Author Topic: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)  (Read 26371 times)

Gaoics79

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The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« on: December 19, 2015, 12:27:21 PM »
I figured I'd get the ball rolling on this, since it was only a matter of time before someone did it.

When I saw the movie last night, I was mildly amused, occasionally excited, but mostly just ho-hum. Is it more competently made than the prequels? I'll give it that. But most of it was just lacking real panache. Very little was memorable, save perhaps one scene where the Empire (sorry, the "First Order") blows up Coruscant. Okay, that part was pretty shocking. But the rest? Meh. The prequels may have been tooth grindingly bad in parts, but with those movies the highs were really high, even if the lows were really low. This movie is just par for the course.

Let's start with the score. I can't remember a single tune in this entire movie. The only time the music made any impact on me was when they were playing themes from the original trilogy. The rest? Totally forgettable. Even the Phantom Menace had that March of the Fates song. This one? Zilch. That may sound like a nitpick on my part, but I think music plays a much bigger role than people think. I think when you consider the original trilogy and imagine it without John Williams' iconic soundtrack, you'll agree something would be missing. This movie was John Williams's third string material. It sounded like Star Wars, but you instantly forgot it when you left the theatre.

The plot? At its best it was a remake of A New Hope. But where it strayed from that basic plot, the writing just became sloppy. For example, the main characters are running from the Empire on Tatooine (it's called something else in the movie, but forget it, it's Tatooine) and there's this rusting wreck of a ship in a junk yard that looks like it's been there 20 years, and whadya know, it's the Millenium Falcon. They just jump in, turn the key and whoosh, up they go. Wow, there's flying in a "hunk of junk" in the metaphorical sense, but in this movie they take it a little too literally. Then they fly up into space, and within 10 minutes there's a tractor beam on them and whaddya know, it's Han Solo and Chewie! Small universe??!

But okay, let's get to the real problem with this story: the characters.

I'm going to say this up front: Rey is a Mary Sue. She's one of those characters that's just *impossible* defying virtually everything we know about the universe she inhabits. First off, she's instantly a badass. And I mean she does everything perfectly, all the time. She jumps into the Millenium Falcon and is flying it around like an expert. Then she's schooling Han on how to repair his own ship. Wow, I know she's supposed to be a junk collector, so she'd be technically proficient, but really? She knows more about starships than Han?

Then she's captured by Kilo Ren, the "villain" of the piece, who she manages to defeat in a mind battle (she has no force training and didn't know the force existed until a few hours before this scene). Then she's pulling Jedi mind tricks on the guards, forcing them to release her (did I mention she has no training and has never even met a Jedi to this point?). The kicker is when she defeats a Sith Lord in a lightsaber duel within five minutes of picking up a lightsaber for the first time in her life! I know she's probably Luke's daughter, and Ren really is a pansy of a Sith Lord, but really? Remind me, did Luke walk up to Darth Vader and kick his ass in the first movie? My memory is a little fuzzy... The only thing I can think of that's remotely analogous is kiddie Anakin single handedly taking out the Droid Mother Ship in Phantom Menace. But that seemed more plausible somehow...

This brings us to Finn, supposedly the other main protagonist in the film. Except he's not really a main character. You know how they bill him that way in the trailers? Well he's not. He literally does *nothing* in this movie. He is entirely superfluous to the plot. In the first scene he meets Rey she is being attacked by three or four thugs and he races to help her, but she just flat out kicks their asses. You can take that to be the motif for the rest of the movie, Finn thinking he's helping Rey but discovering that she doesn't need his help. Finn goes to rescue her in the second half, but she already rescues herself by the time he gets to the bad guy's base. He tries to protect her from the villain, but gets knocked unconscious and she promptly kicks the villain's ass herself. Finn serves no purpose in this film but to witness time and again what a badass Rey is and how she doesn't need him for anything.

I am all for strong woman in film (loved the new Mad Max film) but Rey might as well be in the movie alone. Even Han and Leia have to just stand by most of the film and watch Rey do everything herself. Finn's entire contribution to the movie is just telling Rey that the droid (which she already has acquired) has a map to Luke Skywalker (which the droid could just as easily have told her) and in act 2, he couriers Luke's old lightsaber to Rey so she can use it to defeat Ren. That's it.

Finn's character is paper thin. He's a stormtrooper who doesn't want to be one anymore. This would be an intriguing setup if there was a setup, but he's literally running from his employers in the first or second scene he's in. We are given no meaningful backstory or  context to him, or any explanation of why he is so different from other stormtroopers. He's just a stormtrooper with a heart of gold I guess. Whatever.

Rey has almost no backstory either, for that matter. What little we know about her  is told in 5 minutes. Her big secret is no secret, her backstory kind of transparent. All you need to know about her is that she's a better Jedi than the Jedi, she's a better pilot than Han, and she doesn't need a man (or anybody really) to look out for her, ever.

The villain, Kiro Ren, is threatening at first, but then degenerates into a whiny twerp by the end. The rest of the supporting villains are just stock Nazi caricatures, with the big evil hologram (Lord Voldemort?) having none of the charisma of Palpatine or even Dooku from the prequels. Even the quiet dignity and menace of Grand Moth Tarkin would have been a huge upgrade for this film.

Coming to the end of this rant, I realize, in retrospect, that this movie makes me angry. Very angry. I take back what I said. It's not competent. I don't like this movie at all. I should say something nice about. Okay, here goes - the effects were great. I loved the electric sizzle of the lightsabers. Ren was threatening at least until he took his helmet off and turned out to be a whiny teenaged twerp. The empire's new death star was awesome - I totally did not see it coming that they'd just blow up Coruscant like that. WOW.

But the story? I'd give it a pass. If you like strong women, watch Mad Max instead....


« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 12:31:32 PM by jasonr »

JoshuaD

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 01:05:19 PM »
I basically agree with you.

I enjoyed the movie. I had a good time watching it and I don't think it failed.

That being said, it was just a very well constructed recycling of the first 6 movies. There was not one original idea or scene. It was basically a best hits roll.

As Jason pointed out, the plot was exceedingly thin. At some places, I understand not wanting to delay (Han finding the heroes and the MF). At other times, the thin plot was completely unnecessary.

The resistance is informed about the mega-super-death star by our heroes. And they immediately develop a plan to destroy it. 30 seconds of talking, spit-balling ideas, and boom, OK we can destroy this machine that was carefully engineered and built over the course of decades.

A much better alternatives, which would have cost nothing would have been to have the resistance aware of the existence of the mega-super-death-star and having been developing plans to destroy it for the last 10 years. Then they can be shocked that it's operational way ahead of schedule, their plans can be incomplete because of the shields, and Han can say "I don't know, lets go blow them up. I've done it twice before." This way you get the cool han solo lines, the sense of danger, but you also have some shred of believably.

The film was a well constructed pop song. There was nothing "wrong" with it, but it didn't do anything new. Star Wars was a new idea executed beautifully. These were just a cash-in on the old idea.

I wanted to like it. I'm not typically a hater, and I did enjoy myself. But it was a really thin film, engineered perfectly to garner the response that its getting from critics and fans, without really deserving it.

--

And don't get me started on the new Star Trek trailer. <old man grumble>

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 02:14:15 PM »
My review is a lot simpler than jasonr's. In the prequels I could pick out the problems with them and present them in a (sometimes long) list. There is no list for TFA, the entire movie is wrong. Every single part. Nothing is right, intelligent, or original. There were zero (zero) times in the movie when I felt "Yes! that's what I came here to see!" Well ok, just one, the last shot of the film. I liked that - too bad it lasted for what seemed like 5 minutes. I'll confess that I've read the lion's share of Star Wars novels, and for those of us who have we know that some of them are cheap trash that do little more than make references to the movies and try to one-up them. TFA was fan fiction, and the bad kind at that. It's the Kevin J. Anderson kind of Star Wars story. Remember Darksaber? The Sun Crusher? This is what we're talking about here.

Also I've taken to referring to Kilo Ren as Darth Emo, and I suspect you'll agree when you see the film. Did anyone else wonder how he ever got his helmet to fit back on top of his poofy hair? It balloons out when the helmet comes off, making that a good reason to never take it off. Since his hair resembles the poofed out feathers on an ostrich or emu I also call him Darth Emu.

I hated this despicable, worthless film. There were no good characters, the story was almost a scene-for-scene lift from A New Hope, and the action left me bored. They even copied the Death Star Trench, something that I thought was reserved for comedies satirizing Star Wars. I saw the film with a group of 20. In that group a couple of people who were Star Wars fans thought it was good. The rest of us were a mix of Star Wars fans and non-fans (some of them had about no knowledge of Star Wars at all coming in) and of this group you could see the frowns on the faces when the credit began rolling. Everyone agreed that not only was it a bad Star Wars film, it was just a bad film even aside from it being Star Wars. The prequels have highs and lows like jasonr said, and I find parts of them admirable and watchable. I admired nothing and no one in TFA, and the scenery was barren and dreary. I'll always go back to Ep 1 just to watch Liam Neeson, and Ep 3 to watch Ian McDiarmid, but there's nothing to go back to here. It was the worst movie I've seen in the cinema for a long time, and I'll never watch it again.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 02:18:06 PM by Fenring »

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 05:47:26 PM »
I can't remember the music and I walked out of it, after seeing the whole movie I mean, just an hour ago. I also noticed pretty much the exact same plot as A New Hope. It kind of reminded me of the opening words to The Wheel of Time. So agree there.

