Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Disneycember

Changing things up a bit as Doug and Rob look over the newest addition to the Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens!

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

73 comments

  1. Askmewhatitmeanshoohoohoo

    THANK YOU for doing this so soon! You rock, Doug.

  2. I was… pretty disappointed in the movie overall. It had some serious pacing issues. Star Wars is supposed to slow down at points, be more methodical and let characters and events develop that way, then mix in moments of action alongside it. The Force Awakens didn’t do that at all. Even the “slower” moments or character development moments felt very rushed/fast paced once the movie got past the 10 minute mark or so. Within half an hour I was thinking “alright please slow down already and give me a chance to take things in”. That just never happened.

    I mean like, think back to Return of the Jedi in the last third of the movie. You would have the whole bit with Luke, Vader, and the Emperor. It wasn’t fast paced at all. It was methodical. It let things build up, let you actually feel things. Even the fight within the Death Star was overall slow but still highly impactful, only really gaining energy right at the very end. These sections were mixed in with bits of the battle outside of the Death Star: higher energy than within the Death Star but there was still a flow to the battle you could follow. That contrast is why that section is my favourite part of the Star Wars series.

    Awakening has nothing like that. It doesn’t even attempt anything like that. Its just constantly throwing stuff at you. The pacing was just… not Star Wars. Not at all.

    I also had a number of grips with the plot itself, not just the “big event” towards the end, that one while not great didn’t bug me as much when I sat down and thought about it. But I won’t go into those details for the sake of those who don’t want spoilers.

    Overall I’d have to say Awakens was the third worst Star Wars movie: ahead of 1 and 2, but below 3. And I think once the hype dies down and people start to watch it at home and really start to compare it to the other movies, the pacing issue will become very relevant.

    • Spot on, not a lot of reviews or critics are making note of this but to me it felt like the biggest weakness, this movie felt like it was moving at breakneck speeds, took me out of it very early on

    • I somewhat agree with you on this matter. Now, I’m going to start this off by saying; when it comes to the arts, I tend to appreciate what something is /intended/ to be a bit more than what it turns out to be. I captioned this to a friend of mine an hour or so ago with this sentence: “I think I like the prequels more.”

      Now I can admit, technically the prequels (at least 1 and 2) are worse than The Force Awakens. Their plots are harder to follow, the acting is somewhat wooden, Jar Jar, etc. But I agree with what Doug says; the prequels and the original trilogy are ENTIRELY different stories. And while 1, 2 and 3 might not have been executed to the fullest, they added to Star Wars lore. And this… really doesn’t. I honestly think TFA would have been so much better if it had followed the Expanded Universe instead. What we got just had /to/ many parallels and homages to the originals, and it made it boring.

    • Askmewhatitmeanshoohoohoo

      Here’s my take.

      What JJ did was actually brilliant. We just don’t realize it yet.

      The first time I saw the movie, I hated that the destruction of the Starkiller Base wasn’t built up and was understated in the finale. It almost began to ruin the movie for me. But then I realized something. This is, in fact, the third Death Star battle, and that’s garnered a lot of criticism. But if you look at how it was handled, it actually makes a ton of sense. It is not the main climax for a very good reason. The climax is focused on the interactions of Rey, Finn and Ren. In A New Hope, Luke was the pilot, thus we were fully invested in the trench run. This time it was Poe, a character we care about, but not the main character.

      Then I realized, particularly after a second viewing, that JJ didn’t just copy A New Hope, he brought together major themes/retreads of ALL THREE original trilogy movies, morphing them into one.

      JJ did this for two major reasons: 1) He recognized one of the fatal flaws of the Phantom Menace was the way it hit people with so much new right from the get-go. 2) As he’s demonstrated with Star Trek, he is best suited for reboots/callbacks. That’s why HIS movie is so full of them. He knew he could make this film this way to begin with familiarity rather than newness. He needed to ressurrect the saga and get it going again.

      So now, rather than a three-movie retread, the door is wide open for other directors to create and expand on the now reestablished Star Wars universe.

      Therefore, what I originally saw and criticized as potentially lazy ended up being a recognition on JJ’s part of his speciality and a more honed-in film perhaps than Star Trek.

