Star Wars - The Force Awakens - Did J.J. Abrams and Disney Ruin Star Wars?

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lastcigarette:
I found it to be a very good movie, not great but still a worthy entry in the series. I was impressed by Adam Driver. I have a feeling he may end up being what we wish Hayden Christiansen had been.

When I left the movie the first thing I said was that I wish he'd played Anakin, Ren seems to be a whiny teen turned to the dark side done right. I'm looking forward to seeing his arc and hope to see him transition into the awesome Darth Vader he clearly wants to be.

Force Awakens should have been a better movie. Most of all it felt like a high production fan movie. The cover says Star Wars, and true it is more coherent than the prequels but far from orginal trio. Force Awakens is in all in the good and bad: Star Trek Star Wars. I'm not really your average Star Wars fan but after all one must give some credit to JJ, he must have been in a enermous pressure by crazy SW fans, money hungry Disney executives and by the actors and whole production team. Several actors were criminally underused (Sydow) while others were overused (Boyega). Many key scenes should have been written and directed differently.

To me the most "starwarsy" of this movie was the BB8 robot. BB8 was a total success in absense of R2D2, in fact it was total surprise for me as I expected it to be just another Jar Jar.

The film is alright, but the frustrating thing is that it was so close to being great. It has solid characters, good dialogue, nails the visual style, looks and sounds great, the atmosphere is there, even a genuine sense of humor. But a few elements really let it down...

1. Pacing. Particularly in the first half of the film, the action scenes are too long and too plentiful. I'm not saying it should be a snorefest, but tone it down by, say, 10% and devote that runtime to a bit of exposition, character moments, background, etc. By the time the second half rolls around, I felt fatigued by the constant action. It no longer seemed cool and exciting. This is Filmmaking 101, but then again, it's Abrams directing, so I don't know what I was expecting...

2. Context. Basically, what the hell happened since the Return of the Jedi? Why is there a Rebellion if there's a Republic? Is there still an Empire? Did it collapse? Was it coopted by the First Order? Why don't the Rebels have more than a few X-Wings when they had an entire fleet throughout the original trilogy? How exactly are the planets that were blown up significant? And so on and so forth... These are all questions that could be answered in a few minutes and would go a long way towards making the audience feel more invested in the action. This ties in to my previous point and would go hand in hand with better pacing.

3. Kylo Ren. I like the concept of him - a villain who's also only now growing into his powers. Young, conflicted, inexperienced, hoping to one day fill Vader's shoes. But I don't think he quite sells it, and again, a big part of it is that he doesn't get room for proper characterization, which in turn ties into 1 & 2 I mentioned above. Giving his character more room to breathe would make him work a LOT better. He's intended as a more personal threat than Vader (who was basically a force of nature), but that also means he requires more screen time, and not just in action scenes.

A lot of this can be fixed by "head canoning" it into a semblance of sense, but I shouldn't HAVE to do that. It all comes down to the fact that Abrams is kinda shit as a director. Granted, he's more suited to Star Wars as opposed to Star Trek (which he mangled into oblivion IMHO), but I can't help but hope that they give better directors a crack at the franchise in future installments and spinoffs.

At least it's not bad and revives the spirit of Star Wars, giving me hope for the future...

Okay I haven't seen it but in the first paragraph you started to lull me into trusting you THEN answered my biggest question; What was the McGuffin (it was obviously in the droid but I knew it wasn't the death star plans this time)

I can't say I'm too mad... I was on the fence whether I should look it up or not, opting for not just because I didn't want anything else ruined. So I guess I should say thank you.

Metadigital:

tzimize:
SPOILERS BELOW:

What did Kylo Ren have? A supertalented, experienced jedi, with the emotional maturity that comes from his experiences as a teacher, yes.
Parents that loved him, and lived, yes.
Why the hell should he fall? And fall as much as he did? I absolutely refuse to believe they will manage to make up a good explanation for this, but I will reserve final judgement untill the end of the trilogy.

