Barnes on Film- Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Review

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21 Dec 2015 10:02 #217878 by Michael Barnes

This is not going to be an impartial, unbiased review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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21 Dec 2015 10:33 #217879 by Egg Shen
Amen Barnes! I was nodding in agreement with the whole review. Awesome stuff.

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21 Dec 2015 11:15 #217881 by Hatchling

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21 Dec 2015 11:28 #217884 by OldHippy
A beautiful love letter to Star Wars and your youth.

I disagree with it with every fibre of my being and would rather see you save your strangely criticism free reviewer mode for new aesthetics and new worlds like Ex Machina (which received your full scorn) because I believe that someone filming the thousandth hour of Star Wars and making what is destined to be the biggest money maker of all time should be handled with big boy gloves in full on critique mode.

But like I said, it's still a beautiful love letter to Star Wars and your youth and I'll try not to sully this page with any more of my honest emotion. Well done.
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21 Dec 2015 11:34 - 21 Dec 2015 13:27 #217885 by Grudunza
"when two beloved characters that if you are like me you have had on pajamas, underwear, T-shirts, in toy boxes and on your desktop at work meet and one says to the other “my old friend, how I’ve missed you” I defy you to feel anything other than pure love and joy, tempered with the bittersweet passing of years and the growing distance from youth."

Geez, Barnes. You just made me cry. And yes, I absolutely LOVED that moment, and you nicely articulated why. Such a beautiful sentiment that carries so much emotional weight among all of what we've experienced. And it's spoken between two droids! How amazing is that? The only comparative moment is Toy Story 3 when we are riveted by the impending death of animated toys in a garbage dump.

Wonderful review, Michael. I definitely won't argue with you about this film. :o)
Last edit: 21 Dec 2015 13:27 by Grudunza.

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21 Dec 2015 12:14 #217889 by 433
Agreed 100%. Looking forward to taking my 16-year-old nephew and 11-year-old niece on Thursday.

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21 Dec 2015 14:09 - 22 Dec 2015 11:59 #217894 by Frohike
Definitely had a lot of nerd-cry moments while watching this film. The ideas and emotions that welled up weren't entirely nostalgia for me but rather a heady sense of resonance between Abrams' personal realization of the significance of Star Wars and my own newfound respect for some of its core aspects. Repeated scenes and micro-exchanges just constantly, intoxicatingly telegraphed "this is what these films are about. This." without breaking character, so to speak. They always seemed to fit the intradiegetic motivations and needs of the characters but also reached out to two different audiences of viewers.

You can look at that early scene between Han, Finn, & Rey -- when they're standing in an intentionally out-of-focus star field hologram, creating an ambient wonder and shimmer in the air around them while Han is telling them that the mythology is alive, real, all of it -- as being a message that reaches beyond the intradiegetic spellweaving for the new kids in the film, and entreats both the new generation of viewers and the older jaded, burned, generation to start believing again and find potency and relevance in the Ur-stories. It's really a masterful moment in the film's direction and there are so many of these.

It's funny, when you mentioned the midi-chlorian bullshit from the prequels it occurred to me that this entire concept had been purged from my memory as I watched the film. The concept of the Force is something that deserved more respect than Lucas gave it in that awful series, and signified a true departure from his earliest conceptual inspirations. In fact, it strikes me that a personal aspect of himself really did die when he went down the rationalist rabbit hole that he did with the prequels. I just got through reading a fascinating article about the significance of 21-87 (Finn's numeric designation and Leia's cell number), that's not nearly as nerd-seven-degrees-of-separation as I assumed it would be:

www.telegraph.co.uk/film/star-wars-the-f...eorge-lucas-fn-2187/

Apparently Lucas was obsessed during his formative college years with an Arthur Lipsett short titled "21-87" which, as I watched it, was an obvious inspiration for the ideas he went on to develop in the initial trilogy. He wasn't just playing around with Campbellian archetypes as a structural shorthand for his movies. These were concepts that clearly resonated with and affected him on a personal level in his youth. I hadn't even finished reading the article as I watched the short film and this jumped out immediately from the overdub:

"Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God."

The article gives this more context, but in that moment, I realized just how much of a real tragedy the prequels had become for Lucas and for the fans. The cynicism and jaded quality of those films was just oppressive and overwhelming.

It took an equally overwhelming return to the source for Abrams' to save this series, and it's clear that he was successful in doing this. I think this film was a real triumph in this respect.
Last edit: 22 Dec 2015 11:59 by Frohike.
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21 Dec 2015 14:38 #217896 by Black Barney
Great review. Appreciate u avoiding spoilers. Can't wait to see it

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21 Dec 2015 15:35 - 21 Dec 2015 15:47 #217904 by JMcL63
I once blogged a similar hymn of praise to season 5 of Doctor Who, so I get the uncritical applause and where it comes from. Star Wars is like an artistic Sorelian myth , one of the most important cultural artefacts of our time. Glory hallelujah!

Heaven forbid we all feel like that JJ- such enthusiastic uniformity would be worse than a nightmare.
Last edit: 21 Dec 2015 15:47 by JMcL63.
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21 Dec 2015 15:40 #217905 by Josh Look
Great job, good sir.

This review is clearly from the heart and that's how it should be.
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21 Dec 2015 19:18 - 21 Dec 2015 19:27 #217933 by Deleted
To me, it seems like JJ is doing what he does best. He took an already beloved story, changed some characters and settings around on a superficial level in large part, and made a "new" movie.

It's A New Hope and Empire smashed into one film, and redone. Like Star Trek and Into Darkness both.

It's a great film, but I've seen it two or three times before. Which is fine, because I loved it then, too. Very nostalgic.
Last edit: 21 Dec 2015 19:27 by Deleted.
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21 Dec 2015 20:02 #217938 by MattFantastic
It's impossible to compare to groundbreaking and awesome movies you first saw as a kid, but this is probably the best Star Wars movie, despite a lot of it's greatness coming from the fact that it's the NEW Star Wars movie and exists where SW in general is such a huge part of the cultural lexicon.
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21 Dec 2015 20:18 #217941 by JMcL63

MattLoter wrote: It's impossible to compare to groundbreaking and awesome movies you first saw as a kid, but this is probably the best Star Wars movie, despite a lot of it's greatness coming from the fact that it's the NEW Star Wars movie and exists where SW in general is such a huge part of the cultural lexicon.

I clung to this point for 2 days, but then I found myself digging up a Georges Sorel reference from the internet. That was when I realised that the greatness of this particular film is that it assured fans that Star Wars' place in the cultural lexicon is not overrated and is far from accidental.
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23 Dec 2015 12:12 #218094 by Ken B.
We've seen it twice. It's fucking fantastic. I told someone on another message board, "If you consider yourself a Star Wars fan, and you somehow dislike this new movie, nothing is ever going to please you, it's time to move on."

It is just a fucking thrill and joy to watch. I used to defend the prequels as, "Hey, they're sorta okay, and they're Star Wars!" This is what we could've gotten all along. I can't really defend the prequels anymore.

George Lucas has been such a pissbag about it, too, saying that he's sure this is a movie "the fans will like," in his backhanded complimentary way that says everyone else's vision is shit and inferior, despite the fact that his "vision" was clearly past its sell-by date when he jammed a fucking obnoxious musical number into Return of the Jedi: Special Edition.

Fuck Joh Yowza. Fuck him in his stupid screaming asshole.
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23 Dec 2015 15:33 #218113 by Black Barney
Is the best reviewed star wars movie not a George Lucas one?!?
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