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Patrick

Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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  1. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    IMDB lists Rian Johnson as the director of Star Wars: Episode VIII. It is my understanding that he will also direct Episode IX, but that may still be up for grabs. Episode VIII is already in production, or perhaps pre-production.

    So there’s that.

    I have a strong suspicion that there’s a bunch of coincidences in this film that will turn out to not be coincidences at all. For instance, for some reason the “old ally” Lor San Tekka, who knows exactly who Kylo Ren is and where he came from, just happens to be on the same planet (in the same vicinity!) as Rey, while in possession of the missing piece of a star map that leads to Luke Skywalker. Does that seem like a coincidence to you? Maybe the Falcon was a coincidence, maybe not.

    The tentacle monsters and boarding parties were necessary to get Han off of his bigger, nicer ship, and forget about delivering his cargo. We also see that Han is in a bad place, that’s he’s gone back to some very self-destructive behavior, and that meeting Rey somehow changes that.

    I don’t know anybody who really liked Starkiller Base. It was kind of extraneous and over the top and wedged in. By the way, I think the idea, as ludicrous as it sounds, is that it only temporarily drains the sun to darkness, and the sun then recharges itself once the weapon fires. That’s no more ludicrous than any of the other presumptions about the superweapon. General Hux’s Nazi rally was pretty good though.

    And yes, I think we will get more of the backstory of the First Order, Snoke and the Knights of Ren in the next movie. I think Luke might feel he needs to bring Rae up to speed on a few things.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Doctor Jay
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      @doctor-jay Wiki says he’s writing IX, but Colin Trevorrow is directing it. Of course, that could all change…Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Doctor Jay
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      You know, I don’t know we need to know all that much more than “The New Republic failed” in terms of broad historical and political backstory.

      As for the Max von Sydow character — rather obviously not a coincidence. Also, what a waste of a perfectly marvelous actor in Max von Sydow to have him on screen for less than sixty freakin’ seconds, never to use him again. He got a prominent enough billing that this wasn’t a cameo or even a “guest starring” or an “also” on the credit roll. And, the First Order didn’t kill him off even as they were sacking the village, at least not that we saw. I think we’ll be seeing him again in Episode VIII.

      Now, I guess that there is something of a plot hole there: wouldn’t Kylo Ren have been able to use his Force powers to figure out that this guy was a player? But then again Kylo Ren is a bit of a green ninja who knows some flashy tricks but hasn’t yet really developed his skills.

      So, I’m good with it. I’m ready to roll with it. I don’t need it all explained. You know what Star Wars movie did a whole lot of explaining stuff? The Phantom Menace. And that movie is affirmatively bad and easily the weakest of the Star Wars saga. The movies that worked well — A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back — these told their story and let the back story be a back story and didn’t try to read the Silmarillion out loud by way of exposition.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko
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        I don’t think the New Republic failed. (Erm, well, until events of this movie.)

        If anyone failed, it appears to be the Empire, which is calling itself a different name.

        Here is the only way I can make sense of what happened to get us to the point we’re at:

        The Rebellion had enough victories that it managed to claim territory, and, eventually, force a general peace with the Empire, or at least parts of it. There might even be a treaty, who knows. The new government is named the New Republic.

        Areas still under Empire control were still around, and at some point renamed itself the First Order. Possible theory: The Empire spiraled into randomness and disconnect after the death of Vader and the Emperor, and the First Order might have been the group to rise out of the ashes. Or, alternately, maybe the Empire just didn’t want to call themselves an Empire without an Emperor, so they just rebranded.

        These First Order worlds have something called the Resistance, which is sorta the Rebellion still going on. (But the *actual* Rebellion technically turned into the New Republic.)

        This Resistance is is (not-so-secretly) funded and maybe even operated entirely by New Republic (The fact everyone who was running the Rebellion now seems to be running the Resistance sends up some red flags there!), despite the fact the New Republic is *technically* at peace with the First Order.Report

  2. Avatar Guy
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    I think they did a pretty good job telegraphing that the characters who know what’s going on (Leia, Han, the old man from the beginning, and implicitly Luke) know a fair bit more about Snoke than they had a chance to tell Rey or Finn (and with them the audience); they might even have a better idea of who he is than Kylo Ren. Starkiller Base was annoying but to be expected; I think the movie would have been a better one without it but things like it are a bad habit that Abrams has. The mess of the Resistance, Republic, and First Order was also unnecessary, especially with the Republic knocked out of the fight before it really begins. I didn’t have a problem with Han’s death, or with the shear volume of stuff that happened in the film (although the very end at Luke’s planet was unnecessary and the repeated switching close ups of Rey and Luke were downright bad) but I’m usually very much ok with knowing what’s going to happen before it does and with long, convoluted works in general. As I already said elsewhere, I was very pleased to see a non-jedi doing things with a lightsaber and wish there had been a bit more of that, but I think there are plenty of people who feel the opposite way.Report