MORE SPOILERS (should be obvious):

There's a lot of ways to explain this, and personally, I think it felt a little more on the mark than the expanded universe's take on the New Jedi Order. Here's some easy examples of how it could have gone wrong:

1. Luke was trained for war, not as a mentor or diplomat like the traditional Jedi. Also, he was attempting to single-handedly train a new generation of padawans (note that Kenobi only had one and still failed).
2. Luke may have himself flirted with the dark side in between movies (or even during Jedi, such as when he force choked the guard in Jabba's palace). This may have tainted the training he gave.
2. Han and Leia aren't ideal parents. They're both intensely involved in their own ambitious, important, and very public lives as decorated war heroes / leaders / etc. It's common for people like this to send their kids away to be educated rather than brought up in a loving family environment.
3. Kylo Ren may have felt abandoned or inadequate when compared to the other force sensitives. His family name (Solo) may have put on a lot of expectations and demands (like with Anakin) which pushed him over the edge.
4. New sith lord obviously mentoring Ren. Perhaps his influence began during training leading to the betrayal.

Really, I could go on and on here. There's no end to reasons these events could have happened, and a limited imagination is no excuse to claimed that it was poorly planned. The first trilogy was poorly planned out. I'm sure this one has it covered well in advance.

SPOILERS:

Well...from my point of view you're listing reasons for a teenage rebellion. Going to the dark side and comitting patricide is quite a lot more than a teenage rebellion. And no matter how maladjusted Leia and Han might have been, they are both good people, as are Luke, fighting for the good side. There is no way someone grows up in the aftermath of the absolute horrors of the empires deeds and decideds the rebels are the bad guys. There is just no way.

Being a troubled teenager is one thing. Deciding to fight for the side that blows up planets...is something else. "Boohoo I didnt get enough attention from my dad, I better destroy a star system." ....what?....no. Just no.

I agree that the movie might have walked some conventional lines...

Orga777:

Fox12:
You know, I recall an interview with Alan Moore, where he said that fans were probably not the best people to write a character they enjoyed. There's certainly nothing wrong with with being a fan of something, but if a person was an obessive Spider-Man fan as a kid, and he grows up to write Spider-Man, then he's probably not going to be an objective writer. He's not going to write a work of fiction that is a story in itself, or introduce new ideas, he's going to pay reverent homage to a plot line that's now 20 years old, and that many of his readers are unaware of. The youngsters who read his work will likely grow to do the same, and the story will build a sense of reverence for itself. The problem is that, over time, this becomes rather incestuous, since you stop bringing in outside influences. And, just like real life, over time the incest begins to mutate the result into something a little... Weird.

Miyazaki made the same point about the modern anime market, since the people currently making anime are people who only watch anime or read manga.

I think they made a really good point, and I think that's the main reason I hated episode 7. It had just as many plot holes as the prequels, and I think people will realize that once the excitement wears off, and it's able to gestate in their mind a little bit. But for me it's cardinal sin is that it's totally derivative, and self agrandizing. I'm not sure people understand quite yet how unhealthy that is for the franchise.

Well. What I gather from all that is that it is still better than the insulting and mishandled Prequel Trilogy. I will take more of the same over... that... any day of the week.

Of course, I haven't seen the movie yet. I was waiting for the general reaction and to learn more about the plot. I will be seeing it some time soon. However, I think people claiming it is the best movie ever are kidding themselves. Everything I gathered is that this thing MIGHT be a bit better than Jedi, but that is as far as I will go with the praise. It most certainly isn't better than A New Hope or Empire. It is the same thing with Jurassic World. Sure, it is better than the beyond garbage Lost World and JP3, but it still isn't THAT good a film, and is so much weaker than the original that it still seems like a pointless addition to the series.

The prequels had some really ambitious ideas, but the execution and writing were awful, and the tone was all over the place. Lucas couldn't decide if he wanted to make a serious art piece about downfall of democracy, or a simple action adventure story meant to sell merchandise to fans and children. What we got was a half assed attempt at both. There were some interesting concepts, but they were ruined because the films didn't know what they wanted to be. In the end they were too dark and complex for children, but too silly and commercialized to be some great art piece.

I think The Force Awakens knows precisely what it wants to be, which is good. However, it seems predominently interested in selling toys and merchandise, which is an Abrams trademark, so it comes off as rather shallow and derivative. It's a marketing vehicle, and isn't really interested in being an excellent film in its own right.

