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  #31  
Old 12-18-2015, 08:16 AM
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Thing about lightsabers feeling "underpowered", I kinda get.

There weren't really any trained Jedi using them in this one. Kylo Ren being the closest we got, but even he never was fully trained.
I'm expecting them to feel more powerful as the movies go on, when the characters get more trained in how to use them.

As long as we don't see them everywhere, like in the prequels (that one robot character has four of them, buy the toy!), it's fine by me.
I see it more as a return to the lightsabers of the original trilogy. They were heavy, they were dangerous, they couldn't actually cut through everything they touched. They had a mystique about them that the Prequels just kind of ignored.
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  #32  
Old 12-18-2015, 08:17 AM
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The other side of the Starkiller Base planet probably have some gigantic Lightspeed engine on it. I mean... they never do explain how the Death Star travels through space either, do they? (I have not read a single EU novel, but guess they probably explain something in those)

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I see it more as a return to the lightsabers of the original trilogy. They were heavy, they were dangerous, they couldn't actually cut through everything they touched. They had a mystique about them that the Prequels just kind of ignored.
Exactly my thoughts as well, except that we never see an actual Jedi (or Sith) Master use them.
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  #33  
Old 12-18-2015, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Dart Zaidyer View Post
I see it more as a return to the lightsabers of the original trilogy. They were heavy, they were dangerous, they couldn't actually cut through everything they touched. They had a mystique about them that the Prequels just kind of ignored.
Yeah, pretty much! Even though the Blue Saber changed hands and was used by several people, it became a character in and of itself, and was given appropriate narrative weight --unlike the all-but-disposable ones from the PT. It regained the symbolism that they lost in the recent movies.

Anyway:

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So Starkiller Base charges its gun by draining the one sun in the system to nothing. And then what if you need to fire again? And not having a sun anymore can't be healthy for any of the plant life or people on the planet...

You know, as dumb as the old EU's Superweapons were, they weren't this dumb.
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The Starkiller itself raises a lot of questions about how it works! I don't think it's a concept that stands up to scrutiny, and I hope they don't go back to the superweapon well for a fourth time.
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  #34  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:05 AM
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I left the movie thoroughly entertained, but I'm giving myself a few days to cool down before I pass judgement. There's too much hype around for me to feel comfortable with my own emotions.

A couple thoughts though:

Man, this did not look like a Star Wars movie. All the sets and trappings were there, but the camerawork really differentiated it from the other films. From that first flickering scene with the transport full of stormtroopers, this movie had its own unique visual language. I was pleased, but it took a little getting used to.

From time to time, mostly in the funny moments, I wondered if the character's speech patterns and mannerisms trended a bit "present day". Finn's rapid "You got a boyfriend, you got a cute boyfriend?" felt a little too 2015 and I wonder how it will stand up in the coming years. That fast anxious chatter became something of a character trait in him, like when they had his former captain hostage: "I'm the boss! Me!", so I hope they play it off as just a character trait.

I feel a bit weird seeing the big (literally) bad guy Snoke this early. While I don't suppose there's much wrong with painting the lines clearly early on, it does disperse some potential dramatic tension. I kept waiting for JJ to zag on this. I still think it might be a bit of a Wizard of Oz situation with someone else more surprising (The Emperor?) behind the curtain.

There's a lot more to be said, but I'll ruminate and read more comments before I jump in more.
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  #35  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:36 AM
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Thinking about it a bit more, and then going to read up on some Star Wars opinion pieces new and old, something struck me about the new film and how it relates to the rest of the franchise.

The prequel films were Star Wars as George Lucas understood it, and he missed the forest for the trees at every opportunity.
The Force Awakens is Star Wars as everyone else understood it. And the title is apt. It's as if the franchise has awakened from a long nightmare.

It now seems outright silly to continue dwelling on Star Wars's fall from grace. It doesn't fucking matter anymore. That's a huge deal. Did anyone expect they could ever say that?
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  #36  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ThornGhost View Post
From time to time, mostly in the funny moments, I wondered if the character's speech patterns and mannerisms trended a bit "present day". Finn's rapid "You got a boyfriend, you got a cute boyfriend?" felt a little too 2015 and I wonder how it will stand up in the coming years. That fast anxious chatter became something of a character trait in him, like when they had his former captain hostage: "I'm the boss! Me!", so I hope they play it off as just a character trait.
.
Yeah, to me that felt really out of place. I call it Marvel Movie humor.