I will play devil's advocate with some of the rest though. In the Conan movies and books he often defies incredible odds and one explanation for it may be that he's just strong, lucky, and smarter than he looks. But I like to think that he has a god watching out for him too which is Crom of course. All of the incredibly lucky and unlikely things you point out can all be ascribed to the Force working its will to balance the universe, especially when we see the massive loss of life it kind of makes sense that to restore balance the force even if not sentient will by reflex or natural response act more strongly than we've ever seen it act before. The Force itself reached out and smacked Finn upside the head, or touched his heart, and Ren felt it. All the other crazy improbably/impossible things can also be explained/rationalized this way as well such as the chance encounters, the sudden matrix like skill sets, and the rest. Evidence for this interpretation is pretty much in the title. May the odds be ever in your favor. Ooops. I mean may the Force be with you.

« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 05:59:20 PM by cherrypoptart »

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 09:43:07 PM »
Cherry, in  the books and movies, Conan is already an experienced warrior and rogue. So it's no surprise that he can swing a battle axe or ride a warhorse into battle or whatnot. That he may be especially great as a warrior or especially lucky is more an issue with storytelling than character. By the same token, nobody bats an eyelash when Qai-Gon Jinn was swinging around his lightsaber and matching blades with Darth Maul in Phantom Menace. He's a Jedi Master - it makes sense.

Rey's character goes well beyond this point into silliness. Okay, she's street tough due to her upbringing, but she can beat up four guys at once? Is she supposed to be Captain America? And then she's beating an experienced Sith Lord in a lighsaber duel despite having no experience or training? Oh yeah and she can fly a starship? Lotta starship flying as a scavenger? And lecturing Han how to repair the Millenium Falcon, which she was flying for all of five minutes? Is she going to show up in the Galactic Senate next and tell the Senators how to pass legislation?

A better analogy would be if Conan started shooting lightning bolts from his hands like some wizard. You would be watching that and saying: WTF? When did he go to Hogwarts?

Luke was as innately talented as any Jedi due to his lineage, but even he needed to be rescued by Obi Wan several times because for all his innate skill, he wasn't this ultimate badass, at least not at the beginning. I suppose if J.J. Abrams had written New Hope, Luke would have just killed Vader in the first movie, right after punching the Emperor in the face :)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 09:49:52 PM by jasonr »

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 10:06:56 PM »
Well I will say that I liked the movie Catwoman, which is to say my standards are very, very low. I just like to be distracted for a little while. Seeing it in IMAX 3D also helped a lot. Whatever the plot holes and however hard it is to suspend disbelief the visuals were just stunning. If people didn't like it I don't really want to argue with them. Maybe they just have higher standards than I do and I can respect that. I did find myself saying many times during the movie that the only way that was possible was if the Force was making it happen. If that explanation isn't good enough then yeah I can see how it would be a problem.

I guess if you see a lot of stupid movies getting made and people still going to see them encouraging even more of the same then you are justified in looking at people like me to blame. I like Adam Sandler movies too, for instance. Loved Pixels. And this was a lot better than that.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 10:09:09 PM by cherrypoptart »

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 10:16:53 PM »
But I'll play along a little bit more because this is an interesting point. I guess I already made it but I'll talk about it some more. So the Force is always trying to seek balance. The dark side has become so powerful here and is so threatening to overwhelm the universe for instance with that new weapon that the good side is now taking a more active role than it ever had before, kind of like for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Whenever one side gets the upper hand then the other side is given a boost by the Force to regain equilibrium. The Force is basically using people like the gods would their avatars. If they really want to calm things down for any period of time they probably all need to reroll from Jedi and train as druids instead, true neutral. Or maybe develop a brand of Jedi/Sith that is neither good nor evil but balanced. Perhaps that is something the Force could live with without always having to upset the apple cart with one massive bloodbath after another.

ScottF

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 10:50:58 AM »
It's funny, I watched with my family yesterday and in general all of us had a good time. Instead of viewing it as a complete rehash, I thought of it as taking all the best things I liked in the previous movies and bringing me there again. I realize I'm being charitable with this interpretation.

My 14yr old had the same objections to Rey's big showdown with mini-darth: "wait, how would that even be a fight?" My daughter's reply "well, he HAD been shot and was losing a lot of blood...". Again, charitable.

Looking back, they really did just reconstruct a bunch of the great moments from previous movies (the bar scene, inside/outside the death star confrontations, desertscapes, etc.). Even so, I still came away feeling more fondly nostalgic than ripped off.

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 11:00:23 AM »
Scott, I agree with you that what they essentially did was reboot Star Wars and copy-paste things from other films. Perhaps we should have expected nothing else from Abrams, the reboot king, but I think that it's a huge insult to Star Wars to ignore trying to continue the franchise and to instead make what's effectively a stand-alone best-of mix. This isn't like Star Trek, where the franchise was arguably burned out and where a reboot was perhaps called for to bring people back into it. Star Wars was neither burned out nor did people want the previous story to be halted in favor of a stand-alone story that was illogical in its historical perspective. If there had been no other Star Wars films then much of the objection to the details of TFA would be moot, since the film would have the right to use its own internal logic any was it saw fit. But when seen as Star Wars 7 the events of the movie play as simple rip-offs, cheap thrills devoid of logic, and great inconsistencies in who should be able to do what. And seeing TFA as Star Wars 7 isn't merely a conceit, it has been hailed as the long-awaited sequel and the start of the final trilogy. Abrams gleefully used this framework to market the movie, and although it wasn't called "Episode 7" in the credits it was obviously Ep 7 to everyone going in. "Reboot logic" can't apply to a direct sequel in a universe with 6 movies of internal logic to stick to. If you don't want to stick to that then don't call it a sequel, and say outright it's a reboot. Just call it "Star Wars" and leave it at that. Instead we have what plays like the Star Trek reboot but where cherished characters we know are toyed with, misused, or otherwise strangely omitted, and where basic questions about what happened to the galaxy we knew in Ep 4-6 are never even addressed as being relevant, no less answered.

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 12:12:39 PM »
Rey to me fits right into the mold of Anakin and Luke, continuing the family tradition of being natural pilots who (probably aided by the force) seem to be able to sit down in a ship and know how to handle it purely by instinct. There's at least solid backing for her being a competent engineer, between scavenging and the conversational cues talking to Han about her opinions on the modifications that were made to the Falcon. Luke went from joyriding in a landspeeder to being a top notch XWing pilot without blinking. We aren't clearly told one way or another just how much Rey had worked with the other ships or equipment on the planet, but there are some clear nods to the fact that he experience went far beyond the scavenging that we saw her doing on screen.

In general I like that the move didn't stop to bog you down with back story. Like the original it just picked up and told the story forward only stopping to explain things where absolutely necessary and just adding details when they became relevant. Obi Wan was a general in the Clone Wars. What were the Clone Wars? An important historical point that no one would have needed to explain to anyone else, so no one went off on a monologue about, the audience was just expected to fill in the blank.

It does feel like a formulaic copy of the original, but in light of the fact that the original was a by the numbers implementation of Joseph Campbell's heroic myth formula, that's not really surprising at all.

I do agree with Joshua on the way the Starkiller was handled (plus other comments I've seen regarding accounting for number suns and its current location given that it was firing its second shot)

Darth Emo is a great name for Kylo Ren, and his behavior seems right in line with a petulant teenager that happens to control way more power than he knows how to manage properly (I loved the physical comedy where the troopers were shown coming down the hall while he was in the middle of his tantrum and suddenly decided that they should go in a different direction) I've seen high functioning autistic kids that map perfectly to his behavior.

ScottF

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 12:34:19 PM »
Is it just me or is that new Sith red light saber design, the red crossguard, a recipe to give yourself a handectomy. Or armectomy. Either way, you'd risk doing some serious damage to yourself just swinging that thing around.

http://imgur.com/gallery/1WRWa

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 04:55:33 PM »
Quote
Rey to me fits right into the mold of Anakin and Luke, continuing the family tradition of being natural pilots who (probably aided by the force) seem to be able to sit down in a ship and know how to handle it purely by instinct. There's at least solid backing for her being a competent engineer, between scavenging and the conversational cues talking to Han about her opinions on the modifications that were made to the Falcon. Luke went from joyriding in a landspeeder to being a top notch XWing pilot without blinking. We aren't clearly told one way or another just how much Rey had worked with the other ships or equipment on the planet, but there are some clear nods to the fact that he experience went far beyond the scavenging that we saw her doing on screen.

Pyr superficially this is a logical explanation. Indeed, I thought maybe my reaction to the Rey character was unfair because maybe I was being a sexist about a female protagonist and not cutting her slack I did the male leads in previous films.

