Second Opinion

Second Opinion is a reviews show about anything and everything under the sun. If we can experience it, we can review it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Episode #3The Fringe #354

Ian R Buck and Savannah Haslow discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens in two parts, a brief introduction without spoilers, and a scathing review afterwards with spoilers.

Overview

Non-spoilers

General thoughts

  • It was very derivative; followed the formula of A New Hope far too much. Feels like the series is stagnating, when I want it to be moving forward.
    • Starts on a desert planet
    • Utility droid we have to protect
    • Escape in the Millennium Falcon
    • Rebellion hiding out on a lush planet with an old temple
    • Big bad Empire building a superweapon
    • X-Wings vs TIE fighters (where did the rest of the ships go?)
    • Yoda figure
    • The Hero’s Journey
    • Subvert the Damsel in Distress trope
    • Wilhelm scream
  • Avoided the complex galactic politics of the prequels so much that we have no idea about any details regarding the First Order, Republic, or Resistance. Everything was reduced to the simple “light side vs dark side”.
  • The special effects were really good of course
    • Lasers felt more kinetic
    • Really cool shot of some TIE fighters with the sun behind them
    • Camera moves around too much in the space battles
    • Too many particle effects
  • Story was slow
    • The entire movie could have been coalesced into about half an hour
    • Things that happened: character intros, slight exposition, explosions
  • Forced romantic subplot
    • Verbally brought attention to the hand-holding
    • More subtle stuff (Fin looking at that butt)
  • Lazy plot devices
  • When they did the action stuff, it was good
    • Good use of sweeping continuous shots
    • Wasn’t over-the-top
    • Didn’t drag on too long, which has been a problem in past Star Wars movies
  • Soundtrack was okay
    • Didn’t push boundaries; previously, John Williams would add a new memorable piece in each movie. Most memorable was the Resistance theme.
    • Used musical themes from the original series to good effect (specifically, Imperial March and Luke’s Theme)

Specific things

  • BB-8: not just an R2 clone
    • Has a very different personality
    • Has different tricks up his sleeve, both for mobility and tools
  • Liked the subtle variants on stormtroopers. Not as explicit as “scout troopers” or “snow troopers” but they carry slightly different sets of gear.
    • Would have been better if they showed different designations working on their specialities
  • A few signs of technological advancement
    • New Imperial Shuttle
  • Loved the way that the people living on Jakku mostly settled around the wrecks of old military vehicles
  • Wasn’t able to spot a 1138 reference. It’s gotta be in there though.
  • [Buck] I still think the crossguard design for the lightsaber is stupid
    • The only reason that design would be any good is to block other lightsabers? but there are no other Jedi??
    • The only reason for it is because ever since Darth Maul, every dark side lightsaber has to have a gimmick.
  • Fin sounded like he was just John Boyega hanging out.
  • Rey’s athleticism & creative terrain use should have come out more
  • Where were the aliens? Where was the culture?

Spoilers

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