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Desslok

The Spoilerrific Super Duper Episode Seven Megathread!

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I think that the success of TFA could certainly have allowed them leeway for creativity, but given the choice between assured success and possible risk, they'll take the money.  After all, they chose the safe, if unoriginal route once, and it's worked out ridiculously well (unless they really had even more success in mind)...clearly the safe route is safe AND profitable...why mess with it?

 

Exactly.  Disney will have zero interest in taking risks.  It's not something corporations can do very well.

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The Starkiller base existed solely to destroy the Republic. That it was similar to previous super weapons is simply justification for it's existence.

 

What?

 

So "massive spherical battle station with a huge, planet destroying plasma beam built in that gets destroyed by the end of the episode" is not only acceptable, but even preferable as a way to let us know who the bad guys are?

 

I don't see how there can be a rational argument for "the fact that it's simply redoing something that's already been done before makes it okay".  Accepting that sort of "justification" really opens the door to anything.  Will we be sitting here discussing Ep. 9 saying, "The fact that the heroes rescued Finn from a Hutt in his palace on not-Tatooine, then lead an attack on a half built Starkiller while simultaneously knocking out it's shield/power source/whatever down on the forest planet of not-Endor with the help of the natives...that all is simply justification for it's existence."?

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Susan Sontag: Real Art has the capacity to make us nervous.

Good stuff.  

 

I especially like the word choice of 'nervous' as opposed to a more encompassing 'uncomfortable'.

 

Of course, along those lines, there's also the assumption in any discussion based on such a definition that the participants are both 1) able to honestly identify their emotional response, as well as that 2) the other participants will acknowledge and respect the first point.  I've certainly been a participant in critiques of photography where (using a similar definition of art) parties that regarded the subject favorably told those who disagreed that they simply weren't capable of correctly identifying their reaction...or weren't mature enough to process it and remain detached.  Patronizing, arrogant, smug...everything I'd expect from such a crowd.

 

 

Indeed.

 

My observation has been that the great hypocrisy of postmodernist criticism is that supposedly only the viewer's reaction exists, and yet there is almost always a "correct" reaction that one is supposed to have...

 

 

:D :D :D

 

That's... not completely fair. But it has enough truth to it that it's hilarious. :D I'm saving that one.

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Susan Sontag: Real Art has the capacity to make us nervous.

Good stuff.  

 

I especially like the word choice of 'nervous' as opposed to a more encompassing 'uncomfortable'.

 

Of course, along those lines, there's also the assumption in any discussion based on such a definition that the participants are both 1) able to honestly identify their emotional response, as well as that 2) the other participants will acknowledge and respect the first point.  I've certainly been a participant in critiques of photography where (using a similar definition of art) parties that regarded the subject favorably told those who disagreed that they simply weren't capable of correctly identifying their reaction...or weren't mature enough to process it and remain detached.  Patronizing, arrogant, smug...everything I'd expect from such a crowd.

 

 

Indeed.

 

My observation has been that the great hypocrisy of postmodernist criticism is that supposedly only the viewer's reaction exists, and yet there is almost always a "correct" reaction that one is supposed to have...

 

Well, that depends on the artists' intent and how much weight that has in the work and in the relevance to its meaning.

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So "massive spherical battle station with a huge, planet destroying plasma beam built in that gets destroyed by the end of the episode" is not only acceptable, but even preferable as a way to let us know who the bad guys are?

That's not what I'm saying. The writers needed to get rid of the Republic to make the good guys the underdog again. Now, they could have made the entire movie about big military battles and such. However, they also had six OT characters that they needed to update as well as introduce four new characters (and a droid) and they also needed to get Han out of the picture due to contractual issues. 

 

So instead of breaking all that up into multiples movies, they used the SW device of a planet killer base to get the Republic out of the way with minimal screen time as well as use the base as the setting for the Han/Ben and Kylo/Rey/Finn confrontations. The Death Star 3 might not be preferable but it was efficient. Heck, the whole "drains the sun" thing exists just to create a few moments of dramatic lighting for Han's death. 

