Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Crayz9000 »

Finally saw The Force Awakens for the first time this afternoon. I will admit I was pleasantly surprised by it; it wasn't as overwhelming as I might have hoped, but it also didn't make my worst fears come true. I'm writing this before reading any other reviews or major spoilers, so this is purely my own speculation throughout.

My kids, 5 and 4 now, both watched it and were mostly riveted throughout. BB-8 definitely achieved its role of comic relief and cracked them up multiple times, and they both had a big “wow” moment when R2 finally appeared.

But first, let me get something off my chest:

THEY KILLED HAN! YOU BASTARDS!

Ahem.

Started off thinking Jakku was Tatooine. I suppose this is a rather understandable mistake, given that literally the only difference between them was the number of suns. Jakku is literally a stand-in desert wasteland planet, continuing with the old Star Wars trope of one-climate planets.

Still have no idea who the old guy was supposed to be at the beginning, other than somebody who was in the Rebellion back during the OT.

From the trailers, I wasn't sure what Fin was – I thought he might have been dressed as a stormtrooper in disguise. As soon as I saw the trooper hesitating in the beginning it started to make more sense. It was a rather convenient—almost to the point of being contrived—plot point that Fin just happened to break Poe out when he did. Also left me seriously wondering about the First Order's internal security standards when a fresh-out-of-training trooper can just waltz into the prisoner block, set a high-level prisoner free, and then bluff his way all the way to the hangar bay. Clearly their standards of recruiting have dropped since the Emperor died.

The old Star Destroyers crashed on the planet were a nice touch. Really helps to show the scale of the Galactic Civil War. We're pretty used to modern day shipwrecks getting cleaned up quickly; this is more reminiscent of the age of sail, when wrecks literally would sit on the rocks until they broke up. Maybe the Aral Sea would be a more appropriate modern analogy. I'm guessing that it's not worth salvaging the wrecks from backwaters like Jakku compared to more important core worlds.

Had a sneaking suspicion that the old “pile of junk” they stole was the Falcon, and was glad to be proven correct. The banter about the modifications really brought back the OT feel - the Falcon is practically as much of a character as anyone in the OT, as the characters struggle to keep her running.

The eventual big reveal – of Kylo Ren being Han and Leia's son Ben – wasn't as much of a surprise to me as I feel like they were trying to make it out to be. It was more or less a Cliffs Notes version of the Darth Caedus (ick) plotline from the post-NJO books, swapping Han for Mara Jade and cutting out all the pointless subterfuge. They really managed to capture every single bad trait from Jacen's characterization from the NJO onward, then turned it up to 11. He comes across as a whiny, heartless emo bitch who makes AoTC/RoTS Anakin look like a tragic character, and that's quite the accomplishment. The boy literally has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Bravo, writers, he is a cardboard cutout.

I had a feeling they were going to kill off Han when Leia sent him off to try and turn Jacen Kylo Ben back. Not telegraphed. At all.

As for the big bad, I found Supreme Leader Snoke far less intimidating than Palpatine. Sure, he's got as much of an overcompensation problem as ol' Palpy did, what with the massive holograms and all, but he never said no to Jacen Kylo. The general (who? His name wasn't really clear either) was also clearly exasperated with Jacen Kylo's faulty instincts hampering their efforts at every level. I can only wonder what Snoke sees in him – useful distraction while seeking a real prize, perhaps?

On to the fun part: technology.

Let's start off with the Ultimate Weapon. (Since they never referred to it once as anything but “the Weapon” this is what I'm dubbing it for now.) It's some sort of “hyperspace cannon” which sucks up the entire mass of a star, somehow concentrates it into multiple independently targetable beams, and then shoots the whole thing through hyperspace – yet strangely still visible to the naked eye – in a giant red beam that obliterates everything in its path.

Somehow, for all its massive bulk, it still fails to be as intimidating as the first Death Star. Aside from the whole oops-there's-a-tiny-yet-devastating thermal exhaust port flaw, if the Death Star showed up in your system and you didn't have (a) the plans and (b) Force-sensitive fighter pilots handy, you were screwed.

In contrast, the Ultimate Weapon just fires out of the blue, so the poor targets never really realize what's about to hit them until it's too late. Fat lot of good that extra planetary girth does you for intimidation when they never even see it coming. Its impenetrable shields can be breached by the simple yet nearly suicidal act of jumping through them in hyperspace – why didn't anyone else ever think of doing so in the entire pre-retcon history of Star Wars? – and all one needs to take it down is a few bumbling characters winging a plan with a pack full of thermal detonators on the word of a former stormtrooper who happened to be stationed in sanitation there. My, how the Resistance has fallen from the elite Rebel commando teams of yesteryear.

Well, at least the First Order remembered to clear all indigenous lifeforms off the planet before they turned it into a superweapon. At least they remembered that from Endor.

Moving onto the fun part: calculations. The Ultimate Weapon is fueled by literally sucking up the entire goddamned mass of a main sequence star. What it does with that mass is unknown, but has something to do with technobabble that requires a highly vulnerable harmonic stabilizer in order to not spontaneously revert back to a stellar state.

Whatever it's doing, it can't just be harvesting the energy produced by fusion. Per Saxton's calculations, the old, obsolete Death Star I needed about five to ten times the continuous output of the Sun in order to charge up for a full powered shot once a day, with each shot releasing energy equivalent to the complete annihilation of 3.8x10^21kg mass.