But really, I don't think that's true. When I think about Luke in the previous films, he got his butt kicked as often as not. He needed to be rescued several times in the first movie, from the Sand People, from the bar thugs, and then from Vader in the final showdown. In Episode 2 he lost his lightsaber duel with Vader, despite having Jedi Knight training. Even after being a Jedi in Part 3, he needed to be bailed out countless times. Luke was portrayed as a gifted starpilot but he was arrogant, brash, reckless and he couldn't have done everything on his own. He was a badass by the end of Part 6, but he wasn't Captain America, not then and certainly not at the start!

I don''t think I can think of a single moment in TFA where Rey needed help from anyone. Part of the problem I think was that they were so gung-ho on making a strong independent female lead (maybe as penance for Leia's golden bikini) that they made this impossible character with no flaws or weaknesses (being angsty at being abandoned by her family isn't a flaw or a weakness - it's actually straight out of the Mary Sue handbook) They also rendered Flinn, supposedly her co-lead, basically superfluous. She didn't need him at all. She didn't need anyone really!

Quote
In general I like that the move didn't stop to bog you down with back story. Like the original it just picked up and told the story forward only stopping to explain things where absolutely necessary and just adding details when they became relevant. Obi Wan was a general in the Clone Wars. What were the Clone Wars? An important historical point that no one would have needed to explain to anyone else, so no one went off on a monologue about, the audience was just expected to fill in the blank.

Except New Hope was the first movie in the series. There were no established political factions, no established rules or characters. Yes it was allegedly Part 4 in a greater narrative, but it was still the start of the franchise. Lucas didn't need to explain things in that film that were unnecessary to the basic plot.

By contrast, TFA is allegedly Part 7 in the franchise. I was led to believe that this was a sequel, not a reboot! I'm not saying Abrams needed to bog the plot down in endless exposition, but certain basic facts like "who the heck are the First Order, and why are they just like the Empire ??" needed to be explained with at least some exposition. The empire was *defeated* in Episode 6. That was the culmination of three movies! The good guys won? Well nope, I guess they didn't, because the Empire is just back? Leia is back to being a rebel commander? Same storm troopers, same ships, same smug British *censored*, even a new Emperor. WTF? How do you just hand-wave away the culmination of three movies?

DonaldD

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 06:27:03 PM »
"How do you just hand-wave away the culmination of three movies?"

Well, the simple answer would be that the 3 movies spanned, what, a 10 year period at worst?

Whereas there could have been another 10-12 movies that we never got to see detailing the fall of Leia's reign.

Now, as to the rest - I have to agree, that Rey and Finn's interaction basically rises to the level of modern family advertisements, where the husband is played as a buffoon, and the wife cannot be made fun of.

I also saw another as yet unmentioned parallel: Kylo Ren, future leader of Slytherin house, tossing aside Ron - I mean Finn - as if he had no use whatsoever in the books...

DonaldD

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 06:30:44 PM »
Plus, I really thought Finn could have been a brilliant character - from the trailers, anyway.  In the end, though - Rey just took up all the oxygen.  She got her father's mad skills, her uncle's charisma, her aunt's strength, and Finn got to be C3PO.

Pete at Home

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 06:34:08 PM »
Haven't seen it, and will wait for cheap theater. But my 13 year old liked it.

I always thought that killing the emperor in El 6 would not end a pan-Galactic empire. Think about it.  All sorts of mid level dudes spread across the stars.

Besides if a Jedi can pull off an obi-Yoda mentorship from being the grave, why can't a Sigh?


Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 06:59:17 PM »
Donald you have it right with Rey - she suffers from TV mom syndrome, with Finn playing dopey useless old dad. Right from the start she gets jumped by like 3-4 guys. Finn comes in to help her. But it's like nope, why would she need any help from a dopey *man*. This scene is played for laughs, but over over Rey just upstages everybody because God forbid a woman should ever need help from a man - that would be sexist. She is a better stormtrooper than the stormtrooper, a better Jedi than the Jedi and a better spaceship pilot than the pilot. At least Tim the Toolman Taylor's wife never schooled him on tools:)

Pete at Home

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 07:51:53 PM »
sometimes returning balance to the force requires a little affirmative action. Ask only what Finn will look like dancing in a shape fitting golden thong for
HAve the Hurt's niece in El nine.

DonaldD

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 08:03:02 PM »
You just have to turn off auto-correct, Pete.

Or is that "Jabba" to turn off auto-correct..?

Pete at Home

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2015, 08:11:49 PM »
Amazing how my Otto correct is less ack you rut than my voice conversion /jk

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2015, 05:41:47 PM »
http://www.dailydot.com/geek/star-wars-force-awakens-novelization-highlights/

Has some additional information for those that wan't more exposition. Something that works better in a book than on the screen.

Keep in mind, the Empire was defeated, not destroyed, at the end of Jedi. It's not surprising that some significant faction of loyalists would be fighting to restore it- particularly those that had been among the core of Dooku's supporters against the Old Republic and only came back into the fold when Palpatine brought them together after taking control. (The Clone Wars cartoon series helps make this dynamic much more clear)

It doesn't surprise me that no one decides to break character and go into narrator mode to explain common knowledge on the screen, since that would have put the audience to sleep for filler information that wasn't necessary to the immediate plot on screen.

I think it would have been out of character for Leia to do anything but gravitate toward the upstart faction trying to stop out the empire loyalists.

It doesn't much surprise me that Rey, between the force and growing up a scavenger in a dangerous place could competently handle herself in a fight better than Luke (an untrained farmer, who was completely out of his depth in Mos Eisley) and as well as Finn could have (How probably had plenty of classroom training, but lost his nerve in his first actual fight). Luke needed to be reminded to trust his instincts. Her setup suggests that she actively relied on her instincts to get by all the time.

Also Kylo may have been intimidating to the regular soldiers around him, but he was not Vader. He was a partially trained kid with an attitude problem, not a Sith Lord with decades of experience, so it's within the realm of possibility that someone could push back against him on the basis of raw talent (she was old enough by the time she was abandoned to have perhaps had some basic discipline taught to her, even if she didn't realize that it was the first step toward force training at the time).

The Movie did make a point of injuring Kylo significantly before the confrontation, which, at the time it happened very obviously  (to me, at least) telegraphed that it was a setup to make it reasonable for her to win later in a direct fight where training mattered significantly more than raw power.

I think Finn mostly suffered from being in the shadow of Han Solo for this movie. He's effectively staged to step into his shoes, but Han being there meant that he couldn't pick up the mantle- and after Han died, he did do that in as much as he changed the odds in the fight between Kylo and Rey enough for her to prevail at the end.

scifibum

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2015, 12:23:18 AM »
Wow, some of you guys watched this with a chip on your shoulder.

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2015, 01:19:35 AM »
Wow, some of you guys watched this with a chip on your shoulder.

I went in with a new hope, and was instead attacked by a clone. The last thing I wanted was to hate it, believe me.


Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2015, 02:15:38 AM »
http://io9.gizmodo.com/please-stop-spreading-this-nonsense-that-rey-from-star-1749134275

There might be some meta-explanation as to why Rey can do the things she does. Maybe she was trained when young and has amnesia. Maybe she's some special force-mimic and can copy any power she sees (actually this is a cool idea, which no doubt means it's not what they have in mind). It's too bad that the way the story is actually structured there is no plausible explanation for what she does. Having to watch a sequel in order to understand the basic action of the movie I'm watching is totally unacceptable writing. They could have given clues in the story that there's a reason she can do these things, but alas she just does them and is impervious to failure.

The final comment of this article is what truly demonstrates the poverty of its argument, which is since none of what happens is Star Wars is realistic anyhow why bother sticking to any kind of logic? Anyone who has to ask this kind of rhetorical question understands plain zero about writing fiction or about what makes the audience assign real gravity to certain things happening and not to others. Incidentally I did not come out of TFA with the Mary Sue thing in mind at all, but between jasonr and the article both are making a decent case for Rey really being just that. I'm starting to get convinced, and especially so since the scripting from start to finish had the feel of fan fiction, down to the references to things in the original trilogy even though the events are now 20 years in the past.

JoshuaD

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2015, 02:35:41 AM »
Wow, some of you guys watched this with a chip on your shoulder.

No chip. I was really excited beforehand, and I enjoyed myself during. But the enjoyment I felt was the same I get when I watch "The Expendables", not the sort I get  when I watch "The Empire Strikes Back". 

The movie was thin.

Pete at Home

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2015, 09:34:39 AM »
My boys loved it so I hope I can see it through their eyes.  But this article's argument really sucks, taking emperor's new vagina arguments to their established university-grade low.  If she wanted to argue that the Mary Sue moniker was sexist, the better argument would be the injustice that it's not called a Wesley Crusher, since that's the example all the masturbing fan Fanfics were based on.

"Just as most of The Force Awakens is pretty explicitly patterned on A New Hope, Rey is basically this movie’s answer to Luke Skywalker."

Say what? Luke was depicted as whiny and insecure, with some natural aptitude that is coaxed into usefulness by his trainer. 

 "Luke touches a lightsaber for the first time about 45 minutes into A New Hope, and is using the Force pretty brilliantly by the end of the movie."