It was kinda fun but like Charlie Brown I wish they didn't just do a 'safe' movie. They didn't have to copy/paste so much from the original movie. they didn't have to drag the old stars in in such a clumsy way.In fact I really could have done without them. They should have left them out. I know the hardcore fans would crucify me for saying that if they knew where I lived but I was less of a thrill but rather 'Seriously? You HAD to bring them into this?...Okay if you insist' I mean Leia looked like she was about to keel over any second. Not to mention almost the entire things was predictable.I mean the moment I saw the girl on the planet I knew what she was and how the whole ordeal would turn out including her going to find Luke and I knew what was the fate of Han Solo the moment he decided to do what he did.. In short instead of taking risks and making a great big leap in the franchise they were so afraid of what happened with the prequels happening again they just did Star Wars again and changed a few scenes and sentences and roles while shoehorning in the original cast. Also I don't think draining a sun is very safe as it would probably just destabilize and either explode or collapse in on itself rater then just be snuffed out like a candle.

SPOILERS:

I think Disney was smart in 'playing safe', if we saw anything reminiscent of the prequels I think the big-screen franchise would be in jeopardy.

Even though I'm coming to terms with their avoidance of risk, I'm still unimpressed with Darth Emo.

Like others have said here, I can only hope this low point allows him to grow to a more compelling antagonist in later installments.

tzimize:
SPOILERS:

Well...from my point of view you're listing reasons for a teenage rebellion. Going to the dark side and comitting patricide is quite a lot more than a teenage rebellion. And no matter how maladjusted Leia and Han might have been, they are both good people, as are Luke, fighting for the good side. There is no way someone grows up in the aftermath of the absolute horrors of the empires deeds and decideds the rebels are the bad guys. There is just no way.

Being a troubled teenager is one thing. Deciding to fight for the side that blows up planets...is something else. "Boohoo I didnt get enough attention from my dad, I better destroy a star system." ....what?....no. Just no.

I'm not sure about you, but I didn't have a sith lord manipulating me from the shadows when I was a teenager. Maybe that's normal in some parts of the world. Probably the same places that send you off to a monastery led by a famous rebel warrior who's trying to reboot a dead religion by teaching you how to use magic powers. Totally a setup for your typical suburban middle class teenage rebellion. In fact, that's usually the reason teenagers rebel in the first place.

tzimize:

Metadigital:

tzimize:
SPOILERS BELOW:

What did Kylo Ren have? A supertalented, experienced jedi, with the emotional maturity that comes from his experiences as a teacher, yes.
Parents that loved him, and lived, yes.
Why the hell should he fall? And fall as much as he did? I absolutely refuse to believe they will manage to make up a good explanation for this, but I will reserve final judgement untill the end of the trilogy.

MORE SPOILERS (should be obvious):

There's a lot of ways to explain this, and personally, I think it felt a little more on the mark than the expanded universe's take on the New Jedi Order. Here's some easy examples of how it could have gone wrong:

1. Luke was trained for war, not as a mentor or diplomat like the traditional Jedi. Also, he was attempting to single-handedly train a new generation of padawans (note that Kenobi only had one and still failed).
2. Luke may have himself flirted with the dark side in between movies (or even during Jedi, such as when he force choked the guard in Jabba's palace). This may have tainted the training he gave.
2. Han and Leia aren't ideal parents. They're both intensely involved in their own ambitious, important, and very public lives as decorated war heroes / leaders / etc. It's common for people like this to send their kids away to be educated rather than brought up in a loving family environment.
3. Kylo Ren may have felt abandoned or inadequate when compared to the other force sensitives. His family name (Solo) may have put on a lot of expectations and demands (like with Anakin) which pushed him over the edge.
4. New sith lord obviously mentoring Ren. Perhaps his influence began during training leading to the betrayal.

Really, I could go on and on here. There's no end to reasons these events could have happened, and a limited imagination is no excuse to claimed that it was poorly planned. The first trilogy was poorly planned out. I'm sure this one has it covered well in advance.

SPOILERS:

Well...from my point of view you're listing reasons for a teenage rebellion. Going to the dark side and comitting patricide is quite a lot more than a teenage rebellion. And no matter how maladjusted Leia and Han might have been, they are both good people, as are Luke, fighting for the good side. There is no way someone grows up in the aftermath of the absolute horrors of the empires deeds and decideds the rebels are the bad guys. There is just no way.

Being a troubled teenager is one thing. Deciding to fight for the side that blows up planets...is something else. "Boohoo I didnt get enough attention from my dad, I better destroy a star system." ....what?....no. Just no.

