Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Star Wars: The Farce Awakens

A review from a disappointed reader. WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD:
You’ll be glad you didn’t see Star Wars VII: The Farce Awakens. The glaring questions it begs are projections of the female imperative. Darth Vader, Luke, Kylo Ren, Obi Wan Kenobi, and all other force using experts in any previous Star Wars story, needed training based on years of apprenticeship with a 24/7 mentor to master the force. The entire premise of Jedi powers, like all martial skills, is that they must being “learned” and they develop over time with practice. Our heroine Rey, hinted heavily as being Luke’s daughter, instantly and without training or foreknowledge gets abilities with the force that took all other Jedi, Sith, decades to develop. So with no Jedi’s around, how does she even know the force can control weak minded storm troopers, much less use the old “you don’t need to see his papers” shtick.

They are both grandchildren of Darth Vader, but for some reason her untrained ability with the farce greater than her cousin’s trained ability with the force.  Morally all the new Luke, Rey, seems to be doing is self-centered and for no greater good.  Female imperative in spades, what’s good for the princess is by default the greater good.

Using a light saber is analogous using a sword, hence to be at a level where you are proficient, much less not hurt yourself takes lots of training and effort.  Proficiency in martial skills are always in both great stories and real life acquired the same way one gets to Carnegie Hall.

How can Rey without any training best Kylo Ren, the emo Darth Vader, with a light saber, while Kylo Ren has had years of training with the force and swords? Even though Vader, Anakin Skywalker, in his youth like Rey showed signs of mechanical genius and native ability with the force, to become proficient took years of training and a mentor?  When Luke first picked up a light sabre, he couldn’t deflect a laser pointer from a training drone much less use it effectively.  Even after training with both Kenobi and Yoda, Luke got his hand chopped off by Vader. 

The whole “force” in Rey defies the entire premise of the Jedi and use of the force in the previous 6 movies. How come the only character to get the ability and skill to use the force without putting in the work and effort is a girl?  Rey’s abilities make a farce of the force.  Why unlike all the men who do battle does she manage to get through against trained martial experts without even a scratch?

The only good point of the entire move is the example set by both Anakin and Kylo; self-centered whiny emo is a clear indicator of a boy who is easily corrupted and gravitates toward evil

The Farce Awakens gives girls what they want, superiority to men in all things without having to put in the effort men put in to be the best they can be. The Farce did awaken.

Yes it’s just another example of the maxim:  women ruin everything.  In this case Star Wars.
In fairness, I think George Lucas had already ruined Star Wars in Return of the Jedi the moment that the Ewoks appeared. This is merely the continued beating of a horse that was already long dead.


indpndnt said...

The point about self-centered whiny emo boys I hadn't considered. I couldn't stand Ren's character because he was so emo. Whiny people turn into begging, sniveling, internet white knights. I think Ren's character (like Anakin) reflect the inability of the movie makers to understand what evil is (in effect, they don't believe in it). "Uhhh he's kinda whiney so he killed like, a WHOLE LOT of people" is the depth of their thinking.

The real reason The Force Awakens is bad is because it's almost a shot for shot remake of A New Hope. The poor ideas about right and wrong, good and evil have always been there.

JCDaedalus said...

Rey could have worked as a compelling character, if she:

1. Had dropped the snobbish bitchy attitude. She lives on a desert world. There's a reason why desert cultures on our planet place such a great emphasis on hospitality towards strangers.

2. Weren't a mechanical genius to the point where she'd be able to get the MilFalc up and running without some help from Han and Chewie. It would have been believable if it were things like patching droids or weapons together. The Millennium Falcon, however, is a ship from several generations ago, heavily customised and pretty much one of a kind. It's much like expecting MacGuyver to be able to operate a souped-up MK V landship that's been upgraded by grafting in WW2 and Cold War tank parts as well as a VTOL propulsion system, then left to sit in some derelict warehouse somewhere.

3. Had failed utterly in her mind trick and ended up getting the group into trouble (could have made for a comedic sequence). She has never heard of the Force beyond it being some legend and suddenly she's able to mindtrick people.

4. Had cut off one of her own limbs with her lightsaber antics with Ren. That would have actually given her some room for character development and shown that being a Jedi is a highly dangerous occupation. It also would have set up a nice parallel between Luke and her, since she's supposed to be the Skywalker character in this trilogy. Instead we get someone who's even more talented than Star Wars' Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker.