If we assume that only Sol-like stars (mass 1.9x10^30 kg) are used for fuel and annihilated completely with no conversion losses, one star would provide enough energy for 5 billion Death Star shots – enough to conceivably wipe out every planet in the galaxy. However, this weapon has to consume an entire star with every firing, so that's right out. From the weapon's effects, I will hazard a guess that it's focusing the star's plasma into narrow torch-beams and then somehow firing them off through hyperspace, which would probably consume a small fraction of the energy needed to otherwise power a big fricking planet-killing laser-in-name-only. We could probably call the Ultimate Weapon the galaxy's biggest particle accelerator and not be too far off the mark.

Can I stop to comment on how utterly ludicrous Star Wars construction technology is? If the hologram was done to scale with the Death Star II, then the Ultimate Weapon would have had a diameter of at least 5,000 kilometers – roughly the size of our Moon. But I'm sure we'll have a far more precise definition of its diameter when the movie comes out on Blu-Ray.

Never mind the containment technology that would be needed to store an entire yellow dwarf's worth of mass inside of a planet – without turning said planet into a black hole.

So far, so good.

Now on to some real problems with the film's scope. The first firing of the Ultimate Weapon wiped out the capital of the New Republic, which looked a lot like Coruscant with a few moons. Which would have been fine – except that the destruction was visible from the Resistance base's planet. Given the way light travels, that means that both the capital of the New Republic and the Resistance base would have to be in the same system – in close orbits, no less – and that kind of defeats the entire purpose of having a secret base, or any sort of plausible deniability on the part of the Republic for supporting the Resistance. Or, for that matter, makes you wonder why they didn't just wipe out the entire system given the multi-target ability of the Ultimate Weapon.

Until just now, I'd avoided looking at any sort of spoilers including Wookieepedia. This, however, was just too jarring, so I looked it up. The capital is supposed to be “Hosnian Prime”, and the Resistance base is “D'Qar”. The former is in the Core, and the latter in the Outer Rim. The problem should be immediately obvious – it would take tens of thousands of years for the light from the Core to reach the Rim, and no amount of hyperspace shenanigans can really fix that.


Let's segue from physics into galactic politics now.

The fall of the Empire was clearly far more messy than it was portrayed in the old EU. Since it appears that intense fighting went on for years after Endor, it's probably a safe guess to say that the Rebellion managed to gain enough support post-Endor to fight the Imperial remnants to a stalemate and establish a New Republic within their secured territory. However, the Rebellion never actually went away with the creation of the NR, unlike the EU; it lived on inside Imperial territory as the Resistance, and despite official ties being denied between the two groups, it seems to be an open secret that the Republic funds the Resistance.

This explanation would account for the fact that the Resistance operates out of hidden bases in the Outer Rim – which is nominally under the control of the First Order. It also explains why their “fleet” consisted of X-wings and bombers, since a small underground movement would not be able to support heavy fleet assets.

(I'm not sure I buy the explanation offered on Wookieepedia for the lack of a proper fleet being its destruction by Starkiller Base in orbit of Hosnian Prime – the galaxy is a big place, and while it's possible that the main Fleet facilities were located there, it would be absolutely idiotic for the entire fleet to just be sitting there...)
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Terralthra »

Patroklos wrote:
Terralthra wrote:
Patroklos wrote:I see regrading the plasma and mass, but that is irrelevant to my point that a lightsabre /= sword / = every other melee weapon is interchangeable, and thats true even if we are talking about two experts, which we are not. JJ fucked this up, you are just going to have to deal with that. If it doesn't bother you fine, it still happened.
So, let me make sure I have this straight. You're unhappy that a non-Force-user (albeit one trained in melee combat with other weapons) picked up a lightsabre and used it and lost, multiple times, because he...didn't lose badly enough? I'm confused. He not only lost - badly - to a Force-user, in short order, even though that person was significantly wounded; he also lost to a generic stormtrooper wielding an electro-weapon, too, in short order, and had to be rescued. Are you seriously saying the director/screenwriter "fucked up" because he didn't lop his own limbs off? That seems...a bit over the top.
You seem to be confused as to whom you are talking to. I suggest you go back through the thread. And Finn did not "lose in short order."
Yeah, I thought I was talking to someone who said, earlier in the thread:
Patroklos wrote:All your points apply ro Rey x1000. At least Finn had probably had some melee training at boot camp if tht cattle prod trooper is any indication. Rey had nothing, she should cut herself to death with that light saber as Kylie laughed at her (as should Finn).
If you've changed your mind about whether Finn should've cut himself to death, you did so rather quickly, considering the movie only came out 3 days ago. And yes, he did lose in short order.

As for Rey, she is shown using a melee weapon extensively in the movie, winning a fight against multiple opponents. Did you watch the whole movie? Or come in late?
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Patroklos »

I have been primarily discussing Rey as the more egregious of the two ridiculous instant ninja cases. They are both ridiculous and I am not about to be convinced otherwise by a guy who thinks swinging a stick is the same as a parrying with a lightsaber.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Terralthra »

Quick, backpedal from your own quoted words some more. We've moved from "Rey had nothing" to "swinging a stick [isn't] the same as parrying with a lightsabre" (grammar corrected, you're welcome). Yes, they aren't exactly the same, but I was arguing with your former statement that Rey has no proficiency in melee combat, which is obviously untrue. You're correct, fighting with a stick and fighting with a lightsabre aren't "the same", but nor are they entirely disconnected. The basics of fighting with sticks and fighting with swords are quite similar. That is, after all, how people train to fight with swords.

