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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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When it showed that balcony of random extras on might have been Coruscant (although I thought one of them may have been Freema Agyeman of Doctor Who fame) making an 'Oh shit!' face. They should have used it as an opportunity to show some 'beloved' Star Wars characters meeting their maker. Jar Jar front and centre, Obi Wan's bad CGI mate who owned the inexplicable 50's diner, some ewoks, maybe a digital Bea Arthur to rep the Holiday Special. I know the old EU is no longer 'canon', but throw in Darth Lightsaber Knees and that rapey lizard gangster from Shadows of the Empire as well, so we can be sure those fuckers can never come back.

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I've only seen it the twice, so still not really sure how truly great it is. But for now it sits just under ROTJ in my list of luuuurve.

If you'd told me it would be remotely this good a couple of days ago I'd have called you a Moof Milker and blown you out the airlock.

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Am I the only one, then, who felt Kylo Ren was fucking brilliant and menacing?

I thought he was a great character, but that didn't stop him from being a spoiled little bitch.

All in all I think this film had the best characters we've seen in Star Wars to date. My only gripes are with the set-pieces and how the whole film was practically a modern clone of ANH. I was constantly thinking about Lucas' "Ring Theory Storytelling" or whatever it was that someone linked to a few days ago. The score was totally forgettable as well.

Poe Dameron was my favourite, so of course I'm going to think he was criminally underused. His scenes carrying Finn through the panic of some crazy escape were amazing - it's like he was talking to someone who was losing loads of blood and he had to keep them in the game to succeed. Who's in Rogue One next year?

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Kylo Ren

Don't get me wrong I liked his character, he was conflicted but I couldn't take him seriously when he threw his temper tantrum, happened twice. He was great, but besides from being seduced by the dark side what exactly was his motive for turning?. Or is this planned for the sequel, because his motives seemed like a teenager at times.

It'll surely be explored further as Luke comes into it

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He was great, but besides from being seduced by the dark side what exactly was his motive for turning?

Isn't his motivation his obsession with Vader? His look (no need for the helmet), his force chokes (although I like that he moves them to his hand), and obviously his exchange with Vader's helmet and what Rey takes from his mind. I thought this was interesting, how do you follow Vader? With someone desperately trying to replicate him but frustrated by his failure to do so.

He wasn't menacing at all

He's not menacing but he's powerful and he conflicted and desperate, I think its clear from his scenes with Domhall Gleeson (and obviously his interrogation and fight with Rey) that he doesn't have the presence he's desperate for.

Other stuff:

I loved it!

Was surprised that the shiny silver storm trooper boss woman didn't have much of a role, I presume she'll get out of the trash compactor and play a part.

Simon Pegg has a credit?

In terms of Rey's history, Kylo Ren reacts when told that the droid escaped with Finn AND A GIRL but I presume there's nothing in that as he doesn't follow it up in the later scenes with her, had he felt the awakening at that point and new it was her?

Thought they handled BB8 so well, had personality but they don't overdo it. That thumbs up to Finn :D

Mark Hamill what the hell

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Hello! A long post follows.

Utter, utter conjecture but I quite like it and I can't see any real holes in it.

Right, I've been thinking about it and the only piece of evidence I need is that the ship that Rey saw leave was the ship Han was on later. I think it might have been.

At some point, Finn says something along the lines of "Jakku? Why does everyone keep wanting to go back to Jakku?"

And it's all about Jakku.

From a mild dip into EU, Jakku was the home of a big battle not long after Endor, due to it having a weapons factory there or similar. We don't know when TFA is, but it's about 30ish years after RoTJ. I think That Dude decided to retire from War to Jakku at that point and not long after that, Leia had Ben. He was found to be force sensitive and at around 5 was sent to train with Luke.

At some point later, probably about 8 years, Luke fell in love (with a fellow teacher or a student, one would assume...If so, that would be a powerful kid...) and either because he knew about Anakin being turned due to being in love and denying it, or just out of arrogance followed through with it. His partner gave birth and Luke was distracted him from his duties. This was when Ben started his walk towards the dark side. Ben, probably, killed everyone including Luke's partner and Han (and Chewie) ran and left Leia to deal with it. As a last favour after everything was destroyed, they agreed to take Rey to That Dude On Jakku for her safety. Whilst delivering her, the Millennium Falcon was stolen so they stole/got a ride on the ship they left on. They told Rey they'd be back, but instead Luke decided he had to vanish. He went and checked on her, giving the map piece to That Dude, R2 to Leia and then leaving forever.

The doll was knitted by Rey's mother, possibly as the only link to Luke even at the time. The helmet is just from a battle that she collected when she noticed it was like her toy and didn't sell it like she didn't sell BB8.

The bit in bold is kinda what holds it all together.

If Han and Chewie had taken the Falcon to Jakku and had it stolen from them there then they would have known where it was. I'm also 99% certain that the ship she sees leaving isn't the ship Han and Cheeie have later on.

I felt like Leia's "that's when I lost him" implies a more personal, adult connection between her and her son than you'd have with a 5 year old.

I would also be extremely shocked if the forbidden love shit from the prequels comes back. I'd guess as there are no Jedi left to tell him, Luke won't know about the ridiculous Jedi rituals explaining every aspect of the OT as some Jedi training, or their stupid love rules. For the same reasons I don't think Luke will have been taking very young children from their parents, it doesn't fit the character and it doesn't make sense without referencing prequel shit that nobody wants acknowledged.

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Whilst things may change over the next two days I will say that the UK performance is nowhere near US numbers. Without revealing anything I shouldn't it would astonish me if this tracks anything near Spectre. It is miles behind as of tonight. (Unless it's only northerners who are watching it since I can't track that).