 

None of this, however, suggests that Disney intends to simply retread all the movies over and over again. 

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So instead of writing inside the setting as it existed  and dealing with it, OR coming up with a backstory that made sense and got the setting from the end of RotJ to where they WANTED* to be, they instead recycled the Mega McGuffin element from ANH, RotJ, and numerous derivative EU works in order to provide a quick, easy, and thoughtless reset button.  Yeah, that's really great storytelling...  :rolleyes:

 

( * Not needed, WANTED -- assuming you're right about the authorial intent here, they did not NEED to get rid of the Republic and make the protagonists "the underdogs", they WANTED to, presumably because they wanted to sell the same formula as ANH all over again.)

 

I guess after the way Captain Lensflair reset the Star Trek universe, we shouldn't be too stunned with this sort of contrived reset button also being used.

 

There was an interview with Capt Lensflair that I caught, and he could not stop talking about how he wanted to capture the sense of wonder and the spectacle and the same exact themes as the original Star Wars movie, but for a new generation.  it reminded me of listening to some of the people writing and editing comic books now, who go on and on about how they want the comics to be just like when they were kids... so they do things like write Peter and Mary Jane's entire marriage and future child out of the canon existence within the Marvel comics "universe" with a contrived pathetic "deal with the devil" storyline, because "Spiderman isn't married in our precious childhood memories of Spiderman!"  <_<

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So "massive spherical battle station with a huge, planet destroying plasma beam built in that gets destroyed by the end of the episode" is not only acceptable, but even preferable as a way to let us know who the bad guys are?

That's not what I'm saying. The writers needed to get rid of the Republic to make the good guys the underdog again. Now, they could have made the entire movie about big military battles and such. However, they also had six OT characters that they needed to update as well as introduce four new characters (and a droid) and they also needed to get Han out of the picture due to contractual issues. 

 

So instead of breaking all that up into multiples movies, they used the SW device of a planet killer base to get the Republic out of the way with minimal screen time as well as use the base as the setting for the Han/Ben and Kylo/Rey/Finn confrontations. The Death Star 3 might not be preferable but it was efficient. Heck, the whole "drains the sun" thing exists just to create a few moments of dramatic lighting for Han's death. 

 

None of this, however, suggests that Disney intends to simply retread all the movies over and over again. 

 

 

Thank you for clarifying.  Though I still personally disagree, that's far more reasonable than I originally read it.

 

I think that there were many, many more alternative options that would have been not only as-good, but actually far better, more original, more interesting storytelling that would have accomplished the same goals instead of retelling an old story to accomplish the story equivalent of a hard reset.

 

If they really did have to "reestablish the heroes as underdogs given the current situation" (whether or not this was the intent, or even the outcome is, in my opinion, a subject open for debate...I don't think that we saw the destruction of the Republic at all, but rather a black eye...more of an impact on par with Pearl Harbor than the sacking of Troy) this was all more easily accomplished with two lines in the opening script rather than an entire first movie: "After decades of peace, remnants of the GALACTIC EMPIRE, now reorganized as the FIRST ORDER have mobilized and reduced the REPUBLIC to a fraction of their former territory, leaving them on the brink of utter annihilation..."

 

I guess I just am of the opinion that it was very low-effort to spend an entire movie to set the stage...by changing things drastically from the stage they already chose to set.

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...Or as an example more near & dear to me, I am formally trained as a beer taster.  If the discussion was on who likes or dislikes a certain beer and why, and I came in, with my experience and training, I might, totally accurately, explain that the beer in question is a really great/lousy example of its style.  This part would be absolutely technically true.  However, that has no bearing on the matter of whether people liked it, or even the broader question of, "Is it a good beer?"  There are plenty of examples of beers that are technically awful examples of their style, but when you're sipping a pint, it's a delicious beer.  Similarly in the movie world, adherence or divergence from accepted standards of art/cinema/whatever are certainly useful, but only within the scope of a discussion based on those standards.  Likewise (important to this discussion), if we're talking about a beer, and I objectively state that it's a terrible example of its style, that may be totally true, but you liking that beer in no way means that you have no taste or that you don't know good beer.  It just means you like a beer that doesn't fit the profile of its style.

