Some Thoughts on #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

  1.  **SPOILER ALERT** – If you haven’t seen it, don’t read any further.
  2. I loved it. As many have mentioned, JJ brought the magic back through set design, realistic (non-CGI) aliens and fight sequences, and taking this story where it needs to go.
  3. The major criticism I keep hearing is that TFA is just a rehash of Episode IV. A few things there:
    1. This makes sense, since both previous trilogies are interlocking ring sets. (See In other words, they all repeat one another, and the trilogies are structured similarly, and there are inclusios everywhere. And further, therefore, this isn’t actually a criticism. It’s how Star Wars works.
    2. Again, it makes sense because what made the original trilogy great was its simplicity. Farm boy to hero. Love story. Good v. evil. A chance at redemption. Temptation. Father and Son. These elements were overshadowed in the prequels. They’re back, front and center, in Ep VII.
    3. More particularly, I want to mention a few things about this being a repeat of Episode IV (and therefore also of Ep I). Certainly in many, many ways this is true. Particularly in its beginning and end – desert outpost, Millennium Falcon escape, learning about the Force on MF, finding one spot of weakness on the enemy’s apocalyptic weapon, new force adept hero traveling to find lone Jedi to train them – TFA is definitely framed by Episode IV. But if you stop there you’ve missed the most important way that Episode VII is connected to both the prequels and the original trilogy.
    4. Episode VII is also in perhaps the most important ways drawing off of Ep V (and therefore also of Ep II). The penultimate climactic scene of Ep VII is a reverse of the same sequence in Ep V. Whereas Luke resists his father in Ep V, and in virtually the same visual manner (THE BRIDGE) as in TFA, Ren does not. Luke seems to seal his fate to the light (although temptation is still to come) in that climactic scene by resisting but losing to his father; Ren seems to seal his fate to the dark side in Ep VII by resisting and defeating his father. Notice also that Rey experiences the same type of Force training as Luke does in Ep IV and V, but especially V as typified in the hallucinogenic cave scene on Dagobah. The same occurs for Rey in the basement of Maz’ bar.
    5. In other words, TFA isn’t just a 30 years later reboot of ANH; it’s TESB reversed and ensconced within an ANH reboot. The main point is Kylo Ren’s continued march down the path of the Dark Side, in contradistinction to Luke’s continued march towards the light in TESB.
    6. I think Abrams structured this movie this way for a reason. This movie is Ep V in reverse via Kylo/his dad because *this trilogy won’t be the same as the first two.* It’s going to end with the Force actually being balanced, something that apparently didn’t happen even at the end of VI, presumably because Snoke was out there somewhere unbeknownst to Luke etc. So this movie starts by rehashing V, VIII will rehash III/VI, and IX will be something we’ve never seen before. I think.
  4. Some other criticisms addressed:
    1. Finn’s character shifts in personality so quickly after his defection because he’s awakened to the Force, too, just not as quickly as Rey. Kylo doesn’t just notice he’s not shooting anyone in the skirmish on Jakku; he notices that Finn’s awakened to the Force in that opening sequence. That explains his truncated abilities with the light saber twice later in the movie. We’ll see him become more fully and consciously Force adept in the next film, I’m guessing.
    2. Rey is not another Luke. She’s more powerful than him and anyone else so far, apparently. Which I think is awesome. Also, it explains her almost immediate success throughout.
    3. Again, therefore, this is not just a rehash. Kylo *isn’t* Darth Vader. He hasn’t finished his training, he’s erratic, he’s overcome with emotion and not just using it in battle. He clearly has different, and maybe better, abilities than DV. He’s not DV. Rey isn’t Luke (see #4.2); Finn isn’t just a new Han (see #4.1).
    4. Finally, and maybe most importantly, I think 4.2 and 4.3 explain who Rey is. She’s Ren’s sister (twin?). These two will balance the Force through being polar opposites. Again, think about it. Rey follows Luke’s path in IV and V, while Ren does exactly the opposite of Luke in V.
  5. One final thought – it occurred to me as the credits were rolling that this is the first Star Wars film I’ve seen in theaters where I didn’t know what was going to happen. RotJ came out when I was a newborn, and we always knew where the prequels were headed, even if it we didn’t know exactly how they’d take us there. I’m in brand new territory here.