See, the thing is, the danger of a lightsabre's ability to cut through anything is balanced by the fact that the dangerous part of the lightsabre glows really brightly. That makes it rather easy to detect which parts one oughtn't touch. I don't know; maybe that isn't enough for you. I guess you're the sort of person who needs warning labels on pop-tart pouches saying the contents will be hot after heating.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Patroklos »

I said she had no TRAINING (as you so kindly quoted me clearly saying above), not proficiency. I noted her performance with the stick myself. So if that was what your whole bitch session has been predicated on...

And I am sorry, do you just try and say Kendo involves a stick? As well as pretend Rey was using hers as a sword as opposed to a bo staff? Tell me which part of the technique below reminds you or sword fighting...

https://youtu.be/_MeSqT2zXC8

Is it the hand holds? Is it the applying force along the length of the weapon? Is it the disregard for edges that don't exist? Is it the ability to use both ends offensively or defensively equally? Please do tell us how these weapons and the skills needed to wield them are homogeneous.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Mange »

Crayz9000 wrote:Until just now, I'd avoided looking at any sort of spoilers including Wookieepedia. This, however, was just too jarring, so I looked it up. The capital is supposed to be “Hosnian Prime”, and the Resistance base is “D'Qar”. The former is in the Core, and the latter in the Outer Rim. The problem should be immediately obvious – it would take tens of thousands of years for the light from the Core to reach the Rim, and no amount of hyperspace shenanigans can really fix that.
I was just about to post something about that. The destruction of the Hosnian system was viewed from Takodana (Maz's planet), but that doesn't solve anything either as the map provided in Entertainment Weekly and said to be canonical, places Takodana in the Mid Rim. It's the same stupidity as with Vulcan.
Crayz9000 wrote:Let's segue from physics into galactic politics now.

The fall of the Empire was clearly far more messy than it was portrayed in the old EU. Since it appears that intense fighting went on for years after Endor, it's probably a safe guess to say that the Rebellion managed to gain enough support post-Endor to fight the Imperial remnants to a stalemate and establish a New Republic within their secured territory. However, the Rebellion never actually went away with the creation of the NR, unlike the EU; it lived on inside Imperial territory as the Resistance, and despite official ties being denied between the two groups, it seems to be an open secret that the Republic funds the Resistance.

This explanation would account for the fact that the Resistance operates out of hidden bases in the Outer Rim – which is nominally under the control of the First Order. It also explains why their “fleet” consisted of X-wings and bombers, since a small underground movement would not be able to support heavy fleet assets.

(I'm not sure I buy the explanation offered on Wookieepedia for the lack of a proper fleet being its destruction by Starkiller Base in orbit of Hosnian Prime – the galaxy is a big place, and while it's possible that the main Fleet facilities were located there, it would be absolutely idiotic for the entire fleet to just be sitting there...)
The events post-Endor have been elaborated on in earlier posts, but you're not that far off.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Terralthra »

Are you under the impression that shaping a piece of wood to look like a sword makes it something other than "a stick"?

Also, bo staff is not the only sort of staff in the world. HEMA is quite aware of quarterstaves, and some ways of holding them look a lot like wielding a sword. I'm sure you'll nitpick this as well, because "the dude's hands are further apart than they would be on a sword" or something equally point-missing.

At this point, you're just descending into self-parody. "She should've cut herself to death because she practiced with a staff, not a sword"? Is that all you've got? Again, the parts of a lightsabre that can cut you glow really brightly. Maybe she figured that out more quickly than you would've, but that says much more about you than it does about her.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Patroklos »

Terralthra wrote:Are you under the impression that shaping a piece of wood to look like a sword makes it something other than "a stick"?
I am glad to know my coffee table, book shelves, and deck are still sticks to you. I am not surprised it is a revelation to you that when you craft something into a different thing, it becomes that different thing. In the case of Kendo Shinai that includes a hilt/cross guard and "blade" made up pf multiple parts. In case you are having trouble following along, that means it is no longer a stick, if it ever was.
Also, bo staff is not the only sort of staff in the world. HEMA is quite aware of quarterstaves, and some ways of holding them look a lot like wielding a sword. I'm sure you'll nitpick this as well, because "the dude's hands are further apart than they would be on a sword" or something equally point-missing.
Thanks for pointing out yourself they are not used like swords. I am glad we laid that to rest.
At this point, you're just descending into self-parody. "She should've cut herself to death because she practiced with a staff, not a sword"? Is that all you've got? Again, the parts of a lightsabre that can cut you glow really brightly. Maybe she figured that out more quickly than you would've, but that says much more about you than it does about her.
Did that sound clever when you typed it? How sad.

Its irrelevant if she understood what part of the lightsaber was dangerous, what is relevant in the melee combat we witnessed her perform she was using a staff as a bo. That included separated hand holds, using both ends, applying weight along the length of the weapon throughout the sequence, etc. All of which is useless when you find you just ignited a light saber where all your skills and technique no longer apply. Anyone unfamiliar with a weapon such as a light saber, no matter who they are, who then takes it into combat with someone who is familiar with one is more of a danger to themselves than said opponent. You inability to grasp this very obvious reality says a very specific thing you, specifically that you are a demonstrated fucking idiot.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Terralthra »

