This is the movie you’ve been waiting for thirty years. It belongs to the biggest franchise known to mankind (yes, definitely bigger than Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, even Home Alone). The movies established a mythology that spawned endless fan fiction books, infinite number of comics and the greatest things of all: the toys! Every fan, no matter if small, big, born, unborn, dead or alive, loved every single frame of the original movies. Suspension of disbelief was the biggest handout of that era, because no matter how things ended up, with mostly unanswered questions, with plot holes big as Sarlacc, with noisy and undeveloped characters or even bad CGI, it was the bigger picture everyone imagined that sparked their endless love for this franchise. Calling it just a ‘legendary trilogy’ is a huge understatement, it broadened the horizon for many soon-to-be geeks. Then the prequels arrived. Completely different with smooth CGI, better action sequences, bigger settings, new exciting characters and bigger expectation. It told the origin story of the biggest villain in the galaxy (apart from Hitler) by the name of Darth Vader, but going into totally different direction from the originals killed the vibe and left disappointed fans left and right. It was ‘the letdown’ of the century. And now, the groundbreaking saga delivered the next offspring.
I hope everyone is well aware of the fact that AN ANALYSIS can’t exist without SPOILERS.
REPEATING THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
Many fans are complaining about seeing similar events form STAR WARS: Episode IV A new hope happening in STAR WARS: Episode VII The Force Awakens. But the truth is, events from the whole original trilogy are inside The Force Awakens. But why? Speculation run amok suggesting J. J. ABRAMS shit his pants and wanted to play it safe or the makers didn’t have enough ideas, so they threw a reboot together, but it should be obvious it’s because you all demanded it. Logic explains that the biggest franchise in the world exists probably only because it has the biggest following. That group of SW-addicts clearly stated that the original trilogy is better than the prequels and that they loathe GEORGE LUCAS for changing the feel of the movies with his shitty directing. So, the new movie had no choice but to recreate the feel of the old ones. They had to put similar events from the originals inside the new one, so they can ease the demanding mob into any kind of changes.
J. J. ABRAMS: ‘One of the things that were very important, for us in this movie is to purposely go backwards to go forwards.’
The reveal of the father, the showdown on the platform, the ‘join me’ part, the cantina, the death star, the easily destroyed death star, certain sentences and themes are engraved into this movie like an explicit nod to the fans ‘Here you go!’. All three originals are compressed into this one for the sake of letting it go, so the franchise can move on. But, if you look carefully you can discover a mouthful of new things inside:
- A female is a Jedi – Totally new, totally badass!
- The male lead is weaker – He is not a Jedi and he can’t defend himself, a twist to the males in Star Wars Universe.
- The Sith are not all-knowing and ubermasters of the sword – They try so hard to be on the same level as Darth Vader and Lord Sidious, but fail ultimately.
- X-Wing pilot is very memorable – Poe Demaron is witty, funny, warm and a great pilot. He is the new Han Solo.
- Characters are self-aware – Han explains to Rey and Finn, when they are about to meet Maz, that ‘she is an acquired taste‘, hinting at her CGI persona, and how fans were disappointed in CGI creatures from the prequels.
- Flashbacks – None of the originals or the prequels had a bizarre nightmare scene or a surreal moment inside the movies, beside Luke fighting with himself during his training. But this Flashback shtick is a new step inside the SW Universe.
THE TRAILER CAMPAIGN
Only a handful of trailers in the last 30 years were that creative to conceal a movies storyline. If the trailer spills out every little detail what’s about to happen, fans are outraged. These trailers had a great way to create a mystery about the movies. Disney took a giant leap of faith and featured trailers that are too dark for Disney’s ordinary audience, so it seems Disney is moving into uncharted territory. The scenes featured in the trailers are often slowed down, so they seem important and long, but the movie itself pays no special attention to these moments. Many scenes are not even in the movie, because they will be featured as deleted scenes later on inside the blu ray.
