least Lucas wouldn't deny having this character to sell toys but Disney and JJ told me this would be new. Lying gits.

 

Finally got that off me chest!

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I'm on the same page as you on this,  the new one was just a staging post for new movies rather than anything new

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11 hours ago, Elsie said:

as the Zahn books were so good

Sorry, I've got to disagree.  I've tried to enjoy a lot of Star Wars novels from a selection of authors and they all read like bad fan fiction, none of them really fit in the Star Wars universe.

 

I do agree with most of @Elsie's points but I accept what the film is and I was able to sit back and enjoy the film for what it's worth.  The original trilogy is sacred to me (especially 'Empire' which was my introduction to Star Wars, aged 7 or 8 )   The prequels were shite and I'm glad Lucas has handed over his mixed legacy to be continued in a new form. 

 

11 hours ago, Elsie said:

If I was 10 years old again I would have loved this film. You did not / do not need to know a f**king thing about the Star Wars universe to have been able to watch or understand it.

 

That's the whole point isn't it?  This movie is setting Star Wars up for a new generation, it's a handover.  Part tribute, Part reboot and they did a pretty damn good job.  We are never going to get the film we wanted 30 years ago.  Continuing the story with the old characters would not be feasible because the actors are too old.  Replacing the actors would be impossible because of grumpy old gits like you and me.  I was content to laugh along with the cheesy humor, grimace at some of the  ham acting (which is no worse than the original trilogy!) and yes, wipe away the tears when JJ caught me out!

 

I'm excited by the future Star Wars has.   I don't expect to adore everything about the new direction but I'm ok with that.  I'm not ten years old anymore (but I am building myself a Stormtrooper helmet)

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23 minutes ago, M0RT said:

 I'm not ten years old anymore (but I am building myself a Stormtrooper helmet)

Neither am I. 

 

SWMBO says I have the mental age of a 12yr old. I couldn't get to sleep last night and she asked me what the problem was. "In 24 hours time I will be watching Batman vs Superman" I said. Needless to say she wasn't best pleased.

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I came away in December feeling exactly the same as you @Elsie it was just the same old story I had seen in 1977. One of my best friends countered my argument that it was needed to "freshen" up Star Wars, but as I had mentioned, the originals were already really good, there was no need to "freshen" them up. With Star Trek, JJ did a solid job, and got ripped to shreds by the fans for it. "AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE... WHAT BULLSHIT IS THAT?" I loved his version in 2009 of Star Trek, it was new but it was similar at the same time, it told a story of how the villain had lost his home world and that he was on a revenge mission to cause chaos. It wasn't a new trope for a villain, however it was a new storyline within an ever expanding Star Trek Universe.

 

With Star Wars, and I will admit, Star Wars isn't my thing. I have always much preferred Star Trek to Wars, but I do enjoy SW a lot. I came away from the movie thinking "was that it?" Despite the new characters, it was way too familiar and way too convenient. I say convenient, because realistically we know and believe Space to be a vast expanse, yet suddenly Reia has bumped into Hans Solo just whilst they were trying to escape from the planet they were on. It's similar to in most (if not all) Star Trek films where Captain Kirk or Captain Picard get a message from Starfleet with an incident that has occurred but they are the only starship in close proximity to the incident. It's a plot device I get, but it's just rather too convenient that it takes you "out of the moment" because you believe Starfleet to have a shit load of ships at their disposal all over the universe.

 

I didn't hold any expectations of Star Wars, I am not the worlds greatest SW fan, but I wanted to go to this movie and see something brand new. Whilst most Trek fans slated both JJ's offerings for ST, he managed to find a successful blend of old storyline but with new added elements. He expanded on Khan's mythology from TOS, he expanded on the Vulcan and Romulan friendship/distain for both cultures mythology. He even managed to finally come up with a realistic way of pulling off the Kobayashi Maru scenario for Captain Kirk. There was brand new things he brought into the ST world, that I felt I had enough satisfaction from. However with Star Wars, like you LAN DAD, I came away disappointed that it was basically the same story told through new eyes.

 

M0rt's point that "it's the point, to tell the story to kids of today", doesn't really sit well with me. When I was younger, I didn't have Star Wars to watch "as brand new", I had the classics that Dad had on VHS. Just because it's a new film shouldn't mean they can and did get away with telling exactly the same story as the original story. You should be looking for ways to expand on the universe, otherwise what is the point on going back and watching Episode IV? It's all "rose tinted" glasses in my honest opinion. I grew up with Stargate:SG1 and the Stargate universe (so that is my Sci-Fi as ST was to my Dad), and even though there have been announcements that a new "trilogy" of films will be made, I don't want them telling the same story as what we got in the original film in 1994. I want a film that gives my kids something brand new to fall in love with.

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For the most part I quite enjoyed it.  The were a couple of things that didn't sit well with me:-

1.1). R2D2 with the flat battery.