Patroklos wrote:
Terralthra wrote:Are you under the impression that shaping a piece of wood to look like a sword makes it something other than "a stick"?
I am glad to know my coffee table, book shelves, and deck are still sticks to you. I am not surprised it is a revelation to you that when you craft something into a different thing, it becomes that different thing. In the case of Kendo Shinai that includes a hilt/cross guard and "blade" made up pf multiple parts. In case you are having trouble following along, that means it is no longer a stick, if it ever was.
A bokken and a shinai aren't the same thing, moron. Next time, click the link before you talk out your ass. A bokken is a stick carved into the shape of a katana. It is not a shinai, which is a bunch of bamboo bunched together. Of course, leading off with an obvious strawman prepared me for your breathtaking stupidity later in your paragraph.
Patroklos wrote:
Terralthra wrote:Also, bo staff is not the only sort of staff in the world. HEMA is quite aware of quarterstaves, and some ways of holding them look a lot like wielding a sword. I'm sure you'll nitpick this as well, because "the dude's hands are further apart than they would be on a sword" or something equally point-missing.
Thanks for pointing out yourself they are not used like swords. I am glad we laid that to rest.
Nice job not clicking the link again, moron. The people in the linked pictures are, in fact, using staves like swords.
Patroklos wrote:
Terralthra wrote:At this point, you're just descending into self-parody. "She should've cut herself to death because she practiced with a staff, not a sword"? Is that all you've got? Again, the parts of a lightsabre that can cut you glow really brightly. Maybe she figured that out more quickly than you would've, but that says much more about you than it does about her.
Did that sound clever when you typed it? How sad.

Its irrelevant if she understood what part of the lightsaber was dangerous, what is relevant in the melee combat we witnessed her perform she was using a staff as a bo. That included separated hand holds, using both ends, applying weight along the length of the weapon throughout the sequence, etc. All of which is useless when you find you just ignited a light saber where all your skills and technique no longer apply. Anyone unfamiliar with a weapon such as a light saber, no matter who they are, who then takes it into combat with someone who is familiar with one is more of a danger to themselves than said opponent. You inability to grasp this very obvious reality says a very specific thing you, specifically that you are a demonstrated fucking idiot.
I'm curious: what is your expertise in melee weapons? On what do you base your belief that skills with one sort of weapon "are useless" when picking up a different sort of weapon? That "all [those] skills and technique no longer apply"? That hasn't been my experience at all. Generally, people who understand things like blocking and parrying with one weapon can fairly easily adapt those skills to other weapons, even if there are significant differences.

Especially against a wounded opponent who is deliberately going easy on you, but even without that, really. "Place the active part of the weapon between the enemy and you," and "block attacks perpendicular to the line of force" and "move out of the line of attack" are highly transferrable principles.

On top of this, Kylo is repeatedly depicted as not a particularly skilled antagonist. He fails to mind-probe Rey (due to being weaker in the Force than she or less disciplined of mind is up for debate); he makes tactically and strategically unwise decisions several times; he throws temper tantrums when things don't go his way. When he's fighting Rey, he's fighting with literally a still-bleeding chest wound from a blaster bolt the average Jedi would've deflected without a second thought, and is trying to recruit her (rather than doing his utmost to kill her).
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Patroklos »

Are you still posting? Nobody gives a shit about your lying POS arguments. Everything you just posted you posted before, and just like before what I said before discounting them applies. No Kendo instrument is a stick, because its been intentionally turned into something else. Just like before. A stave is never a sword because it never has a hilt or an edge or anything else that makes it a sword. If it were just like a sword and used like a sword they would call it a sword because thats what it would be. But they, don't, they call it a stave because it is a DIFFERENT THING, and being different it is used DIFFERENTLY. Etc. etc. etc. just like before. Even if you can use a stave just like a sword (you can't) Rey DID NOT DO SO during the fight you are furiously masturbating to. She used it as a bo.

Hey, ANYONE ELSE HERE, do you agree with Terra that bo fighting and sword fighting are the same thing?
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Kojiro »

Fencing and kendo aren't even similar styles despite both being with swords. Some of the skills are transferable but much of it isn't. Your grip, stance, strikes and defensive movements are entirely different. I have no experience with a bo but I imagine it's mostly footwork that transfers.

I can easily see her putting up a fight, but it should be one sided. Even conservatively Ren has at least a decade of instruction in the force from Skywalker and Snoke- elite training by any definition. He's quite comfortable walking into a blaster, deflecting bolts or catching them. He's actually used a saber in combat, probably even built his own saber by the looks of it. He was the chosen padawan of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. And we know he has the Skywalker legacy.

Rey on the other hand, has had a rough life and probably had to use that staff more than a few times.

There should be no comparison between the two. He's a noble, given elite training from a young age in a certain fighting style, with a certain weapon. She's a peasant who's had to look out for herself with a stick. Give them both a rapier and watch the peasant get cut to ribbons.

It's worth noting Rey didn't get a lucky hit. Ren didn't get overconfident like Maul, or distracted like Vader targeting Luke. Rey just up and whooped his ass. Which begs the question- how will the fight between them go after Rey is trained by Skywalker?
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Panzersharkcat »

I'm only skimming since I'm playing MKX at the same time but as far as I read, he never said they were the same thing. They have transferable skills.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by JLTucker »

I saw the fight between Ren and Rey as more of a battle of wits than anything. The former just killed his father, has been struggling internally for so long, and is shocked that the Force is awakening. It messed with his mental state (we know he is prone to immense anger when things don't go his way) and thus affected his fighting capabilities.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by NecronLord »

As I think I’ve said before; this is my sixth favourite Star Wars film; there’s a lot to like about it however. I will probably not defend a lot of these points in detail if people chose to post their disagreement with them, though I may be able to reply on some points, as this is likely to be quite long, but here are my thoughts.

