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The Force Awakens Flame War Spectacular!... just kidding... 
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Burning Godzilla
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After reading some of the reactions to the new Star Wars movie here and on other review sites, I wanted to start a new post. Given the type of movie it is, the type of folks that populate this board, and the sheer breadth of this movie's universe, fan base, money making ability, impact, critiques, etc..., I think a dedicated post isn't totally out of bounds. Maybe just a place to bat the "I liked it"/"I didn't" ball back and forth in a wider format than the mini-reviews thread. And most of all, please no offense to those that have (and will) post opposing viewpoints to the ones I'll be stating below.

(Please note that I'm copying a lot of a comment I posted on Dr Freex's blog review of the movie here).

I went to see this on it’s second day of release with my 7 year old son and we came out of the theater completely intoxicated. I haven’t walked out of a Star Wars movie laughing since 1983, and I was 9 at the time and thought Ewoks were hilarious. But this latest effort had a welcomed return to REAL humor (not just goofiness) and heart.

I was stunned to read all of the negativity online and on the board afterwards, particularly the criticism taking aim at the movie’s unoriginal plot. While the argument of "everything since copying Star Wars" has merit, I’m a bit confused by the general criticism at large and of JJ Abrams specifically. I'm not sure there's a way to make everyone happy in this case, and I can't think of anyone who jumps immediately to mind who would have been able to come into this situation in JJ Abrams stead and make a completely satisfying, entertaining project.

I feel like fans (particularly those who were around for the original 3 movies) want their cake and eat it too. They want that feeling of nostalgia from nearly 40 years ago, but not too much. They want a feeling of wonderment that only comes with seeing something for the first time, yet they're asking it from the SEVENTH film of a series.

And with that in mind, this is the 7th film in a mulit-BILLION dollar series. How long is the list of people that get to have a hand in something like that at a directing and writing level? Is there even a precedent? Bringing me back to my original thought, if not Abrams, who? Lucas, the originator, took a whack at it again halfway through the series and, by most original fans' opinion, failed (and failed horribly). I'm not trying to be flippant when I ask (I'd like to know people's real answer to the question): Who, realistically (keeping in mind the proposed three film arc and the absolutely massive budget), would have been a better choice to helm the beginning of this series for the next iteration?

In summation, I’d say this movie slides comfortably into my top 3 favorite Star Wars movies. Mostly because, as a nearly 42 year old man, I don’t get much of a charge out of Ewoks anymore.

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:35 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Let me first say that I loved the heck out of the movie, was thoroughly entertained by it, and have high hopes for its sequels. It was exciting and met my every expectation.

And that is also my source of criticism. It MET my every expectation. Thus, it was very, very good. The committee that discussed and planned this movie broke down everything viewers had bitched and bemoaned about the prequels and gave us exactly the movie we wanted like McDonald's gives us a double quarter pounder with cheese.

I admit, my opinion of J.J. Abrams is tainted by his poor handling of the sequel to Star Trek. After a somewhat flawed but promising start at a re-boot of that beloved series (which I liked a lot, incidentally), Into Darkness was such irritating drivel with all sorts of references to Star Trek 2 with the major exception that the Federation is now a military organization rather than explorers, that it sucked everything dry that was interesting and promising about the first movie. It doubled back on the promise of the first to be something all new and handed me what it thought I wanted.
While I was entertained by the new Star Wars movie - loved the application of state-of-the-art effects -- it was essentially a re-make that was just BIGGER. So, even though Star Wars regained its fun and its sense of humor - aided immeasurably by Harrison Ford - I kept seeing new characters that were essentially just ciphers for the older characters. And scenes that were just wholesale rip-offs of the first movie. I felt condescended too by a marketing committee's calculated discussion of how to re-boot the marketing potential of this franchise in a board room. I really started to get my hackles raised when the "Yoda" cipher is owner of the obvious Mos Eisley Cantina Bar.
But J.J. Abrams is also one of the guy's behind one of the weirdest operating franchises in movies. I love what he and Bad Robot have done with Mission:Impossible - the only franchise I know where each succeeding sequel improves on the one that came before it. I liked his work on Super 8 and grudgingly respect the idea of Cloverfield. But which Producer/Director are we getting for Star Wars?
A significant part of the appeal of the first three movies was constant surprise and introduction of new characters. Empire gave us Cloud City, Lando Calrissian, Yoda, The Emperor, Han on Ice, and "Luke, I am your father." Jedi resolved plotlines and wowed us with Jabba the Hut, gave Luke a sister, changed the nature of Vader, and Ewoks. I can honestly say similar things about the prequels. Despite all the vitriol spit at them, there was constant invention, awe, and innovation amid all the wrong-headedness and poorly written dialogue.

