Thursday, December 24, 2015

I think it's The Force Returns or something?


So hey, there's this new Star Wars movie, maybe you've heard of it? I saw it! And it's pretty good! I enjoyed it! Given the lowered expectations of the prequels, it was probably even better than it had to be! It even successfully balanced old and new characters, which looked like the biggest potential stumbling block. So good for it, by all means. Now, let's complain about it, shall we? SPOILERS APLENTY AFTER THE JUMP.

The need to set up a situation similar to the one in the first trilogy results in a kind of forced and incoherent mash. So...there's this huge, badass evil Order that just kinda...set itself up, seemingly out of nowhere? And there's a resistance, but there's also still a republic? I don't get it. As my brother noted, it would've been a lot more interesting (and comprehensible) if the movie was built around the inevitable power vacuum after the death of the emperor and Vader in RotJ. But I suppose that would've risked not seeming sufficiently Star-Wars-y.

I cannot abide this Kylo Ren character. I suppose I appreciate, sort of, the effort to make him a different kind of villain, but the execution falls badly flat. The decision that he should be Han and Leia's son smacks so obviously of a desperate need to do something to mimic “no, I am your father,” for starters, but that's not even the main thing. I get that they were cognizant of the fact that he comes across as whiny and immature, what with him randomly breaking shit with his light saber when he's frustrated, but it means that his villainy—even after his patricide—just comes off as petulant teenage rebellion. He also completely devalues The Force, which, the last I heard, was meant to require discipline. But now...evidently not. It's certainly notable that his ranting Nazi, uh, co-general (I think? Who the hell knows what the hierarchy is) is so much more effective.

Finn makes a decent protagonist, but even considering that the Star Wars movies have always had a simplified psychology to them (Luke's aunt and uncle being murdered didn't phase him much, recall), the movie really doesn't do enough with what must be massive psychological turmoil: he's been raised and conditioned his whole life to be a storm trooper...and then he just stops and that's that, no conflict, no difficulty dealing with the outside universe, everything's fine. There were huge dramatic possibilities here, and the movie ignored all of them.

Once again, the film's devotion to aping the original bites it in the ass: the fact that the Last Boss is a Death Star only bigger is truly risible, as is the fact that the fight against it is basically identical to the one in the first movie. Definitely the weakest part of this one.

All that said, one excellent choice they made was to hold off on Luke until the movie's closing moments. It effectively builds up his mystique, and sends viewers (myself included!) away thinking, oh man—what badass stuff is he going to do in the next one? Of course, having done all this, the next movie is going to have to actually make good on this one's promises. I truly have no idea if they're sufficiently savvy to do so.

3 Comments:

Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

I like the movie as well but I have to admit, there was WAY to much similar moments. I wish they would do a bit better job of hidding it.

The movie in a way felt very safe but... after the prequels I guess it was the way to go.
How do you feel about the character of Ray? Half of the interent (the real force) loves her, other conisder her a Mary Sue type character. I'm split. I think she's the likeble character but the fact that - unlike Finn she has no personal flaws, comical trades and the movie devotes so much time to showing of how cool she is in every aspect... it kindof feels one-dimentional to me (unlike Finn, who's a great characther and much more rounded one)

8:02 PM  
Blogger Regular GeoX pontificated to the effect that...

I think a lot of people are badly misusing the term "Mary Sue," which is meant to apply to fanfics where the author inserts a character blatantly meant to be an authorial stand-in who impresses the established cast with how awesome she is/becomes their best friends/shows them up. It's not just "someone who's good at stuff and doesn't have flaws," and I fail to see how that would be objectionable if it were.

That said, I think you're right--she's really not very interesting, and doesn't seem to have many discernible personality traits. Let's hope they remedy that in the sequels.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

Hum... I honestly didn't know it fanfiction exclusive - I just asume it's term that just refers to character that over ideal in every way.

4:07 PM  

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