The Saga
The most important part of Star Wars, to me, is its qualities as a tale of epic heroism. This is likely why I enjoy the prequels, which do this with their grandeur scope and tragedy, even despite the failed acting and directing.
  • It’s almost inevitable that any direct revisiting of the world of Star Wars is going to change the characters, or perception of them. For me this did so in a poor way; I’m calling this level of comment ‘saga’ because above all else, Star Wars has been likened to Campbell’s “Monomyth”, or Heroes Journey archetype. That Journey was always Luke Skywalker’s, despite Lucas’ claims that Anakin’s redemptive story was always at the heart of his conception, examination of the original scripts for episode four show that the struggle of a farm boy to come to terms with his destiny and calling was always the core conception.

    Luke Skywalker begins his journey as a callow youth who heeds the call of adventure and works great change for his world; in doing so he masters his impulses and tames the dark side within himself. He throws down his sword and defies the Dark Lord, in so doing he transcends his father’s mistakes, and achieves the redemption of his father.

    Now there’s no reason this should make him perfect, or even a qualified teacher, but his failure to train any jedi to follow in his footsteps, with all of them being students when Kylo raised the Knights of Ren to destroy them, is disappointing; Luke has gone from achieving the profound, the ‘Master of Two Worlds’ as described in the Monomyth, to failing as Obi Wan did.

    There also seems to be an implication that Luke was training children, I think which I dislike; Luke’s triumph over his own anger demonstrates, to me, the fallacy of Yoda’s idea that only the young could be trained.

    In Return of the Jedi, Luke transcended Obi-Wan’s teachings and defeatism, proving that the Dark Side does not wholly consume Anakin, and that the good man that was Anakin is not dead, just as in Empire he transcended Yoda’s caution, leaving Dagobah to engage with the world instead of perfecting his skills in isolation, he chose to embrace the Force in action, acting to save others, he defeats Vader in martial contest, and defies the Dark Lord; but now he has followed Yoda and Obi-Wan in their mistakes, and released a new Darth Vader onto the world; Kylo Ren’s strange behaviour will be discussed later.

    To me, this undermines the legacy of the original films, and the character of Luke Skywalker who has gone from surpassing his teachers, at least thematically, to being them. Even the opening crawl suggests that in the absence of Luke Skywalker, the First Order has risen; Luke has abandoned his calling.

    This is the primary source of my disappointment. I of course, am a Luke Skywalker fan, he’s my second favourite character, and I regard him as the primary character of Star Wars, so his becoming ineffectual through his inactions in this film made me feel that it undermines the Saga. Another story in the same universe, with another family would be far preferable to me than a story intimately tied to Luke living down to the failings of his own mentors, rather than transcending them.
  • In its place the new myth, surely that of Rey, it is after all her awakening, is broadly the same, with the exception that she is only tangentially related to the slaying of the mechanical Death Star dragon; while she does defeat the dark knight Kylo Ren, much of the action happens around her, while Luke, in his own first steps in her place, drives the plot forward, Rey is captured, unwilling, or reluctant through much of the film.

    I like her, as I will discuss below, the actress and the concept of her; but on the mythic level, I think she’s both a re-hash of Luke’s first steps as a hero, and a little less proactive.

    Rey has however, heard the call of adventure, in the form of BB-8, and acted consistently throughout to aid others, while I do not like her depiction in respect of her prodigious ability to learn the force, I like her naivety and good nature, she should make an excellent protagonist. Like Luke, she is young and dissatisfied with her life; skilled in mundane forms of combat (Luke already used blasters and skyhoppers day to day in his life) but while he always yearned for adventure, she wanted to stay put, I don’t mind her reluctance at all however, she is fundamentally similar as a character, and already by the end of the film she has grown and matured.
Theme
I actually liked the themes of this, as I saw them, though they did not make up for what I consider the way the film undermines the original Saga as “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker,” nor am I fully certain the themes were actually intentional, nor did I think they were fully developed.
  • The first and most important theme to me was the banal nature of evil. Evil, in the personified form of Kylo Ren, is insecure, weak and contemptible; there is nothing admirable about him; even his power in the Force varies wildly and is wont to desert him at need, he is good for murder, but not for doing battle.

    This can be debated, of course, but to me he has none of the dark majesty of Darth Vader, and of course, watching with the reflection of the original trilogy in mind, we know that his hero worship of Darth Vader is misplaced, and that his idol recanted the dark side in the end and attained peace in the force. In some ways Ren’s weak character and blaming his men when he fails in a mission (whining about how they should have clones instead) reminds me of the Imperial Apologists one gets on forums like this.

