Jordan: One thing I just wanted to mention for a moment is the Knights of Ren. There are seven, like the Seven Samurai, which I thought of because in Film History class (which Michael and I are currently taking at Chapman U) we learned about the original Star Wars taking influence from Japanese Jidaigeki (samurai) movies. One of the most famous is “Seven Samurai.”
Michael: Get it Jordan. Get that extra credit.
Alex: Oh definitely.
Michael: I need to see more.
Mason: Also Seven Samurai comes from the Greek play Seven against Thebes.
Michael: I was really disappointed that The Raid guys were not Knights of Ren; that’s what I was hoping for.
Alex: What I think is interesting is that Kylo is the last one… which begs the question what happened to the six others? My theory is that they had to fight each other to see who’s the best, Dark Side Natural Selection style.
Donald: They got Kylo Ren’d
Alex; Yep, pretty much, Donald.
Jordan: Kylo Re’KT, Donald?
Michael: That’s a Kylo blow, guys.
Alex: Kill-o Ren’d?
Mason: Since we’re doing puns. Did you know Chewbacca is dropping his Solo album?
Alex: Too soon, Mason!
Mason: What if Luke killed them all and spared Ren?
Alex: Mason, now THAT’s a flashback I’d love to see. Old Master Luke still kicking tons of ass.
Michael: Instead of just staring blankly for a second and then cutting to black? Seriously though, I really liked this movie, but I hate that last scene.
Jordan: Let’s talk about the ending! Like that last scene. And just holding off on showing Luke in general. How did you guys feel?
Donald: The handing of the lightsaber scene?
Michael: It made me genuinely mad. Definitely brought the movie down a point or two.
Mason: I loved it.
Jordan: Why Mike?
Donald: I would have liked more Mark Hamill, but I thought it was a nice enough pay off. I honestly didn’t think we’d see him till the next film.
Alex: I knew they’d end it like that. I knew that Han was like their Obi Wan in this film, and Luke would have to be found like Yoda to teach the new Jedi.
Mason: It was shot brilliantly, and it leaves a cliffhanger. Will Luke come back or not?
Alex: Yeah, I wish Mark got just one line of dialogue.
Gaby: I wanted Luke to say something. Anything.
Alex: He’s high in the credits for a guy who just turns around and takes off a hood.
Michael: Because they spend the whole time building up this mystery of where Luke’s gone. That’s the big end goal, and then we finally get there, and they’re like “NOPE, BUY YOUR TICKET FOR EPISODE 8 ON FANDANGO.”
Donald: But at least we saw what he looked like now. Even if it was briefly
Michael: It just felt like a big middle finger to the audience who’s been waiting for years to see what the big mystery with Luke is. He’s so fat now. lol.
Alex: It was a fitting ending though. Right from the beginning, opening line, the text crawl is that this movie is all about finding Luke. And it ends the moment he is found.
Mason: But that’s what was so great about it. You’re left wondering what is he gonna say.
Jordan: It was all in his face. We spend the whole movie waiting to see this legendary Jedi that everybody is talking about, and when we finally get to the literal (old man atop the mountain) he is… broken. He exiled himself because he couldn’t look his friends in the eyes after failing their son and tearing the family apart. It was so intense. And the MUSIC. it starts with hearing the empire theme on him for a moment, then goes to his theme.
Alex: Nail on the head, Jordan. Michael, he actually lost a ton of weight. Mark Hamill looks incredible compared to what he was in like, 2012.
Michael: I know, but if he has even said anything that would have made all the difference to me. Maybe I’m just comparing to how he looks on the flash, where he looks worse but to me he looked large, but then again he’s older now. lol.
Jordan: Thanks, Alex! And yeah, Michael but in The Flash, he even got to say “I am your father.”
Alex: He’s just as defeated as Yoda was by the end of Revenge of the Sith. He feels like he’s failed the Jedi order.
Mason: Well, technically, the Jedi order was destroyed again. That’s gotta really hit him hard.
Michael: Oh, I totally agree. I just think there needed to be one line.
Jordan: Are you guys okay with the cliffhanger ending? Did you want more resolution?
Alex: I’m ok with it. Like I said, it’s what I was expecting.
Michael: I’m ok with a cliffhanger, but I wanted a little more payoff
Donald: It was enough of a resolution to the “Search for Luke” storyline.
Gaby: I didn’t think it was much of cliffhanger, since we all know it’s the first of a series.
Mason: I’m good with it. We got 2 more movies to get to a resolution.
Michael: When we can just pop in Episode 8, maybe I’ll feel differently. But for now, it definitely hurt.
Donald: Yeah, 2 years from now.
Mason: Better than 32.
Michael: But we get Rogue One in between, and that movie sounds incredible,
Alex: Rogue One is gonna feel bittersweet for me though. I’m gonna love it because Star Wars, but it’s not the Star Wars I’ll want.
