You mean that the Bothan spies led them into
I am not sure what the point is now. The parallels to Empire are really too obvious not to see them as intended, but the movie also picks up on plot points from the other movies, like infiltrating the base and the young Jedi, after completing their training, seeking out their opposite and giving themselves up to them.
Most of the story beats are from Empire, and I don’t think you could fit a lot of movies in that tight a mold.
So yeah, it’s a reworking of the original movie while setting out to subvert many of the expectations that people have of how things will go. That in itself doesn’t seem very controversial, and in itself it also doesn’t mean the movie is either great or bad.
I finally decided.
I want my money back!
That the crux of the complaint from you, Mr Millar, and somewhat from Jim is that it’s a rehash.
Yes the parellels are there yet everyone else is moaning about the bits it didn’t follow, like Rey wasn’t Luke’s kid or Obi Wan’s or the other Empire things. Look right back to the reactions at the start, almost nobody is moaning about that (and some of it rather superficial based in imagery like salt instead of sand, really the Hoth and Crait scenes have nothing in common other than ‘white and AT-ATs’). They wanted it to be more like Empire.
After watching TFA the first comment from my friend of the same age was, it was good but the same story as Star Wars, plans in the droid, orphan on desert planet, disable the shields, sacrifice the mentor, blow up the Death Star. Yet it was loved and made much more money, and most of the shitting on the original characters came from that film, Han left his wife and kid, Luke did a runner the same as Obi Wan.
I think if they had made it more like ESB, not less, it would have been embraced. Not by me, I liked the deviations, but by the majority of fans. That’s what they want, Beverly Hills Cop II.
My complain isn’t that it’s a rehash (it’s the same as TFA in that regard). I don’t even mind Finn and Poe being useless, Rose being a bad character, Smoke being no-one, Rey being the child of no-one (though I still don’t believe that), and I didn’t even mind how weird Laura Dern looked (but she looked really weird, uncanny valley weird, like it was the robot from Silicon Valley).
My main issue remains the characterization of Luke and to a lesser extent Leia. To quote Hamill:
I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character.
No and I get all that and they are valid points but what I’m saying is that it’s all a minority view. Those things are what got up the nose of 90% of comments I have seen here and elsewhere.
I totally see the Luke thing but as I said earlier it was all on the cards actually from Abrams, he made Luke into Obi Wan doing the same thing for the same reason (even wearing the same clothes). It’s true that Johnson could have done some plot-fu to excuse some of it, Luke had a virus that may have harmed his loved ones or some such shit, but before the movie started Han had abandoned his wife and child and Luke had done a runner contacting nobody (which is why Leia is ‘to a lesser extent’ as she at least stuck by her guns).
That for the majority of fans seemed okay at the end of TFA. They loved it, 5 stars and $2bn. So I understand and share the view of that problem but the main fan backlash has been Snoke, Rey, Rose, all the bits that didn’t emulate previous films.
They want nostalgia and the same thing again. That’s why TFA made a load of money primarily in the US, UK, Australia etc, the 1970s/1980s audience.
I don’t know if everyone was ok with TFA. I think there was a sense of immediate relief that it wasn’t terrible (as the prequels had soiled most people on Star Wars). But it didn’t take long before the narrative turned somewhat to be critical of the movie (mainly the Death Star retread - I honestly don’t think anyone really enjoyed that). Being a rehash of ANH wasn’t immediately apparent, in part because all these mysteries laid out there promised that there was more to the story that what first appeared. I think that’s why people weren’t up in arms about Luke being on the sidelines, at the end of TFA we don’t know the full story or his side of things so we hoped he had more motivation. After TLJ it’s more clear that Luke is just an ass and pulled his own Yoda, and it’s clear there’s nothing more to this trilogy than rehashing the first one. For me when the dust settles I might consider the sequels to be worse than the prequels. Already I’d prefer if they hadn’t been made.
I also don’t think people just want nostalgia. There can be an element of that but mostly I think people want something new that they haven’t seen before in a familiar setting. The rash of franchise failures over the past few years to me reflects that.
And all the usual entirely crazy coincidences that moved the plot. I mean, it is crazy when you look at everything that “just happens” to make the plot work. That’s very much a Star Wars convention. It’s like Spider-Man times ten.