    While obviously intended from a Doylian perspective, to make the films like the originals, the design of Imperial equipment calling back to the past generation’s gear expresses neatly that evil is creatively sterile, the First Order tries the same things as the Empire, and fails in the same ways, because their leadership is uninspired.
  • In the same way that the original Ewoks (or Wookies in the first treatments) vs Empire held up a mirror, in American eyes, of the American experience in Vietnam, this film addresses the chief military challenge that America experiences today, in the form of fanatical ideologies, though obviously in an abstract way; I found this unconvincing, in that in the person of Captain Phasma, the First Order, who talk of fanaticism, show that they are not willing to die for their ideologies; Phasma’s lack of resolution when held at gunpoint by General Solo undoes the entire scheme of her superiors. Was this a deliberate implication that terrorists and fanatics are at heart, cowards? Maybe.
  • A persistent element of the old films, all six of them, has been the contrast between Technology and Nature, this was absent in this film; for the most part, I am fond of technology, obviously, and while the new Death Star worked tremendous destruction, and blew up some trees, there was no crowing about how its power was insignificant next to the Force; perhaps that’s good, but I can say that I miss it. Even on Jakku, there’s no sign that the planet was actually damaged by the ships destroyed over it, it seems to have always been desert and wasteland. The Death Star destroys the sun over it as it charges, here, technology completely dominates nature.
The Characters
  • Moving from the arch to merely looking at characters as I would any other film, they’re a strong bunch, mostly. Rey; I like her. She’s solidly okay. She is brave, enough, but not without fear, and she tries to do the best to save those around her from danger, starting with BB-8 and ending with Finn. Her family background obviously looks to be leading to family-based shenanigans, perhaps as Luke’s daughter, or Han’s.
  • Finn, also likeable, his fear of the First Order was rational and well conveyed, and his actions throughout the film are well intentioned; I liked his growth as he insisted on confronting the First Order to rescue Rey.
  • Poe Dameron, what a guy. I suspect some people might not have liked him, but I did. He was professional and bold. He was just interesting enough to give a human face to the X-wing pilots; I thrilled when they turned up over Maz’s castle and I winced whenever one was shot down, when Poe killed five TIE fighters in a row, it was clear just why he is the Resistance’s best pilot. Sure, he’s a supporting character, but he did it well.
  • Maz, was she actually a thousand years old? Unexplained. Did she die? I don’t recall seeing her do so. Very much a stock character. Forgettable exposition character, could have been better.
  • Kylo Ren; had excellent menace, but no gravitas. At all points it seemed like he could do violence to someone, but he was obviously emotionally weak. Although the theme of the banality of evil above serves his character well, he is also contemptible and it’s almost as if someone looked at Anakin’s whiny nature before his transformation into Darth Vader, and decided it was something worth keeping.
  • Han, I didn’t like that he had abandoned his responsibilities; his growth in the original films was embracing such things, signified by his transformation into General Solo, in Jedi. It’s certainly explicable given what happened to his son, but not enjoyable. Everything else about him was great, of course. His scenes with Leia were emotional without being overwrought.
The World
  • I didn’t like the idea that the Republic fleet was all in one system, which seemed daft, loved the Long-gun of the Apocal- err, Starkiller Base as a concept, but the Republic shouldn’t be that foolish. I have a nasty feeling they’re going to have the First Order overrun the Republic for the next films to keep being as much like the original trilogy as possible. Worldbuilding was generally poor.
Tech
  • Blasters are even shinier now. Stormtrooper armour is worse, much worse. No protection against toxins? Jeez.
  • Star Wars shields can be piloted through if you do it in FTL, frequencies were also mentioned in the context of the shield. No more warsies claiming immunity to hypermissiles and the likes based on some wonky descriptions of multi-dimension shields from old EU stuff, some implications for the likes of Star Trek frequency magic penetration maybe?
  • TIE fighters have hyperdrive, and small assault landing craft are common.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by streetad »

Whilst, out of universe, it has clearly been lined up to make the good guys the plucky underdogs again without completely negating the victories in the original trilogy, the backstory seems plausible enough.

From what I understand, after the Emperors death, the galaxy fragmented between various Imperial legacy factions and the worlds that declared for the Rebel Alliance which formed the core of the New Republic, led by Chancellor Mon Mothma. Fair enough.

Several years of fairly brutal warfare followed, during which the imperials could never quite unify. The New Republic forces were fed Intel from a mysterious , highly placed source which was instrumental in several decisive victories. Speculation is that this was Supreme Leader Snoke, pulling a Palpatine to consolidate the Imperial remnants as an 'ideologically pure' faction under his control. After the final 'Battle of the Bulge' style imperial attack is defeated at Jakku, both sides are happy to sign a Versailles type peace treaty which disarms the remaining imperials and confining them to relatively poor and unproductive territory in the Outer Rim. Again, there isn't anything particularly objectionable here. There were plenty in WW2 for example who would have been happy with a less than unconditional surrender.


The Republic member worlds, weary after decades of war, purges and oppression, were presumably exerting pressure to disarm and reap a 'peace dividend'. Also, bearing in mind that the Old Republic explicitly had no military as per 'The Phantom Menace' were probably eager to return to the status quo before Palpatine's massive military buildup and tyrannical rule. Mon Mothma bowing to this pressure and massively disarming the huge military industrial complex inherited from the Empire is, whilst not necessarily a smart decision, entirely plausible. Obviously the New Republic lacks the Jedi Knights that helped maintain the stability of the Old, but given that they were almost a myth to a generation or more this is less likely to be a factor in decision making.

So you have the situation just prior to the film, in which the First Order have been secretly rearming and building superweapons, the Republic maintains only a small peacekeeping force based at its capital world, and Princess Lea, sick of having her Churchill-like warnings about the Nazis next door ignored, has started to do something about it herself along with a small number of like minded senators.

None of that is too much of a stretch really.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Vympel »