Michael: How do you mean?
Alex: It’s gonna be like a caffeine addict drinking Decaf. Same flavor, not the substance I’m seeking. I want Rey’s story to continue! I’ll love Rogue One, but it will just make me even more impatient for Episode 8.
Michael: I feel like expanding the universe and telling different stories in different genres is what’s so exciting about having a universe. I’m almost more excited for Rogue One because it’s gonna be something completely new, but I see what you’re saying.
Alex: True. I’m not saying Rogue One will be bad, by any means.
Mason: I think that’s the best way to keep the series going. Tell stories in between the big movies.
Gaby: Do you think Luke is going to survive this trilogy?
Michael: I bet he dies in 8, and 9 is the one where only the new characters take on the First Order.
Mason: I’m not sure.
Donald: I don’t know. it was a big deal killing off Han. Killing Luke in 8 might be a little too much.
Mason: My question is what happens now that the Republic has been destroyed again?
Jordan: Going with the parallels with A New Hope and TFA, you got to assume that Episode 8 will carry over thematic elements. I’m thinking we get Rey’s family reveal at the end (just like Vader and Luke’s at the end of Empire). I just hope that they don’t copy locations and plot stuff like TFA did.
Alex: Oh yeah. This was a rush to introduce us to new, and give us a chance to catch up to the old. Episode 8 should be more narrative driven and focus on fleshing out the characters further.
Mason: It’s a new writer for 8. So it might not happen.
Michael: I just hope they go crazy with 8. Rian Johnson just does whatever he wants and they completely break the formula.
Jordan: Amen to that. Bruce Willis shows up.
Michael: In Joseph Gordon Levitt makeup.
Alex: I can’t wait to see Rey training in the Light to parallel Kylo training in the Dark. Then they meet for an even bigger round 2.
Jordan: Alex, yes. That would be great. In Empire, nobody really meets up. I’d be happy if Rey barely sees Finn because he and Poe are off on their own, Ren is training, etc.
Gaby: Thoughts on JJ Abrams?
Michael: Spectacular direction.
Alex: I thought JJ delivered on a tremendously tough order.
Michael: The best job he’s done on a film so far. He didn’t succumb to style and just focused on the movie.
Alex: He carried on a beloved franchise, trying to balance making it feel like the original trilogy while also trying to make it something new.
Mason: He made the Star Wars movie people had been waiting for. Exciting, action-packed with just a little humor.
Alex: It’s hard, but I think he pulled it off. I will say that he relied maybe a bit too heavily on some of the things in A New Hope.
Michael: I think he had to play it safe on this one. It was a crowd-pleasing thing.
Alex: I mean really, Starkiller Base is literally just a bigger Death Star? Wasn’t a fan of that. It blows up five planets at once, and yet it didn’t have the same impact as the first death star blowing up Alderaan. I like how it worked by absorbing and shooting stars, but it didn’t have the same weight to it because this is the third time we’ve seen something like this now.
Mason: Well, in my opinion, that’s not a bad thing that they pulled from A New Hope. One thing this movie does is pays respect to the original trilogy. And it’s a throwback to it as well. I’m not complaining. Again, it’s the first good Star Wars movie in 3 decades.
Jordan: People are VERY confused about Mr. Abrams. Everyone is making a connection in their heads that: “Oh, he rebooted Trek and Wars, and in both cases recycled plot elements in the films”. What they don’t understand is that A. Both Trek and Wars were written largely before he was even on board to direct and B. The stories were made by the studios! I think Paramount screwed up MUCH worse with the plot/feel of Trek reboots. Abrams’ job was as follows: make the best damn Star Wars movie he could with the story they were going with. He could have sat on his ass and green screened everything, but he DIDN’T, because the guy is a huge Star Wars fan. It shows.
Michael: Meanwhile we’re getting X: Games presents Star Trek Beyond.
Mason: He wrote the screenplay for Star Wars and Star Trek if I remember correctly.
Jordan: Trek was all written by Kurtzman and Orci, and Star Wars was drafted by Michael Ardnt, Kasden, and lastly JJ made tweaks. He came in when things were pretty much set.
Donald: Considering what we’ve gotten from other studios since the original trilogy, I still think Disney acquiring Star Wars was a good move.
Michael: Oh, it was absolutely our best move.
Alex: Oh yeah. I definitely love what Abrams did with this, and as I’ve said, I like how the movie toys with history repeating itself. I’m just saying there were a few moments it felt less like homage and parallel, or more like reprinting.
Michael: It was like watching a kid play with action figures.
Alex: But a smart kid! A kid who understands character development!
Jordan: Haha yes. Exactly.
Michael: Oh, I meant that in the best way. In the way that a kid knows everything going on in that story.
Alex: Yeah you know what, that’s a great compliment! This movie felt playful, just like the originals. One of the reasons the prequels sucked is that it always took everything too damn seriously.