It started with that scene between Kylo Ren and Poe. A serious scene, Kylo is supposed to be scary and stuff, and Poe just destroys the moment with that joke about who's going to talk first. And then Finn, this guy who's supposed to be a first order slave/captive from birth, scared of them, ends up behaving like whatever it is you described up there.
Thankfully that happened only a few times and hopefully the next one will have more mature characters with less jokes (like Empire Strikes Back).
But then again, audiences nowadays expect that kind of jokes that you see so much in big budget movies.

And a lot of people have issues with Kylo's spoiled-brat attitude, and I understand them. But the way I see it is that this guy is a Vader fanboy, that grew up under the shadows of his famous parents/uncles, and according to the movie he wants to be so baaaddd, that the light side is the one tempting him. So it's only natural he'll act out once things doesn't go his way.
Obviously people were expecting a calm silent bad ass Vader clone.
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  #37  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:47 AM
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I saw Kylo as a guy who is on his way to the Dark Side, he has obviously done something bad already, he's obsessed with his grandpa, yes, a Vader fanboy, but something still holds him back, or at least until he killed his father.
He is like Anakin, if Anakin was done right. A character going on thin ice, but for some reason, I thought he worked this time.
I imagine him as more as a badass in the next one, especially if a few years goes by and he recieves his full training from Snoke.

Speaking of the prequels, am I the only one getting prequel vibes from the "I didn't know there was so much green in the entire galaxy" line?
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  #38  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:59 AM
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This movie gets the prequels. The prequels are Kylo Ren's backstory as well as Darth Vader's. ANH (TFA) tells us that Darth Vader (Kylo Ren) was seduced by the Dark Side and helped the Empire (First Order) wipe out the last of the Jedi. The prequels tell us that actually, it's not that simple, and he had a less abstract motive for his infamous crimes. Remember this fact!

ESB challenged ANH: the villain actually used to be the hero. RotJ challenged ESB: the villain can be redeemed. The prequels challenged the originals: it's inevitable that the villain will fall in the same way. TFA begins with the aftermath of RotS (which is why it seems so similar to ANH; it's an alt-sequel with the characters switched around, much like RotJ showed another way the end of ANH could have played out), but it's preparing its successors to challenge the prequels by disassembling and solving the dilemma of Darth Vader's inevitability.

Adam Driver was channeling Hayden Christiansen in a big way. He's a synthesis of Anakin and Vader, driving home that they were the same character and the man beneath the mask was the truer performance than James Earl Jones'.
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  #39  
Old 12-18-2015, 09:59 AM
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Yeah, Kylo Ren is Anakin v.2.0, both in-story and for the franchise. If he was involved in the massacre that drove Luke to exile, I see it as being a more serious, believable version of AnakinVader's original turn, and a mirror to Finn's realization at the village: he was manipulated or duped into committing an atrocity and was unable to rebel against it, and now he really does see himself as a vessel for the Dark Side. Accepting the light within him would mean he'd have to take responsibility for all the evil he's committed as a wannabe Sith, and he's legitimately tortured by this.

Dammit, the more I think about his character, the more I like him, especially in relation to how Anakin was handled in the PT.

Speaking of thinking about characters: Jesus, BB-8 really is a wondrous piece of engineering, isn't he? I was already enthralled by him rolling around all over the place, and his absolutely perfect body language and emoting (his controllers deserve a medal for it!) but I think back to the scene below the cantina, where the audience is mostly focusing on Rey but I was watching BB rolling down the stairs. A CGI soccer ball would've just bounced down in sequence with its head upright, but you can tell that that was the real prop when the controllers had him tilting his head forward for balance with each deliberate step and raising it again to arrest his momentum.

In an industry where "And the Oscar for Visual Effects goes to..." is now reduced to who has the best CGI, it'd be criminal not to give the nod to BB-8's engineering team.

(Of course, I realize most if not all of BB's appendages ARE probably post-prod CGI. As amazing as the technology inside him is, I doubt there was much room for remote-controlled shock prods or welding torches, let alone grappling hooks.)
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  #40  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Dart Zaidyer View Post
Thinking about it a bit more, and then going to read up on some Star Wars opinion pieces new and old, something struck me about the new film and how it relates to the rest of the franchise.

The prequel films were Star Wars as George Lucas understood it, and he missed the forest for the trees at every opportunity.
The Force Awakens is Star Wars as everyone else understood it. And the title is apt. It's as if the franchise has awakened from a long nightmare.