NecronLord wrote: Blasters are even shinier now. Stormtrooper armour is worse, much worse. No protection against toxins? Jeez.
They do protect against toxins, there's just no reason for Stormtroopers to be looking for toxins in that situation so the specific filter for that particular toxin were unlikely to be engaged. TFA novelization:
“Standard issue helmets are designed to filter out smoke, not toxins. To cope with the latter, a trooper needs to engage one of several special filters, depending on the specific contaminant. Identification is the province of one or two squad leaders. Having brought this ship on board theirs, I doubt anyone will think to check for airborne pollutants. It’s not like leading a ground assault, or forcing entry to an enemy warship. This is just an old freighter. Any kind of internal defense, much less something as nebulous as a gas counterattack, would be the last thing a squad sent to take its crew into custody would expect.”
Star Wars shields can be piloted through if you do it in FTL, frequencies were also mentioned in the context of the shield. No more warsies claiming immunity to hypermissiles and the likes based on some wonky descriptions of multi-dimension shields from old EU stuff, some implications for the likes of Star Trek frequency magic penetration maybe?
The TFA novelization again - Starkiller Base's shield has a refresh rate (i.e. it is not always 'on') because it is a planetary shield, no other reason. There is no evidence this applies to other forms of shield:
“No planetary defense system can be sustained at a constant rate. It would take too much power. Besides, it isn’t necessary. All planetary shields have a fractional refresh. Instead of being constantly ‘on,’ they fluctuate at a predetermined rate. Keeps anything traveling less than lightspeed from getting through. Theoretically, a ship could get its nose in when a shield is off. Half a second later, the shield snaps back on and—well, it isn’t good for anyone on that ship.”
(already posted that in the novel thread, though)
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Themightytom »

Noble713 wrote:"They've somehow created a hyper-lightspeed weapon built within the planet itself."
"A laser cannon."
"I'm not sure how to describe a weapon of this scale."
"It's another Death Star."
"I wish that were the case."
....
"How is it possible to power a weapon of that size?"
"It uses the power of the sun. As the weapon is charged, the sun is drained, until it disappears."
"The First Order is charging the weapon again now. Our system is the next target."

^Exact lines from the movie Re:SKB, in case anyone is curious.
I don't get how this can be interpreted any way other than, the planet and base go nowhere. We never see it move anywhere, and if it DOESN'T relocate, than that's another reason the Republic would be hands off, because, who cares, it's a local issue. One system is having trouble, but it won't affect anyone else in the galaxy, and everyone is sick of the empire. Instead they quietly supply a resistance movement with retired generals, surplus military equipment and local recruits. There were a few aliens in the resistance but most of them seemed to be human, and honestly, with thousands of years of galaxy wide hyper travel, for all we know there are alien colonies all over the place.

It really doesn't make any sense that Leia dust covered Artoo though, especially when he DID turn out to have most of the map. and seemingly enough to narrow down which star system Luke was in. They might not have needed the rest of the map to find him at that point, just send Leia in and have her check the half a dozen planets in the system. If she could sense Han somehow, she could probably find Luke.

I really liked the good side characters, they seem very like able, and Rey particularly seems compelling. Kylo Ren, just reminds me of Ross from friends, and Snoke looks absurd, has a silly name and idk even know why his hologram is twenty feet tall. My guess is they are literally all amateurs of one kind or another that linked up with semi competent Imperial forces, not even necessarily the main stream ones because of things like Captain Phasma, and the slightly unprofessional antics of various storm troopers. If Snoke is the apprentice who screwed Luke it actually explains a lot about competency but diminishes this from a galaxy wide threat to a bunch of rednecks just stirring up trouble with King Arthurs sword

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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Crayz9000 »

Themightytom wrote:
Noble713 wrote:"How is it possible to power a weapon of that size?"
"It uses the power of the sun. As the weapon is charged, the sun is drained, until it disappears."
"The First Order is charging the weapon again now. Our system is the next target."

^Exact lines from the movie Re:SKB, in case anyone is curious.
I don't get how this can be interpreted any way other than, the planet and base go nowhere. We never see it move anywhere, and if it DOESN'T relocate, than that's another reason the Republic would be hands off, because, who cares, it's a local issue.
Frankly, I'm not even sure how they discovered the existence of Starkiller Base. We didn't even get a "many Bothans died" line this time around. Unless it was Finn who revealed it? Or propaganda from when they fired it at disposable not-Coruscant ecumenopolis that was conveniently within viewing range of Maz's planet...

However, the planet *must* be mobile, as otherwise it wouldn't be more than a single-shot weapon - and we see it fire twice once and charge a second time (by inference, it must have charged a first time). It literally eats a star every time it fires. If the First Order intended to actually use it as part of their campaign to rebuild the Empire, they would have been bloody stupid not to make it hyperspace-capable. It couldn't have used hyperspace shenanigans to charge from distant stars because the second time it charged up to fire, it was clearly drawing mass in from a star it was orbiting.


And now for something completely different: I posit that Supreme Leader Snoke is actually Lord Voldemort, thrust across dimensions and time by a magic space wedgie after his defeat by Harry Potter.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Tychu »

To Steetad (I'm not quoting the whole post from 2 posts ago)

See this is all things that should have been in the movie. I'm a fan of the concept of the EU (new and old), that every backstory was developed. But if you set a movie titled Episode VII 30 years after Episode VI, you need to show the audience what's up.

And what's with people having the novelization? Is it just the printed word that's coming out in January?
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Guardsman Bass »

EDIT: Never mind.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Gaidin »

Crayz9000 wrote: Frankly, I'm not even sure how they discovered the existence of Starkiller Base. We didn't even get a "many Bothans died" line this time around. Unless it was Finn who revealed it? Or propaganda from when they fired it at disposable not-Coruscant ecumenopolis that was conveniently within viewing range of Maz's planet...
They saw the first set of explosions and the first line that followed was literally Finn going "Oh my god they used it...Starkiller..." in some form.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Channel72 »

Crayz9000 wrote:He comes across as a whiny, heartless emo bitch who makes AoTC/RoTS Anakin look like a tragic character, and that's quite the accomplishment. The boy literally has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Bravo, writers, he is a cardboard cutout.
I thought Kylo Ren was actually very well done. Basically, there's simply no way you can possibly top Darth Vader as a villain, so why even try? Any attempt to do so will simply result in ridicule from the audicence. So instead, the writers wisely tried to depict a lesser villain, who is scary not because of his cold, ruthless competence like Vader, but because he is literally a fanatical psychopath who is calm at one moment and then brutally, ragefully violent the next. In some ways he is even scarier than Vader, because at least with Vader you know you are dealing with someone rational. This guy is more like a violent fanatic with major insecurity problems who is prone to lash out in anger at any second. I think that aspect was very well done. And he wasn't "whiny" in any sense, like Anakin - for the most part he was very calm and collected, until he starts fucking up and then he just loses it.

