Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Chris » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:47 pm

Chaos Theater Ep. 101 - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
- Download Now: 64 kbps - 118 mins, 28 sec. (1:58:23) 54.23 MB

Segment Breakdown for this Episode:

01. Intro: "What We've Been Up To"
Runtime: 0:00:01 - 0:37:13

02. Discussion: "Star Wars"
Runtime: 0:37:49 - 1:20:40

03. Outro: "Audible recommendations", "Chaos Theater Mailbag" and "Internet whoring"
Runtime: 1:21:13 - 1:53:22

Chaos Theater starts off 2016 by visiting a galaxy far, far away. After catching up on what we've been doing, we take an in-depth look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which we'd also covered in our 2015 year in review. We then close out with Audible recommendations and your questions from the Mailbag. Next time, we're off to the skies for a round up of shoot 'em up games.

Music Featured in this Episode:
"mrsaturn" from GAME CHOPS Volume II by DJ Cutman
"Hopes and Dreams" from Undertale by Toby Fox
"SAVE the World" from Undertale by Toby Fox

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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:16 pm

"Hunger is the best spice." I can't help but wonder how much this applies to the reception of The Force Awakens. So many people hate the prequels (I'm not one of them. They were more a part of my childhood than the originals were) and have been hungry for more Star Wars for years. So I think any half decent movie would have people declaring it the second coming of Jesus. You guys highlight some of the common nitpicks out there, but the general reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

The movie was really good, no doubt about that, but I saw it top a lot of Best of 2015 lists and I can't really agree with that. I was never an uber fan of the originals and I'm okay with the prequels so I didn't go into it with the "Star Wars Hunger" and I'm sure that influenced my opinion.

I will say that while I didn't walk out super impressed with what I just saw, I am pretty excited about what's to come next.
SpoilerShow
About Rey, I was a bit surprised you didn't mention the whole Mary Sue controversy. I don't really blame people for considering her one. She's good at everything, other characters instantly like her, and she's able to master her Force powers too easily despite only learning such things weren't fairy tales hours earlier. I wasn't bothered by it, and I figured she took the knowledge when she got into Kylo's head.

What had me rolling my eyes initially was her treatment of Finn, namely her "Don't hold my hand!" thing. I've seen too many authors try too hard to make their female characters come off as strong and unreliant on men by having them act like total bitches to any guy that happens to be around. Thankfully Rey didn't display that behaviour for the rest of the movie, even being grateful to Finn for going to recue her later. A worse character would have shouted "I didn't need you to save me!"

Kylo Ren, talk about not only a great villain but a great character in general. Vader was cool, sure, but Kylo is far more interesting. He's intimidating, but deep down he's just some punk kid with daddy issues trying to be cool. It makes him kind of pitiful, but at the same time extremely dangerous. Both aspects are portrayed great and seeing what kind of villain he'll grow into is something to look forward to.

Oh, and I actually like the idea of Snoke being Darth Plagueis. It would be a good way to tie things back to the prequels (they happened, don't pretend they didn't) and give us a mythic villain rather than just some new Sith that came out of nowhere.

And Wilhelm was one of the troopers Finn blasted with the Tie Fighter during Poe's escape.
Regarding the retread claims: Didn't bother me much, but it did make things predictable, specifically
SpoilerShow
Han being set up as the Obi-wan. Kylo turning to the camera and whispering his name, exactly like Vader did, was a bit too obvious.
Regarding the diversity issue: Basically bigots assume everyone is as bigoted as they are. They're afraid that letting women/minorities be leads in movies, or hold office, is the first step on a slippery slope that will eventually lead to a world where only women/minorities get to be leads in movies or hold office. And then the white male will become the persecuted group. I'm sure there were no shortage of people who thought Obama would enforce white slavery when he became president. To be fair there are plenty of oppressed people that would love to turn their oppressors into the oppressed but we all know two wrongs don't make a right.

