A Fraction of All That’s Wrong With Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So that movie came out. You know, the big one with all those toys and marketing tie ins and upcoming spin off movies? And I gotta say, Sisters really lived up to the hype.

But after I saw Sisters, I decided to see that Star Wars movie. Full disclosure, small, independent films are hard for me to follow. I prefer stories that are spoon fed to me. You know, by directors like Werner Herzog and David Lynch and Peter Weir. So, when I watch art house movies like Star Wars, I end up leaving with more questions than I have answers. Questions like…

Why is there a map that shows exactly where Luke is? I mean, like right down to the very staircase he’s apparently spent 15 years standing at the top of?

But seriously, who made the map? If Luke made it, why would he do that? And if he didn’t, then who did?

And why does Artoo have MOST of the map? Why does Max Von Sydow have the last part?

Take this map, Artoo--but don't show it to anyone until it's too late for me to help.

Take this map, Artoo–but don’t show it to anyone until it’s too late for me to help.

And speaking of Max Von Sydow, who is he anyway? He can’t be a Jedi, right? They say Luke’s the only one left. So, was Max just a Ben Kenobi Cosplayer? Was he going to JediCon 2016 right before he got killed?

It was also kind of a strange choice to totally destroy the character of Luke Skywalker. I mean, the guy is seriously a GIANT ASSHOLE for just GIVING UP on his cause and his friends. “Good luck fighting the war I helped make! I’m outta here!”

What a dick.

And why exactly did Luke give up? Because he was so shocked one of his students went bad and killed the rest of them? Didn’t he always suspect this was a POSSIBILITY? I’m pretty sure something EXACTLY LIKE THIS happened once before. I dunno, I could be wrong. But I think maybe I saw it in a movie or some cartoons or something.

And, boy that Finn guy sure is funny and idealistic FOR SOMEONE WHO WAS KIDNAPPED AT BIRTH AND RAISED BY AN ARMY. How did he get all that radical personality anyway in a MILITARY ORPHANAGE SOLELY DESIGNED TO CREATE MINDLESS KILLING MACHINES WITHOUT NAMES?

All he wants is love

All he wants is love

I’m no big Hollywood film writer, but sure seems it would have made more sense if Finn had been drafted into the First Order as an adult. Maybe Leia’s Resistance had the First Order against the ropes and they needed new recruits to push back against the plucky general. Then new recruit Finn is stunned to discover the First Order goes around slaughtering innocent people. “Oh God! What have I done? I totally sided with the wrong people! I gotta get the fuck out of here!”

I dunno… seems like that would’ve made more sense. But I could be wrong. Maybe lots of those kidnapped, brainwashed boys in Africa told Kony to fuck off during those Uganda massacres. I wasn’t there, but guess it sounds reasonable…

By the way, if you state in the opening crawl that the movie is about Leia looking for Luke, maybe you should actually make the movie be about Leia looking for Luke.

Seriously — what was the story of this Star Wars movie? I literally don’t know. I know what happened. But I can’t figure out what it was ABOUT.

It wasn’t about Leia searching for Luke. She was too busy fighting the First Order. And it sure wasn’t about Leia and Han trying to win back the soul of their son. That seemed like an afterthought. There were only a couple scenes about it in the whole movie! One where Han and Leia say, “Man, I wish our weird, mass murdering son would come home.” And then another where Adam Driver kills Han. That’s it!

Wrong youngster, Han

Wrong youngster, Han

And was anyone really surprised that Han was murdered like a chump? I wasn’t. I mean, not because Harrison Ford has been complaining for thirty years in the press about Han not dying. But because that was literally the ONLY WAY the scene as designed could play out. We’d never seen Kylo Ren be anything other than a bloodthirsty murderer. I mean, sure, he tells his grandfather’s mask he feels the Light Side of the Force sometimes, but I didn’t really believe him.

And then there’s that one scene where Giant Gollum doubts Kylo has the guts to be super-evil like him. And I guess there was that other scene where Kylo TORTURES A YOUNG GIRL (what a guy!). That’s when Rey gets him to admit he’s insecure he’s not as bad ass as Darth Vader. So, in the end, what they’re really saying is Kylo Ren is MURDERING BILLIONS OF PEOPLE because he’s afraid everyone will find out he’s not actually a tough guy. But that’s totally different from being a GOOD PERSON.

Maybe it would’ve been helpful to actually SEE Kylo Ren show some mercy ONCE in the movie? Like, let’s say he had orders to kill a bunch of people but then doesn’t because he feels guilty about it. Like when they invade Knock Off-Yoda’s temple. Maybe Kylo was supposed to slaughter everyone just like he did at the start of the movie. But surprise – his father is there! You know, maybe actually play a scene between father and son BEFORE he murders him? Seems like it might be useful to SEE the conflict before you conclude it.