The scene where FINN (John Boyega) comes from underneath the frame is much longer from the one inside the movie and it has no sound effects attached, like the ones in the trailer. When KYLO REN (Adam Driver) activates his lightsaber, the audience bears witness how every single beam slowly emerges. That scene is cut; in the movie the spectators only hear the sound of Kylo Ren activating the lightsaber. Even the line ‘Use the dark side and the light‘ is not featured in the movie.
In the way the trailers are presented, it was obvious the story revolves around Finn, but the main character is REY (Daisy Ridley). Finn explains how he ‘was raised to do one thing. But I have nothing to fight for‘, which is also not featured inside the movie and the moment when he takes down his helmet is also radically different. ‘Chewie, we’re home‘, is also somewhat unspectacular in the movie.
‘The force is strong in my family, my father has it, I have it, my sister has it, you have that power too.’ Neither is this scene inside the movie, nor is this iconic sentence ever said. Fans are having a blast answering the burning question if Rey is Luke’s daughter and this is the line which propelled that assumption. These are all misleading scenes.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
The repeating of events were carefully planned, they even became a motif. A symbol for ‘repeat’ is mostly a circle. The circle is evidently stating it’s a loop which has no end to it. It is universal, sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy and the cosmic unity a.k.a. the Force. If you carefully look out for the circles inside the movie, you will find all sorts of round and spherical entities.
- The first shot after the opening crawl is the planet Jakku. It begins with the result of the original trilogy. Everything is balanced and in order, but that was a wrong assumption. The Empire’s not dead.
- The droid BB8 is smaller than R2D2 but his body is a sphere. He is a creation made of circles. BB stands for Ball Bot 8, the eight hinting at his shape.
- The moon, the stars and the planets are all circle shaped.
- The transition between scenes is very popular in Star Wars movies, because they are old school methods to make it more interesting. In this movie they didn’t change that but it’s important to know that the last transition, in the last scene, that turns into credits is a circle transition fading in.
Although the circle symbolizes the Force, it also bears the significance of the eyes, a special way to perceive the world or a way for the characters to see themselves. Wrong perception can lead to the dark side.
- Han Solo lost touch with himself. He is only a shadow of the man he once was.
Rey: This is the Millenium Falcon! You’re Han Solo!
Han: I used to be.
- The DEATHSTAR in the originals and the STARKILLER BASE visually represent the ‘eyes’. Evil sees the reality through their set of rules, thinking they are the one in charge and right about the Force.
- MAZ (Lupita Nyong’o), has weird goggles, a different set of eyes, so to speak, and she explains to Han how
‘…when you live long enough, you see the same eyes in different people. I am looking at the eyes of a man who wants to run.’
- The cockpit of the Millennium Falcon is also a window to the world outside. Who is inside the Millennium Falcon will be spared; everybody else should take the hint.
- The First Order flag has a circle with spikes, set inside a hexagon. It means something bad. Something really bad.
THE NAMES OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS
Every name of the characters is giving insight to their personalities:
1. FINN was called FN 2187 as a Stormtrooper. Poe couldn’t remember the number, so he renamed him to Finn. When the numbers are added up 2+1+8+7, the result is 18, and if you add up 1+8, you get the number 9. In the alphabet the ninth letter is I. So, it’s not only Poe’s great name giving skill, it is the truth. Finn on Gaelic means small white soldier. How ironic.
2. KYLO REN – Kylo means victorious and narrow or straight on Scottish, Ren is a Welsh name and describes a ruler. So, he’s a victorious ruler. In this incarnation the villain could be a good part of the trilogy someone who is in training and eventually becomes the ultimate Sith Lord, the ruler of the galaxy.
3. REY is a Spanish name and it means King. Here can be speculated that she will be some sort of Queen by the end of the trilogy, but let’s wait and see.
4. POE DAMERON – Poe means mysterious man and Dameron on French means master or lord, so there is a ‘bright’ future for him in sight. His name also reveals that he is childish.
