Tag Archives: BB-8

The Force Awakens: A Conversation (SPOILER ALERT!)

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” you have no business reading this. Find something else to do.

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away … two lifelong Star Wars fans — Lavender, of lavendervroman.com, and Shawna, of earthtoshawna.com — decided to search their feelings and work out their issues after seeing “The Force Awakens,” director J.J. Abrams’ much anticipated first installment of Disney’s new Star Wars trilogy.

Here is the conversation that ensued …

SPOILER ALERT: Last warning! What follows is a free and open discussion of the many plot points, surprises, twists and other developments contained in “The Force Awakens.” If you haven’t seen the film, this review will ruin it for you. That is all. 

Lavender: What did you love about “The Force Awakens”?

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Shawna of earthtoshawna.com.

Shawna: I loved seeing all the familiar faces — Han, Leia, Luke, even Chewie, C-3PO, and R2. I loved all the funny references to the original trilogy, like the stormtrooper who repeated Rey’s Jedi mind trick commands. I thought the new characters were awesome. Rey’s character was reminiscent of Luke’s; Ren was evil and tragic at the same time. BB-8 was more charming than I thought he would be. I know you loved him even before you saw the movie, but I didn’t fall in love with him until I saw him on the big screen.

And Finn, actually, was my favorite new character. He’s kind of the new Han character. Maybe that’s why I like him. Plus John Boyega is just a great actor. I had never seen him in anything before, but I hope to see more of him.

Lavender: I’m glad you have joined the BB-8 fan club! And I’m relieved this new little droid didn’t turn out to be the Jar Jar Binks of “The Force Awakens.” He’s quite a scene-stealer, in the best way possible.

It was great to see those familiar faces after so many years. I was skeptical about that, but J.J. Abrams reintroduces them very carefully and cleverly. One of the people who made the movie for me, actually, was Harrison Ford, returning as Han Solo with hairy Wookie sidekick Chewbacca in tow. I didn’t expect Ford to play such a large part in the film and after some of his recent, rather lackluster movie performances, I didn’t think he had it in him. But apparently Han is the role he was born to play. He stepped right back into those smuggler duds as if only a few days had passed since he last set foot in the Millennium Falcon. His presence really anchors the movie.

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Lavender Vroman

I think my favorite new character is definitely Rey. She is a heroine for the ages, something revolutionary for a female action hero. Abrams has said that he created Rey in hopes that little girls would be able to look up to her and he has more than accomplished his goal. I love how we first meet Rey as a scrappy, lonely scavenger on the hopelessly sandy planet Jakku. Daisy Ridley is so charismatic and makes her immediately likable. Her portrayal of Rey is so independent, and smart, and goodhearted. I like that Finn is always trying to save her — such a gentleman — but he never really has to because she’s already on the task of saving herself. I like that she has technical aptitude and an extremely powerful affinity for the Force. She and Han Solo are the heart and soul of “The Force Awakens.”

Shawna: Yes! What you said about Rey — she is a great role model. She doesn’t need a man to rescue or save her. It bugs me that we are in the dark about who she is or where she comes from, but I guess they had to save that for future films.

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Lavender: We both found a lot to love about this movie, but I think we both had some issues as well. What didn’t work for you?

Shawna: I loved seeing Han and Chewie again too, but I didn’t like that Han went back to being a smuggler, or that he waited so long to reach out to his son. That scene was a disappointment for me, not because Han dies (I expected he would be killed off, because Ford has said he doesn’t want to be Han anymore) but the way he died. Getting killed by your own snotty kid is a crappy way to go. And it was too predictable. How did he not know that Ren/Ben was about to kill him? I’m pretty sure everyone in the audience knew.

Are you as bummed as I am that Mark Hamill had no lines?

It almost made me think J.J. Abrams wanted the seasoned actor (Ford) to have a bigger part in the movie — that he didn’t have as much faith in “I’m-Luke-Skywalker-I’m-here-to-rescue-you.” I felt a bit indignant on Hamill’s behalf. Plus he had to get in shape and grow a beard, and he was only on screen for about a minute. I assume he will have a bigger role in the sequel. I hope we will see more of Carrie Fisher as well.