Incidentally, someone at the Vatican apparently doesn't like the film. A pretty scathing review appeared in the Ossevatore Romano, calling it "confuso e sfocato":

Al From Bay Shore said...

You are soooooooo correct about Lucas and the Ewoks. The appearance to the Ewoks was the beginning of the end.

S1AL said...

Gender-swapped episode 1 Anakin dialed up to 11.

luagha said...

Eh, they do show her fighting with a staff and they take care to gut shoot Kylo Ren before they fight. There's so much worse to kvetch about and so many other missed oportunities.

Like in the mind-reading scene where they grunt at one another... if they had shown how Kylo was getting in her head and she started getting back in his head any number of clever ways, you'd never complain about her being a quick study because it would have been smart.

But instead, grimace and grunt.

liberranter said...

In fairness, I think George Lucas had already ruined Star Wars in Return of the Jedi the moment that the Ewoks appeared. This is merely the continued beating of a horse that was already long dead.

Yup. Proof positive that the moron armies upon whom Hollywood depends for its sustenance will swallow anything.

Xmas said...

Emo Darth Vader had just been gut shot with a a Wookie Bowcaster, the same weapon we'd ealier seen kill 3 Stormtroopers with a single near miss and throw a single storm trooper 30 feet throw the air. He kept punching himself in his wound to cause more pain just to keep himself moving. She didn't beat a Jedi with years of training, she came to a draw with a guy who was in the process of bleeding out and dying right then and there.

justaguy said...

How is this any different than "Frozen" or almost any other Disney? Disney markets to an audience and they almost always reinforces the Western society's "universal truth" of girls are better. The executives (male) know they will get a large audience that responds to the message they have been taught since kindergarten and so they reinforce the message. My question is what male role model heroes are left in modern entertainment? James Bond? Maybe Sheldon of BBT is the new male model???

Hammerli 280 said...

On top of everything else, it would make sense for female students of the Force to have different strengths. Having all the characters be whack-and-hack experts makes for boring films.

knightblaster said...

The whole thing was terrible -- mostly fan service, rehashed entire plot of the first film from 1977, and obsessively, relentlessly, slavishly PC. Terrible really.

Rey's character was objectively preposterous, but she can be understood as a well-executed example of the typical badass grrlpower bitch-dom that the legions of nerds seem to love very much. The snottiness/bitchiness is a core part of the desired persona -- to be an empowered grrl means to be snotty and bitchy (in particular towards men), so this is what we have portrayed. And I'm sure most of the nerdlords in the fanbase just ate it up.

I will give Abrams a tiny bit of credit for going off the cultural script a bit with Finn. Yes, he did make a black stormtrooper, and we are now going to be getting the culturally ubiquitous meme of a BM/WW romance, but he didn't make Finn the typical super-competent, ultra-masculine-yet-sensitive BM that we usually see, but instead kind of a nincompoop. It's true that this participates in the broader cultural presentation of "men as nincompoops in need of rescuing by superior and more competent women", but what is at least a tiny bit culturally subversive is applying that meme to a black guy, and especially one who is an interracial love interest (where normally the presentation is that said black guy is clearly superior to all of the white guy nincompoops hanging around in the film). Perhaps a bit of an inside joke by Abrams, who knows.

Sun Xhu said...

It was better than eps 1-3... but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

So, you are saying there is no hand-chopping this time?

(putting wallet away)

LibertyPortraits said...

I agree with all of the above analysis. There's no reason to be in awe of the force anymore, it's just a lazy plot saving device to superpower a character and save the day here and there. There was also nothing feminine about Rey. Women are not women and men are not men in these films. Han Solo was about as badly written as can be. He seriously had no character development over this whole period of time? There was no dignity in his character, and who can identify with an elderly man who was once a swarthy pirate the last time you saw him? He's somehow still supposed to be that? Also, that old alien woman dismissing how she got Luke's blue sabre, the same one he lost in Cloud City, by saying that's a story for a different time. They don't even want to or care to explain anything! Why couldn't it just be the green sabre? I can't remember if that one was destroyed or not.

Lastly, Rey doesn't need training or character development, as she's already capable of doing everything better than everyone else. Simply no respect for what the force is supposed to be. She may as well become a sithlord because acquiring those great powers so quickly is intoxicating, but her own use of her power did nothing to her state of mind.

Galactophage said...