Not independently. His only success is while being handheld by his dead mentor.

"But still, Rey’s prowess in this film is pretty incredible, considering that she doesn’t have Obi-Wan to train her. There are lots of hints that she had some training when she was a child, but in any case, this seems to be one of those “just go with it” things"

Isn't that what the writers of bad fanfics would say? That it's just one of those "go with it" moments?

Not impressed with the use of sjw arguments to demand that we suspend disbelief. Luke followed the Campbell formula, so a character patterned after Luke should start with rook for improvement.
 

JoshCrow

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2015, 09:41:38 AM »
Rey was little more than a generic action hero... it was like having Jean-Claude Van Damme plowing through the movie. I know precisely zero about her as a person, whereas Luke was whiny but at least we got to know him. Rey is just some sandblasted, hardened tough guy gal with no relatability, humor, or humanity about her. It's just fine for "The Expendables", but this is Star Wars. You can't anchor an emotional character-driven film on a walking vacancy in that department.

Not that Finn was much better, but at least he got to express more than a single emotion. My trouble with Finn is that he didn't seem to fit into the narrative by serving any function. He contributed not much but to provide an audience surrogate (in some scenes he was basically the fanboy, pointing out how awesome it is that that's Han Solo over there). Being a reformed Stormtrooper is a really cool idea and could have provided major insight into their psychology - and in a better movie it would have gone there or at least alluded to it. But much of what I got from this guy was "Whoohoo, I'm just happy to be here".

I guess the defense against all of this is "it's Star Wars, it's not supposed to be profound". But that's a cop-out and I reject it just as Fenring does. This movie was such a waste from top to bottom. That it got 95% critical approval just shows how cowardly movie critics have become, or else how undemanding. This movie will fade in the memory after a few months and ten years from now they will be regarded as no better than the prequels, precisely because the new characters are paper-thin.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 09:45:57 AM by JoshCrow »

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2015, 10:25:28 AM »
Comparing Rey to Luke is outrageous. So many people have commented on Lucas' famous use of the Joseph Campbell structure and how Luke went through the classic hero's journey. He began as someone with potential and as a good pilot, but who didn't know how to handle himself or control his feelings. The turning point for him was Ben's death, where he realized he had to go it alone and make his own decisions. The meat of this is that Ben's teaching would remain with him, metaphorically represented by the force ghost of Ben literally guiding him at the end to trust his feelings. Contrast with Rey, who never took advice from anyone, never needed assistance, never changed from start to finish, had no compelling reason to do any of the things she did, and learned nothing about herself other than that she could use the force. We do not see the beginnings of a Jedi in her by the end of the film, just the same girl who gets even more badass. Maybe this is the thrust of the trilogy - that she never does become like a Jedi despite her power. I don't know. But she goes through zero of the Campbell hero's journey; she's already a hero at the start, just devoid of a mission.

Heck, as simple as the structure of Star Wars was it did some incredible things. We have this dark man Vader who breathes through a respirator and who Ben describes as more machine than man. Then we have Luke who always had his own skills to rely on and then he gets mixed up with the rebellion and they give him an X-Wing fighter. Next thing you know they're barking orders at him (something new to him as well) and in the Death Star trench they instruct the pilots to active the targeting computers. Luke is about to comply without a second thought when Ben tells him to use the force instead of trusting the computer. Luke is guided by his mentor to trust his own senses, not what the computer tells him. This is the defining moment for Luke in A New Hope as he decides to reject the computer machinery and rely on his own body, which stands in stark contrast to the man chasing him in a custom Tie fighter whose very life relies on machines. Do you see how poetic this contrast is, where Luke won't become subject to technology like Vader and the Empire have become? And then there's the other level of that moment, where we think of Imperial propaganda and how all those stormtroopers who are normal guys must be told all kinds of BS about why their cause is noble and just. By rejecting the targeting computer and trusting his own senses Luke is likewise embarking on the journey towards learning things for himself rather than accepting data given to him by others through computers. He will be his own man, not a cog in someone's machine.

So these are just a few points from A New Hope that already make it infinitely better than TFA and which set Luke and Rey apart by light years. It's not even a matter of degrees; she didn't go through any kind of journey at all other than kicking a bunch of ass.

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 11:49:30 AM »
Quote
Incidentally I did not come out of TFA with the Mary Sue thing in mind at all, but between jasonr and the article both are making a decent case for Rey really being just that.
Which writer are you thinking she's a Mary Sue of?

JoshCrow

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2015, 12:11:42 PM »
Quote
Incidentally I did not come out of TFA with the Mary Sue thing in mind at all, but between jasonr and the article both are making a decent case for Rey really being just that.
Which writer are you thinking she's a Mary Sue of?

The thing about a Mary Sue is that they don't have a particular personality (other than awesomeness). Whomever wrote it is irrelevant - and that's kind of the point of the Mary Sue, because she is "any fan" who wants to be a badass in a movie series they adore. If she represented a particular and real human being she wouldn't even be a Mary Sue. She is an idealization, instead. And more frustrating is that unlike other hyper-talented characters in Star Wars, she seemed to have no discernible inner life. She was a total blank slate. I couldn't tell you the first thing of what she *thought* about the things going on around her, because the movie never slowed down to look into it.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 12:23:30 PM by JoshCrow »

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2015, 12:39:55 PM »
Pyr I think I already acknowledged that Rey is probably not an author insert or if she is, we can't say who inserted her. Does it matter? If Wesley Crusher was not an insert for Rodenberry, would that have made him any less insufferable? What about Bella Swan?

The author insert is a hallmark of a Mary Sue but ultimately that's totally beside the point when you are explaining why these characters are so poor.

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2015, 12:43:28 PM »
Funny you mention it Josh, I recall reading an article that lauded Rey's Mary Sue chracteristics, as she could be a surrigate for all the female fans that have been left out and their chance to "kick butt" like the boys. Except Star Wars was never about the good guys "kicking butt". Luke Skywalker was not Stephen Segal or Captain America. Somebody learned the wrong lessons.

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2015, 12:54:36 PM »
She was a total blank slate. I couldn't tell you the first thing of what she *thought* about the things going on around her, because the movie never slowed down to look into it.

In the early New Hope scene where 3PO is having an oil bath, he mentions the rebellion and Luke excitedly jumps in with "You know of the rebellion against the Empire???!!!!"

It took exactly one line and we already knew a lot about him. He saw that he perhaps idealized or was excited about the idea of the rebellion (and he even had a model X-Wing fighter in his place). We saw that he felt distanced from important events and wanted to be a part of it all. We saw that he didn't get much information on Tatooine but wanted to know more despite being stuck on a moisture farm. It's just one line but it spoke volumes.

In the entirety of TFA we don't even learn this much about Rey. In the whole movie, not one line about her hopes, her dreams, what she admires or hopes to be. The only plot point we get is that she would like to find her parents. This isn't character development, though, it's paper-thin back story. Luke had the same back story, in fact, and yet A New Hope magically found time to have Luke utter this one line (and many more) that showed us who he was. And the funny thing is that Luke really is an 'everyman' character too. A nice farm boy from the boonies, with nothing except for hopes and dreams (and killer aim with a speeder). His journey is a placeholder for the journey each person has to take if they want to grow. They need to lose the things with which they chain themselves even though this is painful to do. They need to go to the darkest places and face what's there, and they need to learn to do all this with calm and not with anger or fear. The difference between this story and a Mary Sue story is that none of us can be a Mary Sue; she's a fantasy, an impossibility. But we can all be a Luke Skywalker, and that's the magic of Star Wars. The force binds all living things, not just amazing people. It's a Hindi/Yoga message, a self-empowerment message, and a political democratic message. The story of a Mary Sue is actually anathema to these themes and cannot coexist with them.

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2015, 12:58:18 PM »
Funny you mention it Josh, I recall reading an article that lauded Rey's Mary Sue chracteristics, as she could be a surrigate for all the female fans that have been left out and their chance to "kick butt" like the boys. Except Star Wars was never about the good guys "kicking butt". Luke Skywalker was not Stephen Segal or Captain America. Somebody learned the wrong lessons.

Wars not make one great. *giggles*

Whoever missed this message failed to understand the entire original trilogy.

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2015, 01:06:54 PM »
Pyr I think I already acknowledged that Rey is probably not an author insert or if she is, we can't say who inserted her. Does it matter? If Wesley Crusher was not an insert for Rodenberry, would that have made him any less insufferable? What about Bella Swan?

The author insert is a hallmark of a Mary Sue but ultimately that's totally beside the point when you are explaining why these characters are so poor.
Not a hallmark, it's the definition of a Mary Sue.

Claims about poor characterization aside, if you want to make the case for Mary Sue, then you've got to make the case for author insert. If you want to make some other claim then pasting "Mary Sue" on it is referencing the wrong trope.

JoshCrow

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2015, 01:17:12 PM »
Not a hallmark, it's the definition of a Mary Sue.

Claims about poor characterization aside, if you want to make the case for Mary Sue, then you've got to make the case for author insert. If you want to make some other claim then pasting "Mary Sue" on it is referencing the wrong trope.