      Once this new trilogy is complete, I think we will look back on this film much more fondly and will fully understand the intent behind it. Much like many were initially disappointed with Empire’s loose ends. We have had so much time between good Star Wars movies that some fans (myself included) have forgotten how the original trilogy came together in real time. I’m not old enough to have seen them in theaters, but when I factored that in, it all started becoming clear to me.

      With all this in mind, I gained an entirely new and wonderful respect for the film upon the second viewing.

    • Agree with you, Most Reviewers are just so happy it is better then the prequels they missed your points.

  3. Doug the place the First Order Came from is likely(as I have not read the new cannon which goes into it) was rebuilt from the “Many other Command Ships in the Fleet”. There was only one SSD in the climax of Jedi which is what Han was Talking about when he said Command Ships. Those things are the equivalent of an american Super Carrier those things don’t travel alone they each have a fleet of ships that travel with it, and 1 SSD plus escorts was enough to take out the entire Rebel Fleet. “We won’t last long against those Star Destroyers”. The destruction of the Death Star killed “Caesar’ and his Honor Guard, the “Roman Legion” still exists and would be a force to be reckoned with.

  4. now that the film is out I have to ask
    Why include Star Wars in disneycember
    The majority of the films are FOX not disney
    If you are gong to bend the rules for Star Wars then why not marvel
    There were enough movies based on marvel comics for a whole month

    • Because Disney now owns both Marvel and Star Wars. Yes there’s been a lot of Marvel movies, but only those done by Marvel Studios are eligible.

    • Yes they were by FOX but when Disney bought the franchise, they legally own everyone of the movies. Unlike with Marvel, which WAS bought by Disney but not every one of their characters belong to Disney. Some were sold to Sony, 20th century fox, Universal Studios and even Lionsgate. That’s why movies like the X-MEN or the Amazing Spider Man can’t really be part of Disneycember.

  5. My Guess, The MCU movies are Cannon and Owned by Disney. The Star Wars Movies are all cannon as well AND they are all owned and Distributed by Disney(save for New Hope). Fox only holds the Distribution Rights to A New Hope, Lucasfilm owns everything else about Star Wars, and Lucasfilm is owned by Disney.

    As to Doug’s its a repeat of New Hope comment…Well Duh, New Hope was just about the most basic “Hero’s Journey” movie a person could make. Of course another Hero’s Journey Story set in the Same Universe would Parallel it the question is not is it similar the question is how well executed is it.

  6. My girlfriend and I saw it last night and we loved it, but it wasn’t 100% perfect. We have at least 2 more movies to really flesh out the story and characters.

  7. Politics of the movie. Again I have only seen the movie not read the New Cannon…though I have already seen it twice. What I got from the Opening Crawl was that The First Order is the remnants of the Empire. The New Republic is what the Rebellion because after pushing back the Empire after the Emperor died, the Resistance is kind of a Special Forces type group that is supported by the Republic but not directly tied to it who is tasked with dealing with the New Order. At the risk of bringing Real World Politics into this, it seems like the New Order is kinda like al qaeda prior to 9/11 seen as a group of extremists and a possible not really likely threat to the Republic as a whole so they don’t want to have open warfare with them.

    • The thing about the Resistance is that it’s never established as belonging to the Republic but rather as allied to them. It seems pretty obvious that they only exist to give the “good guys” the continued appearance of scruffy underdogs and avoid getting into the political stuff from the prequels.

      I very much would have preferred your version though, with the good guys clearly being a Republican strike fleet sent against a desperate and brutal Imperial remnant force. That would have made sense. The way they built it, however, made everything feel small and like it was trying too hard.

  8. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been watching alot of Friends lately. But at the moment Kylo Ren took off his match all I could think of was Ross. He looked like Ross!
    And his real name being Ben. Ross’ son in Friends was named Ben.

  9. One last post on this. Part of the reason the Supreme Leader may have looked so bad to you…it did to me the first time I watched it, is because it is NOT the Supreme Leader. It is a Hologram of the Supreme Leader, remember what the Emperor looked like in Empire…not good, because of the Hologram effect, you have that layered on top of the CGI makes it stand out all the more. As far as the Bar Owner the reason she is CGI is the Character is slightly taller then Yoda the Actor that plays her is is 5’5″ so unless she is going to be a Puppet she would have to be CGI and she Moved to much to be a Puppet.