And he clearly is supposed to have some redeeming qualities at first - unlike Vader who is fully comfortable in his evil - Kylo Ren clearly struggles with feelings of compassion and kindness, which he hates because he feels they make him weak. He is in fact so conflicted by these feelings that he feels the need to commit patricide in order to psychologically secure himself as a true student of the Dark Side.
Now on to some real problems with the film's scope. The first firing of the Ultimate Weapon wiped out the capital of the New Republic, which looked a lot like Coruscant with a few moons. Which would have been fine – except that the destruction was visible from the Resistance base's planet. Given the way light travels, that means that both the capital of the New Republic and the Resistance base would have to be in the same system – in close orbits, no less – and that kind of defeats the entire purpose of having a secret base, or any sort of plausible deniability on the part of the Republic for supporting the Resistance. Or, for that matter, makes you wonder why they didn't just wipe out the entire system given the multi-target ability of the Ultimate Weapon.
It wasn't visible from the Resistance base - it was visible from Maz Kanata's planet. But I can see how that would be confusing because both planets look like generic forest planets, and they quickly transition from the action on Maz Kanata's planet to the Resistance base planet. The only visually distinctive thing about the Resistance base planet is that it is shown to have large rings. (In an earlier draft of the script, apparently both were the same planet - and the planet was Yavin IV. Glad they changed that, at least.)

So it's not as absurd as you think - but still pretty absurd - that they're able to see the destruction of Hoznian Prime from the ground. I guess Maz Kanata's planet is in the Hoznian system for some reason, or at least, that's basically what we have to accept since JJ couldn't think of any other way to have the news about the Starkiller weapon firing spread to our main characters without having it visible in the sky. (Don't they have some kind of Galactic Internet that could inform them about major events or something?)
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Mange »

Tychu wrote:And what's with people having the novelization? Is it just the printed word that's coming out in January?
Yes. The ebook version was released on the 18th (I bought mine yesterday).
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Oskuro »

Regarding the lightsaber fight....

Firstly, I never understood the assumption that anyone without specific lightsaber training would instantly amputate all their limbs upon trying to use one. To me it'd be like holding a flashlight like a sword and trying to mock-fight without the light beam ever touching my own body, unless I go about doing wacky twirly stuff, it won't be that easy to mess up, and the characters in this movie do not go about wuxia-ing the lightsaber fights as they did in the prequels.

Besides, it's not like Luke hurt himself while training with that sphere thing in the Falcon, and he hardly had ever had training in any form of close combat. And he was doing it blind even.


As for Rey beating Ren (What's with the 3 letter names?), I see no inconsistency. Rey has been shown to have the physicality and skill to carry herself around in a fight, and Ren himself hasn't proven to be very sophisticated as far as lightsaber combat goes, not to mention he was wounded and distraught. And, even under those circumstances, he was soundly defeating her, until he incited her to open herself to the Force... And then he was screwed.

At that point I remembered the line "It allows you to see things before they happen" (I'm paraphrasing). My take on the scene is that, at that point, Rey gained the capability to foresee* Ren's movements, and, apparently, Ren was unable to foresee hers.

We've seen similar situations before, for example when Obi Wan fought Grievious, who had a massive physical advantage, both in terms of speed and strength, which was totally negated because Obi Wan knew exactly when and where to hit in order to disarm him (literally).

So the answer is.... Magic! Which, oddly enough, is what fans had been clamoring for ever since the midichlorians came about.


*Rey's ability to foresee things was kind of set up with the Force vision she had when picking up the lightsaber in the vault (some people call it a flashback, but it is actually a vision... Heck, from the wikipedia article I even found out that there are voice snippets from Frank Oz, Alec Guiness and Ewan McgGregor in that scene! Hardly things she'd remember in a flashback).



As for the movie in general, I liked it, particularly the first half, but it could've been much better if structured differently.
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Re: Ep7 Reviews (Spoilers)

Post by Channel72 »

I think the fight between Kylo Ren and Finn is the first time in Star Wars, like ever ... that we've seen a non-force-user try to fight a force user in lightsaber combat. (Assuming Finn is not another latent force user.) So, with that in mind, a lot of awkward questions start coming to the surface like... why does Ren even bother engaging Finn at all? Why not just crush his brain or whatever with the Force? But you know, whatever - I just file things like that under "stuff Hollywood does for dramatic purposes". So we'll need to make rationalizations like, I guess Ren thought it would be fun to toy with him, or whatever.

And yeah, overall I think it's a bit of a stretch that Finn and Rey had any success engaging Ren, but the script at least tried to account for it by going out of its way to make sure we realized Ren was pretty badly wounded (he keeps pounding his wound, and appears to be in serious physical distress). Combine that with what we usually accept from Hollywood "main character" good luck, and I can buy it. It's not really any more ridiculous than Han and Chewie taking on legions of Storm Troopers in the OT and constantly not getting killed.
Last edited by Channel72 on 2015-12-21 01:05pm, edited 1 time in total.
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