So I have decided to hop off the Star Wars train and stay forever at "Legends" Expanded Universe Station forever, with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears.
I finally went to see the Force Awakens last week (I was so not excited for the movie, I figured I would wait until the crowds had died down) since it was getting harder and harder to avoid spoilers. And I have to say, while I liked some of the new characters, (well, at least the heroes, but we'll get to that later) overall I really did not like the movie. And now you all get to hear why.
Are you thoroughly warned yet? Read ahead knowing that I'm bound to spoil something if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
So yeah. Was not impressed with The Force Awakens. And I should preface all my whys by starting off admitting that I was/am extremely butthurt about Disney yanking the expanded Universe. That was my wheelhouse. I enjoy the movies, but it was the books, comics and to some extent the Clone Wars cartoon that held all the majority of my affection. So right away, Force Awakens had a bias against it. For me to love it, it was really going to have to do something spectacular.
Instead, what the movie did, was plagiarize the most spectacular parts of the original trilogy, stitching them together into one movie. WTF Disney?! I was certainly biased against the movie, but making a new movie out of the old movies isn’t going to fix that!
I am all for having callbacks/homages to stuff in your work. In fact I love some movies/tv shows where you can spend the whole episode picking out the hidden (or spotting the not-so hidden) references. But they need to be done right. A line, a scene, a character walking in the background, a relief of robots carved in ancient temples’ cave paintings. Less is always more.
And Force Awakens had a few of those. And they were done great. What I am bitching about however, is the overall story is the original trilogy all over again, having been sliced fine to fit into one movie. (With tiny pieces of the prequel trilogy tossed on top.) There were SO MANY original stories that could have been adapted from the expanded universe (yes this old chestnut again.) or hell, they could have written something entirely new. They didn't even try.
Copy-Paste bits (that I noticed/felt were enraging):
- Villians? - Empire wannabes with Stormtrooper wannabes (that in a way are clone wannabes)
- Supervillian? - Vader wannabe that is underling of Palpatine wannabe
- Super Weapon? Death Star wannabe
- Macguffin that the whole universe wants? - plans entrusted to a droid for villians to chase
- Plucky hero? - slave girl on desert planet, combination of both the original male Skywalkers
- Hero(ine) meets droid - captured in a desert, while he was trying to find his "owner" gets caught up in galactic struggle
- Destroying superweapon? - take down shield generator and send X-Wings down a trench to blow shit up
- Wise little adorable alien giving the Hero(ine)s advice/kick in the arse – Yodaesque wannabe, she is, but speak normally, she does
- Shocking Family reveal? - Vader wannabe is related to (one of the) Hero(es)
- Angst? - Good Christ, Vader wannbe actually out whines Prequel Vader so hard I'm sure there's an award for it.
- Catwalk talk between father and son - “you know this to be true”, so child why you so dumb?
- Dramatic fall down giant exhaust shaft – quiet horror moment and then down the shaft he goes – feels a little familiar Disney!
And because they copy-pasted so much of the original trilogy, the little original pieces that they did make didn't always fit in smooth as silk. Left me with some questions....
- How did Rey survive on the desert planet as a child if her parents just sold her into pseudo-slavery? Did she live in some kind of slave orphanage? I can't imagine you could send out too many five year olds to haul scrap to make a living and expect to see them survive. And no hand-waving of "she's a jedi theories". Skywalker-mini still had mommy feeding him, even with his day job.
- How did Rey learn to pilot/be a mechanic for a (working) ship? All that time digging through the broken ones for parts does not give you that training/experience. Sure you might know what parts go where, but would you be able to diagnose what is wrong with them/what the going wrong will mean to the rest of the ship?
- If Finn was raised from infanthood to be a stormtrooper, wouldn't any of......let's call it his having a conscience (though that's probably not quite correct)..... either been snuffed out via brainwashing or caused him to have been snuffed out long before he could have been in the movie? There's no way he got down to that planet and it was his first time seeing anyone (civilian or fellow trooper) being hurt or killed. Even if all he did previously was clean the toilets, they still would have worked some kind of “murder first, question later” soldiering brainwashing into him from the start if the idea was for him to be part of an army.