  3. Avatar Kim
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    Han and Chewy weren’t on a special quest for their old ship, they had been searching for it for years.
    I had it down as huh, it showed up on our screen with a flashing “Check Me Out, I look Interesting” (or, if you rather, “those people aren’t behaving normally. Something Odd is going on, and I smell profit!” Han is not a Ferengi, and isn’t actually super good at getting profit).Report

  4. Avatar Chris
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    Thinking now about the Abrams movies I’ve seen, particularly the Star Trek films, I suppose I should just start mourning now that I will never get to see interesting development in the Rey and Kylo Ren characters.Report

  5. Avatar North
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    I will note that Snoke is a TERRIBLE name for the big bad. Just terrible.Report

  6. Avatar North
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    says:

    Okay I’ve seen The Force Awakens now. Some non-spoiler opinions first: I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, it was a good romp and superior to all three prequels. I am not, however, a Warsie and my Hubby (who is) opined that Prequel #3 with its starship battle porn was still dear to his heart. I can understand that but the prequels had so much CGI background that they felt like half way to being animated movies. There’s nothing wrong with being an animated movie, I love me some animated movies, but animated/real life movies fall into an almost uncanny valley where nothing feels remotely real, I think it punches you in the suspension of disbelief. I also agree with many recappers that TFA draws enormously on the original trio of movies and feels almost like a reboot of them. We saw Abrams do the same stunt with Into Darkness though I’d submit that this attempt was far more successful. It makes sense since it plays to Abrams inclinations, lets him offer up a form of atonement for the prequels and is also commercially safer. I do not think this bodes ill for future movies; if TFA makes as much money as it looks to then Abrams will likely have free reign to stretch his wings in the following films and frankly I don’t think he could recap the original material much more in two more flicks.
    Despite this I think that the prequels were used and referenced in the TFA in inventive and clever ways.

    Spoiler stuff now that I’m well into my comment and safely free of the preview margins.
    -Snoke is a terrible, horrible, no good name for a supreme leader. Here’s a pro-tip Disney: if your big bad’s name is a couple letters away from Snookie, Snuke, Snork or Snorkle you need to hit the big red abort button without hesitation.
    -Rey is everything that Maribou said she was. I considered her a near perfect submission, feminine and strong yet unforced. I was charmed by her presence and manner, I rooted for her in her confrontations and I very much was interested to see what happens for her next. Her mental force-off with Han Jr. was excellent, just excellent.
    -The only way the movie could have telegraphed that she’s Luke’s daughter more obviously was if she had a Skywalker monogramed baby blanket. If she is indeed his daughter then why the fishing fish would he abandon her on that desert hellhole. It appears from the flashback that she was remanded into the custody of that horrible scrap merchant who hesitated not even an instant to call the First Order on her. That feels like an incredible plot hole to me. The girl could have realistically been expected to die, rather than endure and be unhappy.
    -On the same note, I would expect that those abandonment issues to present a significant rage/dark side story arc for Rey at some point.
    -I liked Fin’s story and would like to know more. The Empire/Order stopped using clones evidently but is replicating the effect by taking children from their families when they’re too young to remember them? What’s up with that? Fin, it seems, is a force sensitive thus a potential Jedi which lays interesting potential for the future flicks. Fin played a distinct sidekick role for much of the film but I didn’t mind it; I think he’s set up for some excellent development/exploration for future films.
    -Poe was ok. He filled a role. It was ok. What more can be said about Poe?
    -Ren hereafter Hans Jr. Was alright. His tantrums worked well for me as did the entire bit about feeling the draw of the light side of the Force. His Light Sabre seethed barely contained unlike the focused hum of the Skywalker family Sabre- clever and well done. Also those cross guards served practical use, color me surprised and impressed.
    -The Starkiller base was eyeball rolling awful. Seriously, another killer space ball? Also can we talk about economics here for a moment? They excavated a planet to make a planet sized death star that eats stars? Can anyone help me here? There’s so much wrong with that! First off the Empire with the resources of the Galaxy at its disposal built 2 death stars at enormous cost but we’re expected to believe that the First Order which is some kind of paramilitary organization could build something even bigger than that by itself in secret without anyone figuring that out? What the fishing fish? How is that possible let alone feasible?
    -Also can we talk about the mechanics of this weapon? It sucks in a star then spits it at an enemy system. What happens, precisely, after it sucks away its star? Does it just sit there or can this thing go to hyperspace and fly to a new star? If the former than it is idiotic and useless, if the latter than my economics complaints increase to screams. Everything about Starkiller Base was implausible, stupid and senseless.
    -When the base was fired my Husband (a Warsie) flipped out. Did they just BLOW UP CORUSCANT?? I did a bit of reading on the matter and to translate that sentiment for most of you in the Star Wars Universe blowing up Coruscant would be somewhat akin to blowing up Jerusalem, Rome, DC, Brussels and New York all rolled up into one here on earth. The place is apparently historically, economically and politically paramount in the SWU. It turns out, however, that in TFA the Republic Senate was not located on Coruscant but rather on a new urban world called Hosnian Prime. This of course begs the question, why the hell is the Republic based on this nowhere world now?
    -All this leads into a strong criticism of the film- It elides politics entirely and thus leaves a void there. Why is the Republic the way it is? What exactly does the First Order stand for (apparently order per their speechifying), what the heck happened to the Galaxy from Return of the Jedi to now? For the Resistance and the First Order to make much sense it sounds like unified galactic government is pretty much a thing of the past with the Republic being relegated more to an overarching UN style organization with militias, planetary governments and para-military organizations running amok in the galaxy. Doesn’t sound like things improved much from Palpatine snuffing it.
    -The Force Awakens makes a very useful contrast with the prequel movies in terms of fighting style. In the prequels the Jedi and Sith engage in some utterly madcap ever topping themselves lightsaber battles. In the TFA the light saber fights are, instead, entirely amateur. Hans Jr, Finn and Rey basically flail at each other.
    -This same contrast is an illustration of how Anakin Skywalker brought “Balance” to the Force. In his involvement first in the Jedi Purge, then in preventing the few survivors from passing on their knowledge and finally in his personal destruction of the Sith Master/Apprentice duo Anakin Skywalker brought balance to the force by essentially destroying every highly trained force user in the Galaxy. I’d submit that Luke, a hastily trained bare bones Jedi certainly doesn’t count.
    -With TFA now in cannon the traditional Jedi training methods seem to stand heavily indicted. Anakin was separated from his Mother and intensely trained and eventually turned to the dark side in rage and confusion. Luke was raised to near adulthood by a strict but supportive family and turned out as a tolerable Jedi who then dutifully sought to resume traditional training methods. Han Jr. was apparently taken from his parents early on and promptly went dark side and did a Sandy Hook on the new generation of Jedi. Maybe a rethink on this train em up from babies is required.
    Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to North
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      “Here’s a pro-tip Disney: if your big bad’s name is a couple letters away from Snookie, Snuke, Snork or Snorkle you need to hit the big red abort button without hesitation.”