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Lavender: For me, that moment at the end where we finally see Luke is when the movie finally comes together. I think I’m more excited about where that moment will lead than about anything that happened in the plot of “The Force Awakens.” Which brings me to my biggest issue with the film.

Abrams does a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of the original trilogy, especially “A New Hope.” From the exotic planets populated by weird alien species, to the old-fashioned wipes and cuts that George Lucas used to evoke the adventurous serials of old, everything is dead-on and totally authentic, in stark contrast to those cold, soulless prequels.

This is good, but at times “The Force Awakens” is so much an homage to “A New Hope” that it almost feels like parody. I especially felt like this whenever Domhnall Gleeson’s over-the-top Hitler-esque General Hux came strutting onto the screen.

The plot of “The Force Awakens” almost plays like a reboot of “A New Hope,” complete with a climactic X-Wing/TIE fighter dogfight and an attempt to blow up yet another Death Star. I’m thinking from this point, all Death Stars should be banned from future installments. I mean how many of those things can there be?

I get what Abrams is doing here — he’s courting the fans who remember the prequels with a wince of pain, while introducing new generations to Lucas’ universe. He accomplishes this as well as can be expected, but I found myself wishing for a little more from the plot.

I wanted more character development, more time to see relationships simmering — especially between Rey and Finn, and Finn and Poe — and I wanted a little more urgency, danger, darkness. There wasn’t really ever a moment where I felt like everything was lost or that our heroes wouldn’t be able to save the day.

It’s funny you should mention the Han Solo death scene because, while of course as a fan I didn’t want to see that happen, I was kind of relieved. That was the moment I knew Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was a dastardly villain of epic proportions. Before that, I didn’t find him all that intimidating.

I get your gripes about what Abrams did with Han in this movie, but I think it was necessary from a narrative standpoint and in keeping with his character, as hard as some of it was to stomach for those of us who always wanted to see Han and Leia live happily ever after.

Shawna: Yes, it did start to feel like parody, and I agree the worst offender was the jumbo Death Star. That was a “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment for me too. And Hux was too much, blech. I also agree with you about the weaknesses with the plot — it got to be too close to the plot of the first film. I actually didn’t mind that “OK, this person is the new Han, over here is the new Yoda … ,’ but really, must we also have the same plot?

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Lavender: You mentioned you’d like to see more of Luke and Leia in “Episode VIII.” What else would you like Abrams to do with the sequel?

Shawna: I absolutely would like to see more character development as well. I think they did a great job with casting (there were hits and misses in the prequels). I also think the CGI was more successful in this one than in the prequels. Maz felt more real to me than some of the CGI characters in, say, “The Phantom Menace.” Actually, she was more convincing than some of the non-CGI characters, now that I think about it.

I would like to see some questions answered. I thought it was kind of a cop-out when Maz said something like, “That’s a story for another time.” I felt like I was hearing the writers saying, “We’ll figure that out in time for the next movie.”

I want to know who Rey really is. On the one hand, it would make sense if she’s Luke’s kid because of the similarities between them, but also because why would they send some stranger to find Luke? After all they went through to get the map, especially. Why wouldn’t Leia go to him? If Rey is his daughter, why was she dumped as a child on a desert planet, alone? At least Luke was placed in the care of his aunt and uncle. We already have one estranged child in this movie.

If Luke is Rey’s father, then I guess we are just supposed to think Han and Leia and Luke are just really epic failures at parenting. With this being so close to “A New Hope,” I feel that’s where they are going with this — toward a Part 2 declaration of “I’m your father. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

And I want more backstory. How exactly did they raise such a stinker as Kylo Ren? He’s a bit of an entitled brat. He is a lot like Anakin. I am interested to see what happens with him in the next movie.