It now seems outright silly to continue dwelling on Star Wars's fall from grace. It doesn't fucking matter anymore. That's a huge deal. Did anyone expect they could ever say that?
I am no big fan of the prequels, but this did not feel like some great return to me. As I said up thread, this movie occasionally felt very cynical where the prequels never did. It also had an overbearing need to feel just like old Star Wars but seemed afraid to commit to its new stuff. Which is unfortunate, because the new stuff it did have was really good.

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Yeah, to me that felt really out of place. I call it Marvel Movie humor.

It started with that scene between Kylo Ren and Poe. A serious scene, Kylo is supposed to be scary and stuff, and Poe just destroys the moment with that joke about who's going to talk first. And then Finn, this guy who's supposed to be a first order slave/captive from birth, scared of them, ends up behaving like whatever it is you described up there.
Those moments felt really jarring to me and that first one really killed Kylo's threat as a villain. It so wanted to be Vader meeting with Leia at the start of Star Wars, but like Ren's dime store Vader, it ends up feeling like a cheap copy of the real thing.
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  #41  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:16 AM
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I don't think the planet that was destroyed was Coruscant. But I'm uncertain. They name the system but I didn't catch it. I'll pay close attention on my next viewing. I'll also watch Rey's vision when she touches the lightsaber like a hawk. It's implied that Kylo gets a similar vision when he touches Vader's helmet. Rey learns what Anakin believed in and fought for, witnesses his tragedy (with imagery of Kylo's betrayal), while Kylo sees only his later years. The mask kept Anakin under Palpatine's control; through it, he could see only what the Emperor wanted him to see. This is the ideal he has committed himself to. Rey inherited his life (which is what his weapon is), but Ben inherited his death, or at least his torturous unlife.

Rey is symbolically the daughter of Han and Leia as well, the "father [she] never had" and stuff. Figurative parenthood and literal are strongly conflated in Star Wars; witness Anakin considering Obi-Wan like a father, and Palpatine implying he fathered him. Speculation to the effect that Luke is the answer to the question of Rey's abandonment shouldn't go straight for the obvious connection, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn one of her parents was one of Luke's ill-fated pupils.

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Rey and Finn's characters were amazing. Finn's touchy-feely habits were great character details, a subtle nod at how utterly deprived of human contact he's been.
This is a great read.
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  #42  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:19 AM
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Darth Vader himself was only ever a cheap copy of Darth Vader. Poe's bravado and defiance to Kylo Ren echoed Leia's to Darth Vader, but the difference is that Vader never got what he wanted from her, while Kylo succeeded.
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  #43  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:33 AM
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From a story point, yes. But from a movie watching perspective it was a clumsily executed call back to ANH.

I forget, did the move say how long it had been since Luke disappeared? A few years? 10?
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  #44  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ReyVGM View Post
It started with that scene between Kylo Ren and Poe. A serious scene, Kylo is supposed to be scary and stuff, and Poe just destroys the moment with that joke about who's going to talk first.
I liked that bit; I thought it did a good job of communicating that Poe is the kind of guy who reacts to any situation with pluck and bravado... And even that's not enough to let him save his little buddy from the First Order; he's only saved because of Finn. I thought it also did a great job of setting up Rey's scene later in the movie, where she turns Kylo's mind probe back on him and then saves herself.
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  #45  
Old 12-18-2015, 10:50 AM
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I feel that Kylo Ren is an effective villain, and a deeper character, because he can be thwarted and frustrated intellectually. Vader, at the height of his menace, was a larger-than-life figure; he was dangerous but he was also intelligent, in control of himself. You feared him because he would pursue his (or his master's) goals with ruthless efficiency, not because he was a ticking bomb. He was a mythical force more than a human character.

His grandkid, OTOH, is fearsome because he's literally torn in half. He's a festering ball of aimless rage and can snap at you gruesomely even if you've done little to offend him... and will only rein it in and sneer at you when you DO deliberately snipe at him, because he's trying so hard to mimic Vader and lowering himself to your level is Not What Lord Vader Would Do. But he's still furious with himself and his weakness and he'll take it out on you if you just so much as breathe at him when he's not ready for it.

That's also why Hux has so little patience for him, and is so openly contemptible of him at every turn despite all of Kylo Ren's personal power. Tarkin may have "held Vader's leash", but he knew he was only borrowing the Emperor's top lieutenant and enforcer and was very political about it. Hux obviously thinks very little of Kylo Ren, sees him as a petulant child, and only tolerates him because he makes their enemies piss their pants. He'd get rid of the rabid dog if he could, and it's probably Snoke's influence that keeps him from siccing a battalion on the guy.