 

 

I like that analogy. 

 

We have a lot of microbreweries in this area, and they like to get "artistic" sometimes, and we end up having these discussions about their beers that amount to "this is called a Pilsner, and there are a lot of Pilsners I don't like, but while this utterly fails to be a true Pilsner, I actually really like it as a beer."

 

Now, TFA... to me, it fails both in the artistic sense by being derivative and confused... and in the "was this something I enjoyed and would watch again" sense.  It's a Pilsner that fails to be a Pilsner, and it is also way too hoppy for my personal tastes.

 

Heh...to quite a few friends and former co-workers, even *that* would be hopelessly subjective and vague.

 

I've heard the line, "I really like the grassy Czech hop profile and even the slight biscuit notes, but if they wanted to call it a Pilsener, they should have left the C60 on the shelf...not only is the toffee character unwelcome, but that SRM is at least in the twenties!"...uttered without a shred if humor or irony.  :P (Edit: The line about the SRM in the 20s basically was saying "this beer isn't a pilsner because it's dark gold instead of light to medium gold.)

 

While the popular saying goes, "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.", a wise old man once told me, "If you truly love doing something, never do it for pay.  It'll become work, and suck all of the enjoyment out of it."

 

For me, it was a mix of the two...while I worked in the industry, I literally drank beer every single day, at work, on the clock, and got paid to do so.  That being said, you drink the beer whether you like it or not, and often, you're expected to pick up on the slightest, nigh-imperceptible deviation from the standard...I'm talking on a ppm or even ppb concentration for some flavor compounds that lend off-flavors.  Fun, interesting work, but I never thought I'd groan and complain about having to step away from the spreadsheets and schematics to go drink beer for 30-45 minutes in the middle of the work day.

Edited by hydrospanner

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I think that the success of TFA could certainly have allowed them leeway for creativity, but given the choice between assured success and possible risk, they'll take the money.  After all, they chose the safe, if unoriginal route once, and it's worked out ridiculously well (unless they really had even more success in mind)...clearly the safe route is safe AND profitable...why mess with it?

 

Exactly.  Disney will have zero interest in taking risks.  It's not something corporations can do very well.

 

 

Yes and no. Disney had no problems rolling the dice on a movie featuring characters from a comic nobody had ever heard of - Guardians of the Galaxy - and we all know how that one turned out. One could also argue that Ant Man was a pretty big gamble too - and while it didn't make Ginormous amounts of money like Guardians or the Avengers did, it was still pretty respectable.

 

How I'd like to see Disney take a chance? Do the Boba Fett movie as a Spaghetti Western. The tropes, the distinctive soundtrack, the setting and the right director (Del Toro or Tarantino* leap to mind). A nice simple story where Fett rolls in to a town, deals out some justice to the two feuding families, makes a bucket of credits fist-full of dollars, and rides off into the sunset. That would be awesome.

 

* Mind you, Tarantino is as likely to work for The Mouse on a Star Wars movie as much as me flapping my arms and flying to the moon. But I can still dream.

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More like Disney has no interests in taking large risks that are more likely to fail.  They'll take risks, but they're also going to hedge their bets as much as possible.  As does any corporate entity whose primary objective is to turn a profit, which applies to pretty much any corporate entity.  If the Star Wars RPG line wasn't profitable for FFG, you can bet we wouldn't be seeing any more books; had EotE tanked in terms of sales, it's doubtful we'd have every gotten AoR or FaD.

 

As Desslok pointed out, Disney has already taken some notable risks with Marvel Studios, which is far less of a "sure thing" than Star Wars is.  For the longest time, Guardians of the Galaxy was pegged as being the flick that would finally break Marvel's long streak of successful films and flop at the box office.  That it got great reviews and was one of the top-grossing films of the year pretty much defied everyones' expectations.  And while Ant-Man wasn't as colossal a success as some of Marvel Studios' other ventures, it did pretty darn well for a film that was stuck in development hell for over a decade and that many theorized would never see the light of day.