I know you have a tendency to not recognize any definition of a term other than that which suits your argument, but even the Wiki page for 'Mary Sue' acknowledges that not all of them are specific author proxies. I'll post the relevant stuff here - make of it what you will.

Quote
"Mary Sue" today has changed from its original meaning and now carries a generalized, although not universal, connotation of wish-fulfillment and is commonly associated with self-insertion. True self-insertion is a literal and generally undisguised representation of the author; most characters described as "Mary Sues" are not, though they are often called "proxies"[6] for the author. The negative connotation comes from this "wish-fulfillment" implication: the "Mary Sue" is judged as a poorly developed character, too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2015, 01:17:29 PM »
Not a hallmark, it's the definition of a Mary Sue.

Claims about poor characterization aside, if you want to make the case for Mary Sue, then you've got to make the case for author insert. If you want to make some other claim then pasting "Mary Sue" on it is referencing the wrong trope.

Talk about derailing an argument through subverting terms instead of facing the argument head-on. Here's the Wiki definition of Mary Sue:

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A Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment.

So as usual your option is to either answer the argument as presented, or to create your own definitions in order to pretend that the argument is incoherent.


Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2015, 02:56:16 PM »


I know you have a tendency to not recognize any definition of a term other than that which suits your argument, but even the Wiki page for 'Mary Sue' acknowledges that not all of them are specific author proxies. I'll post the relevant stuff here - make of it what you will.
But you'll note that it still carries at least the general connotation of wish-fulfillment on the part of the author, even if it's through an idealized proxy.

It does not mean "role model" or any other variant that represents engagement of the audience's wishes. It definitely, as it seems to be being applied here, does not mean "Female character I don't like" or, as Jason seemed to assert above "A lead character that engages women" when he complained about an article praising her for being that the slapped the label "Mary Sue" on it.

And there isn't even an inherent problem with a character being an extension of the author After all Lucas (Luke S) pulled it off pretty smoothly even if it took overriding Hamil from time to time as a director to put more of himself into the story. But if you're going to make the claim that Rey is standing in for someone's wish fulfillment, then it would help to point out who and what wish you're talking about instead of trying to flip the concept inside out and pretend that part of what makes her an appealing character is a flaw just because the direction of that appeal doesn't cater to you first, but rather to other segments of the audience.

It's complete nonsense to say that she doesn't have an evolutionary arc parallel to Luke's in ANH. Luke had to learn to trust his instincts- his lack of competence came from being raised to suppress them. On the other hand, he doesn't have to struggle much with attachment to his past because the plot handily destroys that for him and leaves nothing external to hold him back. He only really gets once chance to make the choice between, do I go, or do I stay, and his decision there is rendered completely moot.

Rey on the other hand doesn't have the struggle with her instincts, but she does have the fight between attachment to the past and accepting the destiny put before her. She frequently has to make the choice between holding back or leaning into it, only grudgingly accepting it bit by bit till the end when she finally makes the decision to step outside herself and put aside her resentment and pain from being left behind to move forward. There is no lack of change and growth there, it's just a different kind of change and growth.

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2015, 03:35:24 PM »
Pyr you and I obviously saw different movies. On the Mary Sue point, I called her a Mary Sue because she seems to fit every criteria for the label that matters - except admittedly the author insert one. Really whether she is or isn't one kind of misses the point - she is a terribly written character. If Wesley Crusher wasn't a standin for Gene Rodenberry that wouldn't have somehow made him good.

I guess we just saw different things in this chracter. Note the "wish fulfillment" mentioned in the article I read was for girls to get to "kick butt". But sadly that's all Rey did in the story really, that and look really angsty/ constipated, like a grim Christopher Nolan protagonist. I guess that and her British accent sealed the deal in cementing her greatness with fans.

I am not totally down on the badass grim tortured hero by the way. If this were Mad Max and we were talking about Imperator Furiosa it would be a different thing. That story kind of lent it to that sort of character. Plus Charlize Theron is just a better actress than whatsherface and was happily given some kind of clear backstory and internal motivation through exposition.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 03:39:39 PM by jasonr »

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2015, 03:41:59 PM »
Pyr, when you claim that Rey goes through all these changes, are you referring to things you think are implied by the logic of the plot (she went from X to Y, ergo she must have struggled with whether to go from X to Y), or do you mean the film showed us that struggle beyond merely having her participate in the story?

The one time in the film I'll grant they show Rey making a real decision is when, after being handed Luke's lightsaber by orange-Yoda she runs into the forest, only to later reconsider. Then again if faced with a plot contrivance such as randomly walking into a building containing Luke's original lightsaber (and Anakin's) I'd try to flee into another film as well. I'll fruitlessly throw in the nitpick that it can't possibly be Anakin's lightsaber that Ben gave to Luke because that saber was lost on Bespin when Luke lost his arm. The one he ended with in Jedi he built himself. Unless of course we're going to suggest that someone went down that bottomless pit to find the saber Luke lost there! Since I think it goes straight down to the gas planet that strikes me as unlikely, especially since Vader was the only one who knew Luke lost it there and he didn't bother going after it.

Gaoics79

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2015, 03:49:46 PM »
Maybe orange Yoda was the janitor at Bespin.

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2015, 03:54:08 PM »
Quote
Note the "wish fulfillment" mentioned in the article I read was for girls to get to "kick butt".
Which is role modeling, not wish fulfillment, unless you're implying that women being competent in fights and being able to win out is a fantasy particular to the writer that doesn't engage their audience. Otherwise you're basically saying here that any characteristic of a character that appeals to the needs and desires of its potential audience is "wish fulfillment". You seem to be blurring "Didn't make an effort to appeal to me" with "doesn't appeal to anyone" as if every major character needs to go out of its way to primarily appeal to you directly.

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2015, 04:13:20 PM »
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Pyr, when you claim that Rey goes through all these changes, are you referring to things you think are implied by the logic of the plot (she went from X to Y, ergo she must have struggled with whether to go from X to Y), or do you mean the film showed us that struggle beyond merely having her participate in the story?
Every time she's presented with the option of what to do and she backs away from it and tries to argue for going home to wait, and has to be dragged back into action by the other characters around her. The struggle with her resentment for being abandoned and her stubbornness about going to sit and wait for the promises made to her to be honored comes through all over the place, right up to the point where she finally willingly takes up the lightsaber and it becomes clear that she's finally decided to move forward instead of looking back. Contrast with Luke who was very much just dragged along by the plot because he had not real agency or choice in that regard. Once the stormtroopers destroyed his home, there was no back for him to go just to follow Obi Wan. He could have run off with Solo at the end, to be sure, but he was already engaged by that point.

Quote
Then again if faced with a plot contrivance such as randomly walking into a building containing Luke's original lightsaber (and Anakin's) I'd try to flee into another film as well. I'll fruitlessly throw in the nitpick that it can't possibly be Anakin's lightsaber that Ben gave to Luke because that saber was lost on Bespin when Luke lost his arm. The one he ended with in Jedi he built himself.
I'm not sure what your nitpick here is. That the plot lightsaber was actually Luke
's lightsaber and not Anakin's light saber that Luke had been using out of convenience since there wasn't exactly time in the first movie or the second for him to go through the ritual process of finding the power source for and building his own as per traditional Jedi training?

JoshCrow

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2015, 04:18:34 PM »
But if you're going to make the claim that Rey is standing in for someone's wish fulfillment, then it would help to point out who and what wish you're talking about instead of trying to flip the concept inside out and pretend that part of what makes her an appealing character is a flaw just because the direction of that appeal doesn't cater to you first, but rather to other segments of the audience.

If I read a piece of fiction and I find the lead character Mary/Marty Sue-ish, what does it matter if I can identify exactly who wrote it? It's just something you can "smell" in fan fiction. Characters either have that aura of being 'wish-fulfillment' or they don't and feel more natural and organic in the established universe.

As for the rest of your comment - there's no accounting for taste, is there? People liked Transformers, too, but it doesn't make it a good film.

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Rey on the other hand doesn't have the struggle with her instincts, but she does have the fight between attachment to the past and accepting the destiny put before her. She frequently has to make the choice between holding back or leaning into it, only grudgingly accepting it bit by bit till the end when she finally makes the decision to step outside herself and put aside her resentment and pain from being left behind to move forward. There is no lack of change and growth there, it's just a different kind of change and growth.

I got none of this from the film I saw. Rey seemed to have made few if any significant choices... though one was clear early on (sell BB-8 for money I could really use, or not?). Most of the rest seemed to be survival-based dilemmas (i.e. do something or die, which isn't much of a choice). Finally when she might have had to make a choice about what to do with the defeated Kylo Ren (kill him? spare him?) the choice was ripped away from her, literally by the ground separating her from him and making a choice. It's too bad, because we might have learned something about her there.

