Just seen Star Wars episode VII with the missus. It wasn’t bad, it couldn’t ever beat eps IV-VI, I’m too old for that, and it was light years ahead of the ep I-III cascading debacle of shit, and Dawn enjoyed it.
All in, it seemed like a massive reprisal/homage/amalgam of eps IV-VI, with a bit of inversion here and there.
Despite having been pretty roundly beaten 30 or wotnot years before, the Empire’s Striking Back (again) reincarnated as this First Order thing, and the one-time victorious rebels, who must have gone back to being ‘legit’ post ep VI, are now rebelling again, while the FO goes around the galaxy zapping problem planets with this Star Killer Death Star (nominal twist being this new Death Star runs off solar power, so it’s an eco-Death Star, if you will).
So the rebels have to blow it up.
Whereupon the Dark Lord, Deja Vu, makes his menacing embrace felt.
There’s even a team briefing with a big hologram of this eco Holocaust machine, to which someone (Han?) says, ‘it’s another death star’, ‘just this one’s bigger’. I think it was Han, came within an ace of saying it to the camera, break the fourth wall to underscore the point that ‘yes, this is the THIRD TIME already.’
Not the only echoes, either. So, overall, what we got? Here’s a few:
Angry bloke in mask, in black, cape, turned to the Dark Side but conflicted by it – tick.
Angry mask man related to leading hero – tick.
Angry mask leads bloody attack in order to retrieve some key data that threatens the Empire/FO – tick.
People get burned – tick.
Data is put in droid for safety – tick.
Droid is cute – tick.
Nasty Emperor man – tick.
Lots of flying fast through tight spaces – tick.
(Eco) Death Star – tick.
Eco-Death Star blows up planets – tick.
Millennium Falcon used in escape from shitty desert planet – tick.
Millennium Falcon captured by another spaceship – tick.
Bar full of freaks, some of whom are smugglers willing to take rebels somewhere for a price – tick.
Young apprentice from shitty desert planet discovers they have the Force – tick.
Young apprentice from shitty desert planet gets given an heirloom light saber – tick.
Young apprentice has traumatic out-of-body experience – tick.
Rebels have hologram briefing of attack on Death Star – tick.
Thrilling countdown to the heroes’ planet being blown up – tick.
Death Star shields to be brought down by putting mines around the shield generator – tick.
Father-son face off on narrow platform acentre of a cavernous, windy, evil structure thing – tick.
One of them falls off – tick.
Leads witness death of leading character / role model at the light-sabered hands of the evil one in a black cape & mask, and freak out – tick.
Light saber fights – tick.
Money shot of Death Star / planet blowing up- tick.
Jedi Master buses himself into reclusive exile because of mistake over lost apprentice and slopes about in a beige dressing gown -tick.
And so on.
I did laugh when I shouldn’t. like when the X wing got shot and he says ‘I’M HIIIIIIIIIIIIT,’ and I just wondered if boxers ever said that as they careen into the ropes.
But the biggest beef is, the tortured anti-hero / villain is nothing more than a crappy teenager with anger problems. Ren Solo is an emo. Sweeping around in his black cape and skateboard mask, he doesn’t even need his shitty mask, he just wears it for effect. What does he do when things don’t go his way? He goes and smashes up the consoles – yes, consoles, like it’s a massive X Box – and lo and behold, he commands no respect. If you dissed his granddad, even if you’re an Imperial general in a room full of other imperial big guns, you get strangled from across the room. Emo-boy meanwhile quakes with impotent rage while this prancing neo-SS general berk cuts him down in front of the Emperor, then goes off and has a tantrum. Grandarth Vader wore his mask as part of a life support machine, and yet despite being little more than one great black-clad Frazzle, he still kicked butt. Ren meanwhile knows he’s a pretty boy who needs a spooky voice converter to be taken seriously, and even then it doesn’t work.
Then the silvery stormtrooper captain sounded like an ansamachine, while the young SS general was just camp, and the whole Nuremburg rally, but really, is it so literally so universal a trait that bad guys have rallies like this, with lots of red banners and black emblem things, and shout a lot, then raise their arms? Yes, yes, we get it, they’re like the Nazis, they’re evil, OK OK.
Doesn’t make sense either that Finn, a stormtrooper who has this moral crisis brought on by the bloody death of a comrade, shortly after has no compunction about shooting up all his comrades in the TIE hanger on the main base. We didn’t care about the stormtroopers in eps. IV-VI not least when we learned they were clones, but this lot are all children or something dragooned into the armed forces – so should we pity them or not when they get killed? Finn also is a very good shot for a stormtrooper, and seems especially handy with weaponry he’s never used before – like a light saber.
All that said, it is kind of clever in that they’ve taken Han and Leia, Luke, possibly considered as peers for the demographic of children and teens who saw the original trilogy at the time, who’d have been asking themselves a la Luke, ‘shit, who am I, who the fuck are my parents within, what are they really like?’ … then 30 years later these now grown-up viewers, married, children, etc, see their own doubts and failings as parents reflected from Han and Leia, ‘look at the shit we’ve brought into the world.’