 

Having a female be the primary lead for this new trilogy of action movies is certainly a risk, given how the genre is typically dominated by white male actors of varying quality; notice how we've yet to get a Black Widow movie in spite of the popularity of Scarlett Johanssen's version of the character?  Or that DC is using a Superman/Batman movie to introduce Wonder Woman instead of giving her a film of her own?).  The closest the film got to a traditional white male lead was an old smuggler that got killed in the third act, and killing the fan-beloved Han Solo was itself a risk; as a child of the 80's, I recall the furor raised over the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated movie, with a lot of small children leaving the theater in tears over what many of them saw as a parental figure dying in front of them, with reports of children grieving as though a close relative had passed away, all over a cheesy movie that was meant to sell a new round of toys.  And there were a number of Star Wars fans that were shocked enough to have been considering leaving the theater after seeing Han's body plummet, but they were invested/hooked enough by the film thus far to stick around and see how it ends.  Another risk was having Finn (a black character) be the lead for most of the film, and the one painted in the advertising to being the new hero; remember all the buzz over that preview image of him igniting Anakin's old lightsaber as he got ready to square off against Kylo Ren?  And playing the role not as the comedic sidekick (think Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films), but instead as the viewpoint character for the audience, with any humor coming from just how much out of his element he was.

 

All three of those are risks that could have potentially blown up in Disney's faces.  That people have been praising Rey's status as the new lead hero (regardless of what her biological heritage may or may not be), that any controversy over Finn being a black stormtrooper was very short-lived (and well-handled by John Boyega), or that Han's death was shocking but didn't leave fans saying "ruined forever!!"  But each of those were highly calculated risks, ones that Disney was fairly certain was going to pay off, which they did.  You've got young girls that see Rey as someone to look up to and now have an interest in a franchise that was largely seen as being "for the boys."  You've got black and hispanic kids that now have viable role models in the forms of Finn and Poe, where before the Star Wars universe was pretty **** white; there was even a comedic scene in Chasing Amy about the lack of ethnic diversity in the original trilogy, with Lando being the only non-white Human in the galaxy along with the number of identifiable females on screen being a very low number.  TFA introduced a great deal more diversity into the setting, making a broader audience aware of that diversity.  Hell, there's part of the LGBT crowd that admire the closeness of Poe and Finn's friendship on the screen, and jokingly suggest that they could well become the new trilogy's official couple, just as Han and Leia were in the originals.

 

As for the claims of bring "nothing new" to the franchise... take a look at the audiences that are going to see the film.  There's a significant number of folks with their butts in theater seats to go see part of a franchise they'd otherwise have far less interest in seeing, and they're eager to see more.  Maybe it's not the Star Wars film that some might have wanted, but it's the Star Wars film the franchise needed to really expand it and most importantly to bring in new blood, so that the fandom doesn't wither out when us older guard have died.  Because much as you may not want to think about it, we've all got an eventual appointment with the Grim Reaper, and if the franchise doesn't grow and expand to a larger audience, then said franchise won't be too far behind us older fans.

 

Yes, Lucas took a risk with the first Star Wars film, and it was really more a case of lucky timing that it did so well; before it opened Lucas and Spielberg were joking about how poorly the opening weekend receipts would be, so not even the film's creator thought it'd do as well as it did.  But he also really didn't have anything to lose; had the film flopped at the box office, he'd have shrugged his shoulders and gone on to some other project.

 

I do suspect we'll see more "risks" taken with the anthology films, now that the foundation has been laid and a broader auidence reeled in by TFA.  But we're not going to see anything to avant-garde, because Disney isn't going to kill the goose that's cranking out golden eggs like there's no tomorrow.

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Yes and no. Disney had no problems rolling the dice on a movie featuring characters from a comic nobody had ever heard of - Guardians of the Galaxy - and we all know how that one turned out. One could also argue that Ant Man was a pretty big gamble too - and while it didn't make Ginormous amounts of money like Guardians or the Avengers did, it was still pretty respectable.

