By Emperor339 28 Comments
Originally, someone posted a blog ripping on JJ for 'ruining Star Wars and Star Trek' which are two beloved franchises to many, him and yes, even me.
You can find the post here.
I initially replied with my own two cents, but my post was quickly drowned in some silly argument where someone was convinced Tarkin managed to escape the Death Star.
So I decided to make it a blog.
Most of the points I make are fairly obvious and have been spoken about and reiterated by everyone and their mother, but maybe I make a good little post on my own?
Also it's fine with me throwing in my two cents on the post he made, but making a blog addressing this does seem a bit late to the party, but oh well. Might as well put a stamp on my opinion.
This is my take on it. Just venting my opinions, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
I'd like to say first that I enjoyed the movie and I'd gladly repeat watch it many times. It sits firmly in the middle of my favourite Star Wars Movies.
However, I want to address some of the flaws I see and suggest what could have been done about them.
I'll be focusing on individual flaws and I'll be glazing over the elephant in the room, the ANH cloning, for the most part, for obvious reasons.
Obviously I can't address all of the flaws and bear in mind there are many great things about this movie I won't be discussing in this post either, so don't hold it too close to heart.
Firstly and certainly foremostly...
I just want them to remove that stupid tentacle monster scene and replace it with something better.
It just feels so out of place and adds nothing to the experience. Why not spend that time having the characters get to know Han and Chewie a bit more or something?
It makes me wonder if this too was slightly taken from ANH. When Luke was pulled underwater by some tentacle thing. Though in that it was subtle and brief and only really served to make the characters ask why it let him go... because something worse was coming.
This wasn't the case. This was just so random and boring to watch as well as over the top.
I haven't seen many people actually complain about this, to my suprise. However I haven't really seen anyone talk about it when they speak favourably of the movie.
It doesn't detract from the movie, but it doesn't add anything either. It's just 'there' and it has no place being 'there'. It's taking up space that could be used for a better scene.
Eh... Moving on.
The film seriously lacked decent pacing and it felt like I was being rushed from one setpiece to the next.
ANH had some chill scenes. This one, other than a brief relax at the Cantina which was only a few minutes since we were made aware of the spies immediatly and thus were anticipating the next First Order attack the whole way through the cantina scene, had none.
Also Phasma. What a Disappointment.
Remember TR-8R? Yeah? That should have been Phasma. Instead of having some cool First Order Trooper get angry at Finn and have a badass scene with him, with his backstory to be filled in by extended materials, why not have a character we have already been familiarized with as a big bad who doesn't yet have enough screen time.
Phasma should have fought Finn like a badass and only show him Mercy as she gets shot and decided to escape. It would have been a great moment.
Making her be a wuss was a terrible mistake and really a letdown. She literally handed them the First Order's greatest technological weapon (that couldn't be assaulted otherwise) in exchange for the possibility of survival. I know she was cocky and thought they couldn't win even if she turned it off, but it was so lame.
There are so many funny moments with first order troopers in this movie, why not make this another one? It could have been hilarious seeing one of them be all 'ah crap!' when they capture him and interrogate him for the codes.
And if for some reason you're super Keen on Finn having a past with the character due to the way he acts at Phasma in this scene... just make it his squad commander from the opening scene and have the commander deride him earlier in the film briefly, just as Phasma did. Though I'd prefer it to just be a regular soldier, as usual.
Instead seeing Phasma like that wasn't funny, just disappointing.
Also, cutting out Maz Kanata after the Cantina attack felt a little jarring. A major character was introduced then after something major happens in her location, she isn't seen. Kind of odd. Maybe we'll see her later on, but whilst having characters be better in later movies might make the trilogy a bit more solid, it doesn't make up for the individual movie.
Being in a trilogy doesn't excuse untied plot points and loose threads. Sure it can lead on to the next, with a wonder for the future, but each movie has to have a satisfying conclusion in some way to stand on it's own.
Whilst TFA has a good go at this with the next step being taken with Han and Ben's relationship, the fight and the destruction of the station, it does leave some ends loose.
