Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Five Things I Didn’t Get About The Force Awakens

This is a post about the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you care about knowing things about it, skip this post and wait for the next one until that changes. In other words:

Okay, now that that bit of business is out of the way:

I want to preface this by saying that Star Wars: The Force Awakens exceeded my expectations. I remember when the prequels came out, and while I liked The Phantom Menace more than anyone in the galaxy (that is to say: at all,) I think we can all agree that the Star Wars Universe would be no worse, and quite possibly better, without them. Also, I was not pleased with J.J. Abrams’ take on that OTHER sci-fi franchise (I hate time travel stories in general, but using time travel to effectively wipe out decades of beloved canon to pave the way for a fairly standard sci fi action flick? Brrrrr), so I was pretty cool going in.

However, Abrams made the wise move of bringing “Empire” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan back into the fold, and the film totally worked, in my opinion. That being said, there are at least five things I did not understand about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To wit:

Why Does Jakku Exist?

Much of the first act of the movie centers around Jakku, where our heroes meet. From what we can see, it’s an impoverished desert planet populated by all measure of strange and unscrupulous creature, where scavenging is a way of life and oily, large-bellied aliens hold the populace, including humans, under their thumb. It’s also a great place to hide a droid with secret plans that could help rebel forces overthrow the evil empire. Does this sound familiar? Of course, I am describing Tatooine. So why not just make this planet Tatooine? It would certainly make sense that Luke’s daughter would end up here (and if Rey is NOT Luke’s daughter, they put a hell of a lot of work into this red herring), and Jakku resembles Tatooine in every other way that we’ve seen. What’s the deal? Was Tatooine not included in the 4 billion dollar sale of the franchise to Disney?

Why Does Captain Phasma Give It Up So Easily?

The big plot point at the end of the movie is that our heroes have to get the shields down so that the rebels can destroy the exhaust port oscillator protecting The Death Planet Starkiller Base. They do this by pointing a gun at the premier Stormtrooper officer, Captain Phasma, and making her do it. But Phasma is a hardcore First Order Officer who’s risen through the ranks in a power structure where both disloyalty and failure are typically rewarded with a quick and painful end (she also happens to be Brienne of Tarth, FYI for you Game of Thrones fans). Why would she just turn around and undermine her Empire in the most treasonous fashion possible, even if she did believe her life was at stake, which, she probably wouldn’t, because she knows the ex-trooper who’s holding the gun is a wuss. I would have found it more convincing if Han Solo had learned a Jedi Mind Trick over the years to get her to fall in line.

How Much Did Mark Hamill Get Paid?

Hamill appears in literally 15 seconds of the movie. Did they just throw him 10 or 20 grand essentially to grow a beard, or did he get paid as part of some two movie structure, where he gets one lump sum for the next movie where he presumably has a much bigger role, and that little cameo gets tossed in in the deal?

Why Is Luke Holed up in an Island Paradise?

When Yoda goes into exile, he ends up on a swamp planet. Ben Kenobi disappears into unending miles of desert. Luke seems to be on some vacation world:

. Does he have a better Agent?

What’s with the No Romantic Entanglements for Jedi Rule?

Although from what we see in the movies this seems to be thought of as more of a guideline than a rule, isn’t it kind of counterproductive? It’s been made quite clear that the ability to manipulate the Force is genetic. Why would you try to select out possibly the most adaptive evolutionary mutation of all time? I mean, I get the whole, Paladin/Knights’ Templar/Knight’s Watch, religious warrior unsullied by concerns of the flesh thing, but here it just doesn’t make sense.We're just hoping kids with high Midichlorian counts will keep popping up? WHY?

Greatly looking forward to having none of these questions answered in Episode VIII!


Anonymous said...

Hey Craig, I like your Kid'N'Play esq flattop. Makes me miss having hair.
Show off! -Zack

Craig Berger said...

Thanks for the deeply considered comment, Zack. You keep on being you!

James said...

The Captain Phasma bit bugged me too!