Personally I've never had trouble identifying with characters of differing ethnicity or sex. They're human the same as I am.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Chris » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:03 am

I think we might've discussed the Mary Sue thing in the 2015 special. Either way, I was tired of arguing about it and didn't feel like mentioning it. As to the whole Snoke is Plagueis thing, it's just really dumb. It's not an interesting way to tie back to the prequels because Plagueis was never even in the prequels. He's only indirectly referenced, not even named, in Revenge of the Sith, and that's it. Let's say he survives somehow. What, he just sat around for next 50 years bidding his time for his chance to take over? That doesn't make any sense, and there's no reason why Abrams, Kasdan or Rian Johnson would tie Snoke to such an obscure non-character. Also, in earlier versions of the script, Snoke was a woman, so clearly they never intended the character to be someone pre-existing. As to the notion of Snoke being a Sith from out of nowhere, how so? It's been more than 30 years since Palaptine's death, so shouldn't there be a new Sith by now?
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:58 am

Remember that originally Darth Vader wasn't intended to be Luke's father in New Hope. Even if Snoke wasn't intended to be Plagueis initially they could change that.

Sith are all about hiding and biding their time, so yeah, I can believe Plagueis would stay in hiding and wait for Palpatine to be out of the way before making a move. If he's a new Sith less than 30 years doesn't seem like enough time for him to become so experienced and influential enough to train Kylo and control the First Order.

At any rate, I'm not saying that's the only acceptable answer for Snoke's identity but I think it would be a cool development. The scene when Palpatine tells that story is one of the few legitimately great scenes from the prequels, after all.

Alternatively I suppose Snoke could be some one like Maz: a really old alien who knows of the Force but isn't actually a Sith. Kylo isn't a Darth, after all.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Chris » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:05 pm

Why can't we just assume that Snoke is Snoke unless told otherwise and not jump to believing fan theories that have no evidence?
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:17 pm

Because it would be lame if the big bad turned out to just be Steve from Accounting.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by RX Prime » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:32 pm

I think the Force Awakens is a good movie, but I wasn't as impressed with it as everyone else. I felt the story retreads were the biggest issue, as I was hoping for something more original. Perhaps I was spoiled by Rebels and how that show presents its different stories. Hopefully the next 2 episodes will have different story structure so that this trilogy will have more of its own identity.

While the chemistry is leaps & bounds above the prequels, I felt the interactions were a bit too excitable similar to the 2009 Star Trek film. Having a female protagonist & minorities as main characters was great. Kylo Ren was cool & menacing at first, but after he introduced himself to Rey, I lost interest in him. He was just this punk kid with anger issues, almost like an Anakin 2.0. He's definitely a more involving character than Darth Maul or the other villains in the prequels, though.

The visuals were impressive. Nothing like having actual sets & locations to have that authentic feel! The Starkiller shooting its laser & destroying multiple planets was stunning, & I liked that the lightsaber duel wasn't like the crazy choreography of the prequels.

Because of how Luke's lightsaber affects Rey, I feel that she may be Luke's daughter? Of course it's just speculation right now.

Overall, I think it's an entertaining movie, but it doesn't quite match the hype surrounding it.

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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by zero_the_masked_knight » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:14 pm

What had me rolling my eyes initially was her treatment of Finn, namely her "Don't hold my hand!" thing.
It's due to the flashback Rey has later on. Of someone who may or may not be Kylo Ren dragging her away while a ship is leaving her on Jakku. It's an instinctive reaction to a traumatic nemory.

She's not a mary sue. She's neither the author's favorite nor used for wish fulfillment by the same, the two essential characteristics. People keep throwing that around without understanding what it means.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:50 pm

zero_the_masked_knight wrote:It's due to the flashback Rey has later on. Of someone who may or may not be Kylo Ren dragging her away while a ship is leaving her on Jakku. It's an instinctive reaction to a traumatic nemory.
No, that was what's his name, the guy giving our rations played by Simon Peg.

At any rate my eye rolling was my initial reaction when I first saw the scene. As I said, I had no problem with her later.
zero_the_masked_knight wrote:She's not a mary sue. She's neither the author's favorite nor used for wish fulfillment by the same, the two essential characteristics. People keep throwing that around without understanding what it means.
We're not really in a position to say either way. We can only look at how she's portrayed. Characters, namely the old cast, instantly love her, she's super talented at everything (fighting, flying, mechanics, the Force etc), rarely messes up (thankfully she does have a few blunders), and manages to best some one who has far more experience than her with little effort. If you were to write a fanfic with a character like that she'd be labeled a Mary Sue.