Michael: They have fun in the prequels. They go to see the purple bubble show.
Jordan: Leaving the theater, me and my friend saw two little boys in the bathroom having a pretend lightsaber fight with sound effects and everything. One kid was like: “I’m Kylo Ren!” and the other said “I’m Rey! But like… if she was a BOY!”. It made me so happy.
Donald: And from what I hear 3 is the only one that really adds anything to the Star Wars mythology.
Mason: Yeah it is. But one thing the prequels have are amazing fight scenes.
Alex: Hey now, I thought the lightsaber fighting in this one was amazing.
Mason: I enjoyed it. But it just wasn’t as epic or well choreographed.
Michael: It was much less dancy and more aggressive.
Alex: I was actually emotionally invested in it, and it felt real. None of the combatants were at their peak form, and I thought that made the fights more unpredictable and interesting.
Mason: It did. But one thing I love for the prequels are the fight scenes.
Michael: I love how Finn just got his ass handed to him when he fought Kylo.
Alex: Plus, Finn picking up the lightsaber was perfect for his arch. He jokes in the beginning how “doing the right thing” isn’t his real motive, but by the end, it’s really the reason he’s fighting.
Mason: Finn tries his hardest though.
Donald: I’m definitely glad Rey got the final showdown, personally loved her character more than Finn.
Alex: He doesn’t care if he wins or loses. He’s standing up for his friend, and for what’s right in that moment.
Jordan: Can we talk about their connection being platonic vs. romantic? I for one was really happy that they didn’t try to hook Rey and Finn up.
Michael: I agree, it was unconventional and completely natural.
Jordan: When she friend-zoned him at the end, as he’s unconscious… I’ve never been happy about a friend zone, but I was for that!
Michael: There was really no romantic subplot.
Jordan: If there was one, it would have felt SO rushed and crammed into the movie.
Alex: Yeah, I like how they didn’t instantly ship them. You can tell he’s into her, but she’s not entirely into him like that, and I think it adds strength to her character. She’s more focused on her own journey.
Gaby: I like that Rey and Finn are being established as friends before it moves into anything romantic, which I think it will.
Alex: They’ve definitely planted seeds for it. Finn is the only person who has ever come back for her, and I think that’s a powerful thing.
Jordan: I agree, Gaby. There’s more to come with them. After all, Han and Leia pretty much just hated each other in A New Hope. Look at them now, haha.
Mason: What if Poe and Finn get together?
Michael: It would make more sense Mason, haha.
Gaby: We talked about theories quite a bit, but what do you hope to see in the sequel? And what are your final thoughts on The Force Awakens?
Alex: In the sequel: More bromance between Poe and Finn, and Captain Phasma hunting them down like dogs. Kylo training, Rey training, and through their training we learn more about what happened with Luke and who the hell Snoke is.
Michael: I want more Luke, a darker tone, and further exploration into the characters.
Mason: I’d just like another good adventure through space with more light saber duels and epic clashes through space.
Michael: I want fewer action scenes, but I want the ones that are there to be better and for them to break the formula.
Mason: And I’d like to hear why Luke went into exile.. Be funny if he’s gone crazy like Yoda.
Donald: I think it is safe to say in either 8 or 9 we’ll see another old character death
Alex: Final thoughts on Force Awakens? 9/10 for me. It has its flaws, but it was so engrossing, and the characters were so great, I’m able to forgive almost all of them. Super excited to see where this story goes.
Michael: I’d give it an 8.5.
Mason: 10/10 for me.
Donald: As far as a first Star Wars movie goes for both younger audiences and newcomers, I think this is a great start. You can get behind the characters, it’s really funny, well shot, and Kylo Ren is a great antagonist. Maybe a few too many throwbacks and the third Death Star kinda bugged me, but otherwise great time. 8/10
Jordan: 9.5. Am I looking at it objectively? Not really. BUT… I feel like certain franchises have earned the right to be looked at through rose-tinted glasses; Star Wars didn’t get to be so loved through being bad: it changed cinema forever. I’ve always loved living in that world, and now I have another good Star Wars movie to do that in! Could have done without the repeated Death Star, but wow – Star Wars is back in a BIG way.
Gaby: I’d also give it a 9 because while it’s far from perfect, it definitely is interesting and opens up a lot of intriguing plot opportunities in the Star Wars universe (hopefully). Plus, I adore all the new characters.
Mason: I do too. It was cast perfectly.
Michael: Now are we ready to be sick of it in 5 years when they won’t stop coming out? Because I’m worried it’s gonna end up like Marvel where people feel over saturated with it.
Donald: Oh, please, I’m still not sick of all the Marvel movies yet.
Mason: I am.
Alex: I don’t think I can get sick of Star Wars. I still enjoy the prequels. I’m resilient.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters.