Monday, December 21, 2015

F This Movie! - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Our Force Awakens podcast is an epic event years in the making.



Download this episode here. (91.4 MB)

Subscribe to F This Movie! in iTunes.

Listen to F This Movie! on Stitcher.

71 comments:

  1. Thanks, I was waiting for it with bated breath. Oh, first, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love how this was put together and hearing everyone's takes on the movie! I am basically with the everyone else in thinking this is a super fun movie that is very good and will hopefully hold up with time. If nothing else, I'm excited to see what's in store for the awesome new characters going forward, and I'm glad it all started out on a mostly good foot. Now to be intrigued what a Rian Johnson follow-up to this main story will look like!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the great podcast, I really enjoyed the way it was edited.

    Concerning C3POs red arm, JJ talked about in briefly in an interview with wired about a month ago:

    "Very quickly, it became an incredible advantage to have Rick dealing with the designers and artists, prepping the conceptual work based on our story meetings. Almost immediately, designs would start to roll in that gave shape to the ideas we were working on. Moments like Threepio’s arm came from the desire to, well, mark time.
    It’s almost like … [Unknown events have transpired …]
    Exactly. You know the moment when you reconnect with someone after years apart? You see the lines on their face, you think, oh, they’ve lived 10 years! Or when you see someone has a scar they didn’t have—physical or emotional—you recognize it. It lets you know it’s not two minutes later. It was important that Han Solo be Han Solo but not feel like he’s playing a 30-year-old dude. When you’re 70, you will have lived a different set of experiences. That has to be apparent in who he is. Harrison was required to bring a level of complexity that a 30-year-old Han wouldn’t be required to have."

    Here is a link to the complete interview: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/star-wars-force-awakens-jj-abrams-interview/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm listening and really enjoying the podcast! Love hearing everyone's input...

    Every time "it's been a while" is said on the podcast, I completely lose it and cannot stop laughing.

    Loved the Force Awakens... instead of saying "Chewie, we're home" Han should have said... "It's been a while".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry JB - I'm LOLing at the depth of your sadness...

    ReplyDelete
  6. There's an undercurrent that runs throughout the Original Trilogy of a generational shift. The Empire is the old guard, and the Rebellion is new, young guard. They have a life ahead of them, and it feels by RotJ's end like the characters have found their course in life, have found their place.

    One of the most emotionally engaging elements of TFA is how those OT characters are treated. They did have their place, with Han and Leia together and Luke running a Jedi Academy, but the new guard (Ben) overthrew the old guard, and it threw them into disarray. The entire movie is framed around finding Luke, which in a greater sense is about all the characters regaining a sense of belonging (this includes Rey and Finn), and it's fueled not only by the audience's desire to see Luke, but by all the characters needing him.

    The film has a lot of great aspects, like a return to Kasdan's wonderful dialogue, a return to the OT's rustic visual aesthetic, great new characters, all that, but this is, I think, the movie's biggest strength. It keeps the generational storytelling in place, but also inverts it, and uses the audience's desire to reconnect with the OT's world and characters as the fuel for the story.

    I can't wait for Episode VIII: Jakku Holiday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you nailed it. The way Han says something like, "Luke? Yeah, I knew Luke" just about made me cry.

      Delete
    2. I think the most heartbroken I've ever heard an audience was the reveal that R2 had been in low-power mode because of Luke's absence :(

      Delete
  7. I forgot to mention it on the show....but what was up with Kylo Ren punching his chest during the last lightsaber battle? Did he just watch Mark Wahlberg in Fear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fear is the path to the Dark Side, after all

      Delete
    2. Wasn't he hitting his side wound? I don't know why he was doing that, but I think that's what he was doing.

      Delete
    3. You know those Dark Side freaks...he wasn't really punching his chest he was pounding on his wound...the pain probably gives him a little jolt of evil fuel.

      Delete
    4. I saw it as him either trying to wake up the part of his body that had just been injured, or using the pain to motivate himself.

      Delete
    5. I think he thought the pain would help him tap into the anger he needed to fully harness the dark side.

      Delete
    6. That's how you jerk off in the Star Wars Universe.

      Delete
    7. He's going to have to use a sick day then.

      Delete
    8. I just got to the part of the podcast that made that hilarious.

      Delete
    9. Watching him hurt himself strangely reminded me of Paul Bettany in The Da Vinci Code ;)

      Delete
    10. I thought it was some kind of samurai thing.