Now personally I'm not bothered by it nor do I go around calling her one. I think there's plenty of potential explanations as to why she can do what she does. However I can see where those who don't like it are coming from.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by zero_the_masked_knight » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:55 pm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue
A Mary Sue for female characters and Gary Stu or Marty Stu for male characters is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment.
A better example of a gary stu is Seth Mcfarlane's character in A million ways to die in the west. He's not what you'd call "overpowered", he's your stereotypical loser. But, he fits the key criteria. The narrative is on his side, he's portrayed as always right. A hot female cowboy repeatedly tells us the audience that he's awesome and we should feel sorry for him, and in the end, his ex girlfriend admits that she was wrong and tries to get back with him, but he has a hot new girlfriend and he wins. Instead of them parting on normal, ambiguous terms, it's a power fantasy - she was wrong to dump him and he shows her up with his hotter girlfriend.
Most importantly, the character is played by the creator -Seth Mcfarlane. It's literally wish fulfillment.

That's not Rey. She is her own character and isn't used for anyone's power fantasies or wish fulfillment. The other characters don't "instantly fall in love with her", they interact with her like normal people. Compare that to the gushing Seth Mcfarlane got in his movie. "Unrealistic" abilities alone doesn't make one a sue.
Seeing people for who they are; not who you think they are, not what you want them to be. Seeing someone unconditionally, without paranoia, without prejudice, without stereotypes, without fear...That's what "love" is.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:15 am

zero_the_masked_knight wrote:and isn't used for anyone's power fantasies or wish fulfillment.
And this is a claim you can't really make. For all we know JJ Abrams always wished he was a girl suddenly given Force powers.

Even if that factor isn't present the rest of it is: she's overly perfect, good at everything, even grumpy old Han wants to give her a job not long after meeting her, and she gets too powerful too quickly with no effort on her part. You really can't blame people for having a problem with her. Hell, it took Luke 3 movies to become a competent Jedi and he had 2 masters teach him.

Honestly I like Finn more because he's a goof, clearly in over his head, but bless him he tries even if he doesn't always succeed. Much easier to root for him than Rey. I like Rey just fine but the criticism directed at her isn't exactly baseless.
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Re: Ep. 101: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Post by zero_the_masked_knight » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:41 am

Destiny_Gundam wrote:
zero_the_masked_knight wrote:and isn't used for anyone's power fantasies or wish fulfillment.
And this is a claim you can't really make. For all we know JJ Abrams always wished he was a girl suddenly given Force powers.

.
You can't be serious.
Destiny_Gundam wrote: she gets too powerful too quickly with no effort on her part.
Luke Blew up the death star, despite having only a few hours of lightsaber practice with Ben, and before he met Yoda. Rey's powers are consistent with this pattern. Her natural fighting skills are augmented by her force sensitivity. Your statement isn't entirely accurate anyway. For the first half of her duel with Ren, he kicks her ass and drives her back. It's only when she does Zen meditation with the force that she turns the tables on him. No different from how Luke's Zen meditation allowed him to telekenetically guide high speed projectiles down a two meter wide exhaust port, something that sophisticated guidance equipment couldn't do.

The wish fulfillment/power fantasy isn't just a component - it's the key component. It's when the mary/gary stuness kicks in, when it's less of a story with fictional characters reacting to situations, and more of the author/creator living out a power fantasy where they're always right and everyone loves them.

I've given a real example of a gary stu. It's not about the skills, it's about how the character warps reality around them so that the narrative is always on their side. That's not Rey. She's just another person in the story. She's not the uber lovable Albert Stark, with hot women fawning all over him and falling for his allgedly deep, straight from the author's mouth speeches. Where his mean ex girlfriend suddenly does a 180 and falls for him again, just so he can be vindicated.
Seeing people for who they are; not who you think they are, not what you want them to be. Seeing someone unconditionally, without paranoia, without prejudice, without stereotypes, without fear...That's what "love" is.
"Love" is looking into a person's eyes and seeing a soul.

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