Good point...but which one of those did Disney sink $4 billion into just to be able to play in that setting?

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Good point...but which one of those did Disney sink $4 billion into just to be able to play in that setting?

 

 

I had to double check to make sure I didn't accidentally get hits for Star Wars in the mix, but Disney spent 4 billion on Marvel, too. So really, the only difference is that Disney made their money back in one go with Star Wars, but it took them several years with the Marvel movies.

Edited by Desslok

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This new canon seems so far to be too much of a reskin, recycle and renaming of the OT. Key: So far. This in itself doesn't create hope

I'd have to disagree.

 

In fact, I'd go as far as to say that reskinning/renaming the OT by definition creates A New Hope.

 

I see what you did there. :ph34r:

 

 

[snip]

 

Puns aside, the film is a great success financially. That is probably going to buy a bit more creative freedom for the writers / director going forward simply because there should be less fear about the new movies flopping. They were clearly determined to play it very safe with this one. They have a whole merchandising and tie-in movie set riding on the success of TFA. The prospect of a flop, or more realistically something that was simply weak enough that follow-up prospects suffered, would have terrified the studio. Fumbling Star Wars? They would do anything to avoid that. So the reigns must have been very tight.

 

They will want to repeat their success, but I think they will be more confident in it now and that means being more adventurous. Furthermore, there has been a lot of commentary about how TFA is overly-similar to ANH. Studios do listen (no, really) and there will be a mandate coming down to avoid criticism that they are simply remaking the OT and that the second movie should be notably different from ESB.

 

The combination of these two factors makes me optimistic for Ep. VIII.

 

Abrams has already met the "rip off" criticism with a very diplomatic: "That was kind of the plan, and you know, we couldn't please everyone, so we hoped to please the majority."

 

Let's hope they're braver with 8 and 9.

 

 

This new canon seems so far to be too much of a reskin, recycle and renaming of the OT.

 

This seems to be the entire point of the movie. To redefine what Star Wars movies are like. But, more importantly, to redo the setting to be more like it was at the beginning. Where the main characters are plucky heroes fighting an oppressive galactic government instead of, as in the prequels, where the main characters are agents of the government enforcing the will of the government regardless of right or wrong. [A government run by a Sith, no less] The Starkiller base existed solely to destroy the Republic. That it was similar to previous super weapons is simply justification for it's existence.

 

I see TFA as almost identical in purpose to Days of Future Past. Undoing the damage done to the franchise by previous movies. 

 

It may be the point (at least it seems so yes from Abrams' statement about the "rip off" criticism), but that doesn't make it any better. Just because something is intentionally bad, doesn't make it less bad. It's then just bad by design. That is to say, TFA isn't a bad film as far as I'm concerned, it's just that the story is not that good, nor original.

 

Still your point about the function of Starkiller from the author's perspective having the sole function to reset into AoR-era premisses properly, kind ... well. I kind of dig that. It's cheap, but it's ok. Just like hyprspace jumping from a hangar bay and through planetary shields, I dig that. It's ok. I don't like that hyperspace travel seems a lot faster now, at least in the OT and PT travel seemed to take time. Now it seemed more like a hole to drop through to get anywhere more or less instantly... that's more the editing I guess, than the story or writing though.

 

 

1) Having a female be the primary lead for this new trilogy of action movies is certainly a risk, given how the genre is typically dominated by white male actors of varying quality; notice how we've yet to get a Black Widow movie in spite of the popularity of Scarlett Johanssen's version of the character?  Or that DC is using a Superman/Batman movie to introduce Wonder Woman instead of giving her a film of her own?).  The closest the film got to a traditional white male lead was an old smuggler that got killed in the third act, and killing the fan-beloved Han Solo was itself a risk; as a child of the 80's, I recall the furor raised over the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated movie, with a lot of small children leaving the theater in tears over what many of them saw as a parental figure dying in front of them, with reports of children grieving as though a close relative had passed away, all over a cheesy movie that was meant to sell a new round of toys.  And there were a number of Star Wars fans that were shocked enough to have been considering leaving the theater after seeing Han's body plummet, but they were invested/hooked enough by the film thus far to stick around and see how it ends.  Another risk was having Finn (a black character) be the lead for most of the film, and the one painted in the advertising to being the new hero; remember all the buzz over that preview image of him igniting Anakin's old lightsaber as he got ready to square off against Kylo Ren?  And playing the role not as the comedic sidekick (think Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films), but instead as the viewpoint character for the audience, with any humor coming from just how much out of his element he was.

