culture / Dylan Patterson / February 2017

Episode Seven was… Bad

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If you’re like me, we can assume that over one year ago you stood in line for two hours at the local movie theater to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You probably walked into the the theater, found yourself a nice seat and sat in angst until LUCASFILMS melted onto the screen. It faded away and already your fingernails have been gnawed to the bone—you were just waiting for the music to start. The wait seemed endless. You refused to blink because if you did, you would miss a detail that might come up in conversation while you are out having brunch the next day—or however you other nerds will congregate. The movie starts, climaxes, they find Luke Skywalker (SPOILERS), finishes, and you come down from your ecstatic high. 

Now, if you really are like me, you stayed up for eight hours after the movie finished to rant on Facebook about how TFA is the greatest Star Wars movie ever!!!… or at least a close second to Empire Strikes Back. Because you aren’t a “fan boy” you didn’t discuss this with your friends, family, loved ones, potential lovers, neighbors, classmates, complete strangers, and family pets for months. It was more likely you only discussed it for three weeks, forty-nine hours, twenty seven minutes and fourteen seconds. Any more and that would just be overboard.

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It has been over a year since the rebirth of the Star Wars franchise. The first anthology film was just released and it was pretty awesome. After seeing how actually awesome Rogue One was it got these gears in my head cranking some nasty thoughts. Perhaps it’s possible to suggest the idea that The Force Awakens was possibly a total and complete pile of shit [Insert Gasp Here]. Not only that, but maybe Disney, under the stewardship of Kathleen Kennedy and the ever-so-creative mind of Jar Jar, I mean J.J. Abrams ruined the saga series of Star Wars.

It’s a crazy thought. Saying it can get you killed at the wrong Comic-Con, but just follow along and perhaps you can see where I’m coming from.

Rehash!

While watching TFA did you happen to notice how similar it was to A New Hope? Neither did I, that was until the nostalgia bullshit wore off. J.J. Abrams did a great job at disguising the movie by supplementing in the characters that we’re already in love with. It was so awesome to see Han and Chewy enter the Millennium Falcon again and then see Princess Leia back in her badass role as leader of a rebel group. As great as it was to see these characters again they were only props for the movie to have name recognition.

After a second and third viewing it became clear that nostalgia couldn’t hide the single greatest act of plagiarism in movie history. J.J. Abrams did not make an original film. He didn’t even build onto the universe of Star Wars. All Abrams did was remake A New Hope with better CGI.

star-wars-bts-01-0.jpgIf you are confused, never thought about this, or in plain denial let me tell you something. If I told you before the TFA came out that the movie was about a young person on a desert planet who is strong in the force helps a droid on a secret mission while getting Han and Chewy to help them blow up the new Death Star with a bunch of X-Wings you would not think that was a great plot for Episode VII. You would think, “That’s A New Hope!” and you would be exactly correct.

J.J. Abrams transformed Luke into Rey, Darth Vader into an emotional young adult, The Emperor into an eight-foot tall creature that still likes to hide behind a hologram, and Han Solo into Ben Kenobi; the wise father figure that guides Rey on her path. This “creative masterpiece” that Disney put out might as well be labeled “Fan Fiction”.

Rey is Unrealistic

This is fiction and entertainment, but this is also Star Wars. Star Wars’ fans take this shit seriously. The universe within the saga is heavily discussed and honored amongst fans. To a lot of people Disney disrespected the universe that George Lucas created. J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy create a protagonist that is far beyond the realm of realism for the Star Wars universe.

Rey, the main character of TFA, is a Mary Sue. In fiction, a Mary Sue or Gary Stus is a character that is “weak”, low rank, non trained, etc. that has idealistic qualities and is seemingly perfect. They usually come in and save the day even though they aren’t as “strong” as other characters. Rey fits this and then some.

She is a lowly scavenger that has some ability with a stave, but doesn’t even know what the force is until Han tells her it exists. Han Solo is her only connection to the force at this point…let that sink in. She has yet to hint at any ability to pilot a ship, especially one like the Millennium Falcon. Yet she is amazing! She knows Han’s ship better than he does and gives him tips on how to fix and pilot it.

When she is being interrogated by Kylo Ren, she has the will to block out his mind tricks and force penetration tactics, despite the fact that Kylo Ren has years of training on her. After this, Kylo leaves and only a guard is with Rey. She is able to use a Jedi mind trick on the guard to escape! This person who has never heard of the force, never been trained in the force, and never had any hint of being force sensitive before is now using a Jedi mind trick that only highly skilled Jedi Knights would use.star-wars-tfa-hi-res-rey-meets-bb-8 copy.jpg

The worst of it happened near the end of the film while Kylo and Rey are in the midst of their final showdown. Not only is Rey powerful enough with her 10 minutes of experience to pull the lightsaber out of the snow, but she is also skilled enough to fight alongside Kylo Ren. It was implied that Kylo trained under Luke Skywalker for years and after turning to the dark side he trained under Snoke, a powerful sith lord. He should be fairly versed in lightsaber combat forms. Yet, Rey is not only able to put up a fight, she beats him!

The last scene in Rogue One showed us a lot. Darth Vader completely demolishes anyone who isn’t on the same level as him. He sliced and diced through all the rebel soldiers. None of them put up a fight. This is exactly how Rey and Kylo’s fight should have gone down. Because of his training compared to hers the fight should have been over before it even started.

The Original Trilogy is Pointless

The original trilogy of Star Wars was amazing. It told an amazing space epic that some consider the greatest story in cinematic history. It resonated with people everywhere — it was the story of David and Goliath. The little rebel group defeated the oppressive empire and the galaxy was a far greater place because of it.

The Force Awakens cancels all of that out. Luke, Leia, and Han’s journey means nothing. They conquered the empire and “rode off into the sunset”, but what was the point? In fifteen or so years the new empire with come back in and all three off them will be back where they started.

It doesn’t make sense narratively. The rebel group won the war and that means they shouldn’t be rebels anymore. Yet, they are hiding from the big bad oppressive empire. The Galactic Senate still exists, but they still do nothing. The Jedi were supposed to return, but only one or two remain. Darth Vader’s hate and anger is still fueling the empire even though he turned back to the light. None of this makes any goddamn sense! Why did we sit through an entire trilogy just to get back to square one?
At least the prequels, despite all the hatred for them, built upon the story and gave context. As far as I can see, the new trilogy is trying to say some “history repeats itself” bullshit instead of building upon the achievements of Luke, Leia, and Han. George Lucas made sure that each film built upon the old and added something new to the saga. Each film was creative and a completely new story. He was a genius because he could create a new story while still having the arcs of Anakin and Luke mirror each other. He showed us how under similar circumstances the two would travel down different paths. The Force Awakens doesn’t mirror, build, or make realistic sense. It is a recreation of a previous masterpiece.

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Credit –
Featured image: Miss Moss
First photo: Forces of Geek
Second photo: Miss Moss
Third photo: Hello Giggles
Last photo: Miss Moss

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