Disney are saying it's smashed biggest opening day and biggest single day records in the UK. And it was already known to have broken the advance bookings record.

Whilst things may change over the next two days I will say that the UK performance is nowhere near US numbers. Without revealing anything I shouldn't it would astonish me if this tracks anything near Spectre. It is miles behind as of tonight. (Unless it's only northerners who are watching it since I can't track that).

Disney are saying it's smashed biggest opening day and biggest single day records in the UK. And it was already known to have broken the advance bookings record.

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How is the book so far? Worth picking up?

So far I don't think the author is privy to anything other than the Force Awakens material.

He has also described ships being blown up into 'piles of rubble' twice and used the old 'it was almost palpable' twice so far as well.


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General thoughts...

The Resistance (good stuff in order)

Rey: Superb. Thought that Ridley did a great job with the character and made her feel like a real person. Easily my favourite in the new film. She looks like she just "belongs" in the Star Wars world.

BB-8: Dawwwww. Loved his thumbs up with Finn and his excitement at seeing Poe again. For some reason, I imagined the droid would be a female though.

Poe: Would have liked him to have had more screen time as I liked the character a lot. Feels like he will be the Han replacement going forward (cocky yet skillful).

Real things: The world(s) felt so much more real than the prequels. The environments and just seeing real stormstoopers again was so good.

Finn: I liked the idea of a stormtrooper rejecting what they had been told (and that part was a surprise for me). He played well with Rey and Solo.

Lightsabre fight: The fights in the forest was superb. Really raw and unstructured, both from Rey and Finn.

Force powers: Seeing Ren stop the laser in mid-flight was brilliant. A great demonstration of a way of using the Force that we had not seen before in the films.

Kylo Ren: Although a little hard to understand what he was saying in the mask, I liked his depiction of a younger disciple of the Dark Side with the arrogance, frustration and anger.

Humour: Much more funny than the prequels were and more like what I would expect from a Star Wars film.

Han, Chewie, Leia, Luke: It was great to see the old cast back and looking good for their respective ages. I can't wait to see what Luke ends up doing. Chewie seemed a lot more expressive this time too.

Phasma: I liked the idea, but wish she'd had more screen time. Hopefully, she escaped from the trash compactor and got off the planet before it exploded.

The First Order (bad stuff)

Getting spoiled about Han's fate: Not so much him dying, but seeing in here an open comment about a major character dying. Once he saw Ren on the bridge, it was clear who was going to die.

Third act: Really felt like a retread of the Jedi third act. There didn't seem to be much tension right from the planning scene. Having the StarKiller just do what the previous Death Stars did but quicker seemed lazy.

Music: Apart from the original trilogy themes, I can't really recall any new ones. I'll see if any stick better on a rewatch.

Snoke: Having an all-CGI character didn't fit well and wasn't very inspiring in design

Hux: Seemed to come across as whiny and shouty without having the presence of a general.

First Order imagery: Especially in the Hux speech scene, it was too obvious as a parallel to Nazism. That scene felt like it could have been in Starship Troopers.

The freighter sequence: The strange octopus creature thing felt quite out of place. I guess it could be seen as a relative of the trash compactor creature, but I don't really know why that was in there.

Callbacks: Few too many callbacks to the previous films. Seeing the chessboard activate, for example. It was enough to just see the board. I don't think we needed the extra scene with the chess pieces coming to life too.

Overall, I'd say 7 out of 10.
In list form:
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Pros: It's a JJ Abrams Star Wars movie.

Cons: It's a JJ Abrams Star Wars movie.

I enjoyed it a lot. I loved the new characters, particularly Finn, though Han Solo stole the show really. Their scenes together were great. It was funny, it was exciting in all the right ways for a Star Wars movie. It couldn't have been less like the prequels if it tried.

It's just a bit too fast paced. I could have done with a handful fewer set pieces and a bit more time with the characters. I had no time to breathe and take it in which meant that by the end of the movie I didn't feel as invested in the Resistance and their battle as much as I should. Compare to the incredible tension you feel in the Death Star attack in the first film. It doesn't build.

It got through an enormous amount of story. I'm hoping for some lengthy Jedi training scenes slowing the whole thing down a notch.

Did anyone else enjoy the "You're afraid you'll never be as powerful as Vader" line as a meta comment on the film's endeavour itself? Trying to be better than Star Wars is pretty much impossible.

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Saw at midnight last night. It was fantastic and a great atmosphere - cheers/applause in the cinema when the title crawl came on and when Han Solo appeared. Too many good things to say. It was a very jam packed ride and I'll need to watch it again to fully appreciate it. That's something I only say about films I love, though.

The new actors did a fantastic job and their characters are by leaps and bounds able to stand on their own without the original cast. That was the most important thing they needed to do, and they did it. Everything else, while amazing, was icing on the cake.

do NOT click this unless you've seen the film

Han Solo's death was amazing, I bet Harrison Ford was pleased about that. Very upsetting drama also helped by the possibly the best villain in any Star Wars movie except Vader himself. I think I might rank Kylo Ren even higher than the Emperor because of just how charismatic and unpredictable Ren is. The most upsetting thing about Han's death is that we never saw Luke and Han reunited and presumably never will :(

Finn and Poe's chemistry and banter was so good for the brief amount of time they were on screen together, I hope they fix this in the sequels and write lots of scenes for them!

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I think Snoke could actually work pretty well in the next couple of films. It kind of took me a moment to realise that he wasn't actually that big and it was the projection, so hoping that if we get face to face time I think Serkis will work his magicon him


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