Also, the Starkiller base firing scene was poorly set up. It was cool seeing the beam reflected in Hux's eyes, but we had very little set up as to why they were firing the weapon.
All we got was hux saying something along the lines of 'This day marks the end of the Republic' and then they blow up a few planets.
With ANH it was great since Ben Kenobi made us aware that they needed to get to Alderaan which is why they went to Han to catch a ride. And it was made evident by Tarkin that Alderaan was important to Leia and we got to view it before it was destroyed. And after it was destroyed, Leia was extremely upset and Ben was extremely saddened.
Afterwards they arrived at the location of Alderaan to find nothing left but rubble and something that looks like a moon... Which sets up what happens next spectacularly.
In TFA they go, 'guys we have a big weapon, the end of the republic is here!' Soldiers do a salute and then they watch the beam destroy random planets we get a glimpse of, which our main cast (was it only Finn that saw? I can't remember) see and look a bit confused by if anything.
You tell me which demonstation of the technological threat and what the heroes have lost was set up better. I suspect ANH by a landslide.
I can't remember if they talked about those planets or the effect it had on the republic later because the topic was glazed over so fast and had no impact on the plot whatsoever it may as well not have happened.
They could have said 'they're gonna fire it at the republic planets!', made it very evident what the threat was and why and then attacked the base while they were charging for the first volley or something.
You tell me how much that would have affected the following sequences in the movie. I suspect not at all.
Making it destroy 5 planets doesn't make it as awesome as the Death Star. It doesn't really change anything tbh. The scale of the threat will always end up being managed by the scale of what the heroes can do to combat the threat. It doesn't change the follow up sequence or set up anything valuable to the plot by doing this, but I'll try not to rip on them copying ANH and pretending it's different, bigger and better too much in this blog since that's a whole different beast.
But overall I think it's a good movie. It rips too much on ANH for sure and it certainly has some obvious flaws, but it's not a bad movie.
Honestly I rate it as the middle one. Below ROTJ and above ROTS by a little bit, just because, whilst ROTS was oversaturated with Saberfights, they were mostly very awesome and the highlights of the movie.
The main leads were very strong. Rey and Fin were great and so was BB8. Let's face it, Han really stole the show and Chewie was great too. The main cast really held the movie together.
I really wish we could have seen more of Po. Him and Finn had so much good chemistry. But that's a minor annoyance.
I see that many people criticise the movie for not having strong villains and they include Hux, Phasma, Snoke and Kylo as disappointments.
Honestly I agree the villain side was weak in this movie. It's hard to compare any of them to the iconic Vader. Kylo was a farcry from him and Hux wasn't as intimidating as Tarkin. While Tarkin seems to command respect, even from the board of Moffs, which was cool (they mentioned politics, but kept it brief and simple, unlike the prequels. It literally boiled down to:
"The good guy government won't stand for this!"
"Doesn't matter. we dissolved their government and we control everything now cus we're the baddies :)"
No need to know about trade routes) Hux just seemed to whine at Kylo and Kylo would whine back. They were like angsty teen versions of Tarkin and Vader.
However, I don't really put the blame on them. Since there was no villain that felt truly threatening in this movie people look to the best example of a villain in Star Wars (Vader) and compare Kylo to him, seeing Kylo as the primary antagonist and thus the reason for the failure. But I don't think it's his fault. Honestly I think the fact he was revealed to be someone who hardly had a handle on their emotions and wanted desperately to be Vader, but simply can't is a great concept and it worked really well for me. It's just that making him like that without having some real big bad to back it up while Kylo slowly ramps up over the trilogy leaves the Villain's side feeling weak and thus the tension is thin.
Having Hux the way he is is fine too. He could have been a little more authorative, but we didn't see much of him other than his spats with Kylo. All it would have taken is showing him demanding authority over other authorative figures or struggling to do so to add some character to him, and as mentioned above, making Phasma an antagonist for Finn would have really done a good deal for the villains in this movie.
Lor San Tekka. Does anything need to be said? He was a plot device. Please don't introduce a character we can barely wrap our heads around at the start of the movie, have him briefly do something vaguely important and expo a bit, then die. It just makes things confusing and we're not really sure what he was doing there until later on in the movie when it's made evident.
