Spoilers a Spoilin’ to Spoil the Spoils

ridiculous-car-spoilers-01

Spoiler alert.

Welp. I finally did it. I went and saw the Star Wars.

I think I waited the right amount of time. There were only 12 people in the theater including one annoying brat. These days that qualifies as the best moviegoing experience of all time. Even so, we still defied the odds and had one of the glowing-screen folk in our midst. Who says you can’t have it all?

If you haven’t seen the movie yet you might want to leave now. And hates you, I do.

Here’s a quick refresher to catch up those of you who haven’t heard about Star Wars before. It’s a subtle theatrical exploration of the concept of binary thinking and dualism. Me good. You bad. Me Tarzan. You Jane. Light meat. Dark meat. Night. Day. Boy. Girl. Blue. Pink. Open. Closed. Heaven. Hell.

You get the idea. Just in case you don’t, that’s where Star Wars rides in like John Wayne to save the day. Speaking of the Duke…

“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”

–George Lucas, Star Wars observer

I digress (this has nothing to do with the new movie) but that’s some of the sickest shit I’ve ever heard. Apparently, according to this guy, anyone who’s ever done something on the yonder side o’ the binary can’t be a hero. Hell, he can’t even have a wife.

The concept of the anti-hero is lost on George Lucas. Or, maybe not. After all he’s the creator of Jar Jar Binks.

The point, perhaps too subtle for Lucas, is that Han shooting first is one of the elements that made the movie was it was. I have to use the past tense here since the original version is no longer made available. Places like iTunes only offer the George Lucas table scraps. Which is perfect for followers of the Greedo Shot First sect.

Yes, Han shot first. Everyone except George Lucas knows this. That was the whole point of the scene. It established the character. It gave him street cred. Without it, his salvation at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) makes no sense. Mythology? That’s the absolute thinking of someone who drank too much of his own Kool-Aid. Lucas is a Sith? Absolutely.

Anyway, enough about that. We all know you’re here to enjoy me using my lightsaber to ginsu the new movie. The cutting room floor has nothing on me.

When I talk about Star Wars with my wife I sound exactly like Dr. Sheldon Cooper. I admit that. #firststep

The Force Awakens has a Mozart problem. Too many notes. What is a “note,” pray tell? George Lucas has his notes much like J. J. Abrams has his infamous “mystery box.” Look it up. It’s a thing.

A note is storytelling element or moment that is repeated. Oft repeated. Ad infinitum. Until one feels queasy and feels the urge to vomit. Until one screams inside one’s own head. You get the idea.

Examples of notes? It might be a repeated phrase. Someone yelling the word “no!!!” That whole light/dark thing. I’ll provide a few more examples as we move along, move along.

sandpeople-jesusThe Force Awakens starts off on a desert planet. (Clever readers may be now detecting their first hint of note.) But wait. It’s not Tatooine after all. As Abrams breathlessly informed advance media, it’s a planet called Jakku and a whole new place. Which, as it turns out, it absolutely indiscernible from Tatooine. Notes.

Important information has been secreted away inside a droid who escapes to the planet surface and gets chased by stormtroopers. Yes, that’s the plot of the new movie. You just can’t make shit like this up. Unless you’re using the original movies as a blueprint. Notes.

That new Star Wars movie isn’t canon, right?!

Now it’s time to check off those formulaic boxes. Rey is the new Luke Skywalker? Check. Finn is the Han Solo? Check. Poe Dameron is badass? Check. Maz Kanata is the new Yoda? Check. Han Solo is the new Obi-Wan Kenobi/Qui Gon Jinn? Check. Bad guy with a mask and a voice changer? Check. Mysterious hologram giant head of a super evil villain in a special room where people kneel and bow? Check. Super powerful weapon that blows up planets? Checkity-check-check-check.

