Episode 428: Top 10 Things About Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 28, 2015


Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

In this episode, we review Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We also give our Top 10 good and bad things about the film.

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One comment on “Episode 428: Top 10 Things About Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. Matt, I liked your analysis of how withholding the original cast members strengthened the film. Great point, and I hadn’t really thought of it. (Of course, in a sense, there is an original character earlier, in the form of the Millennium Falcon…!)

    BB-8 vs R2 — Yes, R2 is better, but we only know that based on the other six movies. He’s hardly in this one, so BB-8 really had the chance to shine. I think (hope) they’ll make an interesting pair going forward.

    Ben, I thought you were unnecessarily harsh on Carrie Fisher. “Not even trying”? Watch her reaction to feeling Han’s death through the Force again, and tell me she’s not even trying. And, sure, you have to judge what’s onscreen, but you know and I know that the mere fact that she’s around to be in this movie is no small victory in and of itself. And nobody’s talking about how old and grizzled and gravelly Harrison Ford is sounding, but he is, every bit as much as Carrie Fisher. Double standard.

    How can you say, after two viewings, that Williams’ score is lackluster? Unbelievable. There are at least four strong, dominant new themes in the music — for Rey, for Kylo Ren, for the resistance, and for the Falcon — and my son and I left humming Rey’s theme both times. Listen to the CD a few times and see if you still feel the same way.

    AGREE 100% that Han dies a great death. It is beautiful the way he touches his son’s face in love, *even after* he has been impaled with the lightsaber. Just gorgeously played. (And I wonder if that face-touching moment was in the script – it’s not in the novelization.) I didn’t even remotely suspect Han would die, *until* Kylo Ren looks up when he feels Han’s presence and announces Han’s name, just as Vader felt Kenobi’s presence aboard the Death Star in Ep IV. So well done.

    Coincidence… or The Force? 😉 Is it any more “coincidence” than Tolkien relies on to get the One Ring destroyed? Chance or providence? I think you’re wrong on this one. The name of the film – THE FORCE AWAKENS!

    Guys: Ren is SUPPOSED to be more like Anankin than Vader. Rey tells him as much in her interrogation scene. We are *not* supposed to be scared by Ren. We are *not* supposed to respect Ren. We are supposed to pity him (Tolkien again). He’s a confused, scared kid. The temper tantrums work perfectly well.

    (Ben – “Vader holds his own against Tarkin that entire movie” – What cut of Ep IV are you watching? “Vader, release him!” in the tone of voice you say “Bad dog!” And what does Vader say? “As you wish.” Tarkin snaking at Vader about, “Did you get the tracking device aboard the Falcon?” Tarkin’s condescending remarks about “that sad ancient religion.” No way does Vader ever hold his own against Tarkin!)

    The Nazi/rally at Nuremberg parallel was the point. So you got the point.

    “it contradicts the other movies” – You seem to be allowing very little tolerance for the idea that, again, THE FORCE IS AWAKENING. Behold. I do a new thing; even now it springs forth; do you not perceive it….? Why should everything be beholden to how it happened before? Wait and see, wait and see!

    Ben, the derivative moments you complain about are why this movie feels like a Star Wars movie, which you said you liked. I am not certain you can have it both ways. I will say, I do wish the threat had not been another Death Star (and telling us it isn’t doesn’t make it so) – but, yes, they were visiting the same beats as Ep IV, to create a baseline Star Wars experience for those new to it all. I remain hopeful that Eps 8-9 will go in different directions, and yet still feel like Star Wars because the heavy lifting was done in Ep 7.

    My only complaint about Maz is that she is only there for exposition. She needs more characterization before I will have strong feelings about her one way or the other.

    Matt’s theory about Rey and R2 is mine, too. Once she’s around, R2 wakes up — either because she is strongly connected to Luke as his daughter, or because, in her, The Force has awakened (which is, again, the title of the movie…)

    “Return” is not necessarily a synonym for “Victory” or “Triumph.” And there *was* a New Republic for 30 years, but stuff happened, as stuff does. I think it is FAR too early to say that ROTJ “doesn’t matter.” The whole saga has not been told yet.

    Anyway, as much as I increasingly wanted to shout at Ben as this episode went on , I really enjoyed your discussion!

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