LUKE’S OMNIPRESENT POWER
The film begins with the sentence ‘Luke Skywalker has vanished‘. Indeed, he vanished, only to be seen in the last two minutes of the movie. Or is he? After the originals, he went to train others to catch the Jedi train, which failed, because one student turned to the dark side. Luke lost the battle and went into exile to the first Jedi temple. Besides Kylo Ren, there is only one other character using the Force and that is Rey. Rey is very Force sensitive and many things occur very spontaneously that hint at someone ‘showing her the way’.
- NAVIGATING the Millennium Falcon – Rey was surprised how she managed to control this giant spaceship, let alone have the advantage during a shootout.
- Most famous cameo in The Force Awakens – The Stormtrooper, played by Daniel Craig, that gives into Rey’s MANIPULATION using the Force. First of all, she couldn’t have known what, when and how to say it, that might work. The first and second time it didn’t work, but the third time she successfully used the Force to let the Stormtrooper ‘put the gun on the ground‘.
- Inside Maz’s castle, voices call out to Rey. She follows them into the basement of the castle. At the end of the corridor is a door, which is closed under a special safety system, but it opens by itself. Rey goes inside and find’s Luke’s vanished lightsaber inside a box. When she touches the lightsaber a FORCEBACK (Flash back and flash forward) happens. It’s the Force telling Rey what she needs to know.
- The SHOWDOWN in the snow between Kylo Ren and Rey happens quickly. Rey was holding back, but she calmed herself down, the Force appeared and that’s how she was able to kick Kylo’s ass. There is no possibility that she has mastered the Force in this short time without guidance.
- The meeting between Luke and Rey is an awkward one. She hands Luke his lightaber and a stare contest occurs. The music gets louder when the shots are changing, just to say they are COMMUNICATING on a different level. They’re face expressions telling it all, with each shot their mimics are completely different, sadder in many ways.
- It is a great possibility that Luke is omnipresent during the whole movie, which hints at OBI WAN KENOBI from the originals. He was killed by DARTH VADER, but Ben’s voice helped Luke through tough times. Ben’s voice is heard by the audience, so it leaves no question how Luke was able to accomplish all these impossible things. However, in this movie, the voice is not heard by the audience, because Luke is not dead and it leaves a sense of mystery:
Finn: How did you escape?
Rey: You wouldn’t believe me if I tell you.
It’s been about 30 years since the Return of the Jedi and did the world of STAR WARS change? Not on the outside, but little glimpses here and there give insight that it changed a lot. One of the more obvious changes are manifested in the form of an already fan favourite, a crazy cute robot in the shape of a ball. J. J. put it in the movie so it can be the next R2D2 or C3PO, but it is something else entirely. This robot has human feelings. It feels regret, sadness, laughter, irony and at one point it even lies to Rey. Through his actions it’s easy to see that the technology is more sophisticated than it was 30 years ago. And X-Wings have hyperdrive, too.
Finn is a Stormtrooper who was responsible for sanitation on the Starkiller Base. On his first mission to wipe out people on Jakku, he was disgusted by what is happening. From there on, he wants to escape from the First Order. Throughout the movie he constantly falls on his back:
- During the fall of the Tie fighter he wakes up on his back
- After being attacked by Rey and BB8, he finds himself on his back
- When hiding inside the Millenium Falcon, Finn tries to handle BB8, but falls flat on his back with BB8 on top of him
- The first time he uses the lightsaber, the superior Stormtrooper kicks his ass and he lands on his back
- In the fight with Kylo Ren, Kylo burns his shoulder, than viciously slices through Finn’s back, but not killing him
Finn’s chronic falling is hinting at something. He escapes the First Order on the account of his ‘fallback’, but does it indicate a possible fallback in the future?
No one was left unaffected when HAN (Harrison Ford) was a goner. Many were furious, many disappointed, but it’s clear to everyone it had to happen. It is a logical progression.
J.J. ABRAMS: It’s a massive tradeoff. How can we possibly do that?! But..if we hadn’t done that, the movie wouldn’t have any guts at all. It felt very dangerous.’
The old saga should come to an end, so new characters can fill in. His tragic death was more than epic, murdered by his son’s darker self. The moment he stepped on that bridge it was clear, that will be the end.