Now playing the role of the Empire is the First Order. Now playing the role of the Rebellion is the Resistance. I figured after the destruction of the second Death Star the Rebellion was well on it’s way to becoming the new Establishment. It was their day. They were in charge. Ewoks even sang a song about it. But now somehow they’re the Resistance. And, oh yeah, the First Order has stormtroopers and TIE fighters and the Resistance has X-wings. Any resemblance to previous movies is purely intentional.

In fact, things have gone so horribly wrong since we thought it was safe to leave the galaxy in the hands of Luke, Han, and Leia, that people nowadays don’t even know about the Force. Lightsabers? What are those? Darth Vader? Who’s he? Han Solo? You mean he’s real? Who knew our heroes could fuck things up so badly?

Speaking of Leia, remember when Obi-Wan said Luke was their last hope? And Yoda said, “No, there is another.” We all know he was talking about Luke’s twin sister Leia. (Obi-Wan later explicitly says same.) The original trilogy leaves us with the belief that it is her destiny to become a Jedi, too. And we know she’s going to be badass. What happens instead? She gets promoted to the rank of General where she languishes behind a desk. Apparently she has no Force powers at all (except tingly feelings) despite all the midichlorians pumping through her veins. “I don’t wanna be a Jedi like my father,” Leia said, stamping her feet angrily.

Everyone in the Star Wars universe has daddy issues.

Wait. Kylo Ren has Darth Vader’s mask? We know that sucker got burned in the pyre on Endor by Luke Skywalker himself. Apparently the mask survived the fire. Okay, now what? We have to believe that Luke decides to keep it as a momento (unlikely) or that he leaves it there for a surviving stormtrooper to find and keep as a war souvenir.

Meanwhile, down on Tatooine, I mean Jakku, we meet the scavenger Rey, a scrappy loner with a past. And a pilot, too. For reasons unknown she scours for parts inside Empire junk that literally litters the entire planet. Somehow, even though they look ancient, she’s still able to come up with parts that have value which she returns to the nearest grocery store and redeems them for deposit value.

Around that same time a defective stormtrooper, Finn, rescues a heroic X-wing pilot and steals a TIE fighter. Even though he’s not rated on the craft, Poe Dameron quickly learns how to fly the thing. (Just like Will Smith in Independence Day. Yeah, that’s plausible.) Even so, they get distracted by their own witty banter and take fire, which only damages them enough to deposit them safely on the planet surface.

Long story short, Finn and Rey are quickly hunted down and manage to dance around TIE fighter laser blasts long enough to make a run for a nearby pile of junk. Yep. You guessed it. That hunk of junk turns out to be nothing less than the legendary Millennium Falcon, although strangely no one had a clue. That’s one well kept secret. And, luckily, it’s unlocked, the keys are in the ignition, and it’s got a full tank of gas. It’s 300 miles to Chicago. It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Yes, I also had a cameo in Star Wars The Force Awakens. I played the part of Bantha Doo Doo #7.

After a shaky start, Rey quickly masters the ship and is soon flying it better than Han Solo ever did. Who needs him? Despite this, he still shows up (with a youthful Chewbacca) and is soon hogging lines from the newbies.

They soon come up with some zany plan. Whatevs.

Soon we meet Maz Kanata, the new Yoda. She may not be a Jedi master but she’s got something going on. The house she’s had for thousands of years is quickly blow to bits by stormtrooper meanies. Stay tuned to future installments to learn more.

brienne-of-tarth-vader-star-wars-episode-vii-gwendoline-christie-as-brienne-of-tarth-vaderOne cool new character is Captain Phasma, the most stylish stormtrooper in galactic history. She’s played by the actor who brings Brienne of Tarth to life on Game of Thrones. I’ve instantly gone from wanting to be cleaved by sword to craving a shot from a blaster in the gut. She’s so dreamy. Swoon.

She’s the keeper of the stormtroopers. We learn early on that they have to be “conditioned,” something she tries to do with Finn but fails. At last, some of the exciting stormtrooper backstory is being given the exposition it so richly deserves.

But wait. What’s this? The First Order decides to hold a pep rally. Ever seen 4.2 trillion stormtroopers standing in formation? Fun fact: Only one of them is a live actor. The rest were digitally added. Yawn. That’s so Lord of the Rings and The Phantom Menace.