And if we could actually see Gwendoline Christie’s (Captain Phasma) face next time, that would be nice. That is, if she survives the trash compactor.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on Poe. I heard he was originally supposed to die in the TIE fighter crash, but Abrams changed his mind. And who is Max Von Sydow supposed to be? Do you have any theories on that?

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Lavender: I wonder about Max Von Sydow as well. I’ve heard many theories, including that maybe he’s Boba Fett, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Abrams has left us with a lot of questions, which is what I’m sure he intended. It’s going to be a long wait for “Episode VIII.”

I would have liked to see more of Oscar Isaac as Poe. He seems like a scoundrel and we need more scoundrels in our lives. Just as we were beginning to like him, he went missing for half the film. And I agree that Phasma is the Darth Maul of “Force Awakens.” Such a cool villain and a woeful lack of screen time.

I agree with you completely about Abrams’ use of CG imagery. He was obviously very conscious of the pitfalls of the CG-saturated prequels. I loved the blend of motion capture, puppetry and other practical effects. It felt right. And when he did use computer fx, they looked fantastic. The scenes with the Millennium Falcon were breathtaking, as were the aerial dogfights. And I, too, thought Maz was a great character. A little bit Yoda, a little bit Edna Mode.

I think your instincts about where Abrams is going with the sequel are correct. It will be interesting to see what director Rian Johnson does with it. After “Looper,” I really trust his vision.

I hope there will be more risks taken with “Episode VIII.” I can’t fault Abrams for playing it safe with “The Force Awakens.” Playing it safe is much better than totally destroying the Star Wars legacy. So overall, I’m satisfied and looking forward to what’s next.

Shawna: Yes — so many great characters introduced, but so little time. I was more than satisfied with the film, despite all my griping. I had chills when the opening crawl came up and the John Williams score started playing, and I was still thrilled by the end of the movie.

“Episode VIII” can’t come soon enough! We will have to content ourselves with watching “The Force Awakens” a hundred times while we wait.

Photos: Courtesy of Shawna, earthtoshawna.com; Fawn Kemble; makingstarwars.net; http://www.carolina.cl; http://www.comicbooknews.com; wall.alphacoders.com. 

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So Long, I’m Off to See the New Star Wars

I went to the theater today to pick up these babies:

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The scene at the local cineplex was rather subdued, presumably because it was 36 degrees out, a little chilly for prancing around in your Slave Leia outfit.

As I write this, many of you are in the midst of seeing “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” for the very first time.

I won’t be posting tomorrow because a good deal of my day will be consumed with doing the same. The blog will probably feature a review of the film at some point, hopefully in the next few days.

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I didn’t want to end “The Force Awakens” countdown without saying thank you to the amazing friends and fellow fans who took an interest in this month-long celebration of all things Star Wars.

I deeply appreciated and enjoyed your comments, your thoughts, your theories, your hopes, your participation and interest, even the odd complaint that there was just too much Star Wars going on. (Too much Star Wars?!? Ha!)

Thank you to the contributors who helped me fill those posts daily, for sharing your heart and memories, for going through your scrapbooks: William Schiller, Shaun Griffith, Fawn Kemble, Shawna of EarthtoShawna.com, Brenna Humann, Jacob Patterson, Eric Schoen, Nick Vroman and David Rivas.

The Force is strong with you.

As we end the countdown, I’ll leave you with a few parting gifts. May the Force be with you always.

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If you loved the Jimmy Fallon and The Roots video, or if you’re a fan of Oscar Isaac, you might like this.

If you’re sick of trying to dodge spoilers, here’s some you can actually look at because they were made up by Stephen Colbert.

If you’re marathoning the original trilogy — plus or minus the prequels — before you head to the theater, here are some tips for turning that into an epic viewing party.

Fortify yourself before “The Force Awakens” or celebrate afterward with these yummy themed cocktails.

While you’re standing in line, plan your next vacation …

Or enjoy a good laugh.

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After the midnight screening, this should be your breakfast.

Put a little romance into your “Force Awakens” experience with this crazy couple.

If you’re wondering how the movie is going to shape up at the box office, here are some early numbers.