  10. Doug, I cannot believe you preferred the lightsaber fights in the prequels. The fight between Kylo and Finn in particular felt so visceral and real. Their strikes had actual weight to them like they were swinging around real swords. There was a real sense of danger. It was the complete opposite of the over choreographed video game bullshit from the prequels.

    • I think all three styles are perfect. The originals? Old men and a noob. None of them should be good. The prequels? MOTHERFLIPPIN SPACE WARLOCKS WITH LASER SWORDS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS TO HONE THEIR TECHNIQUE! They should DEFINITELY fight like that. They are MASTERS. They’re simultaneously using The Force and swordfighting techniques that require it. They’re fused The Force into their combat. They are Jedi, calm even in life-or-death battles. They can augment all their abilities with The Force while in breakneck speed fights, because they are awesome. They SHOULD NEVER look like normal people in a normal swordfight. That would be fucking stupid. Here? Also completely perfect. Kylo Ren was trained partially by Luke, who wouldn’t know many of the Jedi’s old talents, tactics and skills. He’d know enough to get by, but that’s it. The Sith, on the other hand, are all about power. They don’t need tactics, because they will overwhelm their foes with sheer power. Jedi are weaker than Sith. It’s the tactics, practice and skill, and the harmony with The Force, that makes them win. Here, we see a skilled fighter, but one not trained in use of a lightsaber, using one, fighting someone trained to use a lightsaber, but on what was a novice level in Anakin’s time.

  11. I just saw this movie last night! It was really good. I was super hyped to see this movie since it was my first Star Wars movie to see in theaters since I wasn’t quite 13 when Episode III came out. 🙁 This is my second favorite Star Wars movie now, behind Episode 6. I just had a big smile on my face for most of the movie. First of all, it had no Jar Jar. Haha. It had very very few romantic scenes. Almost all of the acting was solid. It had some twists, man! It had a good sense of humor, kind of like a Marvel movie. I thought that CGI was fine. Oh, also, I can’t wait for Episode 8, especially since there are a good chunk of questions left to answer. The Resistance is probably the leftovers of the Rebels. The Republic is the leftovers of the Rebel’s government allies. The Order is the leftovers of the Emperor’s people…. at least that’s how I understood the politics. I may be wrong though. I would love for Lando to come back. If they could get him for the Lego Movie, they should get him here! My mother thought that there was too much repeat like Doug but my only complaint… will be below in the spoiler comments. 😉

    SPOILER COMMENTS: I knew that SOMEONE would die in this movie but I never thought that it would be Han Solo! O.O I thought that the last battle between Rey and Kylo Ren was a perfect mix of the original fights and the prequel fights. The alien action scene was fine by me. It injected another action scene which I can NEVER complain about. LOL. The ONLY complaint that I had for this movie is that the final scene where Rey holds out the lightsaber to Luke went on a little too long (to the point where it was funny).

    Episode 1 is pretty bad. Episode 2 is okay. Episode 3 is pretty good. Episode 4 is great. Episode 5 is great but a little too dark for me. Ok, Comment complete. 😀

  12. Agree with you; as much as people like to blame Lucas for trying to set political stakes in the prequels, the Force Awakens needed a little bit of that, just to have some believable background.

  13. You know Doug, for most of what you had said, even if I didn’t agree with you I could understand where you were coming from. But not caring for the light saber battle? Really? Light sabers might be one of the most iconic thing about star wars, arguably more so than the force. Star Wars, samurais in space was the genesis idea. It had to be in there. And thank god it wasn’t some highly polished, choreographed ode to crouching tiger hidden dragon. It felt brutal, rough, like two people doing the best they can manage to not be killed by the other person. The weapons had weight. Not like the prequels where it felt like a twirling competition. I can spin my light saber better than you. I win! Yea! I know it’s kind of a specific thing to berate you about, but to me it felt like the most personal conflict of the entire movie. It was the point where both characters slowly began to realize something about themselves and own it. And it was expressed brilliantly through this light saber fight.