Weirder, though, is the pep rally itself. Some guy takes the stage and delivers a motivational speech. To stormtroopers? These conditioned fellows? Who knew that they needed coddling? Memorandum. To: Stormtroopers. From: Management. Subject: Team meeting. Attendance is mandatory. For absolutely no reason at all we’re going to lay out all of our plans. We want you to feel included. If you have any ideas be sure to drop them in the suggestion box.

Chandler Bing reviews Star Wars: Could that Nazi imagery BE any more subtle?!

More stuff happens but I’m getting bored with this. Kylo Ren is the new Darth Vader. He’s an emo master of the Dark Side. So much so that he even has a defective red lightsaber he built from his own Star Wars Lego set. He has some of the strongest Force powers we’ve ever seen. Stopping a laser blast in its tracks? Immobilizing people with a gesture? Helping himself to knowledge locked away in a resistant mind? No problem. Dick Cheney would have loved this guy.

Rey has some Force powers of her own but she has never been trained. Hell, she’s barely even heard of the Force and considers it a myth. We can’t let that get in that way of the plot, though. Strapped to a chair she has a light bulb go off and realizes she can suggest to the weak-minded stormtrooper to let her go, and be a dear and leave me your weapon, too. It’s a perfect example of an awesome scene that makes absolutely no sense.

I thought Star Wars TFA was a fresh look at the worn out “good vs. evil” paradigm. We don’t often see such subtle storytelling.

Eventually she goes up against Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle. What? Yeah, that. The well-trained master of the dark side up against an untrained neophyte of the light side who’s basically never even held a lightsaber before.

What should happen is that Kylo cuts her in half in about 4.2 seconds. But she gets the better of him. Yeah. She’s that good.

Say what you will about George Lucas but in six Star Wars movies he made there was always a duel with people who actually knew lightsabers.

Suffice it to say a lot of shit in this movie makes no sense at all. We’re just supposed to enjoy J. J. Abrams whipping shit out of his “mystery box” because it’s entertaining.

Eventually the movie wraps up in a very carefully laid out way, perfectly setting the stage for the next movie. We all heard Mark Hamill was in this movie, too? No worries. Let’s fly over and say howdy. You’ll literally find him as the guru at the top of the mountain. Even though he sucks so bad at training Jedi. He’s special.

Mark Hamill must be pretty steamed about that Oscar snub.

I have many more thoughts but I’m pushing 2,000 words and that’s a lot. So I’ll cut the post here like a severed arm on a cantina’s floor.

My rating?

I give Star Wars The Force Awakens two lightsabers. Two lightsabers right through the gut!

star-wars-force-awakens

9 responses

  1. My sons saw this and let’s be real, it’s Disney. Made to really appeal to the 12-15 year olds who never saw the first the episodes. Lots of plot holes and just ridiculous moves and action shots. I’ll wait for it to come out on dvd and if I fall asleep it’ll be in the comfort of my own chair.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, yeah. Disney. How could I forget? Because of that I had to sit through trailers for cartoon movies. Blech! And the opening wasn’t quite the same without the 20th Century Fox fanfare. Boo! Hiss!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some times those trailers are better than the actual movie!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very funny and well written. Haven’t been to an actual movie theater since the theaters reported having….bedbugs…yuck. Don’t know which is harder to stomach these days, the dribble coming out of Hollywood disquised as a “movie” or the thought of……bedbugs …….aaaaarrrgghh. *barf*

    Waiting for Netflix- good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Could be a long wait. Star Wars movies aren’t available on Netflix. I’ve noticed that certain movies aren’t available on that service. Like movies I want to watch. They have plenty of the other kind, though. 🙂

      Like

  3. I’m going to repost my entire analysis of the film right here. If you want to see it with pictures, go here: http://wp.me/P4V4lR-xO

    Be warned, there will be major spoilers for The Force Awakens found on this page. If you don’t want to know anything of the film, look away now.