 

2) As for the claims of bring "nothing new" to the franchise... take a look at the audiences that are going to see the film.  There's a significant number of folks with their butts in theater seats to go see part of a franchise they'd otherwise have far less interest in seeing, and they're eager to see more.  Maybe it's not the Star Wars film that some might have wanted, but it's the Star Wars film the franchise needed to really expand it and most importantly to bring in new blood, so that the fandom doesn't wither out when us older guard have died.  Because much as you may not want to think about it, we've all got an eventual appointment with the Grim Reaper, and if the franchise doesn't grow and expand to a larger audience, then said franchise won't be too far behind us older fans.

 

3) I do suspect we'll see more "risks" taken with the anthology films, now that the foundation has been laid and a broader auidence reeled in by TFA.  But we're not going to see anything to avant-garde, because Disney isn't going to kill the goose that's cranking out golden eggs like there's no tomorrow.

1) The female lead thing. I'm not convinced it's such a big risk in this case. Star Wars is the franchise that survived the Special Editions, the PT, stayed popular with TCW, survived the NJO-series, survived Troy Denning and Children of the Jedi ... need I say more? ;) I'm not saying it's without any risk, but of all the different franchises and films and series out there, I think Star Wars carries the least risk when introducing female leads. Particularly now that we have seen some strong female leads in other films, like this Katniss (or something?) I hear people talk about.

 

Killing Han was a risk, sure, but it matters how, by whose hand and so on. It ups the ante, it carries the story, it makes sense. But yeah, it was a risk. Star Wars fans are not the most forgiving lot no ...

 

Was Finn really a risk? Really? I never felt it was, but I guess there are geographical differences here. I mean, I did hear about the twitter outrage and stuff.

 

Oh and yes, I'm all for the Finn-Poe romance. That would be ace. Doubt it'll happen though. But that would rekindle my faith in humanity - if not capitalism and the film industry ;):ph34r:

 

2) I think you misunderstand what is meant by "nothing new". I'm not sure anyone is thinking about whether or not there's any new fans (but it's a good point you bring up). It think it's more about story, universe, galaxy, character content... but I may be wrong. Still, that's what I mean.

 

3) Let's hope so.

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Anything that so much as touches SJW- and counter-agendas is a PR nightmare, but Disney has a history of giving no **** about that kind of stuff since WW2 and their success as a company proves them right.

 

Quick reminder on things Disney has pulled that were, in their time and age, considerable risks:

 

-They killed Bambi's mother, they killed Han Solo, they killed a lot of people. Disney has no problem killing main characters (Marvel on the other hand, does; hopefully Disney will eventually replace their writing staff)

-They made Fairy Tale Land into an incest drama where everyone kills and bangs each other

-promoting Captain Eo after Jackson was outed as a kiddy diddler

-They publically canned the EU

-They made Toy Story; not the first or the last time they experiment with completely new tech on a major release, btw.

-Jessica Rabbit

-Fantasia

-Honey I Shrunk The Kids

-The Rocketeer (well before Superhero movies were a thing, Disney picks, of all things, a complete unknown...because they can)

-Cool Runnings

-Pirate movies were out since the 60s. Disney goes "**** it" and shoots Pirates of the Carribean

 

Disney's MO is risks. They shoot out something innovative and new every couple years. Something Hollywood would never dare, but they can afford because they have a steady income from timeless classics. These so-called timeless classics were ALSO risks in their day and age. They broke the mold. Disney full and well knows that to further a property and to continue to hook new people, they need to take risks.