It is teenage rebellion. Just... teenage rebellion gone to far, caused by someone having too much power and influence (And approachability) with too little oversight. He had too much of his grandfather in him - he didn't care if the Rebels were good or bad - he wanted to be out of the shadow of his powerful and influential parents and uncle to forge his own legacy on the galaxy, by following his Grandfather's.

Telefonegun:
Force Awakens should have been a better movie. Most of all it felt like a high production fan movie. The cover says Star Wars, and true it is more coherent than the prequels but far from orginal trio. Force Awakens is in all in the good and bad: Star Trek Star Wars. I'm not really your average Star Wars fan but after all one must give some credit to JJ, he must have been in a enermous pressure by crazy SW fans, money hungry Disney executives and by the actors and whole production team. Several actors were criminally underused (Sydow) while others were overused (Boyega). Many key scenes should have been written and directed differently.

To me the most "starwarsy" of this movie was the BB8 robot. BB8 was a total success in absense of R2D2, in fact it was total surprise for me as I expected it to be just another Jar Jar.

[spoiler]I think part of the reason Rey managed to match Ren is twofold-
1. Ren himself isn't actually all that powerful and trained himself. Rey, meanwhile, is a scrapper from a hard-knock backwater world. And, she's pretty strong willed and is far more confident in her desire than Luke was. ... which sets up the opportunity to struggle between the light and dark sides of the force. And for completeness' sake, Finn himself is a competent CQC fighter (As demonstrated by his fight with the other Stormtrooper earlier in the movie - those two were of equal skill and training, but Finn was using an unfamiliar weapon, so he lost)
2. Kylo Ren was no longer at his best when he was fighting Rey - he'd taken a blaster bolt from Chewbacca, and was also worn down from fighting Finn.

You know what I probably like most about this film is this: lets hope that any wonnabe blockbuster looks at this film, sees how much money it is making, and realizes it is not OK to pump your film full of CGI and have the story equivalent of a piece of toiletpaper.

Having seen the movie and being notoriously cynical when it comes to what movies I'm willing to enjoy; the biggest criticism I can come up with for the movie is that it comes-off as a little "fan service-y"; especially when it comes to Han and the Falcon.

I could list more scenes, but basically there were a number of scenes that kinda felt like they were there more to give a sort of "wink wink nudge nudge" to the fans than to actually help the actual story or world building. Some people might say "so what," but I'm the kind of stickler who feels that any element in a story should serve some purpose; whether that be character development[1], world building, or advancing the plot as a whole. Fan service is just needless filler.

If I really wanted to I could also gripe about how the earlier bits of the story are a little too coincidence-driven, but it flowed smoothly enough as to not really bother me too much; unlike other movies that have the coincidence problem. All-in-all, I went into this movie expecting (and perhaps hoping) to hate it just as much as I did Star Trek: Into Darkness, and came out of it struggling to find what flaws I did. So as Yahtzee once put it (to paraphrase since I forget the exact quote), if I'm trying this hard to find nitpicks, then it can't be that bad of a movie.

[1] Frankly, I love scenes where the story goes nowhere, but you learn a lot about the characters

Jandau:
-snip-

Thyunda:

Jandau:
-snip-

Your dismissal of 2/3 of my post aside, while some of these questions are perhaps answered in the film to some extent, a lot of it is inferred or mentioned in passing. All I'm saying is that the film would have benefited from a bit more of the world building to flesh it out and pace the action sequences a bit better.

Just got back from finally seeing the Force Awakens and mediocre is all I can give you about my opinion of this film I was waiting for Captain Phasma to do something (why did that character exist?) I was waiting for Mark Hamill and all I got was a pointless cameo and the less said about Kylo Ren the better (can we have episode 2 Anakin back?)

I just came from seeing it. It's going to be nice to finally be able to read reviews, comments, and watch videos to see what others think.

I think this review is very fair and I can't find anything to disagree with. Even after I finished watching it, I knew that it was, "Okay, we'll take this part from this movie, and this part from that movie...", but I'm okay with that. I take it was Disney getting their feet wet, and I believe they've done that. I was still pumped with excitement, and I was clenching my fists during the starfighter scenes. It was great to have that feeling of amazement back, even if I feel they could have taken a bit more risks and done a bit more.

But I'm good to go. I will probably always prefer the Expanded Universe to this new Star Wars because that's what I grew up with, but I'm all set to see where Disney takes it now. Looking forward to the next movie.