Who might have done better? Joss Whedon might have done better with the material. He may have actually challenged viewers with a brand new PART 1 of a brand new Star Wars adventure only tenuously connected to the characters of A New Hope.
Bryan Singer may have delivered something really interesting and new to the franchise. But this time out, I was given very little.

And the re-treads were pale comparisons to the originals.

The best aspects of The Force Awakens were the real McCoys - Chewbacca, Han Solo, Millenium Falcon, Leia, C3PO, and R2D2 - and the absolutely brand new stuff - Rey, Finn, Poe and BB-8. I hope like hell that the second installment veers far away from the re-tread and develops something interesting for this confusing new Evil Empire to do with more interesting and compelling villains and a more compelling storyline - which has yet to really manifest itself. Hopefully, better is still to come.

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:47 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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When I posed the question who would have done better, I figured Joss Whedon's name would come up. I'm not sure that, given his current Marvel commitments he would be a realistic person to helm the project, but his ability to handle something of this magnitude is not unrealistic, given his world building past and sci-fi bonafides.

I'm not sure I agree with Singer. Superman Returns certainly doesn't inspire confidence, and I feel like that material is a closer match with Star Wars in width of fanbase expectaions and of time (with all new Superman movies trying to match the accolades of the original two Christopher Reeves movies). His involvement with the X-Men is a little different in my opinion, given that his was the original, and while huge now, the fanbase was considerably smaller at the initial release. Nothing like the expectations of the Star Wars fans.

Beyond that, I can't really see any realistic options. No way Christopher Nolan is willing to get into that kind of board room mosh pit. Beyond him, who else? We start getting into odd territory after those 3.

Guillermo del Toro's Star Wars would probably have the kids running for the hills and the execs shitting their pants from the storyboards alone...

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:20 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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KO Rob wrote:
Guillermo del Toro's Star Wars would probably have the kids running for the hills and the execs shitting their pants from the storyboards alone...


God knows, it would've been unique.
Along those same lines, contemplate a Peter Jackson-directed Star Wars. Hmmmm!!!!

And just for the sake of fun, given the remarkable creativity that went into his Spy Kids movies, would Robert Rodriguez be all that awful a choice for a brand new Star Wars?

But a person I think could have pulled it off with some interesting gravitas would be Thor-director Kenneth Branagh.
Or Sam Raimi? He took the reigns of beloved Wizard of Oz and gave us a solid prequel Oz the Great and Powerful which I'm sure Disney quite enjoyed reaping profits.

All things considered, Abrams may have been the perfect guy to deliver goods that were not undamaged to a mass audience. But unlike many, I am not of the opinion that the goods were all that freaking damaged to begin with.

I wonder how much of a strait-jacket would the new director have to live in with the next episode?

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:45 pm
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The movie seems to have painted itself into a corner since Mark Hamill will have to play a significant role in the sequel, and while a great voice actor, I don't think he has the chops to do it. I'd kill him off after a brief training montage, keep the audience guessing.


Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:52 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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I've been looking at the negativity toward The Force Awakens over on the IMDB board, and it really is overblown.

If it's this bad with this film, I don't want to know what the Batman v. Superman board will be like when that movie comes out in a couple months.

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:40 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Well, Star Wars has a way of raising people's hopes that DC comics movies don't.

As for me, I haven't seen The Farce Awakens and am not in any hurry to after hearing how much it retreads New Hope. I already pretty much despised JarJar Abrams just for the Trek reboot, without even seeing Into Darkness, so this movie is probably an improvement over what I expected, but still... no hurry.

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Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:16 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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supersonic man wrote:
Well, Star Wars has a way of raising people's hopes that DC comics movies don't.


I'm talking more about the fanboy war that is already erupting between Marvel and DC, with Batman v. Superman and Captain America: Civil War opening within a couple months of each other. I'm not even going to bother to go on the boards to watch that bloodbath.

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Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:52 am
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Destoroyah
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Here is why I decided I do not like this movie. It was totally safe. Absolutely no chances were taken, and I felt like everything that happened was the same old, same old. Bash the prequels but at least they tried to tell a different, new Star Wars story in the Star Wars universe. This did not. I hope the next one is a bit more creative. If I wanted to see a New Hope, I would just watch a New Hope.