    Still here?

    Final warning.

    Ok, here we go.

    The Factions

    The New Republic is referenced a few times in this film, but doesn’t appear to be operating directly against the First Order (which is seeking to emulate the Empire). Instead, the New Republic uses a proxy that it supports – the Resistance, that carries out missions against the First Order. During the course of the film, the Republic’s key worlds and all (if not most) of its fleet are destroyed, which presents some interesting questions:

    Why was the New Republic’s fleet concentrated around a handful of systems?
    Why was the New Republic only operating via the Resistance?

    In respect of the first point, it could be that the Republic feared a direct attack from the First Order on its most important worlds, so kept its fleet near those worlds. It’s mentioned in some of the novels that the Republic intentionally mothballed a large chunk of its military, out of fear of being seen to be similar to the Empire that it replaced. It may not have much of a fleet beyond that which is stationed at key locations. Its leadership may have also been worried about acts of military aggression against the First Order being seen as too Empire-like.

    This would explain the Resistance. An organisation sponsored by the New Republic but not given any direct aid, and free to make its own operational choices could give the Republic deniability of interfering with First Order affairs. Given the Resistance could only send in a small group of X-Wings to destroy Starkiller Base, it seems that their resources are highly limited – and the loss of the New Republic’s leadership and fleet means new equipment is not forthcoming.

    The First Order is an effort to restore Imperial ideals – only it would seem the First Order is even more aggressive than the government it seeks to emulate. The wanton destruction of several worlds easily rivals the death tolls the Empire visited upon its own populace, and like the Empire, the First Order is controlled by Dark Side Force users.

    Their approach is pretty violent, even down to smaller, more intimate settings, such as the slaughter of captives on Jakku.

    Beyond the sight of a Star Destroyer and Starkiller Base, the First Order’s resources are unknown.

    The Technology

    We don’t really see anything new of note in terms of technology, beyond Starkiller Base (which is in itself another Death Star in all but name). What this base (named after the original name for Luke Skywalker in the early drafts of Star Wars) does demonstrate is the remarkable ability of factions in Star Wars to regulate and control vast amounts of energy. The facility (which was, according to the new novels, constructed within the planet it resides on, also demonstrating how good Star Wars construction technology is once again) absorbed two stars during the course of the film, storing that power before focusing it and projecting it. This is simply immense.

    An apparent inconsistency has been pointed out that Starkiller Base uses stars as the power source for its weapon, and that after using one to destroy the New Republic’s key worlds, there wouldn’t be any left to use when they planned to destroy the Resistance! However, this is easily dealt with.

    The first and most obvious answer is that the base was in a binary star system. Other possibilities include the base being capable of FTL travel, or it was able to reach distant stars via FTL (it did, after all, project its power in this fashion). Any answer would work, but the last two allow for the base to continue being a threat after it had used all the stars in one system (it is said in the novel that the base has FTL).

    Another, small change is the appearance of TIE Fighters with rear gunners. This is quite a useful development from the First Order’s point of view!

    The Characters

    We are introduced to a number of new faces in The Force Awakens, all of whom have a role to play in making the film what it is.

    Poe Dameron

    Poe Dameron is a crack pilot with the Resistance, and he is also trusted with important missions – given he was to retrieve highly vital information about Luke’s whereabouts. He does not easily crack under interrogation, even when subjected to Force-related torture (in fact, he even attempts to make light of his situation!). It would also be fair to describe him as loyal – he is prepared to risk much for the Resistance, including his own life.

    Beyond this, we don’t get to learn too much about him.

    Hux

    General Hux is the very definition of a fanatic. His devotion to the First Order is as complete as Poe’s is to the Resistance. To offer up a clue as to just how firmly Hux believes in the goals and policies of the Order, it is he who suggests to Supreme Leader Snoke the idea of using Starkiller base to destroy the New Republic’s key worlds, and it is Hux who gives an impassioned speech as to the chaos of the New Republic and the control and security of the First Order. Whilst Kylo Ren is dangerous as a Dark Side Force user, Hux is a true believer, and that makes him more dangerous, for there can be no doubting that he will stop at nothing to achieve the First Order’s goals.

    Hux is not afraid of Ren, which is interesting, given that Ren could in theory kill Hux with a thought. Hux is prepared to speak his mind to Snoke in contradiction of Ren, a potentially risky move, but it shows that his contribution to the First Order is highly valued.

    Snoke

    Supreme Leader Snoke himself is something of a mystery. I’ve seen fan theories that suggest he may in fact be Darth Plagueius, but unless this is backed up by hard evidence it remains fan fiction. He is the man behind Kylo Ren’s corruption to the Dark Side, but the how, when and why of this remains shrouded. Snoke is the Emperor figure of this new trilogy, but so far, is calmer and more stable than the Palpatine of Return of the Jedi. It remains to be seen if he remains that way.

    Finn

    Finn is one of the three most important new characters in the film. A Stormtrooper to begin with, his (possibly) first direct experience of combat – and subsequent orders to slaughter unarmed prisoners – is enough to persuade Finn he wants nothing to do with the First Order and he helps Poe to escape – albeit largely out of self-preservation. It is his survival instinct that ultimately guides him to Rey and the Falcon, and from there, to Han, Chewie and the Resistance. His motives shift from survival to a desire to help those he begins to care about, as he’s prepared by the end to risk his life to save Rey, more than once. It would more than fair to say that Finn ultimately proves himself to be quite brave.

    It would seem that Finn has some latent Force ability. He felt the destruction of the New Republic’s key systems, which might suggest he could be a Jedi in the future.

    Rey

    Rey is the embodiment of what a strong lead character should be in this day and age – one not defined by her gender. The fact that she is a woman is pretty much incidental – she is a true equal to the other characters, which makes a refreshing change. Before I continue, I must address the charges that she is something of a Mary Sue (a character who can do no wrong, a projection of the writer’s desired self-image into the film or book). Rey does not come through unscathed in this film – she still has no idea of who her family is, nor where they are. She is kidnapped by Kylo Ren and, though she was able to escape her cell, she was still totally dependent upon outside help to escape the planet. When she and Finn confront Ren at the end of the film, she is initially rendered unconscious!

    There’s still a great deal we don’t know about Rey. Her strength in the Force is quite clear, and she had a powerful connection to Luke’s lightsaber, but we won’t know more about what that all means until Episode VIII.

    Kylo Ren

    Kylo Ren has to be one of the most fascinating villains to appear in the Star Wars saga. To me personally, I would describe him as infinitely more complex than Anakin Skywalker ever was, with a desperation to prove himself and a powerful fear of failure. His motivation to become a disciple of the Dark Side is based on his desire to emulate Darth Vader, but his wish to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps is (according to the novel) based on a lie. Ren doesn’t truly understand what was driving Vader, nor why Vader turned back from the Dark Side.

    Ren’s fears are based on the intriguing idea that he could ‘fall’ to the Light Side. His connection to his family is the source of much uncertainty for him – his link to the Dark Side is not, in his view, complete.

    Ren – or to give him his real name, Ben Solo (yes, he is the son of Han and Leia) is prone to temper tantrums, maybe fueled by his anxiety about his legacy and perhaps because he is far from the finished article as a formidable Dark Side Force user. It is difficult to imagine Vader, Palpatine or Dooku indulging in slashing apart control consoles, but this underscores Ren’s worries.

    To cut away any lingering doubt, Ren, when face-to-face with his father, makes the decision to kill him (in what was, in my view, inevitable from the moment Han stepped onto that bridge), but the act of the son killing the father – and the father, in his dying moments, reaching out to his boy one final time – is emotionally draining for Ren. The novel establishes that, far from strengthening his resolve, the act actually weakens it – he is left shaken by what he does.