I think the approach probably should have been all or nothing. Divorcing mostly from the original material could have made it a hit in places like China that don’t give a shit. Could have enthused the US/UK audience in a different way.
You say it wasn’t immediately apparent in TFA but my mate and I said it as we walked out on opening day. It’s not that I disagree but I’m just looking a little beyond my personal take or your personal take and what most people are complaining about. It is those diversions they hate and while those are the bits I liked the most I can recognise I really am in the minority. Just as the Christian/Millar complaints it’s just the same movie again as a rehash is also very niche, that’s not what the crowd is baying as they hold their torches aloft.
Question for all:
Do you think the disappointment with TLJ has made people look at TFA with a more critical eye?
People may have rewatched before or after TLJ and it tarnished the whole brand for them. Then Solo come along and kicks them while they are down.
I didn’t hate TLJ, but there are plenty of problems. I came out of the theatre thinking I was happy with what I had seen but I think it was almost entirely down to seeing Hamill doing his thing as Luke again. I realized later the rest was not so good.
Maybe it’s not as big a failure as some say it is. The reviews were fine, in the box office it isn’t bad. Plenty of people seem to like it.
Maybe. I didn’t have much of a reaction to The Force Awakens other than it felt like a Star Wars movie. It was great in that way, but not that great of a movie. A good popcorn movie. The Last Jedi didn’t feel like an adventure in the same way. The story never really started for me in that one.
In Rogue One, I at first had no sense of a story as well, but about thirty minutes in I got into it. I think it balanced the old and new approaches the best of the series so far.
Not really. The same people who like TFA like it, and those who didn’t have the same complaints.
Yes and that’s really key to what I was saying. I watched that trailer again and again, it was the music, the Falcon flying and Han and Chewy saying ‘we’re home’ that sent me back to when I was 10. I did walk out happy emotionally but not so much intellectually at seeing the same thing as before.
With The Last Jedi I was happier with the twists but if you go back to my first review I didn’t love it and still don’t as it didn’t hit that same nerve and send me back to 1983.
Star Wars is driven by nostalgia now, it didn’t have to but that’s what Abrams excels at (I felt similar ET pangs in the first half of Super 8). He will likely deliver that again with the next film as best he can and then Disney/Lucasfilm will have to look beyond that.
I’ve seen it go both ways - for some TLJ emphasises how cruddy TFA was, for others TLJ shows up how much better TFA was due to its humdrum, mundane, bare bones answers to TFA’s mysteries.
I couldn’t say if Star Wars could be anything but nostalgic. In a lot of ways, the original Star Wars - like Raiders - was “nostalgia” even if most of the fans never saw it before. Essentially, those movies took the thrills of the movie matinees that excited kids (like Lucas and Spielberg - especially Lucas) decades before and mixed them with a visual style and music of the adventure movies (John Ford’s and David Lean’s) that excited them too.
I don’t think Star Wars can really be new (it is set a long time ago, after all). Its appeal is set into a certain style and recognizable narrative.
At the same time, I don’t think the movies are any more troubled than any other production, but the response is amplified. Back to the Future replaced its lead actor weeks into production and had to reshoot almost everything. There was plenty of drama behind the scenes of Return of the Jedi and Raiders, but you didn’t really hear about it. All the way back to the silent films, they would constantly have to reshoot and preview movies for audiences before releasing them. Often you’d have multiple different versions of the same movie playing in different parts of the country.
Making movies has always been messy, and these don’t seem any more troubled than others.
Yeah we all know that but try and watch any trailer for The Force Awakens while imagining you have never watched Star Wars before.
They pride themselves on the secrecy on plot but that essentially means they say nothing to any new audience.
I loved this but imagine that stormtrooper uniform means nothing to you, the wrecked star destroyer, the light sabre, that the Millennium Falcon is just any ship in a sci-fi movie. It’s complete nonsense that sells nothing, it’s like a trailer for a rom-com taking random shots of coffee tables, bedside tables and an ice cream.
WHO GAVE YOU MY SCRIPT?!
To be fair you’d be crazy to try and sell Star Wars without referring to what’s come before. Particularly when this is a deliberate sequel. It’d be like selling Return of the King without mentioning the Fellowship. I would say that every sequel is trading on nostalgia.
To be fair the ice cream scene was pure gold.