Reviewing Star Wars 7 – Cause Why Not?

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Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars. Oh, how it’s hard for me to hate you. We had such a good time together early on. You had your movies, I had my love and adoration. You had the Expanded Universe novels and information booklets, and I had my many hours of writing fanfiction. We were a match made in heaven! We were that couple that others would talk about. It wasn’t weird for us to be seen running hand in hand through the snowfields of Hoth or the dunes of Tatooine.

And then the prequels came out. You changed. You weren’t the series I thought you were. You were suddenly ‘fake’. Your humor wasn’t your own. And you changed… physically. I didn’t want to be judgement and shallow, but you looked different. And whenever you paraded yourself in front of me, that’s all I could see. Yes, you might have been talking about droids and lightsabers and Jedi, but all I was seeing was computer-generated tears.

So, now you’re back. With a new movie. A new movie that completely erases the Expanded Universe that I adored. I didn’t know how I would feel after the showing. I delayed. I hesitated. But now that I’ve seen you, I’m finally ready to talk about our relationship again.

I’ll be gentle.

So. I’m pretty much doing what every nerd blog out there has done already – reviewing Star Wars. I’m pretty sure those who have seen it have already formed their own opinion but I figured I’d add my voice out there to the mewling masses. With that in mind, please realize that I will be using spoilers. You have been warned.

Are you ready for this?

 

 

 

Are you ready for this?

 

 

 

 

Beware – there be spoilers here!

 

 

I cried during the opening sequence. How weird is that? When the scroll started and the music began, my eyes just welled because it felt… right? Like, the scroll looked like it should. It wasn’t cleaned up. Heck, it even looked sort of faded in color like in the 1977’s version. Maybe it was just me, but this scroll didn’t feel wrong. It felt refreshing and just perfect.

And that’s sort of how I felt about the overall atmosphere about the movie. The set and the action felt like the original movies. The CGI was there, yes, but it was contained. And because the actors were dealing with an actual set, their reactions to the scene just felt more realistic. I remember during an interview, Ewan McGregor talked about how he had to ride a green cube in front of a green screen in the closing moments of the third movie. He talked about how confusing the whole thing was because all he had to go by was the director yelling descriptors at him from off the side. He made it sound funny, but I can imagine that not being helpful to an actor trying to ‘get into the head’ of a character. With the new movie, it felt like the actors were responding organically to everything because 90 percent of the setting was actually there.

So the setting and the atmosphere felt like Star Wars. So, I suppose you could say that the movie was good.

Well… not so fast.

It wasn’t a bad movie. It wasn’t a good movie. Honestly, for story, I’d give it a C. Did you like ‘A New Hope’ when you got introduced to Star Wars? Cause honestly, that’s the story here. Droid gets stuck on desert planet only to be picked up by a force using ‘desert dweller’. This leads them to running into a smuggler who helps get them to the Rebels. Oh, and they have to blow up a mega-Death Star which they do at the very last moment. Some people say that the film is meant to be similar to ‘A New Hope’. Sort of like a homage… but I doubt my Lit professor would have believed that if I did a similar treatment to my ‘Grapes of Wrath’ essay.

Characters in the film were fun. Finn is probably the prize jewel of this entire movie. The guy just had every line down and I truly felt connected to him – even when he was just a nameless stormtrooper with a bloody handprint on his helmet. Rey, our Jedi in the making, isn’t bad either. I’m interested in seeing where she goes. It was also good to see some of the old faces return. Yet I guess there are some things I could say about two of the characters.

Darth Emo. You might know him as Kylo Ren. Now, I’m not saying I hated the character, but I don’t think they really did a good job introducing him. In the very beginning, he was shown to be a bad ass. Hell, he could stop a blaster bolt with the Force. Vader didn’t even do that – the guy just had to take it in the hand like a champ. Yet, as the movie continues, he gets less ‘cool’ and more teenager angst. Which… I guess makes sense seeing as he’s not a Darth yet. He’s just a kid trying to be the next Vader. Yet, it still feels like he’s two different characters in this film. In the beginning – he’s Vader. And by the end, he’s getting slapped around by a girl who never picked up a lightsaber before (and yes, I know… she was guided by the Force. That’s… an excuse, I guess).

And then there is Han. Oh, Han. Han, Han, Han. I am not a fan of what they did to Han. All that character growth from the original movies flushed down the drain. He was back to being the same old swindling Han in the seventh movie. And while people are quick to point out as to ‘why’ he went back to his old ways, it was still heartbreaking. It felt like he didn’t get the treatment his character deserved before he was killed off.

I could probably go on as to why I didn’t think this was the strongest Star Wars, but I don’t want my statements to be construed as me thinking this movie was a bad idea. In truth, it did the most important thing for me which was to show that we could make a movie *feel* like Star Wars again. The movie absolutely nailed the humor, the atmosphere, and the look and feel of the original movies. A lot of the characters they introduced were cool! I am now very excited about the next movie, and I think J.J. Abrams did a good job there.