      Delete
    11. It was certainly strange, hopefully it gets talked about in a commentary track in the future

      Delete
    12. This was one of my favorite details of a performance that I found to be great.

      Delete
  8. Possible spoilers: I found it strange that the high profile (at least among nerds) Gwendoline Christie was cast to play a character who a. does very little, b. never removes her helmet, and c. presumably blew up with the Death Star 3.0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect (hope) there's a lot more of her to come in future installments.

      Delete
    2. or d) Sell toys.

      But I hope, and suspect, she'll be back.

      Delete
  9. ADVICE: You HAVE to see it twice. Seriously. I've never changed my opinion on a movie so much with a second viewing. The writing is very old-fashioned in the sense that there are a lot of holes left for the audience to fill in that become much clearer upon a second viewing. So, if anyone has problems with it - see it again. Because after the second time, there's only ONE problem I have with it, when I originally had many. Honestly - it'll improve vastly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. Seriously - character motivations, plot developments, etc., are made clearly to be much more organic and logical once the film has lived in your head for a couple of days and you see it again.

      Delete
  10. I wanna get other peoples opinion on this and its a spoiler but I think everyone reading this probably has seen the movie so sorry if you haven't. Am I the only one that thinks killing Han was a bad idea? Let's be honest if Harrison Ford didn't hate the character does anybody think he would have been killed? I have a strong feeling that Ford told them that if he didn't die that he wouldn't do the movie. This is just my opinion but Harrison Ford is a prick and Star Wars fans should be more upset about it then it sounds like they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked the scene a lot, it was one of the highlights of the movie for me. My problem with it is that we still don't know enough about Ben to grasp the weight of that scene. They're leaning on a sequel to develop it, which will work in the long run but right now it's frustrating.

      Delete
    2. I did not have a problem with it at all. Ford has actually been quite upbeat and positive in the promotional tour that I don't think the old bitterness is really there any more. As opposed to Return of the Jedi, where I could feel he was phoning it in, he seemed to be enjoying himself in this film.

      Delete
    3. Of course he's been upbeat he finally got what he always wanted!

      Delete
    4. I believe if he hated doing this movie he would have palpably hated doing the press tour and you would have been able to tell in his performance (because it seems like you always can tell in his previous movies).

      Delete
    5. I think that in shadowing the original SW plot points they needed an "Obi-Wan" to be killed and Ford didn't care if he came back or not...so this worked for both him and Abrams.

      Delete
    6. Did you want Hans Solo (aka old man Ford) to be in Star Wars movies for the next 9 years? I thought he played him part brilliantly, being able to mostly keep up with the action, and bring an elder dimension to the film, while bridging the older series to the new ones.

      I don't think anyone, producers or fans alike, wanted Hans Solo to last beyond this movie. My only surprise was that he was such a big part of this one. I was questioning during the movie whether he would die, or just grow old (get written out), and when he went down without Chewwie, I immediately knew he was dying.

      Delete
    7. William, I also think it's a bad idea. I suspect (and can only guess) that this is the only way Ford would agree to be in the movie, so they did what they had to do. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have said that if Ford hadn't returned, they wouldn't have either. I'm guessing it was this or nothing. Still, the death has less meaning currently than any other death in Star Wars for me. It doesn't yet have the same story ramifications and effects of a Ben Kenobi or a Qui-Gon for me, it just feels kind of empty. I've struggled with it quite a bit. I didn't think it bothered me at first, but it really does.

      Delete
    8. Heath I think that once everyone has calm down from the excitment of a new film and starts really thinking about the movie your gonna see more and more people bothered by the creative decision of his death.

      Delete
    9. Also to the people that say "well how long do you expect the original cast to stick around they can't forever there old" I only think we will see the original cast up to episode 9 so that's 2 movies over the next 4 years so am I asking too much of Harrison to stick around just 2 more films?

      Delete
    10. Actually I think Han's death really "works" in the story -- sad, shocking, and tragic in the most Shakespearian sense. It doesn't feel like a meaningless "twist" shoehorned into the story to accommodate anyone's request; it feels like the culmination of Han's arc. Back in ANH, it's necessary to believe "Han shot first" in the cantina for his eventual return to Luke's rescue to have resonance as redemption. In TFA, Han has returned to being more like the man he was in that cantina -- he's a smuggler, on his own, running from conflict, reluctant at first to help. He's alienated the woman he loves, removed himself from helping the Resistance -- he's no saint. It's a mistake to believe that Han "sacrificed himself" for Ben; it's not a sacrifice, he is betrayed. Kylo Ren chooses his words carefully (that is, the writers do) to mislead Han: "I know what I must do but I need your help." He's not expecting to die; he's expecting to save his son. Han's belief that he can get Ben back directly echoes Luke's "I know there is good in you" to Darth Vader.

      But Han's death is not his redemption. Han's desire to help his son, and his belief that he can help his son, are his redemption. His death is the price. It's an event that will set the course for the actions of all the other major players, so the stakes need to be high. We now have two movies to explore whether that price was worth it -- whether his death will be a catalyst for good or a triumph for evil -- and I think that's an interesting question.

      Delete
    11. Beautifully said (as always), Jan, and I agree - it would have been a terrible story decision to NOT have Han go after his son in that moment and I found the whole scene very moving. Days later I'm still kind of in mourning for that character and that's never happened to me before.

      Delete
    12. I hope to get there eventually. What I'm really interested in now is Leia's trajectory. She's lost her parents, her brother, her son, and now her son's father. She needs a gigantic spotlight in the next movie.

      Delete
    13. Heath, I agree -- I'd love to see Leia in the spotlight!

      Delete
    14. I don't know if I could take Leia's voice the whole film. She's definitely had one too many Deathsticks lol

      Delete
    15. Jan, I saw it again today and I'm coming around to your point of view. It's hard to separate myself from the baggage I brought into the movie and what we know about Ford's feelings on the character, but I'm starting to feel like it has a purpose. I was hoping and expecting more of an immediate effect on the story's direction, but we're working in cycles here and the first films of these trilogies have to be an introduction. You're right, there are two more movies where we can explore the cost and ramifications of what happened in this film.

      Delete
    16. Jan you put it so elegantly that you've helped me come to terms that Han's death will benefit the story.
      I thank you. :-)

      Delete
  11. Well I just came back from it and listened to the podcast when I got home. A few thoughts
    1) I loved the blood from the stormtrooper. From that moment I was hooked. By the way, if you noticed throughout the movie it is clear there is a gap between the helmet and armor suit and Finn's hand reaches up there when he is holding his fellow stormtrooper
    2) I also saw it at a Regal theater and the trailers were far too many. Also, my girlfriend turned to me after about the 5th one and said "I feel like these are all the same movie"
    3) I am still not sure how I feel about the movie over all but I do know this- much better than the prequels. The new good guy characters were actually likable and had real personalities, something the prequels totally lacked. It felt like the same universe as the original trilogy as opposed to the prequels. The dialogue was far superior and the acting was as well (which may have had to do with the directing). I do agree that the plot lines are perhaps too familiar but it just didn't bother me that much. After the prequels it felt like a welcome relief
    4) One shot I absolutely loved was the Apocalypse Now shot of the TIE fighters

    ReplyDelete
  12. One thing I thought of and may be obvious to everyone else one way or another- is 'Ben' named after Obi Wan?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love the podcast! Couple comments, one the first world War was the war to end all wars. Second, as jb said about the raid redemption guys consulting on the fight choreography, the bounty hunters (?)who show up on Hass freighter, one is mad dog from the raid and the elevator fight dude from merantu

    ReplyDelete
  14. Awesome podcast - great to hear from almost everyone and if there was ever a movie deserving the format, this was it! I was disappointed for Heath that he didn't love it more, but yeah, for the most part I think I pretty much on the same page as everyone - far from flawless but definitely a good time at the movies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm coming around. I saw it again and was able to see it for the movie it is and not the one I wanted it to be. I still really miss the hand of the creator (George Lucas) in the story, especially since he's out talking about how this is not the story he conceived and gave to Disney, but something "for the fans." BUT--I liked it much more the second time. Gonna try to go back soon.

      How did your big marathon of the movies and Clone Wars viewing go?

      Delete
    2. Glad to hear it! I kinda went in a blank slate - I really didn't know what to expect so maybe that was a good thing? I agree that it didn't feel like LUCAS'S Star Wars but did somehow feel very much like Star Wars if that makes sense. I'm guessing Lucas's version wouldn't have had me feeling quite so sad for the old characters and that could have been okay too (it's going to be hard to watch the OT knowing more fun adventures aren't in store for them) - I'm sure he's too classy to reveal what his ideas were but I'd love to know!

      Unfortunately my marathon got a little crammed at the end and I had to stick to what I read were the best eps of Seasons 4, 5 and 6 of The Clone Wars, but man, I really dig that show for the most part and it really fleshes out the Prequel Trilogy and makes me appreciate that era so much more. It was great to watch the OT for the first time in awhile and though I also found myself loving ANH more than I thought, I really agree with you about ROTJ - it kinda felt like my favourite this time around. Started Rebels last night and I've got a good feeling about it - you like?

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I like Rebels quite a bit. That first season has an incredible arc...starts small and builds so much. Some episodes of season two have felt like complete throwaways, but some of them are insanely good! And the Kanan comic offers some good insight, too, if you ever want to check that out.

      Delete
    4. Sweet - and yeah, I've heard good things about the Kanan comic - I'll add it to my wishlist!

      Delete
    5. I want to support Heath's comments about missing the presence of George Lucas. I know exactly what he's talking about. For those of us who enjoyed the prequels, warts and all, world-building has become an important part of Star Wars. While it's true, Lucas' focus on interplanetary politics did come at the sacrifice of his characters and overall sense of adventure, he did a good job of expanding the mythology of Star Wars. That's almost completely absent from TFA. It's like JJ went in the total opposite direction. For most, that's probably OK. But for me, it was a little disappointing.

      The argument against this is that the original SW didn't have much world-building, so neither does this one. But, for better or worse, TFA is the seventh film in a franchise, and the next chapter in a story following a 30-year gap. Just a little explanation as to what's been going on in the universe would have been appreciated. Dorks like me are going to look it up on Wookiepedia, so not that big of a deal, but the movie still felt a little incomplete to me.

      Someone over on Birth.Movies.Death suggested that a revised opening scrawl probably could have solved a lot of those problems. I'm not going to attempt to replicate his rewritten version, but in summary, it included a sentence or two of explanation about the relationship between the First Order and Resistance (which aren't as Empire 2.0 and Rebellion 2.0 as the movie leads you to believe) and the general state of the galaxy before leaping into ... SPOILERS, IF YOU HAVEN'T SEE TFA ... "Luke Skywalker is missing." I think that would have gone a long way.

      Overall, though, it's a pretty great movie. I had minor quibbles, of course (my wife wanted to know how come they didn't just hide BB-8 instead of letting him roll around in the open, and I wanted to know why Leia hugged up on Rey at the end, considering they've never seen each other before), but I'm expecting some good things moving forward.

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. You've really hit on what I'm feeling. For instance, I don't understand how the Jedi and Luke Skywalker can already be myths? The Clone Wars were fought all across the galaxy a mere 50 years before this movie. Even if there were no media or news outlets in Star Wars (those things have been established), shouldn't there be people who lived through that to carry on the story of the soldiers and the Jedi? You can say no one knew about Luke's heroic deeds, but EVERYONE knew about the Clone Wars, of which the Jedi played a very public role.

      In the end, this movie is a strong reaction against the Prequels, and it has been embraced for being so. It's the movie Disney needed to make to keep Star Wars alive and bring the lapsed fans back into the fold. But yeah, I miss the finer details of this world. This film is a heck of a ride, and I am closer to loving it every day, but I miss the touch of this world's creator. It's so strange to me that George Lucas is still alive, yet we have Star Wars that he wasn't a part of. That he offered his services and his advice, and they said "no thanks."

      Delete
    8. Saying No to George is very strange, you dont have to do as he says but you should certainly listen to his thoughts...

      What have you got to lose?

      Delete
    9. And I would argue that it's not Lucas' ideas that fail him, but his execution.

      Delete
  15. Great podcast and a great movie! I had a great time seeing this one last Thursday night. I knew that the crowd I was with would be good when they boo'd the Independence Day 2 trailer. I thought the characters were fantastic, the story was interesting and not as held back as I expected, and the action was entertaining and not mindless CGI displays.
    ------------(SPOILERS)---------------
    I actually liked how Han was handled in the movie. His involvement and death gave greater emotion and life to the character in this movie and the original trilogy. I liked Kylo and the Hitler general guy. I really hope that the chrome trooper plays a greater part in the next movie because she looked awesome and interesting in the two scenes she was in. The only character I had a problem with was the Mega Mind villain character that Andy Serkis played. I agree with what was said on the podcast that the whole villain plot would have been more interesting if Kylo and General Hitler weren't answering to another Emperor dude. Him and the lame super death star were the biggest problems I had in a film that I found to be a very pleasant surprise. Really have to give them props for setting up a new universe that didn't have a ton of obvious and annoying world-building. I'm actually really excited for more Star Wars in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ive avoided the podcast to see the film first. I saw it tonight, this may of come up already but my early thoughts as I need to think on this more are just one main quibble! (Call out to JB) I really hated Kylo once he took the mask off, He did not look mean, his hair was too pretty, he didn't have any scars, I wasent scared or intimidated at all, he actually made me scratch my head, just some early thoughts, lots of good to say too but Kylo rubbed me the wrong way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggled with that initially too. I made peace with myself by remembering the fact that this dude is trying so hard to be someone he's not. Being a pretty boy when he's trying to be a badass is just another "fuck you" to his ambitions of being Darth Vader. He's not really as badass as he thinks. Maybe he's just a coward that puts on the mask to feel cool.

      Delete
    2. Yeah that makes sense, kinda a coward hiding behind a mask pretending to be tougher, im sure in time I will come to terms with it but watching it the first time is was my only real quibble, and the cinema dident turn it up loud enough but that's a side issue, I did some research and there is only one cinema in the Uk showing the film on IMAX 2D on IMAX 15/70mm and it is 200 miles away ;(

      Delete
    3. Damn that sucks. I'm toying with the idea of going to IMAX 3D.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for your thoughts Patrick, they have been on my mind all day and I have come to terms with how Kylo looks and it is right, its funny how you need to sit on these things to let them feel right

      Delete
  17. This movie made me so happy. I had some faith in Abrams due to his great take on Star Trek, but you never know from the 50/50 track record of the Star War series. As a mom with a daughter who loves Star Wars, I'm so happy there is a character like Rey for her to look up to as she grows up continuing to watch these movies. Of course Leia is great but Rey's sense of her own agency in this movie made her a great icon. The whole cast is stellar, they seemed to all been picked from independent movies with in which they had great performances to really carry this movie and the characters. It truly made all the difference. I do believe this is supposed to be cyclical with the first one, it's going to take another viewing to see if that's a good or bad thing (I was too entranced the first time to care). I plan to go see it again in IMAX and I'm excited to listen to the podcast again with it fresh in my brain! The movie, and the podcast, were well worth the wait.

    ReplyDelete
  18. JB's Wife needs to have her own podcast. Every time JB says "my wife suggested that..." you know it is going to be something insightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, Ive been saying for ages we need more Jan if she can take the time away from her amazing poem writings...

      Delete
  19. I feel bad, I feel like a bad Star Wars Fan and a bad Movie Fan. I tried, I really did, but I did not like this movie at all. It felt totally soulless to me. It felt like a ton of "Look at this! Now look at this!"

    This guy hates killing, he must escape and he will kill anyone who stands in his way. These two guys have shared about 90 seconds of screen time, they are best friends now, these two people traveled together off screen, he's now a father figure. Lets hug the girl who I have never met and know nothing about because my husband died and totally ignore his best friend, (he's busy looking after his new best friend anyway). Droid, Please!... DROID, PLEASE? Wow.

    Was there any scene that was more than 3 or 4 minutes? It's like they were terrified of anyone getting bored, so nothing was allowed to sit, marinate, develop.

    Cant wait to read the "after the hype is gone" reviews of this. I'm not even convinced it will stand up to Phantom Menace.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This whole podcast was useless. Not once did anyone say how many stars they gave it!

    In all seriousness though, I've seen the movie twice now and I loved it both times. Loved the podcast too. I doubt there's anything original I could say at this point. You should see it. I give it 60 portions.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Very minor point that I bring up solely because I haven't heard/seen anyone mention it: did anyone else find it really odd how Han and Leia kept referring to Kylo Ren as "our son" like 8 times instead of saying his name? At that point in the film, Snoke had already said the "your father, Han Solo" line, so they weren't hiding a plot twist. I think it's only done that way so that Han can yell "Ben!!!" on the bridge and reveal that he's actually named after Obi-Wan, which isn't a bad time to reveal it necessarily, but it made the Han-Leia discussion scene have really odd dialogue I thought.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My biggest complaint is that it didn't really feel like the movie advanced the Star Wars mythology. Where is the philosophy? Where is the discussion of what it means to be a Jedi? And no new ships?

    While the movie was fun, it just wasn't very imaginative and I feel like the most interesting parts of the movie are things that happened offscreen (the rise of Kylo/The First Order/Snoke)

    ReplyDelete