Jandau:

Thyunda:

Jandau:
-snip-

Your dismissal of 2/3 of my post aside, while some of these questions are perhaps answered in the film to some extent, a lot of it is inferred or mentioned in passing. All I'm saying is that the film would have benefited from a bit more of the world building to flesh it out and pace the action sequences a bit better.

...how long do you want this film?

Thyunda:

Jandau:

Thyunda:

Your dismissal of 2/3 of my post aside, while some of these questions are perhaps answered in the film to some extent, a lot of it is inferred or mentioned in passing. All I'm saying is that the film would have benefited from a bit more of the world building to flesh it out and pace the action sequences a bit better.

...how long do you want this film?

As long as it is. I stated that outright - I feel the film would have benefited from about 10% less action and that runtime being devoted to characterization and worldbuilding.

Jandau:

Thyunda:

Jandau:

Your dismissal of 2/3 of my post aside, while some of these questions are perhaps answered in the film to some extent, a lot of it is inferred or mentioned in passing. All I'm saying is that the film would have benefited from a bit more of the world building to flesh it out and pace the action sequences a bit better.

...how long do you want this film?

As long as it is. I stated that outright - I feel the film would have benefited from about 10% less action and that runtime being devoted to characterization and worldbuilding.

So which scenes, specifically, would you cut out?

I thought the film was really good as a whole, even though it had several problems. My biggest personal issue in all honesty was

Thyunda:

Jandau:

Thyunda:

...how long do you want this film?

As long as it is. I stated that outright - I feel the film would have benefited from about 10% less action and that runtime being devoted to characterization and worldbuilding.

So which scenes, specifically, would you cut out?

Really? What's next? Will you asking me for specific timestamps? Look, I get it, you disagree with me. Fair enough. But now you're just nitpicking. No, I do not have a specific list of scenes I would shorten (and I wouldn't cut any out, I would simply shorten some of them), I only saw the film once and such an analysis would require repeated viewings. And you know what? I wouldn't mind if instead of cutting anything another 10ish minutes were added to the runtime, if those minutes were interspersed throughout the film to provide more context. Again, I'm not calling for a radical alteration of the film, I think there's a genuinely good story in there. I just think it could have been presented a bit better and would have benefited a lot from it. Which is what I find the most frustrating about this film - it's alright, but only a little nudge was needed to make it great...

i enjoyed it but it felt like a weird sequel/remake of star wars, not a masterpiece and probably wont please the hardcore fans but a good space opera romp

Jandau:

Thyunda:

Jandau:

As long as it is. I stated that outright - I feel the film would have benefited from about 10% less action and that runtime being devoted to characterization and worldbuilding.

So which scenes, specifically, would you cut out?

Really? What's next? Will you asking me for specific timestamps? Look, I get it, you disagree with me. Fair enough. But now you're just nitpicking. No, I do not have a specific list of scenes I would shorten (and I wouldn't cut any out, I would simply shorten some of them), I only saw the film once and such an analysis would require repeated viewings. And you know what? I wouldn't mind if instead of cutting anything another 10ish minutes were added to the runtime, if those minutes were interspersed throughout the film to provide more context. Again, I'm not calling for a radical alteration of the film, I think there's a genuinely good story in there. I just think it could have been presented a bit better and would have benefited a lot from it. Which is what I find the most frustrating about this film - it's alright, but only a little nudge was needed to make it great...

Well I'm just saying your criticisms are vague and your list of questions were already answered in the film. I'm not sure why you think it's nitpicking to ask which particular action scenes you thought were out of place or what you'd add to clarify things.

Well just to throw my opinion in too, I really enjoyed it. It was fun and humorous in a way that the others weren't, without detracting from the drama, and there were some really tense and epic moments. The new characters were interesting and likeable (apart from Kylo Ren, who at least got a cool mask to hide behind for most of it), and the only old character that got much screentime was the interesting one.

Having said that, I am still disappointed that we've returned to the old storyline instead of doing something completely different. The plot has never been the strong point of the star wars films, and continuing on from the previous one seems to me like a wasted opportunity to do something more interesting. When a new SW was announced I was secretly hoping for a film set in the mandalorian wars, following Revan, with questioning about how "good" the jedi/council are when they allow billions to die through inaction. Or deconstruct the light and dark side and the tyranny of the force like in Kotor 2. Or just something completely new.

Was Maz supposed to be Raz from Psychonauts?

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