Rey was utterly unrelatable and distant. Contrast her with Katniss, Buffy, Jessica Jones, or countless other excellent female protagonists who have a clear story arc. She's a block of wood next to any of them. Heck, Lara Croft had more story arc.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 04:21:48 PM by JoshCrow »

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #44 on: December 23, 2015, 04:52:28 PM »

Every time she's presented with the option of what to do and she backs away from it and tries to argue for going home to wait, and has to be dragged back into action by the other characters around her. The struggle with her resentment for being abandoned and her stubbornness about going to sit and wait for the promises made to her to be honored comes through all over the place, right up to the point where she finally willingly takes up the lightsaber and it becomes clear that she's finally decided to move forward instead of looking back. Contrast with Luke who was very much just dragged along by the plot because he had not real agency or choice in that regard. Once the stormtroopers destroyed his home, there was no back for him to go just to follow Obi Wan. He could have run off with Solo at the end, to be sure, but he was already engaged by that point.

You're missing the forest for the trees here. Luke wanted to leave home all along, wanted to join his friends, and wanted adventure. The story is about how he finally managed to realize his dreams. Metaphorically the story is simple: Ben tells him about his real heritage, which is being the son of someone who realized his dreams and who has the same potential to do so as his father. The only thing stopping Luke from having already left was the illusion that he had no choice, represented by his uncle. Once Ben tells him the truth you may note that Luke never sees his uncle again, and suddenly is freed to pursue his dreams. You can paint this as Luke having had his agency taken away from him by the Empire's slaughter, but symbolically Luke's chains were broken the moment Ben spoke with him, even though Luke was hesitant at first. The amazing thing about growth of this sort is that it's not 'volitional' in such a way that one makes an arbitrary choice, like "Um, I could do A or B, well I guess I'll just pick one." Rather, the need to realize oneself isn't an arbitrary decision but feels more like being driven by destiny, where choices made feel more like compulsions than picking and choosing what to do. This is why the killing of Luke's family happens to suddenly after speaking to Ben - the feeling of realizing one has already made a choice without knowing it can be shocking and feel like the death of the life previously imagined. The death of Luke's family, then, isn't him being denied a choice, but is actually the freedom now available to pursue the dreams he had all along. For the rest of the movie Luke is doing what he feels is right and living the life he always wanted to have. The fact that it doesn't end up being as fun and carefree as he had envisioned is also part of his growth arc.

Contrast with Rey, who as you accurately state never wanted to leave home.  Even after getting dragged into events she still wanted to go back home, and throughout the movie sort of blundered her way into amazing events and repeated victories despite her actions not being a realization of her true desires. In fact we know nothing of her true desires other than to stay at home and wait for her parents to return. This is not the story of her learning to realize the potential to be the person she always wanted to be; on the contrary, if she'd had her way should would never have gone anywhere at all. This is not a hero's journey but rather more in the vein of a Shakespearean comedy where characters who have no intention of doing anything noble stumble into a happy ending that they didn't earn. The only extent to which she 'earned' victory in the film was due to her innate invincibility, but not due to growth or strength of character. The renders her victories as little more than deux ex machina inserted to make her win no matter what.

And this leads us to the answer to your question about what the real wish fulfilment fantasy here is. The story of Luke was that each of us has the potential to be great, if only we listen to our instincts and break free from all the voices telling us we can't do it and we have no choice. At its core that story was an inspirational tale designed to show the greatness in even the most common person, if only they can find it within themselves. That's not a fantasy, but a real message about real life. The message is that you can be more than you are, but that it takes hard work, freeing your mind, and allowing yourself to trust that following your ideals and dreams will lead you somewhere special. Now look at the story from TFA, where Rey is already unbeatable and needs no assistance. She must also be coaxed forwards by plot elements at every turn lest she turn around and go home. The wish fulfilment here is simply one of entitlement and vanity. Instead of "I can be great if I apply myself" the moral of TFA is "I'm already great, and I don't need to do anything to prove it."

In America's past, especially post WWII people were proud to have fought for the chance to make something of themselves and to give their children the same opportunity. The dream they won was the ability to become something. Nowadays things are different and the defining dream in America is to be recognized as already being awesome no matter what you achieve or do with yourself. Your identity itself is now supposed to be your defining trait, rather than the journey you've decided to take or the work you've put into changing. The journey has become a looking glass; confirmation has become affirmation. The fantasy of TFA is that you don't need to do anything at all and that you already deserve praise for it. You can just stay at home and yet see yourself as a hero, and you can imagine yourself as being smart and fantastic with no basis other than wanting to bask in your own adulation. It's basic narcissism, in a nutshell, and the reason Rey is a weak character is because all she does is show how awesome she was right from the start, and bad guys beware. It reminds me of a recent Onion article which read something like "Average American overrates own fighting skill by 4000%." This is probably not even inaccurate, and speaks to the general feeling of entitlement to be praised and admired. It takes the fundamental bias of having a unique perspective, which is "I feel that I'm the most important thing in the world", and rendering that feeling into an ontological statement such as "I AM the most important thing in the world, and everyone else should recognize that."

Put another way, the wish fulfilment fantasy of the movie is "you're already a hero, other people just don't recognize it yet." The spirit of this moral is to go about trying to make people notice how special you are, rather than becoming who you need to be and the opinion of others be damned. After all, becoming something is hard work, and you can fail in any number of ways. No one these days wants to hear that, now do they?

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2015, 05:29:51 PM »
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The story is about how he finally managed to realize his dreams. Metaphorically the story is simple: Ben tells him about his real heritage, which is being the son of someone who realized his dreams and who has the same potential to do so as his father. The only thing stopping Luke from having already left was the illusion that he had no choice, represented by his uncle. Once Ben tells him the truth you may note that Luke never sees his uncle again, and suddenly is freed to pursue his dreams. You can paint this as Luke having had his agency taken away from him by the Empire's slaughter, but symbolically Luke's chains were broken the moment Ben spoke with him, even though Luke was hesitant at first. The amazing thing about growth of this sort is that it's not 'volitional' in such a way that one makes an arbitrary choice, like "Um, I could do A or B, well I guess I'll just pick one." Rather, the need to realize oneself isn't an arbitrary decision but feels more like being driven by destiny, where choices made feel more like compulsions than picking and choosing what to do. This is why the killing of Luke's family happens to suddenly after speaking to Ben - the feeling of realizing one has already made a choice without knowing it can be shocking and feel like the death of the life previously imagined.

Ah, so either you're born to be great or forget about it. Your particular will doesn't really matter- if it was your destiny the world will line up and get you there regardless of what choices you make.

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Contrast with Rey, who as you accurately state never wanted to leave home.  Even after getting dragged into events she still wanted to go back home, and throughout the movie sort of blundered her way into amazing events and repeated victories despite her actions not being a realization of her true desires. In fact we know nothing of her true desires other than to stay at home and wait for her parents to return. This is not the story of her learning to realize the potential to be the person she always wanted to be; on the contrary, if she'd had her way should would never have gone anywhere at all.
Indeed. So her ultimate success actually requires her agency. Not just birthright, not just events forcing her to greatness, but they actually require her to choose to stop limiting her aspirations and choose to work toward something larger than her limited view.

So we've got two narratives.

"If you're born to it, you'll be great. If you're not great then it just wasn't your thing"

vs:

"It doesn't matter how much you've got going for you, you've got to make the effort to expand your horizons and try to succeed if you want to do more than just scrape along"

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The story of Luke was that each of us has the potential to be great, if only we listen to our instincts and break free from all the voices telling us we can't do it and we have no choice.
Your second half is more accurate than the first. Luke's story doesn't suggest that anyone can be great. Just that we have no choice if that's our destiny.

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At its core that story was an inspirational tale designed to show the greatness in even the most common person, if only they can find it within themselves.
Except, as you noted above, Luke didn't have to find it he already had it, he just needed the limiting factors around him removed. Rey actually had to go into herself and find it. To choose to remove _her own_ limitations that only she could face and change. She certainly has a destiny, but rather than being inevitable, her choice and participation in it are required to engage it.

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. That's not a fantasy, but a real message about real life. The message is that you can be more than you are, but that it takes hard work, freeing your mind, and allowing yourself to trust that following your ideals and dreams will lead you somewhere special.
Luke was already working hard. All of his hard work would have gotten him nowhere if he hadn't been destined to get there. Rey was also working hard, but was holding herself back from actually getting anywhere. Even without a heroic destiny, should could have made something much more of herself, but was hobbled by her own limitations and lack of vision.

Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #46 on: December 23, 2015, 07:57:30 PM »
Ah, so either you're born to be great or forget about it. Your particular will doesn't really matter- if it was your destiny the world will line up and get you there regardless of what choices you make.

I think you may be mistaking what I meant by "destiny." I did not mean (and neither did Lucas) irrevocable mechanical determinism. Destiny in the sense Star Wars means it has to do with realizing a person's potential. It is quite possible for someone not to find their 'destiny' in this sense, which would be a shame but it doesn't mean they avoided some predetermined future. "Almost in motion the future is." In the context of the literal story Luke was born strong in the force, but the theme for the audience is that greatness is a universal human trait ("luminous beings are we"), not something reserved for those with powerful gifts. It's not genetic, it's not wealth; it's about spirit. The whole point of Empire vis a vis the force is "wars not make one great." It isn't the ability to kick ass that makes a person great; or more generally, not the person's material excellence at some task. It's about self-actualization, whatever that entails.