In the end, Kylo Ren's insecurity is what's going to make him dangerous to both sides of the war. He's so afraid of coming back to the light he compensates massively with violence and fury, but this is futile, and it proves he doesn't really get the Dark Side: even though anger leads to it, wild, untempered rage is nothing more than animalistic and juvenile.

In short, being a Vader wannabe is exactly why he's dangerous and why he's interesting. Because most other wannabes in fiction emulate Vader's outward presentation without his depth, because their writers don't get Vader; Kylo Ren is deliberately designed to not get Vader by writers who do.

Also: the second biggest laugh in the theater (after BB's thumbs-up) was the pair of stormies that went, "Yyyyyyeah let's go the other way" when KR was having his temper tantrum in the interrogation cell. Instead of deflating a scary scene, it humanized the hell out of the stormies
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  #46  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
Rey is symbolically the daughter of Han and Leia as well, the "father [she] never had" and stuff. Figurative parenthood and literal are strongly conflated in Star Wars; witness Anakin considering Obi-Wan like a father, and Palpatine implying he fathered him. Speculation to the effect that Luke is the answer to the question of Rey's abandonment shouldn't go straight for the obvious connection, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn one of her parents was one of Luke's ill-fated pupils.
No. She's Luke's daughter. She was abandoned by her father, purposefully or inadvertently just as Luke was. Perhaps because Luke was forced to send her away because as part of his exile was the realization that his direct involvement with his family brought to life the spectre of the dark side. And her vision only makes sense, and counters Kylo's implied vision if she isn't just the thematic inheritor of Anakins good legacy if she isn't also the blood inheritor.
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  #47  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:29 AM
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I like the characterization of the stormtroopers overall. I sense Lawrence Kasdan's hand in it, because it's reliant on economical dialog. They've got a concise, distinctive term for insubordination, and they treat it as a rare thing. Captain Phasma noticed that Finn didn't participate in executing the villagers, and her initial assumption - giving him the benefit of the doubt - was that his gun jammed, not that he had grown a conscience. They need explicit permission to remove their helmets even when they're safely back at base. The armor isn't (only) for protection. It's to conceal their emotions and individuality from each other. How can they even think of treason if they can't tell which of their comrades might be sympathetic? Unilaterally defecting from that nightmare is an extraordinary act.
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  #48  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:30 AM
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No. She's Luke's daughter. She was abandoned by her father, purposefully or inadvertently just as Luke was. Perhaps because Luke was forced to send her away because as part of his exile was the realization that his direct involvement with his family brought to life the spectre of the dark side. And her vision only makes sense, and counters Kylo's implied vision if she isn't just the thematic inheritor of Anakins good legacy if she isn't also the blood inheritor.
If that's so, why Jakku? No, this is misdirection. We're expecting a shocking revelation of familial connection, but we already got that.
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  #49  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:30 AM
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I feel like Rey was shown as being abandoned at an age where it would make little sense for her to not know that Luke was her father. Unless he did some kind of Force Mind Wipe thing to her, I don't think that she's his daughter.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:45 AM
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Yeah, I love the hell out of Kylo Ren. He's unstable and pathetic, and he's dangerous because he's unstable and pathetic. He wants so badly to be a badass like the granddad he's heard so much about that he's willing to do anything.

I thought it was also interesting that Snoke and his subordinates aren't Sith. They name-dropped the "knights of Ren", just like the original trilogy name-dropped "Dark Lord of the Sith". And they made a big deal about Maz Kanata being in touch with the Force but not being a Jedi. I also particularly loved Snoke - between his title, his super-giant hologram, and his aloofness, he perfectly captured the remote, menacing leader-figure.

It was also... Interesting how many possible Knights of the Old Republic call-outs there were. Ren's mask looks a hell of a lot like Darth Revan's, the split-hull design of the First Order Star Destroyers reminded me of the Sith Interdictors, and the planet at the end felt very reminiscent of Rakata Prime...
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  #51  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:50 AM
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I feel like Rey was shown as being abandoned at an age where it would make little sense for her to not know that Luke was her father. Unless he did some kind of Force Mind Wipe thing to her, I don't think that she's his daughter.
Rey's memories of her early childhood are clearly scrambled and traumatic. It's quite easy to believe she's forgotten important details, or things she didn't know were important.