I promise to be badder, gramps.

I promise to be badder, gramps.

Anyway, you play all this emotional stuff with father and son as the B-side to the opening massacre where Kylo showed no mercy. And maybe Kylo lets Fake Yoda and all her Cantina friends live. Kylo defies the orders from Giant Gollum and shows compassion as a result of coming face-to-face with his father. You know, conflict. Growth. Complication. Almost like a real movie.

Then Kylo Ren could get yelled at by Giant Gollum, who calls him a pussy. So, now he’s got one good father (Han) saying “I know there’s good in you and I love you for it” and one bad father (Giant Gollum) saying “I know there’s good in you and I hate you for it.” Now poor Kylo is caught in the middle. And he ultimately makes a tragic choice and kills the good father and embraces the Dark Side. It’s the sad version of Luke’s journey.

I didn’t spend a lot of time guessing what this movie was going to be before I saw it, but I did think we’d get at least ONE scene with Han and Luke together. Who knew that wasn’t in the cards? And how about that final moment, huh? How awkward was that?

I kept wondering how the dialogue would’ve play out if they hadn’t just slammed to credits. I assume it would’ve gone something like this…

REY: Hey, Mr. Skywalker, while you were standing on this cliff, your best friend was murdered.

LUKE: Ohmygod! Han is dead? When did this happen?

REY: Like… two hours ago.

LUKE: Was he killed because he fell back to his old smuggling ways?

REY: No. He did that safely for decades. He was killed by his son who was trained in the ways of the Force the very day Han tried to clean up the mess you left behind.

LUKE: Oh no… Why didn’t anyone call me?!

REY: Your number wasn’t listed.

LUKE: I am such an asshole.

Okay, now I get why they ended the scene when they did.

I guess I’m not really sure why they needed Luke so bad in the big picture. Sure, he’s Leia’s brother. But did Leia think Luke was going to turn the tide of the war? And if Luke really is the key to victory and is actually just hiding like a chump in Space Ireland, then haven’t the filmmakers invalidated one of cinema’s most iconic heroes?

I dunno… seems to me that they didn’t really think this one out.

Another day, another desert

Another day, another desert

I mean, old Ben never gave up, and that guy saw the Fall of the Republic and watched everyone he knows die at the hands of his best friend. Yeah sure, he was hiding out on Tatooine, but he was also there to protect Luke. So, he never really punched out, as far as I can tell. He was still on the Jedi clock. And he clearly let the Rebellion know where he was all that time. It’s how Leia knew to fly to Tatooine in order to enlist his help to win the war. Ben was still in the game!

Leia flew to his hiding place in Tatooine and ALMOST made it, too. When she got stopped by Vader, she improvised and sent Artoo instead with the Death Star plans. And because Ben was protecting Luke, they all crossed paths and ultimately saved the day. It wasn’t random luck. It was backstory coming together in the present. It all makes sense and everyone seems pretty smart and heroic, too. Kind of what you want in your fantasy space movie.

But in this one, BB-8 is on a planet with not only Max Von Sydow and the secret map, but ALSO a super-untrained Jedi AND the Millennium Falcon AND an ex-Stormtrooper than knows how to blow up the bad guy’s base???

Wow… Seems like a lot of random super-important stuff all on one planet.

And speaking of random, sure is an amazing coincidence that the one person who finds the broken Millennium Falcon is Han Solo. I mean, I know they said some bullshit line about finding them with scanners. But he was in the middle of a smuggling job transporting those CGI tentacle monsters. Does he always have Chewie sitting in the corner running a “Find Falcon search?” Has Chewie been hitting “refresh” for thirty years? And then magically this one day he goes “Hey! There it is!”

Hey! Over there! That ship looks important!

Hey! Over there! That ship looks important!

And guess what? The Falcon is carrying a super-untrained Jedi, a robot with a map that leads to Luke AND an ex-Stormtrooper that knows exactly where to shoot the evil planet to blow it up! It’s a good thing Han found them, because he knows the head of the Resistance and can fly them to her secret base! Whew… that sure is lucky. And good writing!

Oh, well… I guess there were other things that confused me, too. Like why was poor Artoo just stuffed in a corner with a sheet over him for the past 15 years? After all he did, I would’ve thought Leia might at least put him in a nice closet or something.

Not sure why Artoo woke up magically at the right time, either. Maybe it was the Force. Or maybe BB asked, “Hey! I have part of a map that leads to Luke! You don’t happen to have the rest of it, do you?”

And did Leia know Artoo had the rest of the map? Because seems like they were only missing one small hole. Couldn’t Leia have sent Oscar Issacs out to search that one corner of the galaxy? Maybe in a ship filled with a bunch of probe droids? That’s a good trick! I think I saw that in a movie once. Seemed to work out for those guys, if memory serves.