 

So no, I'm really not worried about Star Wars being generic. Rogue One is already an innovation and it's literally the next movie.

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^ I agree.  As much as I hate on Disney (stopped being a fan after I discovered Akira when I was ~12) they do some daring stuff and get away with it.  Just look at all the adult humor in the Pixar films. I think what is telling is JJ's quote, they were indeed trying to rekindle that old flame of ANH and reinvigorate those old staunch OT fans.  So it makes perfect sense for JJ to make a movie that is a reskin of ANH.  From all the media surrounding the film I completely 100% expected that and that is what we got.  

 

Now, I think that is disappointing that they would do something like that and it is the reason I left the theater disappointed all 4 times (I was ok on the 5th viewing).  I think it is wrong to assume that ANH/OT is the only Star Wars movie that can inspire people like that.  It is clearly just nostalgia. I am actually hopeful for EP VIII because it seems Rian embraces a larger view of Star Wars. 

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Abrams has already met the "rip off" criticism with a very diplomatic: "That was kind of the plan, and you know, we couldn't please everyone, so we hoped to please the majority."

Well, then that being said, I guess I'll have to revise my overall opinion from, "Eh, it was an entertaining movie, but a lousy Star Wars movie...but Abrams still did a pretty good job." to "Entertaining movie, lousy Star Wars movie...and Abrams phoned in a low-effort job, and as a result, it's generally soured my opinion of him as a filmmaker that...for a guy who has been making a name for himself, he'd take an opportunity like this and play it so safe that he essentially did very little on his own on the storytelling front."

 

Seriously, to this point, I've mostly kept my criticism focused on the product and the results...and of course, the one-time decisions that went into those results...but seeing that this was precisely what he was going for, now he gets to share some of that criticism too.  Definitely a low point for him when he has a chance to contribute to a franchise like Star Wars, with a clean slate, timeline-wise, and chooses to play it so safe that not only is there almost zero original storytelling, but that the voices saying this are loud enough that he responds to it.

 

And for those pointing out all the "risks" Disney takes...I agree with some more than others (placing a black and a female lead was far less a risk in 2015 than some seem to think, for example), but the fact remains that, for a company that apparently has a track record of taking these "risks" by telling original stories and making bold moves...that they'd choose to completely punt and collect a low-effort paycheck on what's possibly the biggest name in their portfolio aside from the Mouse. Can they take the SW franchise in bold new directions?  Sure.  I wish they would.  But they could have done that with TFA and they did anything but.  And it has made ridiculous amounts of money for them.  At this point, I'd say odds are about 60/40 that they take next to no real risks (as opposed to "risks" like casting a female lead) with the "core movies" (Ep. 8 & 9) and about 50/50 on the one-offs...and aside from watching those movies, nothing they say in any sort of statements or interviews will convince me otherwise, based on what was said before TFA vs. what we actually got.

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From what I can gather, the fact they canned the EU pretty much predetermined TFA to be a nostalgia callback. They did one thing to massively piss off part of the fanbase, so they made TFA to show that they can do 'Star Wars'. Some of their books so far (Twilight company, Lost Stars) however do show a will to experiment and see what works, as does the premise of Rogue One, which is stepping outside the monomyth and doing something different. Disney does have a track record of listening and adapting to criticism as well (wether for good or for ill). I distinctly recall the fallout after Honey I Shrunk The Kids, for example. "It's too dark for a kids film!" was the major complaint. Then we got a sequel that was more in line with what the critics wanted in terms of lighthearted fun.

 

Now, with TFA, everyone, even the people who liked it, is saying: "OK, once, okay. But, no more rehashes, please." Given Disney's track record, I believe they'll listen and if episode 8 is less 'risky', it will be using a formula that is, so far, foreign to Star Wars movies. If it is a risk, they may actually experiment. It could literally go either way at this point. We'll really have to wait and see how Rogue One does to make any kind of credible prediction.

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Abrams has already met the "rip off" criticism with a very diplomatic: "That was kind of the plan, and you know, we couldn't please everyone, so we hoped to please the majority."