The fighting sequence wasn't as strained as the rest of the film; the opening showed that she had experience with fighting - as she probably had to develop as an an unprotected female in a primitive desert world.

The worst part of the film was taking the plot verbatim from earlier ones despite it making no sense in the new geopolitics of a rebel victory. Here the OPSEC and incompetence of the republic stagger belief. It is one thing to build a death star, and a giant death star when you are in control of the government, but somehow a fringe group managed to build an even gianter death star as well as take over the old imperial fleet and most of the old imperial army to operate a reign of terror, and no one in the republic even knew? Why would the republic have to provide surreptitious support to a fringe of "rebels" when they are in charge and fighting an enemy that plans to destroy and enslave the entire galaxy?

Anonymous said...

...saying that's a story for a different time. They don't even want to or care to explain anything! Why couldn't it just be the green sabre?

Or sabre 247,445 from Lot number 27K at the light sabre factory. Seriously, there is no reason why anything from an advanced star traveling civilization (minus Ewoks) cannot build everything in huge factory production runs.

Anonymous said...

... and enslave the entire galaxy?

And why bother to enslave the galaxy when you can just live in the palace and be treated like a king for the rest of your life?

2Bfree said...

Let’s start with a great positive. TMZ and others have been trying to get Mark Hamill to reveal or hint at Star Wars participation. His dismissal of Star Wars as movies he doesn’t watch, and elusion to not being a part of ‘The Force Awakens‘ and other crap he’s thrown at the press , was acting for the paparazzi. Showing up in the last scene looking like Luke turned into Obi Wan, was a great ending to the movie. Hamill’s treatment of the press and paparazzi is arguably better acting than any of the acting by other characters in the movie except R2D2, and neither Luke or R2D2 speak. The only redeeming acting of a speaking part must be given to Harrison Ford, who pulled Hans Solo with style, and the Chewy-Solo relationship was still the best developed character relationship in the movie. It should be the last we’ll ever see of Hans Solo, unless they do the ghost thing like they did with Kenobi episodes V and VI.

How many times can we see a movie blowing up the Death Star, with the Millennium Falcon flying out of the fiery explosion in the last second. Both in its size and scope, Starkiller Base makes the Death Star and it’s rebuild look like a Sunfish in the America’s Cup. There is a pathetically small Tie Fighter fleet to fleet to protect it? After 40 years both the good guys and the bad guys have made zero developments in fighters, Xwing’s and Tie fighters. Would be like the USA still flying F4 Phantoms instead of F35 Raptors. Hell our navy today has better anti-air guns than the ineffective turbolaser batteries on the Starkiller Base? If the rebel’s launched half their Xwing Fleet, why so few, it’s not like the computers at Lucas Light and Magic, couldn’t have added in a few hundred more fighters for both sides. Even the prequel had new fighters and cooler space ships. Even Jar-Jar had access to cooler underwater ships. The future seems to regress technologically not advance.

Drew said...

My understanding of why she could withstand Kylo Ren is simply that he was not trying to kill her. He was ordered to capture her. First he tried to knock her unconscious. Then she woke back up, and attacked him. Then later, there's another point where he potentially might have been able to kill her, but tries to convert her instead.

It's the same way that Luke didn't die when he fought Darth Vader for the first time. Vader was trying to take him alive.

Anonymous said...

How many times can we see a movie blowing up the Death Star...

There's a reason they called it "Babylon 5" too.

Hammerli 280 said...

True, but they had the sense not to show Babylon 1-3 get blown up.

Sun Xhu said...

@Hammerli280 Um, yes they did. Check out the episode titled "Grail".

Sun Xhu said...

Or maybe it was "Babylon Squared". Yeah, I think it was that one instead, that actually showed them blowing up.

Terrific said...

Although I appreciate all the femhate being expressed about the new Star Wars, I think this is just another indication of how shitty a writer JJAbrams is, because he did the very same thing in BOTH Star Trek remakes.

Kirk is a pure punk in BOTH movies, has no real training in either science or leadership. Shows NO attribute for either, and yet he is repeatedly given command of a billion dollar Starship and entrusted with the lives of hundreds of crew members.

Abrams is incapable of showing character development in anything ad short as a 2-1/2 hour movie. Give him a while season and the actors themselves will flesh out their characters.

Watching The Farce Awakens did not hurt my soul the way the Trek remakes did, but it was still subpar storytelling.

Anonymous said...