    There have been suggestions that his fight with Finn and Rey was all wrong – that Finn should never have been able to stand up to Ren – but this ignores the facts. Ren was injured (he had been shot by Chewbacca just after he killed Han), he was emotional, for the reasons already mentioned, and Finn had been through some form of melee combat training (this was clear from Finn’s earlier fight with a Stormtrooper). Despite this, Ren was still able to defeat Finn, albeit not without sustaining further injury.

    So, by the time he fought Rey, he was nursing two wounds, and we don’t actually know the extent of his melee combat experience. Rey may not have had any experience either, but she was naturally gifted in the Force and unhurt.

    Han

    Han Solo is without a doubt one of the most iconic characters of all time, not just in Star Wars but in popular culture. If The Force Awakens is to be the final chapter in the character’s legacy, it would be fair to say it is a powerful one.

    Given that his son turns to the Dark Side, betraying him and his mother (not to mention Luke and the New Jedi Order), Han (and his loyal friend Chewie) return to the life they once led – as smugglers and rogues, a life that serves as escapism for Han. Fate (or the Force?!) sends Finn and Rey in his direction, which in turn steers Han toward the Resistance, and Leia. Even as an older man, Han is not afraid of a fight (taking on First Order Stormtroopers without hesitating), and he helps Finn to rescue Rey, whilst also confronting his son, determined that his love will set Ren on the right path, despite great personal risk.

    Even in his dying moments, after that act of ultimate betrayal, Han reaches out to his boy, to his son, loving his son to the very last. That strength of conviction and emotion should serve as testimony to who Han was.

    On a personal note, it was a deeply saddening moment to lose Han Solo. My wife was so stunned, and so upset, she was actually in tears – but then, she saw the original Star Wars when it first came out, and Han immediately leaped out to her as a lovable rogue, a rough-around-the-edges yet loyal and witty character, and he will be missed.

    LeiaGeneral Leia (yes, General), is war-weary. After the Empire was toppled, you’d think that would be by and large the end of the struggle, but with a resurgent First Order rising up in a bid to be the Empire Mark II, and a New Republic that is sitting back and doing nothing, it has fallen upon Leia to once again serve as a leader, hoping to inspire the Resistance to hold the line. She and Han still love each other, and they want their son back, but neither is certain this can be done – not that it will stop them trying.

    Leia retains some Force abilities of her own – those abilities tell her, despite the distance between them, of Han’s fate, in quite a touching, if sad, moment. Beyond this, there isn’t a great deal more we learn about Leia. She remains a powerful figure in the Resistance, and I would imagine we’ll see more of her in Episode VIII.

    Luke

    Luke Skywalker is only in the film at the very end, and yet his character is vital to much of what happens in the movie! Everyone is looking for him – both the First Order and the Resistance – for whoever finds him first will be able to gain the advantage over the other (well, assuming he cooperates!).

    The First Order are trying to find Luke in order to prevent him from ever being a threat to them – he appears to be the one thing they are afraid of. Luke has made it very difficult to be found, presumably out of guilt over his failure to train Kylo Ren properly, and the subsequent destruction of his new Jedi Order. Will he take up his lightsaber once more? We shall have to wait and see!

    Final Thoughts: The journey to The Force Awakens was an exciting one, and the film itself was an amazing one. It’s not flawless (nothing is), but it was what I’d hoped for. It has restored Star Wars to the sort of storytelling that defined the Original Trilogy, and sets up the next installment nicely. A new journey begins now – the journey toward Episode VIII. May it be as exciting as this one was!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading that more than the movie itself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Based on this post I’m still not sure if I should see the movie or not. Maybe wait to rent it on iTunes? I loved the first (original) three movies and hated the second (but really first three) three.

    Does this one fall in the love, hate, or fast forward variety?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, Star Wars isn’t just a movie. So I get to be harsh. It comes from a place of love. I mostly enjoyed it. And, to be honest, I can’t stop thinking about it. I think it’s worth catching in the theater. Are there issues? Sure. But let’s be honest. They know that’s never going to stop me. Some part of my 1977 youth has mind-melded to this stuff and it’s non-reversible.

      Liked by 1 person

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