So… yeah. I don’t need to tell you to see it cause you probably already have. If you haven’t and are on the fence – it’s not bad. It’s not as good as the originals but I wouldn’t rank it prequel-level.

Did you see the movie? Tell us what you thought in the comments.


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About the Author
Billy started out his roots like many roleplayers - D&D. Playing it and then Vampire all through highschool and college, Billy picked it all up again when he made the move from Michigan to New York. Now working in publishing, Billy does what he can to view roleplaying games through a narrative's lens. Does that sound classy as balls? It should.

6 comments on “Reviewing Star Wars 7 – Cause Why Not?

  1. Green says:

    Good review. There will be spoilers in here too, but I’ll try and be light.

    I agree with you on several points, but you forgot to mention the best part – the ship combat was fantastic. Poe was a ton of fun – he has the right energy and attitude for the supposed best pilot in the Resistance. Finn was fantastic as well, but I think I would have liked him more if he had a bit more reluctance to shoot his former comrades, who he probably grew up with and had friendships with.

    I feel that Kylo is way too old for his disposition. It’s almost like they took Episode 2 Anakin, and applied it to someone in his late twenties / early thirties who does not have the same excuse (slave -> emotionally repressed order of monks). He starts off so well, and then it’s all downhill from there. He also has no sense of tactics. You want the lightsaber and the girl? Force Push Finn against a tree a few times, there’s no need to engage him in melee.

    Rey has been a good lead so far. I look forward to seeing her story develop. It’s hinted at in the movie, but she and Kylo actually know each other, or at least he knows her. It’s outright stated in the book.

    As for the prequels, while they are worse as a film, they did try and innovate and show us a new story. The Clone Wars TV Show made that Era so much better. I actually prefer a number of the designs to what we were given. More Star Destroyers, more TIEs, more X-Wings, eh. I can forgive a lot, but they didn’t even upgrade the TIEs to the Interceptor design!

    Anyway, 7/10, and let’s all forget the bar scene. Though I did like that Anakin’s lightsaber is actually Excalibur now.

  2. Fabian says:

    Actually, some of those New Order TIEs are heavily upgraded, with missile launchers and turrets that can shoot behind the fighter, so I would say they’re actually superior to the Interceptor model. And besides, nothing says, “The Empire’s back, suckers!” like the old iconic TIE fighter design.

    Now, about the Expanded Universe… meh. Honestly, I don’t miss it. It had some good stories, but all too often the EU books I remember reading felt too much like fanfiction. And for crying out loud, it ought to be a crime to write a book with the word “wars” on it and have virtually no wars in it! Many of those books were boring as hell and focused too much on dry politicking. And the Yuuzhan Vong, some sort of weird mix of Hellraiser and the Tyranids, were way out of place in the Star Wars universe. You may not feel so now, Billy, but trust me, we’re better off with the new canon.

  3. DABuehl says:

    On Kylo Ren: Yeah, he was too emo, but, to a certain extent, I liked a move in that direction.

    NB: I’ve seen the movies and played some video games, but that’s the extent of my exposure to the lore, so maybe this all gets explained away there somewhere

    The dark side is supposed to be about giving in to rage and fear and whatnot. Maybe the stoic anger we’d see from Vader is something that comes with becoming a full Sith, but seeing Kylo Ren throwing tantrums from time to time just seemed more in line with what I’ve always expected from the dark side.

  4. Hopeless says:

    Improvement over the Star Trek reboot where I ended up wishing they made it more about Kirk’s dad!
    Here it made me wonder why they didn’t keep Poe to fly the Falcon, making Rey the engineer trying to rebuild the hyperdrive whilst Finn is busy shooting down the TIEs so we know Rey is good in melee just keep the fact she knows how to wield a lightsaber as a potential surprise with Anakin’s saber a feint to hide the fact Rey has her own.
    Otherwise a good movie they really need to keep their superweapon easier to understand rather than ignore the fact they don’t make sense!

  5. crawlkill says:

    but WHY did Phasma take down the shield

  6. Jake says:

    The “loss” of the Expanded Universe isn’t as much of an issue to me. Watch enough anime and it becomes a lot more natural to accept that one series can span multiple alternate universes so that all stories can be true and continue in the same way. The Star Trek Expanded Universe novels got really interesting after the reboot, because all of a sudden they had a guarantee that there’d be no future canon to contradict them anymore, so they got nuts.

    I would give this a slightly higher B- than your C. It certainly serves as a good origin movie for the new main characters, and really Kylo Ren should be among them because he’s now trying so hard to be Vader, but hasn’t mastered keeping a lid on that anger until he needs it resulting in the emo-ness.

    I completely agree with crawlkill though, Captain Phasma was the biggest letdown. It only seems to make sense if she was secretly working with the Resistance the whole time.

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