"Return of the Jedi" was an interesting case. The subplots of the movie hadn't been thought up yet, and Lucas just wanted to get it over with and also sell some toys. So as a result the subplots are half-assed, Lucas doing the minimum required to resolve the plots (Luke and Leia being siblings?) and some just being stupid, though marketable (ewoks).

HOWEVER - the main plot of the movie, with Luke, had already been planned when Lucas's team wrote "The Empire Strikes Back", and that main plot is the reason "Return" is remembered as a good movie. The scenes with Luke and Vader are outstanding. However well or badly the rest of the movie went ultimately the main story is the key, and it is resolved brilliantly. That's why fans are still fond of "Return".

BCM said...

You've all missed the point of the ending. Rey is there to teach Luke, not the other way around.

One Fat Oz Guy said...

@Drew - so, if she killed a guy who was only trying to capture her, isn't that a bit too much escalation? Like getting punched in the face and then shooting the guy who did it.

IrishFarmer said...

The new one may be good. The way its written the antagonist is actually the main character. He's the only one with an arc, even the Lady Skywalker is flat and has no real arc since shes already as powerful as obi wan, the only thing she has left to do is train and then die. They could give her an arc but they've written themselves into a corner. Either she dies or she joins the dark side, or they'll have to basically make this first movie superfluous. I like ten as a villain, he's in over his head and it shows that the dark side is degenerate and really in shambles. But as it stands all of the main characters have no hint at development or arc except kylo so I look forward to seeing him develop. Otherwise if they ignore good sense and focus on the chick the sequels will be boring.

Drew said...

There were definitely a few clever parts added to the film. Kylo Ren considers himself the good guy. That is why he commented to the girl about how she was hanging out with "murderers" and thieves. Also, I liked it when he shouted out, "Traitor!" As a worshiper of the dark side, he is an authoritarian who views everything the government does as righteous.

mh01701@gmail.com said...

I was embarrassed. Worst movie I've seen in awhile. Flat, boring characters. Scene by scene from the earlier flick. Best part was solos demise, had to bite my tongue to keep from cheering. The disgusting part is everyone else lse whose seen it *loooves* it. Goodbye civilization.

mh01701@gmail.com said...

I was embarrassed. Worst movie I've seen in awhile. Flat, boring characters. Scene by scene from the earlier flick. Best part was solos demise, had to bite my tongue to keep from cheering. The disgusting part is everyone else lse whose seen it *loooves* it. Goodbye civilization.

Desiderius said...

Saw Spotlight instead.

Worth a look. Well made.

OGRE said...

I think the most unforgivable aspect of the new movie is that there is no Lando. Billy D is still alive and kicking and they don't use him?

How much more racist can it get?

Joe A. said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I was told Kylo Ren was significantly injured before fighting the female lead, and that is why she won supposedly.

shoe said...

Rey is shown to be a capable melee combatant with her staff from a lifetime of living on her own as a scavenger, so it's not a stretch to see how she could at least be passable with a lightsaber. She beats a wounded Ren who is himself an apprentice whose training is incomplete.

Instantly figuring out the jedi mind trick and telekinesis are a little more annoying, but not as bad as they are made out here. Luke also figured out telekinesis on his own in the Wampa lair. You could say she figured out the telepathy bit when Ren probed her mind.

Troy Lee Messer said...

How can Rey without any training best Kylo Ren, the emo Darth Vader, with a light saber, while Kylo Ren has had years of training with the force and swords?

You must have seen a different movie than I did, becuase I thought she got her ass kicked. It wasn't until pressed against the cliff, "The Force Awaken(ed)" and all she managed to do was not get killed.

hinted heavily as being Luke’s daughter,

Hinted but not established.

I saw Episode IV in the theatres when I was 11. I thought Episode 1-3 sucked. I generally liked VII. I can wait to see VIII to see what happens to all the characters. What is REy's history? Will Chewbacca team up with Rey? Will the emo Darth dude kill his own mom? I did think Finn was a bit of a pussy. Your're a stormtrooper for christ sake. I also felt harrison ford called in his lines. Anakin was a mechanical genius as a little kid so I don't see the issue with Rey being good mechanically. Anakis all seemed to pick up racing intuitively. And nothing establishes that she never received any meelee training. And that she used her staff so well,....ahem....hints that she had some training. So I think all the butthurt over that is misplaced.
That the movie echoes the pacing of episode IV is not a big deal. When I listen to a new ACDC album, I don't expect them to break new ground and sound like a progressive band. I expect they play the same I IV V chords all rock bands do.
I did think that when HAn counseld Finn "not to lie because women alway find out" was openly SJW. I don't have any issues with a female being a badass. I thought the Kill Bill movies had a cool female protagonist.