  14. ………..so who else thinks Snoke is Jar Jar?

    • No….Nooo….NOOOOOOOOO…NOOOOOOOOOOO…OH GOD NO….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

      • But it all makes sense. Jar Jar was actually secretly a Dark Lord of the Sith the whole time, manipulating both Palpatine and Anakin behind the scenes, pretending to be this clumsy idiot the whole time.

        I mean, how else could an idiot of his caliber somehow get into the ranks of General and than Politician? Let alone his constant ‘Lucky Clumsiness’ looks almost exactly like the Drunken Fist Martial Art.

        And How we he able to convince the entire galaxy to hand over all power to Palpatine, not to mention a cut scene where Palpatine basically thanks him right after said scene. Why would a Sith Lord put so much faith in him, let alone tolerate his presence? Why Jar Jar?

        Because He’s the one behind it all.

  15. If your mad that there’s about a third Death Star riddle me this riddle me that what beat a planet killer
    Awnser…. Star killer… But that’s a suicide weapon.

  16. Am I missing something, or is there a huge plot hole in the movie? Now we all remember Vader cutting off Luke’s hand in Empire, right? Now…how the fuck did his lightsaber end up in a chest on some random planet when it most likely fell hundreds of feet from the city in the sky, there’s no way that shit survived a fall like that, it was never explained how frog lady even got it, it just still bothers me. Overall I really loved TFA, probably fits in my top 3 Star Wars films, but there were some details I think were missed out and were never explained. I remember watching Brads midnight review on it and they both think Rey is Hans daughter, which is very unlikely, once she was able to use the force I knew she was gonna be Luke’s daughter, it’s really the only logical reason, since everyone else wanted him dead, he had to go into hiding and left Rey on Jakku so she wouldn’t be found, though I’d be so pissed if she wasn’t his daughter. I agree with Doug about the supreme overlord…voldemort/freddy krueger emperor thing, he looked fake as shit, I felt no threat from him at all, even if it was a hologram it’s not a good way to introduce this new evil character, unlike Sideous who was always kept in the dark under his hood, I felt scared because he’s just a mystery, but I hope when this new villain is seen in person I really hope it’s not gonna be CGI. Other then that, the visuals were spectacular, music and sound were perfect, I really did enjoy this movie even with its faults, I look forward to episode 8 😀

  17. The… Resistance is… resisting the First Order, which is the invader. The Resistance is with the Republic… That seems pretty obvious… =/

    • The Resistance is connected to the Republic – but how? Does the Republic fund the Resistance? If the Republic is a government, is it also a guerrilla freedom fighter movement? Is the Republic futile?

      • They were mentioned to be supported by the Republic. One wonders, though – if the First Order has no political power or ambition and basically just sits on its Starkiller Base waiting until they can blow up stuff, why would there be a Resistance? It’s not like the First Order is trying to conquer the galaxy just yet (or can actually risk an open fight with the Republic), so who exactly is the Resistance? Sure, they could be from planets the First Order attacks once in a while, but wouldn’t those be attacks on the Republic?

        Even more, from a storytelling perspective, isn’t this just a ham-fisted attempt to make the good guys look weak so we can feel more sympathetic towards them?

  18. I liked Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I didn’t mind how there was several repeated threads from the original trilogy. If you think about it, it was really more to get people who haven’t seen Star Wars before caught up on what has happened before. Maybe they’ll go see it. Who knows? For old fans, it could be nice nods to the past.

    Perhaps, as was said in the video, it was a way to get this all out now so it can be a new thing. I still liked it despite the flaws. It had good action, plenty of drama and the shocking things were shocking. I liked how the character we THOUGHT was going to be a Jedi wasn’t going to be one. There are still mysteries to explore and I hope we learn more.

    It was setting up a whole new saga and it has gotten me hyped. What’s more is that it made me feel like a kid again. I saw Return of the Jedi in theaters and ever since the Star Wars prequels didn’t give me that feeling. That is what I loved about the movie.