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So we've got two narratives.

"If you're born to it, you'll be great. If you're not great then it just wasn't your thing"

vs:

"It doesn't matter how much you've got going for you, you've got to make the effort to expand your horizons and try to succeed if you want to do more than just scrape along"

The first narrative possibly fits TFA, since the only reason Rey goes anywhere and does anything is because of her amazing talent, not because she believes in anything. This doesn't do a great job of capturing Rey, but it can be made to fit in a pinch. The second narrative is a good one for each of us to remember but nevertheless doesn't apply to either TFA or the original trilogy. For some reason you're stuck on this "born with everything" concept when I certainly didn't bring it up and it definitely isn't what any Star Wars movie is about.  Lucas would never have put forward a message that had anything to do with "success." This goes back into Yoda's comment. Life isn't about "succeeding", and the idea that one either turns out to be a success or a failure is a gross capitalist mental trap. Luke's story is about a journey, not about success. He initially thinks it's about success, but he learns very quickly that becoming a better person is about struggling, not about winning.

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The story of Luke was that each of us has the potential to be great, if only we listen to our instincts and break free from all the voices telling us we can't do it and we have no choice.
Your second half is more accurate than the first. Luke's story doesn't suggest that anyone can be great. Just that we have no choice if that's our destiny.

There is no destiny in this sense in Star Wars. See above. Destiny means realizing potential, not following a predetermined path. Your construction of destiny here is so woefully wrong that it actually inverts the message of Star Wars. The point is that nothing is predetermined, there is always choice.

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Except, as you noted above, Luke didn't have to find it he already had it, he just needed the limiting factors around him removed. Rey actually had to go into herself and find it. To choose to remove _her own_ limitations that only she could face and change. She certainly has a destiny, but rather than being inevitable, her choice and participation in it are required to engage it.

On a literal level they both had the force, so that's a wash. If anything Luke needed far more help than Rey to 'find it' since it took Ben to tell him that he didn't have to be the person his uncle meant him to be. Rey didn't need jack from anyone, she just figured it all out by herself. Now, on a meta level they each had to find a reason to put aside their hesitancy and to pursue what they felt was a dream or a purpose. Luke's reason was learning that his father was a great pilot who fought in the Clone Wars, and he realized he wanted to be like his father. Rey, however, had no reason to leave, and never distinctly chose to. Her only desire was to stay home and be saved. As far as journeys of awakening go she never really began hers on purpose but ended up in a flurry of action by happenstance. Her big choice in the matter was, as JoshCrow put it, not to die. Tough call there.

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Luke was already working hard. All of his hard work would have gotten him nowhere if he hadn't been destined to get there. Rey was also working hard, but was holding herself back from actually getting anywhere. Even without a heroic destiny, should could have made something much more of herself, but was hobbled by her own limitations and lack of vision.

You have your stories backwards. Luke was the one holding himself back. He wanted to go but didn't believe he could defy his uncle. Rey didn't want to go at all, and while staying on Jakku she was getting exactly what she wanted. Nothing was holding her back; she was already doing what she wanted to do. It was a lame goal to be pursuing, but nothing was holding her there at all. She had the wrong goal, in other words, and her goal in fact never materially changed until she realized that she could find Luke Skywalker some other way than sitting inside a broken AT-AT. I guess you could call this a lack of vision, but I think it would be better called a lack of ambition. She was entirely lacking all that youthful drive and enthusiasm Luke had. Luke was upset that he couldn't do all the things he wanted to do. Rey was upset but didn't want to do anything. In the sense of 'destiny' Luke had a destiny, meaning he had a person he desperately wanted to be and wanted a chance to try to become that person. Rey had no destiny, because there was no 'inner her' wanting to be freed so she could explore life; at least not that we were ever shown. The result of her being drawn into galactic events wasn't her realizing her destiny at all, but was rather a plot contrivance that effectively thwarted her inner desire. Naturally, given how the film was lazily scripted, everything falls in everyone's lap perfectly and by not wanting to go where she's going or do what she's doing she is thrust inevitably right onto her father's (I mean Luke's!) little island. This is called satire, not a hero journey. A person made into a hero despite wanting to stay home is a joke on the genre, it's like Achilles staying in the laundry basket on that island and having the Trojan War come to him and winning it anyhow.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 08:06:49 PM by Fenring »

Pyrtolin

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #47 on: December 24, 2015, 12:33:36 PM »
"Almost in motion the future is." In the context of the literal story Luke was born strong in the force, but the theme for the audience is that greatness is a universal human trait ("luminous beings are we"), not something reserved for those with powerful gifts. It's not genetic, it's not wealth; it's about spirit.
Not in A New Hope. In a new hope the context is very much being the chosen one- the exiled prince in hiding emerging to claim his legacy. Luke doesn't enter the story on his own agency, he enters because Obi Wan had staged him there until he was ready to bring him out.  It wasn't happenstance that the Rebellion was in that system it was because Obi Wan had positioned himself near Luke. If the droids hadn't stumbled on Luke first Obi Wan would have grabbed him on the way out anyway or pulled him out of the bag on his own in the next couple of years (hence waiting till he was iold enough)

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The whole point of Empire vis a vis the force is "wars not make one great." It isn't the ability to kick ass that makes a person great; or more generally, not the person's material excellence at some task. It's about self-actualization, whatever that entails.
Sure. But we're talking about New Hope as the point of comparison, not Empire. This is the lightweight, fun setup, not the insertion and reveal of the deeper conflict.

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So we've got two narratives.

"If you're born to it, you'll be great. If you're not great then it just wasn't your thing"

vs:

"It doesn't matter how much you've got going for you, you've got to make the effort to expand your horizons and try to succeed if you want to do more than just scrape along"

The first narrative possibly fits TFA, since the only reason Rey goes anywhere and does anything is because of her amazing talent, not because she believes in anything.
If you're going to undermine my meaning, at least be explicit about it. From context it was very clear that the first applies to ANH, the second to TFA.

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The second narrative is a good one for each of us to remember but nevertheless doesn't apply to either TFA or the original trilogy.
On what basis does it not apply to TFA? It is the overarching point of Rey's story there. You even acknowledge it yourself below, even as you handwave it away here.

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For some reason you're stuck on this "born with everything" concept when I certainly didn't bring it up and it definitely isn't what any Star Wars movie is about.
So you're backing away from the complaint that Rey seems to be overly competent? The only reason that I put that is is because you're raising the complaint that she seems to be too naturally gifted in the first place.

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  Lucas would never have put forward a message that had anything to do with "success." This goes back into Yoda's comment. Life isn't about "succeeding", and the idea that one either turns out to be a success or a failure is a gross capitalist mental trap. Luke's story is about a journey, not about success. He initially thinks it's about success, but he learns very quickly that becoming a better person is about struggling, not about winning.
Sure, but we've got to get to the second movie to get that far. The first one was pretty much a straight walk to success for him- a bit of danger, but ultimately no question that he was going to pull it off with minimal cost along the way. (Obi Wan's death was both completely out of Luke's agency and an intentional act by Obi Wan to push Luke to step up, without even getting into the transition to force-ghost)

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There is no destiny in this sense in Star Wars.
That's nonsense, unless you're discarding a great deal of cannon. But even if you disregard the backstory as something added after the fact, you're still left with Luke's destiny directly arising from his relationship to Vader. All of his ambition would have come to nothing if it weren't for the fact that he was Anakin's son. Heck, he'd likely have ended up a Tie Fighter pilot if he'd been able to convince his uncle to let him go to the Academy like he wanted. Or maybe defected to the Rebellion for as long as it would have lasted without the way his inheritance played into his role.

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Except, as you noted above, Luke didn't have to find it he already had it, he just needed the limiting factors around him removed. Rey actually had to go into herself and find it. To choose to remove _her own_ limitations that only she could face and change. She certainly has a destiny, but rather than being inevitable, her choice and participation in it are required to engage it.

On a literal level they both had the force, so that's a wash. If anything Luke needed far more help than Rey to 'find it' since it took Ben to tell him that he didn't have to be the person his uncle meant him to be.
Up till now you've been claiming that Luke already had the desire to go out and be part of something larger. Now you're saying he needed help finding that desire? You're response here is completely incoherent unless you're deliberately missing my point above and responding to something completely different that what I said. The force isn't relevant here. The desire, motivation, ambition to be a hero is.

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Rey didn't need jack from anyone, she just figured it all out by herself.

Which is why she was stuck scavenging for and abusive employer? She didn't have it figured out. She was wasting her potential away, and needed others to drag her out of that trap and onto a grander path.

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Now, on a meta level they each had to find a reason to put aside their hesitancy and to pursue what they felt was a dream or a purpose. Luke's reason was learning that his father was a great pilot who fought in the Clone Wars, and he realized he wanted to be like his father.
No it wasn't. Even after that he decided to put loyalty first and was intending to drop Obi Wan off and go home. (Not that Obi Wan would have let him do that ultimately) The thing that changed that was teh destruction of his home such that he no longer had that external chain. That certainly is one of the tactics for shortcutting that part of heroic progression if you're not going to make the struggle to accept one's destiny part of the story. In the case of Rey, hey decided to explore that struggle, particularly in the case of a character damaged in such a way that they more actively try to reject their destiny than the classic "Why me?" whine of the standard fantasy hero.