- Did Finn really flee killing people only to join up with new friends and totally agree to start killing other people? Other people that I can only presume some of whom he knew and had grown up with? How the hell does that work? Rey is pretty, yes, but I'm not certain she's the type of girl you meet and immediately think "baby, I'd kill the only family I’ve known for you".
- Why did Han and Leia name their son after the character that they would have had the least affection for? Seriously, it would have made more sense to call the kid "Lando."
- If the new Death Star eats suns to power it, then why the hell isn't it a mobile station so they can run around draining stars that aren't theirs? They get a handful of shots off and then the planet dies because they've drained their own sun. Pretty sure you needed that for more than just your super-weapon, idiots. Does it really make the most sense to now abandon the weapon-planet and spend trillions of dollars making a new one?
- Why doesn't Luke take some fucking responsibility for Darth Wannabe? He buggers off to hide when he is either the only one that can fight the little shit or train other people to fight him. I get that he's sad for all the murder of his New Jedi peeps, but he really drops the fucking ball.
- Why is it that they hyped Captain Phasma like she was a hybrid bacon-transformer-rockstar and she wasn't even remotely interesting? You wanna make the next Boba Fett? Doesn't always work by giving the character all the logical points of cool-ness, and going “Look how cool this person is. See? They have everything they need to be cool.” The cool kids are cool without trying to be cool. They just are. Tried to hard there, Disney.
Stuff I hated so much I could rip out someone's heart and eat it in front of their children:
- Pretty much every moment of Vader wannabe. His very existence/backstory enrages me. And why? Because the Expanded Universe did it SO MUCH BETTER. Did Disney not even bother to do a hint of research?
- Vader wannabe's tantrums get a special mention. Is he really supposed to be 30 years old? (that's what I read somewhere) I would have pegged him at an immature 16. How in the hell did he get put in charge of anything, when every set back gets him whipping out the lightsaber and destroying what I can only assume is a lot of very expensive equipment, and probably the people around him besides? I can remember Vader killing people for incompetence, but not fucking up all of their shit to keep their predecessor from trying again.
- The tentacle monsters face humping the Millennium Falcon. I was feeling less “tense anticipation of the characters escape from them” than I was “in absolute disgust at seeing both what the creature was doing inside and out”.
- Finn killing Stormtroopers. I could respect him for deciding "killing is not for me" and wanting to escape. For him to go, "oh, I'll kill people, but only for a girl I have known five minutes", kinda does not make sense and irrationally irritates me beyond imagination.
- The weapon being a PLANET and therefore fixed in place when it needs a very important and yet extremely finite at the source power supply.
- Killing Han is also nearly a murdering offense, but I do understand the concept of drama. I just don’t have to like it.
But there were things that I liked in the movie. It wasn't all bad, it was just that the bad tainted the overall experience so much I couldn't get past it.
Stuff I did like:
As much as you will hear me complain about the characters, I did actually like Rey and Finn. I just feel that Rey is Luke Skywalker with his penis hacked off (and in love with a photo negative of StarLord) and Finn's existence doesn't actually make any sense. But they are both funny, charming and good heroes. They are wasted in this movie.
I loved seeing the main 3 (4 if you count Chewbacca, 6 if you count the Droids) again. And I liked how maybe they didn't live happily ever after, you still get the feeling that they've lived full lives and worked together(ish) this whole time as a family. D'awwwww
BB-8. I love BB-8. His little thumbs up to Finn (or as I first thought was him shooting Finn the bird) just made him my favourite. If he's the only one who lives through the whole new trilogy, I'll be cool with it.
Han and Leia - I love them as a couple. They always seem to love each other and yet be on each other's last nerve.
Maz Kanata (Yodaesque wannabe) was also very endearing. And she has a crush on Chewbacca. So cute. She can live too. And be in the other movies.
So I think I am out. It’s a funny thing to say, because you know I will still go to see the Rogue One movie and whatever Solo and Fett oneshots they make, because it stems from the old, and curiosity will drag me in. I’m just not going with the fandom for the new stuff. Not collecting it, not cheerleading it. Not supporting it. I’m done. Star Wars gets no more of my money.
I so was looking forwards to more Star Wars when Disney bought it. I would have never guessed they bought it to kill it and chop it up into little pieces to resell the most profitable bits.