      Two words: Count Dooku.

      “The only way the movie could have telegraphed that she’s Luke’s daughter more obviously was if she had a Skywalker monogramed baby blanket.”

      I disagree.

      Based upon only one irrefutable fact that clearly defines her genetic line. She has a mild British accent. Ergo, she’s not Luke’s daughter. She’s Obi-Wan’s granddaughter. Oh, I suppose it’s possible that she’s both. Actually, that would bring in the weird romantic dynamic that is missing from this trilogy so far. Okay, now I’ve convinced myself, she’s of both the Kenobi and Skywalker genetic lines.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to North
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      says:

      As I wrote in @maribou ‘s thread, my bet is that your last point, about Jedi training having endured an irredeemable indictment by the failure of Anakin Skywalker, is going to be vindicated. Luke will pass along the training and discipline, but assent to his daughter forging her own path instead of trying to dictate the ancient Jedi Code to her.Report

  7. Avatar Glyph
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    says:

    I have had it with these motherfishing Wars in these motherfishing Stars!

    Just kidding. Also, I’ve never seen Snakes on a Plane.Report

  8. Avatar DavidTC
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    says:

    Okay, first of all, what’s with all the spoiler tags in comments here? This post *explicitly* has spoilers in it, and the comments are going to have spoilers too. If this is somehow confusing, be aware this comment has, duh, untagged spoilers in it.

    I hated the stupid plot device of the Millennium Falcon winding up just happening to sit on the same planet where the droid with the secret plans winds up *and* Han Solo happens to be looking for his ship right about the same time that the two intrepid heroes make off with his old ship.

    The Millennium Falcon being on the same planet as the droid with a secret plan isn’t a plot device, or at least isn’t any sort of *coincidental* plot device. Having new heroes in a sequel run across the heroes from the previous movie and join up is not a ‘plot device’, it’s just how movies work. It would have been a coincidence if the new characters had somehow stumbled across the *Resistance* by chance without knowing where they are…but they didn’t. (The Resistance showed up because of that person in the bar. Not Han calling Leia, which is what I expected.)

    Now, if Rey turns out to be someone actually *connected* to the main characters from the previous movies, such as various hypothesises about her parents have put forward, sure, that’s a coincidence, but it’s a *Force* coincidence, so we sorta have to give that a pass in Star Wars.

    Now, there is one actual coincidence: Han and Chewie stumbling on the Falcon like twenty seconds after it leaves the planet. I think the movies *tries* to explain that, but I would have liked to have some sort of tracking beacon (That Rey and Finn accidentally activated) or something. And it probably should have taken longer, because Han and Chewie logically shouldn’t have already been in the system.

    Even if we really, really needed that scene with the monster in that big-ass ship (Which we didn’t), how about having that ship run by bounty hunters that catch the Falcon (Because the First Order wants them.), Rey and Finn manage to sneak out of the Falcon and hide, and then Han and Chewie show up a short time later, having tracked the Falcon’s beacon down, and attempt to negotiate for their ship back with people they already have a dubious history with? And then Rey recognized Han Solo’s name, remembers he’s a Resistance General (Well, was, but she doesn’t know that), and is someone they can turn BB8 over to.

    And she tries to help with the doors, and it all plays out almost exactly the same.Report

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