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Rey, however, had no reason to leave, and never distinctly chose to. Her only desire was to stay home and be saved.
And there you have the primary conflict that she had to overcome. Not people external to her holding her back, but fighting back against her own self-limitation to accept a higher destiny.

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As far as journeys of awakening go she never really began hers on purpose but ended up in a flurry of action by happenstance. Her big choice in the matter was, as JoshCrow put it, not to die. Tough call there.
She could have not died many ways, particularly at the end. She could have ran or tried to fight with conventional weapons as she had resolved to do up to that point, but instead she finally overcame her demons enough to go for the lightsaber instead, a very literal execution of a choice to take up the sword instead of continuing to resist the destiny laid put for her.

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Luke was already working hard. All of his hard work would have gotten him nowhere if he hadn't been destined to get there. Rey was also working hard, but was holding herself back from actually getting anywhere. Even without a heroic destiny, should could have made something much more of herself, but was hobbled by her own limitations and lack of vision.

You have your stories backwards. Luke was the one holding himself back. He wanted to go but didn't believe he could defy his uncle.
He was loyal to his uncle. He did not want to defy him, and his uncle was playing on that loyalty to keep him. That's an external pressure, not an internal one, and one that was rendered moot by outside agency even after he technically lost the battle with it.

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Rey didn't want to go at all, and while staying on Jakku she was getting exactly what she wanted. Nothing was holding her back; she was already doing what she wanted to do.
Which is it? Nothing was holder her back or she was doing what she wanted to, because what she wanted _was holding her back_. That is a self-limitation, one that she had to overcome to win out in the end. Luke was pared the need to fight himself in the first movie, and only had to fight a similar battle with is own desires later.

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It was a lame goal to be pursuing, but nothing was holding her there at all. She had the wrong goal, in other words, and her goal in fact never materially changed until she realized that she could find Luke Skywalker some other way than sitting inside a broken AT-AT. I guess you could call this a lack of vision, but I think it would be better called a lack of ambition. She was entirely lacking all that youthful drive and enthusiasm Luke had. Luke was upset that he couldn't do all the things he wanted to do. Rey was upset but didn't want to do anything.
Indeed, and each of them had to overcome those failings in their own way. Don't forget that Luke's ambition was an echo of what set Anakin up for a fall, and he had to literally fight that part of himself on Dagobah after Yoda chided him:
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Yoda: This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm? What he was doing. Hmm. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.

Luke's enthusiasm there is the most clear evidence of Lucas inserting himself into the story and pushing against the more basic structure where the hero has to be forced out into the world rather than remaining in comfortable stagnation. He rubs his own nose in it later by making it the inner demon that Luke has to fight and win out against in the end (and the one that his father failed to get in check which caused him to eventually spin out of control)

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In the sense of 'destiny' Luke had a destiny, meaning he had a person he desperately wanted to be and wanted a chance to try to become that person. Rey had no destiny, because there was no 'inner her' wanting to be freed so she could explore life; at least not that we were ever shown.
Sure there was. And we saw it so full of bitterness and resentment from being abandoned that it had taken its ball and gone home in a passive-aggressive fit of waiting to be reclaimed. You're right that she effectively had no destiny when we found her, which is why her first major challenge was overcoming that obstacle. Changing her attitude and choosing to embrace a destiny instead of denying it.

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A person made into a hero despite wanting to stay home is a joke on the genre, it's like Achilles staying in the laundry basket on that island and having the Trojan War come to him and winning it anyhow.
And Achilles had to be forced to come back out. "Refusal of the Call" is the second step in the heroic journey, going by Campbell. TFA makes the struggle with that conflict central to the story, were ANH dispensed with it because it wanted to focus more on other elements.


Fenring

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #48 on: December 24, 2015, 01:22:43 PM »
While fancily addressing individual lines and comments I feel you've avoided entirely address the main point I was making, which is that TFA was in no way a film about someone wanting to go out and become who she felt she was supposed to be. Rey was a wrecking ball dragged through events and winning them, but her agency in the matter (i.e. achieving her own goals) was never a part of it until she decided that finding Luke was better than sitting at home. But that's entirely deux ex machina plotting because in any other scenario involving a rebellion and the need for heroes but where Luke wasn't her father her new quest would not have served as an upgrade for her previous life's goal of doing nothing. Luke wanted to become someone, Rey didn't. That never changed even by the end of the film. She's there, but she's not there because she's embraced a new way of life. Look at the contrast in Luke on Tatooine (morose, defeated) versus him when they leave for Alderann (excited, alive). He 'switches on once he realizes he's doing something amazing. When does Rey 'switch on'? I would say she never does. There is never a switch in the film where she turns a corner and steps up. Oh, she picks up weapons and fights, but her attitude never changes from A to Z.

The "refusal to the call" is supposed to be an initial hurdle that a hero faces when recognizing that their life will never be the same once they leave and embark on their great journey. It's the preemptive mourning for the death of who they used to be. In the case of Achilles he knew for certain in advance he would die in Troy so it was more of a literal reason not to go. Rey never got past this hurdle and dived head-first into her path until maybe the end of the movie, and even then I'd say that's iffy. When she picks up the lightsaber to fight Darth Emo her options are to pick up the saber or to have him walk after her and stab her in the back while she's running. Tough choice.

And by the way I'm not discarding canon by saying there's no hard destiny in Star Wars. The force has a will, and its will directs events in the galaxy. But the will of individual people guides events too and neither side has the full say in what will happen. No event is outright predetermined or set in advance; the series makes that completely clear. Palpatine's entire control mechanism was to stack the odds monumentally in his favor, and even then there was never certainty of what any given individual would do. Odds are someone will behave predictably, but they can always choose otherwise. THAT is the point of the series, "never tell me the odds." A person can go against inertia, probability, and expectation and make a choice to go the other way.

You're right on one point, which is that ANH was not made with the later themes in mind since it was a stand-alone film. Lucas tacked a lot on later. But it's wrong to compare TFA with ANH ignoring the others because although ANH was made in a vacuum TFA was not. All the possible themes and backstories were available for perusal for TFA, so any limitation on its scripting would have been self-imposed. ANH had no background to go on as a signpost. And incidentally even ANH questions the value of meeting force with force. Ben chooses to not oppose Vader in the end, saying that Vader's use of violence would make Ben more powerful than he could imagine. Maybe this is a martyrdom metaphor, maybe it was to give Luke license to become his own man, maybe it was just a statement that the light side doesn't have to employ violence in the same way as the dark side does to triumph. Luke carries this particular theme through to RotJ when his victory is one of compassion, not superior firepower. Even the fight against the Death Star tells this message somewhat, although in this sense it's more a Chinese martial arts message about not opposing with maximal force but instead using one's own weakness as an advantage. That is a slightly different message from a non-violent approach but both are in the vein of avoiding using brutality in life and that there are other ways. These themes go way over the head of TFA, and this isn't even taking into account V or VI, which I think we should anyhow since TFA was written with them all in mind. It's not as if Kasdan was instructed to only observe IV when writing the script.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 01:29:19 PM by Fenring »

NobleHunter

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Re: The Force Awakens (SPOILER ALERT)
« Reply #49 on: December 28, 2015, 01:11:53 AM »
We know a lot about Rey. We know she's willing to turn down at two months of food (more like 4 or 5 given her luck at scavenging) to help someone she just met and who's actively keeping secrets from her. We know she's survived doing incredibly dangerous and unprofitable work on not enough food. We know she's good with machines and capable in a fight (someone pointed out that her lightsaber style is a lot like her staff fighting).

She doesn't need to undergo the transformation Luke did because she's not some farmboy on Tatooine.  Rey doesn't need to switch on because she's never off. Luke has the liberty of indulging in sulks about his life; Rey's too busy not starving to death. Her journey in this movie isn't to step up to a challenge she's afraid she might not be able to might but to abandon the child's hope that her family will show up and make everything all right; to let go of the things that are tying her to the life that will kill her.

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"Almost in motion the future is." In the context of the literal story Luke was born strong in the force, but the theme for the audience is that greatness is a universal human trait ("luminous beings are we"), not something reserved for those with powerful gifts. It's not genetic, it's not wealth; it's about spirit.
Star Wars is all about the Demigods and always has been. While greatness might be a universal human trait, doing great things is reserved for the people chosen by fate or who had the right parents. Look at Han and Leia, which one ended up as a smuggler who couldn't pay his debt? Hint: it wasn't the Skywalker. Even in the old EU, Han was often at risk of being eclipsed by the Skywalkers and other Jedi.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I liked it's sense of history; that things happened even when the camera's weren't on. I found the call-outs to the old movies to work without being too distracting. I think it did a better job at capturing the epic feel of Star Wars even if the Starkiller planet seemed rather lazy.  It was heart-breaking and gut-wrenching and funny.