I don’t know… There’s other stuff I didn’t get. Like why Yoda-Not-Yoda had Luke’s lightsaber. Or who she was or what she even did. Or who is Giant Gollum and why does he look like a video game character from 2002?

And I know it’s “space fantasy,” but was that ice planet RIGHT NEXT to that star? And when the planet sucks the star dry, wouldn’t the planet instantly freeze and kill all life on it? I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure “dark” is the least of their problems. And when the star is gone, does the planet fly to another star? Or do they have to build another Starkiller from scratch every time? Oh boy…

I guess people could write me with the answers, but I just remembered I don’t care…

10 responses on “A Fraction of All That’s Wrong With Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. Funny how your nitpicky review didn’t mention the single biggest plot hole in the movie. It’s ironic how your whiny laundry list of complaints about inconsistency has a giant flaw as well. Yeah your headline says it’s about a fraction of things wrong, but to miss such a glaring problem suggests you were so busy looking for minor issues that you forgot to just watch the movie.

  2. I agree. Since you failed to list every flaw with this movie – especially one I consider to be more important, but also won’t share – your argument is totally invalid. For shame!

  3. You’re complaining that The Force Awakens doesn’t focus on the plot laid out in the opening crawl? Who says the opening crawl is is supposed to state what the movie is going to be about? Remember the original opening crawl? It was this:

    “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

    During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

    Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….”

    I guess you would say, ” if you state in the opening crawl that the movie is about Leia racing home aboard her starship to restore freedom to the galaxy, maybe you should actually make the movie be about Leia restoring freedom to the galaxy.”

    Man, they really screwed up that original Star Wars, didn’t they? Or maybe the opening crawl just gives context, backstory. It doesn’t state what the film is going to be about.

    You don’t know what The Force Awakens is about? You’re not thinking hard enough. First, what is the original Star Wars about?

    Is the original Star Wars about a young boy finding his destiny and learning to use the force? Is it about the resistance finally getting and implementing the plans to blow up the death star? I guess both.

    Is The Force Awakens about a young girl finding her destiny and learning to use the force? Is it about the resistance finally getting and implementing the map to find Luke, heralding a return of the Jedi order? I guess both.

    What’s really nice, I think, is that the vast majority of fans are pleased, and have a chance to enjoy a rewarding return to the Star Wars universe. It’s a flawed return, but the Star Wars films were always flawed. (Remember, they even got the original opening crawl all wrong, right?)

  4. Oh, and notice: The original opening crawl says that Leia is waylayed on her way HOME, not on her way to Kenobi. She just happened to get caught right next to the planet where Kenobi was hiding. What a nice coincidence! And how lucky of the droids to get caught and sold to Luke’s uncle, who just happens to know Kenobi. Yeah, that all makes perfect sense.

  5. Everyone here say whatever you want, I noticed that the “nitpicking list” coincided in almost all points I nitpicked when coming out of that movie, it is just that the story and the way it is presented left me so bereft of any desire to really and profoundly discuss it that I cannot be bothered to do it. The film makers tried to go “authentic” by copying as many elements of the original three films and translating them into the next generation as possible. Problem is that there were several vital characters missing in the menu after their demise at the end of Episode VI and thus they had to invent new ones that somehow have a similar aspect, origin, problem etc. and it is there where things start going terribly wrong.

    Kylo Ren is such a sad and tragically absurd copy of Darth Vader and really has no reason to be. We are not being intrigued how he came to be, while the story of Darth Vader kept the original films alive and vibrant. This one is just a sad copy, even in his attire and mask … Super Gollum as replacement for the defunct Emperor appears to have only one reason to be there: Andy Serkis was available and volunteered … The appearance of Leia and Han Solo does NOT inspire awe in view of their importance to the Resistance, they do look like old sofas having grown tired and just continuing doing what they do because they got use to … the fact that the new superkids on the block are capable of doing jedi stunts without any kind of training whatsoever simply nullifies any possible awe in view of those powers. While the Jedis used to recruit little children and train them half of their lives, this new generation of potentials simply have it all and it didn’t even get into them by their mother’s milk or something. Nope, just chance and circumstance.

    They said the film was made trying to be true to the original story. I believe it bagatellizes all the marvels of those original episodes by taking away their reason, their wonder, the complexity of it all.

    I arrived back home from the cinema after a 20 mins walk and by that time I was ready to forget it all, not even enough desire left to discuss it in detail, for there is no point. Disney will kick out a series of off spins none of them touching me in the slightest, but it will obviously ensure that a new generation of kids and youngsters will ask for their merchandise and run around with cute little rolling robbies. The economy thanks!

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.