Disclaimer: Reading the following will most certainly SPOIL certain plot elements or SPOIL your excitement to see the movie. SPOILERS ahead.
This movie goes loosely into my category where the Hobbit movies are, however, I was hoping that it might be a bit closer to the extended cannon. So I broke my general rule of lowered expectations for a better movie experience and had the reason why I hav my rule reinforced. I loved it and I hated it. Let's get the love part out of the way because it is much shorter:
Diversity of cast: excellent. Just the ships, the planets, and all but the desert scenes: awesome. Orange Yoda: necessary and pretty interesting, but this starts getting into the negative part of this whole thing. The story telling: if I hadn't seen episodes I and IV I would be enthralled and would have missed many of the weird plot holes and conveniences.
Alright, here we go down the rabbit hole of negativity. If you end up going to the dark side just because you hate me after this, well you might already be there.
First, the plot: Are you kidding me? Same exact story as much of the rest of the franchise, including a desert world, though this time Tatooine has a different name, but it seems to have less important cities, but the same terrain features and much more imperial interest at one point. No explanation why anybody cares so much about Jakku that the old empire ditched star destroyers on the planet surface. To have wreckage on the surface they must have been fighting in decaying orbits or even sub-orbital, but why would they be fighting over Jakku that close in the first place? Maybe they knew that someone would need some major obstacles to scavenge and then fly around. Or maybe ill-maintained ship breaker yards?
Also with all that imperial hardware on the ground maybe our force sensitive Rey may have come across a hidden stash of sith holocrons... Conclusion: imagery great, convenience too great.
Although BB-8 is somehow a cuter version of R2-D2, I have a problem with his physics, but I will leave that at that, though I would be glad to discuss it. Also a paint job that can stand up to a world full of abrasives and abuse by starship would be well worth looking into.
What is with the Orange Yoda? Maz is certainly one of my more favorite characters in the movie, however, she feels like a direct replacement for Yoda, a sort of under-powered orange version. I think a sister duet could have taken the obviousness out of such a direct replacement, but that probably would have taxed the already over taxed CG crew. And if she was my favorite character, what does that say about the rest of the movie?
But here are many major questions. What happened to the Yuzon Vong invasion? What happened to Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin Solo? Ben Skywalker? Basically all the cannon was thrown out. Bring back Chewie, kill Han. What? For as meticulous as Lucas was about cannon it seems that Disney just threw away everything. Ugh.
So as much as it is a fantasy in guise of a sci-fi flick I was hoping for a story fit into the existing universe. A universe, despite its magic, that is large and involved, a universe people have imagined for millions of hours, fitting events, characters, and technology together. A universe that has sabotaged many of my writing attempts because I feel the need to give everything technical specs and fill in back-stories to the point of overkill. I guess what really drew me to it was the amazing collaboration into one universe.
If you noticed I called it a fantasy, it has been called a space opera, and it might have been better as an opera in three acts. But it is a fantasy and I will be reading Star Wars on Trial after this disappointing repeat of a movie. It will hopefully help to lower my expectations and be able to concentrate more on my own universes.
I mostly stayed away from reading fantasy recently on David Brin's suggestion that we really need more forward facing literature. Although it is fun to indulge in well written fantasy it is too often looking back and not forward. But if you know me I do fencing, archery, and longsword, so how can I not be steeped in this stuff?
Well if you saw the scenes that passed for sword fighting in the movie, there are many authors and choreographers who know little to nothing about sword fights. Maybe we can learn from this article by John Clements? Of course the movie had two novices picking up a lightsaber for the first time, but what really disappoints me is that Kylo Ren wasn't any better, probably something to do with being injured? Still I guess they couldn't just kill the main characters in the first installment.
Enough. I will see the next one barring cancellation, however unlikely for either of us, with much lower expectations. Maybe I will write more about this later.
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