And this just proves that Star Wars fans in the UK are awesome.

Photos: http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk; http://www.gq.com; Disney Family. 

 

Here’s All the Swag You’ll Need to Survive Star Wars Midnight Screening Madness

If you’ve ever pulled one of the delirious movie theater all-nighters preceding the opening of a wildly anticipated film, then you know that one does not simply walk into a midnight screening.

One has to be prepared. With snacks, with copious amounts of caffeine, with books and laptops and board games, with tents and blankets and umbrellas. If you’re really serious, you’ll need a costume. At the very least, you must wear the right T-shirt. For the love of Obi-Wan, please leave the guitar at home.

The way “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” is shaping up, it just may be the craziest midnight movie experience ever. Whether you’re planning to spend a week, a few days, or a couple hours waiting in line to nab the perfect seat and bask in carnival-like camaraderie with fellow fans, you’ll need to have your s*** together.

That’s why we’ve assembled this guide to the swag you’ll need to survive “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Midnight Screening.”

Be careful out there and, as always, may the Force be with you.

 

Star Wars Funtainer Thermal Bottle 12 oz.

Stay hydrated or caffeinated with the Thermos Star Wars R2D2 12oz FUNtainer Straw Bottle. $14.99.

Pass the time gleaning backstory from Chuck Wendig’s “Star Wars: Aftermath,” set between “Return of the Jedi” and “Episode VII.” $16.96.

 

Carry all the stuff you’ll need to survive until midnight in one of Loungefly’s stylish backpacks. Prices start at $45.

BB-8 Infinity Scarf - Exclusive

Baby — or should we say, BB-8 — it’s cold outside. Bundle up and profess your love for everyone’s favorite new droid with the BB-8 Infinity Scarf. $24.99.

Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag

If you’re one of the hardcore fans who plans to camp out at the theater for days on end, this Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag is a must to get you through the long, chilly nights. $149.99.

 

Star Wars Rebels Rubber Bracelets, 4 Count, Party Supplies

Wear your Star Wars pride like a badge of honor with these Star Wars Rebels Rubber Bracelets. $3.57.

Star Wars Holiday Sweaters - Exclusive

It’s a happy coincidence that “The Force Awakens” will arrive just in time for Christmas. Star Wars Holiday Sweaters blend these auspicious events into one warm and snuggly garment of awesomeness. $49.99.

Cheez-It Star Wars Baked Snack Crackers, 12.4 oz

We now live in a world where there is Star Wars everything, including gloriously weird items to nosh on while waiting to gain entrance to “The Force Awakens.” Just troll the aisles of your favorite grocery store. You’ll find ’em. Prices vary.

Images of Star Wars Cuddle & Watch Star Wars T-Shirt

What kind of fan would you be if you didn’t show up to see “The Force Awakens” wearing the appropriate T-shirt? Again, you can find these almost everywhere. Prices vary.

Chewie Costume Hoodie

This majestically furry hoodie needs no explanation. You know you want it. $69.99.

Let your body be your Star Wars canvas with these temporary tattoos. Bonus points if you hand them out in line. $6.95.

Die-hard fans will be standing in line and showing off their best Star Wars costumes, but many theaters are banning the carrying of faux weapons for security reasons. They’re not likely to confiscate the Mini Lightsaber Tech Lab, and you can entertain yourself by building it while you wait. $22.99.

Lightsaber Skirt

Fangirls, you don’t have to wear your boyfriend’s ugly Star Wars T-shirt to the midnight screening of “The Force Awakens.” Thanks to Her Universe, you can express your sci-fi self with style in jackets, leggings, T-shirts, costume dresses and other apparel, like this Lightsaber Skirt. Prices vary.

Princess Leia Beanie

Warm ears, warm heart. Keep your head toasty with the Princess Leia Beanie and other headgear. $14.99.

Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Risk Game by Hasbro

You can only watch “The Force Awakens” trailer so many times on your phone. When that gets old — okay, so it never gets old — entertain yourself and your posse with the Risk: Star Wars Edition Game. $29.