J. J. ABRAMS: ‘Harrison Ford, of course makes it look so easy, worked his ass off and was so game and hungry to do great on this movie. And he is not only great in the film, I think, but what was so cool, he was demonstrating for this new, young wildly intimidating actors what it is to show grace. And that was amazing to watch.’
KYLO REN’S PERSONA
A murderer. A wimp. A traitor. This guy is the reason the Empire isn’t allowed in your friendly neighborhood. With Darth Vader, most fans rooted for him, he was an icon and the most interesting character inside the trilogy, that’s why his back story is the main focus of the prequels. Although, he is the evil personified, he wasn’t scary or perceived as pure evil. He killed Ben Kenobi, but that’s about it. Audiences established a connection with Ben, but not nearly enough to care when he dies. The villain in The Force Awakens happens to be the son of Han and Leia also by the name of Ben. He single handily destroyed everything dear to the audience and established himself as well as the Empire as a complete opposite of Vader and his brawl. He gives the reason to hate the dark side. Many thought he is disfigured under the helmet, expecting him to be like Vader, but he is a pretty boy underneath. Suddenly it becomes clear that the lines between the obvious good and the obvious bad are blurred. His conflicted persona tells us, you can’t possibly know what he will do next.
Nit-picky stuff is too ‘nitty’ and even more ‘picky’. Ultimately, none of these nitpick elements should really hurt the film. The emotion is in place, things may stand out, but everything is balanced.
PHASMA is Finn’s Superior and besides looking menacing and taking her Stromtroopers under control, many complained that she hadn’t had much screen time in The Force Awakens. Why would someone invent this kind of character and not show his full potential? Well, it calls the same mistreat of BOBA FETT to mind. He was in the originals, also underused for sure, but look at him now, he is a legend. No one complains about that. This is the first movie of a new trilogy, she has two more to go.
- KYLO REN
Most of the audience complains how they are disappointed to see a great looking guy under the mask. For obvious reasons, he has to be young and there is no reason for him to be ugly, being an offspring of two great looking people. This should be a no brainer. But somehow people can’t get use to it. They eventually realize it makes sense that he is looking like he does, after a while, he even represents the most interesting character. This is why the new trilogy had to reflect the originals; it becomes evident in these nit-picky situations. The audience expected to root for a villain who is supposed to be the ‘new’ Darth Vader.
- LUKE’S LIGHTSABER
For years every hardcore Star Wars fan is asking the most important question in the galaxy ‘Where did Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber disappear to, when his hand got cut of?‘. After all these years, the screenwriter LAWRENCE KASDAN had to give in and included it into the new movie, just as RIDLEY SCOTT did, with the Space Jockey in Prometheus. Maz perfectly said it, when asked about it :
‘Good question, but for another time’
- LUKE’S APPEARANCE
Of course, everyone complained, why Luke hadn’t more screen time inside the movie. It is a great ballsy move to make a decision like that, with Disney on top of it. It is something new that no one expected. Every original trilogy film ends with Luke’s staring at something, it’s natural to assume The Force Awakens to end on the same note, which it did. But complaining about this is ridiculous. A perfect set up for the next movies and a cliff-hanger that makes audiences want to see more of the franchise is not something you hear every day.
J. J. ABRAMS deserves respect, because he not only delivered a sequel on the same level as the originals, but he underused his own directing style to accomplish the desired goal. None of his painfully direct stylistic moment occurs in this film, it feels like he didn’t direct it himself, it feels like someone else did. It will be remembered as the one movie different from his whole filmography. Although it’s not a masterpiece like Alien or Blade Runner, but with time, who knows? These two weren’t either, when they first hit the screen.
J. J. ABRAMS: ‘This entire process has been, in some way, an exercise in denial. In denying that Disney just spend 4 billion dollars on that thing, and denying that fans of that thing were gonna kill me if they didn’t like it, denying that I was one of those fans and that I would kill myself. Denying the pressure of actors who were agreeing to put on the wardrobe again, 30 some years later…’