Juhana's blog/Force Awakens (will contain spoilers)

Dear Juhana,

I think a few times in history I’ve felt like commenting on your blog, but I’ve got to the bottom and it says ‘Tweet me here or open a topic on intfiction.’

A lot of people don’t use Twitter at all. I’m more vituperative than that in that if the only avenue of comms someone offers is via Twitter, I don’t communicate with them as a result. But separately and overall, I know that I like comments to go with the blog they’re commenting on, and I suspect others may, too. So I’d encourage you to add that if you want some attached.

Anyway, this is my comment on your Best Of post, mostly Force Awakens, ala nitku.net/blog/2015/12/best-of-2015/

I enjoyed the film alright. I was moved a bit by some of the old characters stuff, and I think the mix of CGI and practical stuff looks great. It’s that I just felt almost nothing afterwards. I felt this film had nothing new to say at all. I mean, to me, it wasn’t clever reversal of any tropes. It just hit the same plot points and content that the original Star Wars film hit.

There’s a new Death Star – again! There’s a way to blow it up. There’s a new R2D2. These things were stand-ins of the old things. George Lucas always liked quoting small moments in different contexts through the first 6 films, and having things re-happen, but in this film they were barely quotes. They just were those things. So overall, I felt it was an extraordinarily conservative venture. I liked Han’s stuff the best (Ford finally got all his life back, as of late) but there was also a void of any Force spirituality.

If I was charitable, I could say that maybe they wanted to be really safe the first time out because there was ill-will from the prequels, and they now want to make films every year or two. What would suck is if they all come out as conservative as this from now on.

Re: the usedness - I thought the prequels were meant to have shinier tech because the galaxy was a lot more functional in that time period, pre-Empire. And that silver ship you pointed out, I know that was deliberately made to be 100% reflective because something they had never been able to do in the first three films was reflections on spacecraft.

When I got in bed the night after seeing Awakens, the prequels suddenly seemed way more radical. Half of their thrust, that was very obscurely expressed in Phantom Menace (with its ‘taxation’ opening scroll) but which came good by Sith, was that governments have to watch for the danger of becoming the thing they fought.

Anyway, thanks for letting me comment on your blog offsite :wink:


Thank you for the response, very interesting. Even passive-aggressive comments are very much appreciated. Here you can read more about why blog commenting is disabled.

A couple of spoilers here…

I saw The Force Awakens during the week and I liked it, but not half as much as I wanted to. I saw the original films as a kid and as such they’ve now attained mythic status in my mind and nothing that follows them will ever be as good, even if it was as good. The Force Awakens wasn’t as good. It had a few memorable moments, and it was nice seeing Han Solo again after all these years, and the new stars acquit themselves admirably… but there was something missing. Something that made the original films such classics.

Maybe they’re just a victim of their own success. When you’ve seen the originals, how could sequels ever compare to them? Maybe it’s that when the originals came out, the whole idea of sci-fi films with epic space battles was pretty new whereas these days we get a few every year. Maybe Darth Vader was such an iconic villain that no one will ever have that kind of screen presence again - and the new guy, Kylo Ren, isn’t really much cop by comparison. Vader was a cold-hearted bastard through and through. He was seriously cool. And that voice… Kylo just seems a little emo for my liking.

Then there was the way everything tied up neatly at the end. The First Order have turned a planet into a super powerful laser that can blow planets up? Cool! Well, some old smuggler, a guy who used to work in sanitation and a monkey just got past all the defences and planted some bombs and blew the damn thing up. Sheesh, that was easy. No wonder the Dark Side never manages to conquer the galaxy if their defences are that easy to penetrate.

So… overall. Yes it was good, but not that good. It didn’t live up the hype for me - although considering this must be the most hyped film in history that’s understandable - but I enjoyed seeing it. I just wish I’d enjoyed it more.

I had the opposite reaction as David. I was kind of meh on Star Wars in general, skipped episodes 2 and 3, and was dragged to this in IMAX 3D at 9am by a friend. To me, this is the most entertained I’ve been in a Star Wars movie - IMHO in every other episode there were always boring stretches, and this one just moved. It did kind of re-tell “New Hope” but I didn’t mind that.

Juhana, I thought your comments were generally reasonable, except for objecting to the shiny ship. Not everyone was scavenging - if Cloud City on Bespin was nice and shiny, then I don’t see why the head of state of a wealthy planet during times of peace couldn’t afford a shiny ship. :slight_smile:

Less related to the blog post, but on the topic of Star Wars, I thought this article was a good read: gamesradar.com/george-lucas- … em-notice/

Everyone’s got the criticisms of the prequels, but I think their way of portraying the Jedi as fundamentalists could’ve worked.

Perhaps a better example would be the battle droids: instead of making them look scratched and worn out from battle, they looked like they’re shiny plastic toys straight from the factory. The silver ship is just a symbol of the filmmakers’ decision to make the SW universe look completely different than what it looked like in the originals.

That’s not to say that the prequels were complete failures, for example the ending of the third one is easily in the top 10 Star Wars moments for me. I don’t even get why everyone hated the “nooooo” scene that much. Also, without the prequels some of the best Robot Chicken skits wouldn’t exist.