When I first heard that the new star wars movie was effectively uncanonising the forty odd ‘Star Wars Extended Universe’ books I’d spent a decade or so reading, I was pretty pissed. I’m a fan of J.J Abrams, but this was crossing the line.
Then I saw the trailer, and like Fry from Futurama, I was clawing clutches of greenbacks from my wallet and shoving them at the TV. “Shut up and take my money,” I screamed. Then 3 weeks after it came out I managed to finally see it.
My thoughts? I wish I hadn’t bothered, which as a Star Wars fan upset me.
Below are my thoughts on the movie, good and bad.
One of the guiding principles of any narrative is: Be Consistent! You can make up any crazy arse rules you want in a story, as long as you follow them. The Force Awakens doesn’t follow this most hallowed of rules. The plot holes and logical inconsistencies have been thrown around the internet for a while now, most famously in this blog from the Huffington Post , so I won’t rehash them all but some things really did grate at me.
We know that civilisation has spread across the star wars galaxy and it takes hours/days to get from place to place. But somehow five inhabited planets all in sight of each other exploded simultaneously and their explosions travelled across half the galaxy (Assuming Coruscant was destroyed) in mere seconds and were all visible in daylight through an atmosphere! This one scene torpedoed the movie. . . unless J.J Abrams had actually rebooted Star Wars in the firefly ‘verse (one solar system, hundreds of planets) and then perhaps a lot of other things in the story would start to make sense too.
I also never understood what the resistance was resisting? Was it not part of the republic? Wasn’t the First order the actual resistance? Where were the resources that Leia Organa of all people should have at her disposal?
Putting all that aside though, the story itself didn’t work for me. Obviously it was such a rehash that it was borderline reboot “Hey let’s bring Episode IV into the 21st century.” Which also meant speeding it up. But it was just too rushed. Billion of people died, but I didn’t care. What reason had the move given me to?
I think the movie suffered from lazy plotting. A big planet killing machine needed to be destroyed. But plans weren’t required, careful analysis wasn’t needed. Oh no, a janitor just needed to put a gun to some shiny lady to bring the shields down. The idea of using light speed to bypass the shield was lazy too – no sentinel moon to assault first? I believe they were trying to fit too much in and had to cut out too much. This could have perhaps been two movies (more on that below).
Still, I don’t think this is all random, I think Disney and J.J Abrams have a plan and I think I have figured out what it is.
The Star Wars Super Plan
The star wars trilogy was about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. This new trilogy will be about the redemption of Jacen. . . I mean Ben Solo. This movie was intentionally rebootey to give the dads and mums some good buzz and introduce a new generation that will be taken through the same tropes (Probably) to the redemption of Ben Solo and then there will be a whole generation of people buying Kylo Ren maks for their kids instead of Darth Vader masks.
But will they really? Is Kylo really the bad guy that we think needs saving? Darth Vader when even just a little bit peeved would kill a useful and experienced officer. Kylo goes out of his way to destroy equipment rather than people. Clearly there is light side in him. Too much I’d say. Which is why Han Solo’s death should have come in the second movie of the trilogy. This is when things are at their darkest. We should have had more time with Kylo, seen the conflict inside him, learned to root for him, then see him kill his father and see both Kylo and ourselves fall into despair. “How can he be saved now?” the audience would wonder. Then Love conquers all in part 3 and they all live happily every after.
I’m quite glad that several themes from the Expanded Universe were used in this movie, most notably the Solo son going bad and (hopefully) being redeemed before death. I think it was an interested twist that in the EU Chewie died to save Han’s child; now Han was killed by his own child. Also in the EU, after the death of a child, Han goes AWOL, back to smuggling and distancing himself from Leia, only to have a nice reunion and get back on track. The similarity here gets J.J Abrams some points back.
30 years have passed, and you would think technology would move on, but it didn’t in this movie, nor in the EU. X-wings were still ace of the skies, though they were up to Model J or something 20 years after the original trilogy. The new X-wings remind me of Z-95 Head Hunters but are still familiar yet different.
Why oh Why does the Empire persist with TIE fighters though? I mean seriously?
The rest of the trilogy
Kylo is out there. He’ll need to be redeemed. Ray will be the one to do it. Luke needs to explain just WTF he has been doing all this time being a pussy hiding on the ocean world that Ray dreams about every night. Is there a connection? The Republic is going to fall. The Senate has been destroyed. We’ll have anarchy, the Resistance will become an actual resistance rather than an arm of the Hegemony. Hopefully we will see some planets that aren’t covered in sand and we’ll have a epic climax where Good emerges the victor.
I’ll be watching – how about you?
*PS did anyone else cry when Han Solo died? Anyone?