hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
We went to see "The Force Awakens" yesterday, and I also finished reading Ancillary Mercy, which is probably a very interesting coincidence that I will not explore in detail. The latter I enjoyed the most of the trilogy, probably because I had a clue what was going on understood the ins-and-outs of the universe from the beginning and was able to jump right in and ride. It's a nice trip, and I got a deeper sense of the characters this time, and a sense of the time depth of the world - which I think is important to getting how things have been for a good long while and how they are changing. Also, I would like to see Ann Leckie write straight-up comedy.

The Star Wars movie I had a great time with, and on the whole really liked, and then we came home and dissected it into tiny pieces, so I don't have to do that again here, but if anyone cares to discuss in the comments I'll put a few talking points behind a cut.

1. I think my favorite thing was just seeing Leia and Han on screen (Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, as well), not because it was fanservice but because we so seldom get to see beloved characters get old and I really like that. And they managed to be themselves so thoroughly and yet give that sense of passage of time, with complete efficiency and beauty. (Somewhat less fond of Luke, R2D2 and C3PO, but hi.)

2. The biggest weakness was the world-building, which doesn't make much sense either in terms of realistic politics or in a symbolic, mythic sense. Was the First Order an underground insurgency, in which case it should have been a lot scrappier and rougher around the edges, or was it a part of the Empire that never got conquered? Was the Resistance resisting specifically against them, and hence theoretically a new thing, or was it the old Rebel Alliance that never put down their weapons (or their generals)? Where do they each get their fighters from, and what are the causes they gather around? Et cetera. (Bear in mind I am not a person who reads tie-in novels or discussion boards - I want to get everything from the films themselves.)

3. Also, I think we need more background info on Rey, stat. I have no objection to her coming out of nowhere with piloting skills like wow and the full power of the Force, but both she and Finn felt like they didn't have enough at stake, or enough personal (or spiritual, if you'd rather) reasons to join in the fight, at least as compared to Luke in the first movie. (And Leia, though she'd been joined in since birth, essentially.) I think they were both more comparable to Han, in that only friendship kept them going, at least until Rey started being all Force-ified. And there should only be one Han.

4. Not sure yet whether I like Kylo Ren as a villain (I am assuming he survived the Supersize Starkiller Death Star destruction and will come back, because it would be stupid to have him around otherwise, but if we're going to echo "A New Hope" everywhere else, why not have the shot of him flying away afterwards?). In general I am in favor of conflicted villains, or villains who pretend they are conflicted to get advantage, or weak wannabe villains, but on the other hand I knew Darth Vader and you, boy, are no Darth Vader - but that's exactly the point, and I love that he wears a mask and armor that he doesn't need, and hides his prettyboy looks under it, and is young and struggling to be villainous and better than Bill Weasley. I think they could do great things with him. Maybe. Anyway, kudos I guess for keeping the bad family vibes going. I am assuming Luke did the smart thing and never had children of his own.

5. Oh, and I liked Finn, from the bloody handprint (good symbolic and practical marking technique!) onwards. I wish we'd gotten to know some of his fellow stormtroopers a bit - locker room scene or something.

There was an interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post yesterday about how [spoiler] is totally our fault because we can't stick our endings any more in today's genre world (link is, since they oddly haven't updated it, to an older version of the piece where the writer hadn't seen the film yet and didn't know for sure that [spoiler] would happen, but it says essentially the same thing). I do agree that one can get tired of franchises, but I'm not tired of this one yet, and I think that [spoiler] may have been exactly the right thing to happen, and then I read this in Ancillary Mercy:

Entertainments nearly always end with triumph or disaster--happiness achieved, or total, tragic defeat precluding any hope of it. But there is always more after the ending--always the next morning and the next, always changes, losses and gains. Always one step after the other. Until the one true ending that none of us can escape. But even that ending is only a small one, large as it looms for us. There is still the next morning for everyone else. For the vast majority of the rest of the universe, that ending might as well not ever have happened. Every ending is an arbitrary one. Every ending is, from another angle, not really an ending.

Which I entirely agree with, while still appreciating the climactic boom.

We saw the film at the iPic, which offers (for a steep ticket price) reclining comfy seats, free popcorn, and waiter service for food and drinks including alcoholic ones - I had a mocha martini, which is not a martini at all of course but was yummy - which was a great experience for this particular film, not eclipsing my first viewing of "The Empire Strikes Back" at a huge movie palace in Boston, with a thousand other people for whom "I am your father" was a total shock, but creating its own memory. Probably the only time we'll go there (if we go back, I hope they'll have fixed the huge lines for parking ticket validation and put enough toilet paper in the women's room) but I'm glad we tried it.

Date: 2015-12-23 03:50 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] killalla
killalla: (Default)
Nice thought there on the ending merely being the point at which the story stops. I am reminded of the following from my favorite Order of the Stick comic (which is replete with Star Wars references, BTW):

"The end of what, Son? The story? There is no end, there's just the point at which the storytellers stop talking. Somewhere between 'villain of the week' and 'good triumphs over evil' there's a sweet spot where guys like me get to rule the roost for years. As long as I go into this knowing the price I may eventually pay, then I win - no matter what actually happens."


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