1.2). BB-8 with a jigsaw piece that fit into R2D2's jigsaw

2). The ease with which Chewey took to Rey.

 

The whole thing with R2D2 and BB-8 just didn't make sense to me.  It was the sort of thing you do if you want to keep the data from your enemies, who aren't very likely to find the robots.  It was understandable in "A New Hope" because the data R2D2 held was vital to defeating a death star and the Good princess had to get it as far from herself as possible in a time of extreme danger.  This time they merely took a treasure map, broke it up and raised the likelihood of losing the data.  If the First order had gotten a hold of R2D2 and extracted his data (so what about the flat battery, never heard of jump leads?) they could've worked out the missing piece and gone and blown up all the planets in that area anyway, BB-8's piece only narrowed it down.  They didn't need it to defeat the "death planet".  Besides, I'm pretty sure that Luke would've passed on his skillz to Leia which puts her in as much danger as him, and she practically ran to the first order.

 

Chewey took to Rey too easily.  Maybe it's just me.  Wouldn't you be devastated after losing your best friend after god knows how many decades?  Nope, Chewey just carries on as if nothing has happened.

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2 hours ago, dex said:

For the most part I quite enjoyed it.  The were a couple of things that didn't sit well with me:-

1.1). R2D2 with the flat battery.

1.2). BB-8 with a jigsaw piece that fit into R2D2's jigsaw

2). The ease with which Chewey took to Rey.

 

The whole thing with R2D2 and BB-8 just didn't make sense to me.  It was the sort of thing you do if you want to keep the data from your enemies, who aren't very likely to find the robots.  It was understandable in "A New Hope" because the data R2D2 held was vital to defeating a death star and the Good princess had to get it as far from herself as possible in a time of extreme danger.  This time they merely took a treasure map, broke it up and raised the likelihood of losing the data.  If the First order had gotten a hold of R2D2 and extracted his data (so what about the flat battery, never heard of jump leads?) they could've worked out the missing piece and gone and blown up all the planets in that area anyway, BB-8's piece only narrowed it down.  They didn't need it to defeat the "death planet".  Besides, I'm pretty sure that Luke would've passed on his skillz to Leia which puts her in as much danger as him, and she practically ran to the first order.

 

Chewey took to Rey too easily.  Maybe it's just me.  Wouldn't you be devastated after losing your best friend after god knows how many decades?  Nope, Chewey just carries on as if nothing has happened.

 

Another "tick list" thing I missed; hiding the secret plans in the plucky droid. haven't we seen that before?! Check!

 

As for Chewie and Rey, ho about when they get back to the rebel base after Han's death ... and Leia hugs Rey like a long lost friend ... but they've never met. Leia completely ignores Chewie, even though she's lost her husband and he's lost his best friend.

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2 hours ago, Elsie said:

As for Chewie and Rey, ho about when they get back to the rebel base after Han's death ... and Leia hugs Rey like a long lost friend ... but they've never met. Leia completely ignores Chewie, even though she's lost her husband and he's lost his best friend.

 

That's been acknowledged by J.J. as a "mistake".

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8 hours ago, dex said:

 

That's been acknowledged by J.J. as a "mistake".

 

As long as he doesn't go back and try to fix it 'Lucas style'!

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I rest my case.

 

 

It's NOT Episode IV, its NOT a new story, it IS Star Wars Re-Hashed.

 

What Disney have done is EXACTLY what Lucas has been doing for years; re-working something that wasn't broken.

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Just to add the other side of the discussion to the thread, I loved it!

 

Yeah, sure, it shared a lot with the other films, but if it didn't, it wouldn't be a Star Wars movie and you'd all be saying "It had nothing in common with the original movies, so it sucked". It's not lifechanging, but who thought it would be after 1-3? It's an excellent addition to the franchise, a great film in its own right, and captures the essence of Star Wars beautifully.

 

This movie had a lot of different jobs to do. It had to resurrect a series when the last episode was released in 1983 and bring it up to speed. It had to handle a whole new audience while not completely losing its old fans. It had to open a new story in an existing world without abandoning the old story entirely. I think they got the balance pretty much perfect: we now have a revitalised Star Wars that hasn't given up its roots (and, indeed, openly acknowledges them throughout both story and cinematography), a new set of characters, and a whole new story to look forward to that ties into the old story amazingly well considering the fictional and non-fictional gap between the films.

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Just my two cents;

 

I went into the movie expecting absolutely nothing.

I was wrong (partly).

I got one laugh, that was when the BB-8 droid did the 'thumbs up lighter'.

 

Everything else just stunk of cash cow. I agree with every negative point that has been made in this thread so I'm not going to re-hash it.

The only other positive for me. It was the first full 3D movie that did NOT make me have a migraine and throw up shortly after.

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