So, I think TFA is brilliant. I want to see it as many times as possible in theaters.

Thank you, JJ.

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

  1. Nice thoughts, Matt. I think it’s fairly obvious that Rey is Kylo Ren’s sister (and thus the daughter of Leia and Han). The question is why don’t Han and Leia seem to know it (Han seems to have a moment of suspicion when he first meets her). Here’s some speculation that would tie in with some of yours:

    Luke was training Kylo and Rey, along with a bunch of other young Jedi. Kylo is seduced to the Dark Side and, in a repeat of Anakin’s slaughter of the Padawan from Ep 3, kills all of Luke’s young Jedi (I think we see a glimpse of this scene in Rey’s hallucination when she touches the lightsaber). However, Kylo doesn’t kill his sister (perhaps Luke saves her; perhaps Kylo spares her in a moment of mercy). Either way, she and Luke escape, while Han and Leia believe that Kylo killed their daughter along with the rest; thus, they have no reason to think she’d still be alive. Luke, realizing that there’s a need to preserve balance in the Force, runs away, working his way across the galaxy with R2 (thus explaining why R2 has most of the map), Rey, and the old guy who has the remainder of the map at the beginning of the movie. Luke leaves Rey on Jakku to protect her, with old man close by to keep an eye on her (along with the last bit of the map). Luke then goes into exile.

    The question is: why? Why does Luke run away from this new battle with Kylo? Here’s where I’d borrow part of an interesting theory about the original trilogy:

    (Obviously this theory is mistaken; it thought Kylo would be Dark Luke. But the analysis of the original could still work).

    The short of it is that Luke did go to the Dark Side (at least part way) in the original trilogy. He fails in the Cave; Yoda says he will be unable to resist Vader if he quits his training early (which he does). He succumbs to passion and his care for his friends and runs off. As a result, he falls to the Dark Side in the Emperor’s throne room (at least part way). (This would be an alternative to why the Force isn’t balanced at the end of Ep. 6). Thus, when he tries to train young Kylo, he’s unable to keep him from the Dark Side; his training is tainted, as it were. Thus, Kylo succumbs to Snoke, and Luke is forced into exile (like Yoda and Obi-Wan between Ep 3 and 4), until the Force seeks to reassert balance by bringing Rey out of hiding.

    There are a couple of variations that could happen within this. Perhaps Luke is legitimately running away from responsibility; he failed with Kylo and he wants out. The look on his face at the end Ep 7 suggests that as a possibility. On the other hand, perhaps he’s learned how the Force works in this ebb and flow fashion, and he’s waiting for the flow to return. My guess is that it’s something more like the former, and Ep. 8 will be Luke getting back in the game, reluctantly training Rey (and Finn), before having a showdown with Kylo (who will kill him). Thus, the old characters will give way to the new (Han had his farewell, Luke will have his next). Then it will be up to Rey, Finn, and Poe to take down Snoke and either kill or redeem Kylo.

    I think that’s one of the main things I liked about the movie; it tied in well with the earlier movies while also leaving a good number of hints about where things might go, thus building anticipation for Ep. 8.

    • thought rey was lukes daughter based on wat was said about the light saber being lukes and how it was connected to rey which would make kylo and ren cousins

  2. I think the major thing that disappoints me in this film is how quickly Rey (and to a lesser extent Finn) becomes a force user and good at it, not to mention very able to wield a light saber with no experience whatsoever. Anakin, the chosen one, was too old at like 9 years old to begin daily training for many years to become a jedi. You need daily training from a younger age apparently, because it’s so hard to learn and get good at. Yet here’s Rey, using the force that she has no training in, and holding her own in a light saber fight against a mostly trained sith. It was too convenient for me. Like, they sped up her ascension but didn’t give us the montage. She’s just great immediately. That let me down, and to me, belittles what it means to be a force user and jedi. Otherwise, it was really good.

  3. also ending means much more if they r ..means a father daughter reunion at the end..which makes the ending of movie much more beautiful imo..also being lukes daughter might explain why she is so powerful..also in her flashback, she flashes to an image of r2 and luke…with his bionic hand

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