They should have had someone important deliver this. Say, have Leia give it to Po, before escaping and have Kylo sense a familiar presence, setting up the reveal a little more.
I know that some might reference the children who are coming to this movie first, so they won't know who Leia is. Well that doesn't matter. If Po makes it evident she's important (the general) and she returns later to meet up with Han, once he gets pulled into this mess by Rey and Finn, then the opening scene wouldn't have wasted time on a walking exposition device set up to get the ball rolling then die.
Hell, it doesn't even have to be Leia. Just make the opening scene something manageable and relevent instead of a clear way to try and rush-expo the movie through it's beginning with a throwaway character that wasn't even relevent enough to be a cardboard cut out.
Lastly while I did feel the Han Solo death scene was a little forced (it felt more like they were killing him because he was THAT CHARACTER U LOVE FROM THE PREVIOUS MOVIES aka Han Solo, rather than because it was integral to the ongoing plot, which it was also) it was well handled, directed and felt like it left an impact for the next sequence to follow up on.
But as a fan, it kinda felt like they were killing a character to be dramatic, get an easy reaction from the audience and because Harrison made it clear he wants Han to die and that's the only reason he'd come back. So I guess maybe sticking around the meta and fanbase has made the scene far too obvious for me, as I went in 99% sure it would happen.
It's a good premise and I don't have a problem with that. It's just that whilst well directed, it felt as though the writers didn't naturally come to the conclusion that Han should die in the film. It feels more that they knew Han had to die in this film from the get go and they stuck that in and then wrote around it, making it feel more like a box they had to tick than anything else.
I think this is the point where most people can criticise my argument. But it's really just a nitpick from my personal experience with the scene.
Other than that I don't really have too many problems with the scene and it added to the overall story of the Movie.
I can't really think of any other glaring problems, though I'm sure I've just forgotten them. No matter.
Really, what it boils down to is this movie did what ANH (and a bit of ESB) did, but simply not as well.
I know all this complaining makes it look like I hate the movie. I don't. I don't hate any of the Star Wars movies tbh (well maybe except for the TCW movie, though the show got way better) it's just that I'm focusing on the flaws for now and what really felt wrong to me.
I'm not claiming I could waltz into the studio and direct it better than JJ Abrams. I can't. I'd suck.
But it just baffles me a little that these simple concepts made it past the boardroom.
Things can get crazy when you write and sometimes you don't have any perspective until you take step back or look upon it in hindsight. Maybe JJ even realizes his flaws now that it's out.
Either way, hopefully I've addressed some of the issues (other than it copying the OT obviously. I don't want to address the entire plot and rewrite the entire movie ala fanfiction like some Star Wars youtubers do. Though even they tend to throw out some superior concepts regarding the prequel trilogy).
And I hope that perhaps even one person reads this and thinks, 'hey, that would have fixed that bit of the movie up!'. Thanks one person!
And feel free to criticise my points. This is just my opinion. I'm no expert on writing up plots or anything.
And overall, if I were to give this movie an arbitrary number, it'd be a 7/10.
At first I gave it an 8, but as I rewatched it and let everything sink in properly, I don't feel it deserves the extra digit.
And it fits comfortably in my favourite to least favourite movies.
1. Ep V Empire Strikes Back (10/10 Near Perfect Movie)
2. Ep IV A New Hope (10/10 Near Perfect Movie)
3. Ep VI Return of The Jedi (9/10 Amazing Movie)
4. Ep VII The Force Awakens (7/10 Good Movie)
5. Ep III Revenge of The Sith (6/10 Above Average Movie)
6. Ep I The Phantom Menace (5/10 Average Movie)
7. Ep II Attack of the clones (5/10 Average Movie)
8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Movie (4/10 Below Average Movie).
Again, this list and these numbers are just my opinion. It's how I felt about them personally. They're not objective for how good the movies are, just how much I like them.
Feel free to comment, criticise or make your own suggestions. It's all fair game and down to opinion here.