IMHO, the weakest part of the movie was the movie. I don't recall any new liet motiffs for the new characters. I don't recall any portion of the music that moved me. In episode IV, after lukes relatives are killed, the music helped with expressing his emotion. In Empire, when they were racing through asteroid field, the music excelled. I can't recall any memorable part regarding the score.

So I would rank this one 3rd after V and IV.

Troy Lee Messer said...

doh.... the wakers part of the movie was the SCORE.

One Fat Oz Guy said...

@Kevin Rogers - he may be an apprentice With, but he had years of training with Luke and supposedly killed other Jedi in training.
This whole "women can master in 5 minutes what takes men 5 years" line is too hard to swallow.
I think SW has peaked and the interest from here on out will be only if there's nothing else on.
I certainly don't want to pay to be insulted.

Arthur Isaac said...

JJ retconns everything. He uses deus ex machina every time he obviously writes himself into a corner. He's a hack and is lazy. Just watch "Fringe" which got retconned every season.

John Rockwell said...

''Rey is shown to be a capable melee combatant with her staff from a lifetime of living on her own as a scavenger, so it's not a stretch to see how she could at least be passable with a lightsaber. She beats a wounded Ren who is himself an apprentice whose training is incomplete.''

If its a guy its believable. But for a girl. Even with all the training is never going to be as capable as portrayed in the film.

Biology imposes limits on potential after all.

And the fact that Kylo even with incomplete training kills all his other apprentices who have been trained by Luke can't even defeat an untrained chick is also bull.

Sokrates said...


Big parts of the new Star Wars movie are rediculous - this posts tells us a lot.

OGRE said...

...or leave them in the box and never touch them!!!

Anonymous said...

If its a guy its believable. But for a girl. Even with all the training is never going to be as capable as portrayed in the film.

Maybe she went to Ranger School.

Anonymous said...

I've got a pretty detailed overview of how the FI uses popular movie franchises as a vehicle for its messaging her:

That said, Rey's ability to jump around and kickbox with her staff is cartoonish and reminiscent of other grrl power scenes in recent films (like the Scarlett Johansson scenes in some of the Iron Man films), but, again, inconsistent with SW, which has never been about people with superhuman reflexes, but people who, you know, have to learn how to use their supernatural skills in the Force. This is all bypassed and shoved under a rug in the service of grrl power and pandering to the Feminine Imperative.

This natural ability “no need to learn it” dynamic for female protagonists is very common in fempowerment characters. It’s actually very telling of the nature of intersexual dynamics when you understand that a male character must learn, improve, refine and make himself an expert of an elite level through character development, while a woman is simply imbued with innate ability.

I have no doubt that Finn will eventually become an expert in future sequels, but the comparison between his need for instruction and Rey’s ready-made out-of-the-box expertise (not just in Force using, but fixing things, combat, intuition, pre-resistance lore, etc.) is almost unavoidable for Abrams. It’s really so stark that even fan boys have to suspend their disbelief.
It’s likely Abrams was oblivious to this God-woman narrative he created. Women are entitled to be perfect and all their merit is simply evident without having to earn it. Men must perform, men must struggle and earn anything approaching the ready perfection of woman and still they lack.

Quadko said...

It's Star Wars: The Millennial Generation
"What our parents fought and trained and sacrificed for, we have from birth."

Californio_6th_ gen said...

More bullsh*t aristocracy jerking-off. I'd like to see a sci-Fi story where the outcast is told they are secretly an aristocrat, get restored to whatever seat of power, then are promptly imprisoned and executed for the crimes of their bloodline. Boo-f*cking-Hoo.

tz said...

Ewoks - be glad there was no "Teddy Ruxpin" at the time. Ted was more honest and entertaining. The only problem is it got worse in the prequel with JarJar Binks, who unfortunately appears not to have been impaled so as to die a slow an painful death in the most recent release, thus atoning for the artistic abomination.

I need to reread Ayn Rand on the corruption of the Aesthetic as my memory considers her prophetic, yet I can't quite accept she was THAT accurate in predicting the dreck that would be lauded.


Post a Comment