Having a few days to rest on it, I think the biggest reason I was disappointed with TFA was that I actually liked a lot of it. I'm into the new characters and I loved the first hour(?) of the movie, until the two parties board the Falcon and the monsters get loose. The beginning is so fast paced and exciting and focused, at that point all I really wanted was a chance to catch my breath and get to see the characters interact. We do get some of that, but not enough. From there it feels kind of sloppy and rushed with a lot of plot convenience and sketchy set up and unrelenting pace. This really strains the tension and thus the payoffs are weak. I'm left feeling almost like movie was a prologue to pique your interests for a story rather than its own story. If it didn't grab me I wouldn't care. But it did, so instead I'm unsatisfied.
I'm optimistic for future films in the series because I like these characters and think you could tell some great Star Wars stories with them, but I hope they tell them better than this one.
@zevvion: Fair. Honestly, this isn't a discussion I'm that interested in having, I think we just have a different way of looking at things. On screen, I buy Vader as an intimidating presence. The way the films portray him, I feel it even if it doesn't hold up to strict logical interrogation, and I'm fine with that.
@zevvion: Vader can stop gun fire by raising his hand and can choke you before you before you get close. This is clearly shown on film. He even chokes a guy through a view screen. He might not be a great sword fighter, but if he wants you dead, he can make you dead.
This movie doesn't suck. It fun and exciting and you should go watch it and be excited and have fun. Mission accomplished.
Except also not. Because this is the new Star Wars. It needs to simultaneously make you relive the magic of the old films while giving you something fresh and unexpected while avoiding doing anything that might remind you that the prequels exist. This is an impossible task. Unsurprisingly, it fails. While I didn't except it to achieve the impossible, it could have done better. I don't want to get into it now (or possibly ever), but their were a number of small to medium elements of the film that really harshly deadened what was a solid framework. Cut the death star, give me a scene and a half of more breathing room and I really believe you would have a better movie. Cutting the death star might sound big, but given how offhandedly a super weapon that can destroy an entire star system is thrown in and tossed out, it really isn't.
Finally, this is becoming a bit of my own personal crusade, but Jesus Christ. Stop swooping the camera in or out every damn shot. Use fewer, longer cuts. Zoom out a little bit. Give me a chance to live in the picture instead of trying to direct every moment, forcing me to simply watch. Give me a few nice, simple shots. Simple can be good! Trust your audience; give us a good story and we'll pay attention, a "boring" shot isn't going to bore us. I have this with a lot of modern movies, but it really stood out to me here. This is probably something most people won't care about, but I really think it would help.
I completely wasted my Friday badge by attending both the Beastcast and MPPV live, but I have no regrets. Wasn't planning on staying for all of Mario Party, but the energy in the room made it impossible to leave.
As someone who has no real investment in this franchise, I kind of love watching parts of the fandom turn themselves into insane people trying to find intent in every detail about anything, twisting it to fit the few concrete spoilers that are out there and blending it with wild speculation to proclaim as fact. That some of it will inevitably turn out to be true only adds to the wonderful chaotic mess.
Austin is the best. I think his piece on Watch Dogs might be the best games writing I've ever read.
The best line from his Why We Write piece, for me, was this:
And sometimes, we want to take the things we love seriously enough to offer analysis and critique that goes beyond "I like this" or "I don't like that." We want to figure out how a game might fit in a larger cultural context or try to communicate how it fit just so into our lives.
I honestly don't really care anymore if someone else likes a game or not. I want more writing like Austin's. I want more things like Boss Fight Books. More things like Leigh Alexander's Breathing Machine.
That Watch Dogs piece was fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
You're a great writer Austin. I'm glad to have you on the site.