I can easily believe that she's going to have a familial connection to Leia&Han or to Luke:

* She's a natural with the Millennium Falcon
* She makes a big deal about waiting for her family to come get her
* Her visions when she touches the lightsaber all look like visions of the past
* There's that prominent scene of a huge gulf forming between her and Kylo Ren
* It lets them reprise the "I have a sister?" moment
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  #52  
Old 12-18-2015, 11:59 AM
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It was also... Interesting how many possible Knights of the Old Republic call-outs there were. Ren's mask looks a hell of a lot like Darth Revan's, the split-hull design of the First Order Star Destroyers reminded me of the Sith Interdictors, and the planet at the end felt very reminiscent of Rakata Prime...
Oh it doesn't stop there. Taris is explicitly utilized in the new backstory, and the bad guys want to go beyond the edge of the galaxy to find the source of the Dark Side just like Revan did.
That's one hell of a come-from-behind victory to be the only thing that survived the Expanded Universe purge and define the new movies going forward.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:00 PM
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I name this movie my second favorite Star War, and it has given me hope that something in the sequel trilogy (possibly even The Force Awakens itself, once it's given context) will claim the #1 slot. However, my rankings for most favorite and most best are not the same. I will have to give it a few more viewings before I can rank it on the bestness scale. I suspect that The Phantom Menace (the #2 best but not my #2 favorite) will still overtake it.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:36 PM
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Oh it doesn't stop there. Taris is explicitly utilized in the new backstory, and the bad guys want to go beyond the edge of the galaxy to find the source of the Dark Side just like Revan did.
That's one hell of a come-from-behind victory to be the only thing that survived the Expanded Universe purge and define the new movies going forward.
Malachor is namedropped in some of the Kylo Ren stuff as well, though it's not clear if it has any connection to Malachor V from KOTOR2 other than the name.

Though if one of the few things they keep winds up being KOTOR, I'm just fine with that. It was among the most Star Wars-y of the EU material.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:41 PM
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So what you're all saying is I really should get around to playing the KOTORs.
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  #56  
Old 12-18-2015, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
Rey's memories of her early childhood are clearly scrambled and traumatic. It's quite easy to believe she's forgotten important details, or things she didn't know were important.

I can easily believe that she's going to have a familial connection to Leia&Han or to Luke:

* She's a natural with the Millennium Falcon
* She makes a big deal about waiting for her family to come get her
* Her visions when she touches the lightsaber all look like visions of the past
* There's that prominent scene of a huge gulf forming between her and Kylo Ren
* It lets them reprise the "I have a sister?" moment
* She's an orphan on a desert planet.

A lot of elements of Star Wars are repeated. Luke and Vader lose their hands and are top pilots. I wouldn't be surprised if Rey and Rylo were separated at birth like Luke and Leia. If Leia births twins apart from Han its conceivable she sends the girl away for protection and Han is unaware he has a daughter. Its also conceivable that she is Luke's child.

I would honestly be shocked if Rey is not a Skywalker either from Leia or from Luke's significant other (also Leia?).

The description of this movie as a remake of rings pretty true to me. Its a tough act to balance, no fan service and its like whats the point of paying $4 billion for the franchise. Too much fan service and it feels creatively bankrupt. For me Episode VII tipped slightly in the direction of too much fan service, but not enough that it ruined the movie for me. I did like Finn, Rey and BB-8.

Rylo I'm a little less high on. But I just finished watching the first Season of Girls. I would not recommend watching that before trying to accept Adam Driver as a Sith apprentice.
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Old 12-18-2015, 02:58 PM
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Just got back from watching it. Yes. This is a Good Star Wars Movie. Thank goodness.

Skimming the thread I see you've all had a lot of discussion of Kylo and yeah, one of the thoughts I had about him was that whoever in the movie (was it Han or someone else) said there's too much Anakin in him was spot on - his teenage insecurity has a huge body count. It's unnerving when the audience first realizes he's not the Vader he wants to be, but it works.

It wasn't until driving halfway back home that I realized he was named after Obi Wan.

I've also been skimming IMDB and just noticed General Hux is Bill Weasley. No typecasting for Mr Gleeson, eh.

Also had no idea Simon Pegg is the junk dealer on Jakku.



Edit: Oh, also, I felt like we were supposed to recognize the old guy Poe meets at the beginning, but apparently not? Went wiki-diving, his name is Lor San Tekka and he's affiliated with the "Church of the Force", a loose underground upholding Jedi ideals. He talked like he knew Ren from way back, so perhaps he was also involved with Luke's doomed training camp.
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:01 PM
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voncaster View Post
If Leia births twins
Nah she's hella younger than Kylo - apparently only about 20, while Kylo seems to be in his 30s. She's either a younger sister, Luke's, or unrelated.
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:23 PM
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Yeah, she was around five when she was sent away, and Kylo had already been turned and participated in the slaughter. He was a teenager at the very least.
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