Now, there were parts of this film I loved. Han and Chewie completely overshadowed everyone else. I wanted a movie about their adventures more than I wanted to see what happened with Finn and Rey. The introduction of those gangs was interesting and something new. I wanted to see more of that Star Wars universe. The first Tie vs. Falcon chase/fight was really fun and cool too. I also enjoyed seeing Finn try to use the Lightsaber. However, once they got to that Cantina place the whole movie went down hill.

Somewhat Unrelated....
Can someone help explain why they are still called The Resistance? Shouldn't they simply be the Republic? Or are they some rogue guerrilla mercenary force like Sky Captain? Shouldn't the First Order be The Resistance now? It seems like the new Galaxy could be full of interesting political wheeling and dealing now with many factions struggling to gain dominance such as The Resistance (?), the First Order, and various other groups.

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Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:26 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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I agree with every sentiment you expressed, Easy E. I said about the same thing, but you said it much better. (Ditto about the prequels.)

However, let me toss this idea out to the minds here and see what they say. While we may criticize the re-hash of the New Hope plot, is there a good argument to be made FOR doing exactly what Abrams and Disney (and Lawrence Kasdan) did with this first installment.

No doubt that they needed to re-introduce the old-fashioned action-adventure of the franchise. And it was beyond smart to bring back the original characters. I agree with E - I'd love to see the adventures of Han and Chewbacca, space smugglers. But given how much bad word of mouth had been vented - and vented and vented and vented - about Lucas' special editions, prequels, and #Hanshotfirst - it may have been a really good idea to just hit the re-set button and start all over with the one indisputable aspect of Star Wars. A New Hope is the awesome.

Does that argument, dear members, Hold Water?

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Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:16 pm
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Destoroyah
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I think it not only holds water, but it is exactly what happened. This movie was a safe retread so they didn't strangle the baby in the crib before they could reap in untold Billions from the franchise. The surest way to do that was to ape ANH and do the hand-off tot eh new cast fromt eh old. I have a bad feeling that Ep 8 will also closely ape some of the Empire storyline as well, I mean Rey has to train with Luke, so it will be a Luke/Yoda story all over again.

In the writer's defense, ANH closely followed the Campbellian Hero's journey. If their new movie also follows the traditional Hero's Journey as it should, then it will be necessity be similar to the first Star Wars trilogy.

I think the off-year, movies will be much more interesting AND play around with genre conventions the way the Marvel films have done. For example, Rogue sounds like it is going to be a spy/heist movie int eh Star wars universe. I can totally get behind that idea, since that was what Ant-man did with the Marvel universe.

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Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:26 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Easy E wrote:
I think the off-year, movies will be much more interesting AND play around with genre conventions the way the Marvel films have done. For example, Rogue sounds like it is going to be a spy/heist movie int eh Star wars universe. I can totally get behind that idea, since that was what Ant-man did with the Marvel universe.


I have not heard of "Rogue," but if Disney does plan to launch new stories with characters from within the Star Wars universe, I can get really excited about the futures of the franchise. Like we both said, I could REALLY dig an Adventures of Han and Chewbacca with nary a light saber in sight.

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Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:42 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Bergerjacques wrote:
Easy E wrote:
I think the off-year, movies will be much more interesting AND play around with genre conventions the way the Marvel films have done. For example, Rogue sounds like it is going to be a spy/heist movie int eh Star wars universe. I can totally get behind that idea, since that was what Ant-man did with the Marvel universe.


I have not heard of "Rogue," but if Disney does plan to launch new stories with characters from within the Star Wars universe, I can get really excited about the futures of the franchise. Like we both said, I could REALLY dig an Adventures of Han and Chewbacca with nary a light saber in sight.


Well, we're supposedly getting a Han Solo film in a couple years; it'll be about what he was getting up to in the decade or so before A New Hope. I imagine that it won't be a complete origin story, but rather just him on a smuggling run with Chewbacca in the co-pilot's seat. Maybe it'll show him winning the Millenium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in that fixed card game or something too (proving that the ship was always a piece of junk and never looked new).

Rogue One supposedly has Donnie Yen as a Jedi, so I'm going to love it.

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Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:10 pm
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Hmmm, I am surprised no one has much more to say about this.

How about this for a conversation starter, The Phantom Menace was a better attempting at creating a new Star War franchise then The Force Awakens.

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Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:57 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Easy E wrote:
Hmmm, I am surprised no one has much more to say about this.

How about this for a conversation starter, The Phantom Menace was a better attempting at creating a new Star War franchise then The Force Awakens.

If that doesn't generate discussion, maybe we try .... Harrison Ford, overrated actor or Han Solo, overrated character? Discuss......

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Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:42 pm
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