Second Thoughts (The Force Awakens)

Day 13. 87 pages, 38,517 words.

Spent the day watching Toop recover from a nasty little fever, which gave me plenty of time to do my language-checking work but not a lot of time to write.

I did, however, have time to sit down in the evening and watch Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on blu-ray with Wump. Here are some random thoughts (I will not be spoiler-texting anymore, you should have seen this movie if you care) on my first re-watch since I saw it at the cinema:

  • I didn’t really understand, first time around, why so many fans were going full fanboy over Poe Dameron. He struck me as a pretty dull character when I watched the movie in the cinema. I think it’s because the second you put on that X-Wing pilot uniform, you become a faceless boring nobody. Like that Wedge guy. Anyway, on second viewing I really noticed more that they had gone all-out to make him a central and heroic character, with mad skills and a fun personality. In fact, it got a bit overblown by the time Finn was yelling “that’s one Hell of a pilot!” – come on, really?
  • Finn’s and Poe’s bromance was sweet. I could almost hear the “did we just become best friends?” conversation as they escaped in the TIE fighter. Even Wump picked up on it, and she was playing with Lego by the fifteen-minute mark. “It’s not nice when you just made a friend and then you lose them,” she remarked, as Finn stumbled through the desert. Aww.
  • Kylo Ren is a really cool, complex bad guy. I liked him even more on second viewing. And this was after a few months of Bad Dad Han Solo and Emo Kylo Ren jokes on Twitter. He survived that, he can survive anything.
  • The whole Han thing was telegraphed way more than I noticed the first time. Right from the scene where Han parts with Leia, it’s pretty obvious he knows he’s not coming back. Certainly not with Ben, like Leia asks him to. I get the impression that Han and Leia’s “argument” was on this topic all along (I mean I knew it was about this, but specifically): Leia, all Force-sensitive and Skywalkery, believed Ben could be redeemed. Han, ever the pragmatist, had written him off as dead. He knew intellectually that Luke had “saved” Vader, but he also lacked an insider view of it – and it essentially happened posthumously. There’s no prize for “posthumously” in the Han Solo playbook.
  • Maz really did have butt-hole eyes.
  • That Star Killer Base thing didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense. Not only did it fire from one system and hit another – in real time – but its beams were also visible (and audible, ugh) from a presumably third system where the Resistance was hanging out? Okay, maybe it was a densely-planeted sector of the galaxy … but still, I don’t know about a superluminal weapon. Which it would have to be. In which case, the Republic planet would have been destroyed before the people on the surface saw the light of the beam. Glayven.
  • The similarities between this movie and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were at once more glaring, and more forgivable in the context of what this story was about. It was fine.
  • Wump is still not quite ready to do a movie of this length, although when the alternative is putting on her pyjamas and getting in bed, it’s amazing what she has the attention-span for. Also, we hadn’t had a chance to watch the original trilogy yet (she’d seen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but didn’t really remember it or pay attention), so she was disappointed by the lack of Darth Vader. She was suitably saddened by the destruction of the Republic worlds, and had a “what did he do that for?” for Kylo Ren’s killing of Han. Seemed nicely prioritised to me.

That’s about it. I enjoyed it the second time around, in that solid and stable way that tells me this is a movie I’m going to continue to like – but not really be a raving fanboy about now that the fires have died down a little. Just like the rest of the franchise, really. So, I suppose mission accomplished on that.

And Wump wanted to know when she could see the next movie, but didn’t seem too upset when we told her it wasn’t going to be for another year and a half. She can’t actually comprehend lengths of time that long, I think. And anyway, in the meantime there’s Star Wars: Rogue One to look forward to.

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15 Responses to Second Thoughts (The Force Awakens)

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Good points, I pretty much agree. I want to specifically call out my agreement on your first Poe point…I didn’t really feel the hype either. And your Star Killer Base points, too. Man I hated that part of the movie for SO many reasons (I’m not saying you did, I’m just piling on).

    I am a fanboy of IV-VI, surprised you seem to be saying you are not. But whatever, all good, I agree about this one of course.

    My girls went to a great, personal (4-5 kids invited, 3 kids from the birthday boy family rounding out the group) birthday party where they showed The Force Awakens as part of the festivities. None of the kids (up to age 12) made it through, but my girls were enjoying it (I did prep them with the 3 true Star Wars movies, mentioned above), and they loved Rae!

    So I’m looking forward to getting the movie to watch the whole thing with them and the wife.

    • stchucky says:

      And your Star Killer Base points, too. Man I hated that part of the movie for SO many reasons (I’m not saying you did, I’m just piling on).

      The actual scenes of it firing (the view of the weapon beam firing from the surface, and the view of it drawing in magical fire from the sun), while hideously unbelievable, were fun to watch. But yeah, there were plenty of other directions they could have gone with the threat without making a new Death Star. I sort of understand why they did it[1], but I would have been just as happy with something else.

      [1] And as I said originally when the movie came out, I think it’s perfectly fine to have a rule that as soon as a super-weapon reaches a certain class or size, it automatically has to be Death Star shape – it’s sort of like the pyramids. It’s not that people couldn’t make things different shapes, it’s just easier to make them pyramid-shaped when they’re that big.

      Even if they didn’t use Grand Admiral Thrawn, they could have used any one of his awesome gambits. The cloaking device he used to make asteroids invisible, and thus blockade planets, was brilliant. Although okay, Star Wars was burned by the Trade Federation in terms of blockaded planets. So maybe they were right to avoid that.

    • stchucky says:

      I am a fanboy of IV-VI, surprised you seem to be saying you are not. But whatever, all good, I agree about this one of course.

      Yeah, I think I’ve philosophised about this in the past. I like the original trilogy, a lot, but I wouldn’t say I’m a fanboy. And I’m usually pretty fine with admitting to being a fanboy when the shoe fits.

  2. dreameling says:

    “that’s one Hell of a pilot!”

    Why would they have “Hell” in the SW vocabulary? It was a little jarring in Episode V, and it’s a little jarring here. (No, not buying the “localized for Earthlings” rationalization.)

    That Star Killer Base thing didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense. Not only did it fire from one system and hit another – in real time – but its beams were also visible (and audible, ugh) from a presumably third system where the Resistance was hanging out? Okay, maybe it was a densely-planeted sector of the galaxy … but still, I don’t know about a superluminal weapon. Which it would have to be. In which case, the Republic planet would have been destroyed before the people on the surface saw the light of the beam. Glayven.

    This bugged me so much. Indeed, this was precisely that big jarring thing that I went on and on about in our original discussions. Goddamn Abrams and his faster-than-light light. (See also Star Trek.)

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