Well, then that being said, I guess I'll have to revise my overall opinion from, "Eh, it was an entertaining movie, but a lousy Star Wars movie...but Abrams still did a pretty good job." to "Entertaining movie, lousy Star Wars movie...and Abrams phoned in a low-effort job, and as a result, it's generally soured my opinion of him as a filmmaker that...for a guy who has been making a name for himself, he'd take an opportunity like this and play it so safe that he essentially did very little on his own on the storytelling front."

 

Seriously, to this point, I've mostly kept my criticism focused on the product and the results...and of course, the one-time decisions that went into those results...but seeing that this was precisely what he was going for, now he gets to share some of that criticism too.  Definitely a low point for him when he has a chance to contribute to a franchise like Star Wars, with a clean slate, timeline-wise, and chooses to play it so safe that not only is there almost zero original storytelling, but that the voices saying this are loud enough that he responds to it.

 

 

I've never been impressed with JJ's work, it's always been about spectacle and flash and action and faux-drama and "AUDIENCE IMPACT!" -- always at the expense coherence in worldbuilding, character, and plot.  

 

He was the producer on Lost, for cripe's sake.  He's just a higher-budget version of the atrocious fare offered by SyFy original movies. 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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I'll give JJ this: he made me enjoy Star Trek as something else than a curiosity and peek into the strangeness of my fellow human beings... Star Trek just never came across as trustworthy to me :ph34r: that is to say, I could enjoy some episodes here and there, perhaps even a film, but it was more to laugh at the silly... the exceptions being: Wrath of Khan ... and the two reboots. Very different types of film yes, but the reboots where pretty cool I think. But then I'm not and probably never will earn that holy moniker of Trekkie (or is it Trekker? Or ...?)

 

Still, I do understand Star Trek fans that lost faith and don't like JJ because of those two films, but then again, it made Star Trek accessible... which I guess is an argument for TFA too ... but I don't have to like it. Accessible doesn't necessarily mean good. :ph34r:

 

Ah well.

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I'll give JJ this: he made me enjoy Star Trek as something else than a curiosity and peek into the strangeness of my fellow human beings... Star Trek just never came across as trustworthy to me :ph34r: that is to say, I could enjoy some episodes here and there, perhaps even a film, but it was more to laugh at the silly... the exceptions being: Wrath of Khan ... and the two reboots. Very different types of film yes, but the reboots where pretty cool I think. But then I'm not and probably never will earn that holy moniker of Trekkie (or is it Trekker? Or ...?)

 

Still, I do understand Star Trek fans that lost faith and don't like JJ because of those two films, but then again, it made Star Trek accessible... which I guess is an argument for TFA too ... but I don't have to like it. Accessible doesn't necessarily mean good. :ph34r:

 

Ah well.

 

Hollywood, unfortunately, conflates "accessible" with outright pablum.

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Killing Han was a risk, sure, but it matters how, by whose hand and so on. It ups the ante, it carries the story, it makes sense. But yeah, it was a risk. Star Wars fans are not the most forgiving lot no ...

 

I don't think Harrison Ford gave them a choice.  It was either kill Han, or leave him out of it completely.  And the latter would have been pretty unacceptable, so there wasn't really any risk killing him off.

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Killing Han was a risk, sure, but it matters how, by whose hand and so on. It ups the ante, it carries the story, it makes sense. But yeah, it was a risk. Star Wars fans are not the most forgiving lot no ...

 

I don't think Harrison Ford gave them a choice.  It was either kill Han, or leave him out of it completely.  And the latter would have been pretty unacceptable, so there wasn't really any risk killing him off.

 

This.  Which is why his death fell completely flat with me.  I totally expected this to happen.  Sometimes being a Star Wars geek has it's downfalls and you can know TOO much!  The only moving moment during that exchange is Han putting his hand on Kylo's face right before he falls.

 

Also, why is everyone calling Han "Han Solo" throughout the ENTIRE MOVIE!?  It's not like we don't know who they are talking about!

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