    Twitter: @Cferra1227

    http://www.twitter.com/cferra1227

  19. I thought the villains were utterly terrible. Ren didn’t look a thing like his parents and he doesn’t look at all dangerous. He shouldn’t have ever took off his mask in the first place. When he takes his mask off he looked like a creepy older brother who creeps on his sister and her friends. I expected him to start bawling like a lost child every time he spoke. The way he lost it when Ray was mentioned, ‘the girl’ came across as someone who had a huge crush on every girl he’s ever seen and is too much of a pussy to even look at them let alone talk to him. And the other guy, the Nazi like guy, I was wondering when you’d hear him hit puberty, his voice was cracking every other word.

    • What’s funny is even in the movie alot of the Imperials didn’t even seem to take him seriously, He loses his shit in the other room? The 2 Stormtroopers just turn around all like “I ain’t going anywhere near that stupidity.” and walk away, hell the Guy in charge of the Stormtroopers back talks Ren more than Tarkin did Vader, and the only reason Tarkin got away with it was Palpatine REALLY liked Tarkin and basically told Vader he couldn’t lay a finger on him.

  20. The Force Awakens was great and I can’t wait for Episode VIII.

  21. I thought the movie was really good, a nice return to form as opposed the awfulness that was the prequel trilogy.. @duddybaha

  22. I’m 99% sure Ray is Poe’s sister.

    If you’ve read the Shattered Empire comic you know that Poe’s mother helped Luke to find two Force trees (all that’s left of the tree that was growing inside the Jedi Temple on Coruscant) soon after the battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. She keeps one of the trees and plants it in her garden. Poe was already born, so he was not affected, but I believe that that tree could have increased the chances that a newborn would grow up strong in the Force.
    And Luke kept the other tree, and that explains why she has a connection to him in her visions.

  23. Reading people hate this movie is hilarious.

  24. Go suck a lemon Doug. How the hell is it a bad movie ? Like the Phantom menace and Attack of the clones it’s awesome

  25. WARNING SPOILERS BELOW

    Here’s the thing about the lightsaber fight Doug, yes it wasn’t as action packed as the prequels, but with 2 good reasons. First off it allowed the audience to care more about the characters and what they are fighting for rather than just watch a bunch of flips. Secondly, these characters are rookies. Rey and Fin have never used lightsabers before. Ren was completely toying with Finn and with Rey not only was he wounded, but he also hasn’t completed his training. It would have been insulting for the movie to have us believe the characters could fight anywhere near as well the jedi and sith in the prequels.

  26. I personally don’t hate the prequels as much as other fans. Sure, they are not great (far from it Lucas surely is a bad director and even great actors such as Liam Neeson give wooden performances), but they serve somewhat of a purpose, to explain the bigger notion of the Empire and its rise – and as such with the an allegory to the Roman Empire’s rise, such as the fall of Ceasar and so on.
    So I don’t feel as other fans that think this movie is the salvation to the franchise and all. It’s good but nothing extraordinary (again, far from it).

    • I agree somewhat. Unlike the prequels, this movie feels small. It’s fun, sure, but everything that happens feels extremely meaningless. The prequels are the other way around – they feel too big for their own good, but they’re not fun (except maybe ironically). The directors/producers/writers missed the mark equally in both cases. I don’t like the way Abrams tends to “dumb down” plots and what it means for the future of Star Wars.

  27. I’m getting extremely tired of people flat out lying to try to bash on the prequels. The Force Awakens used CG, they were not real ships and real monsters. That is the dumbest thing I’ve heard anyone say about it yet. They didn’t look at all like practical effects. Force Awakens used MORE ADVANCED CG, but if you want to try to tell me that you like Force Awakens because it used real effects but one of the bad things about the prequels was the use of CG, then you’re just lying.

  28. This is now the second time I’ve heard someone compare something to Miyazaki’s work just to try to convince people that it’s good, because it’s not really very much like Miyazaki at all. The introductory scene with Rey was very, very slightly a little bit like Nausicaa, but it was not a lot like her.

    • Perhaps, but…that one area where they met with the alien with big lenses…that looked like something out of “Castle in the Sky”, man. Right down to the droid that was outside.

  29. There are actually people out there who, even to this day, defend the prequels. They even say they liked them. They’ll hate this movie. However, as anyone who has seen Abrams’ Star Trek movies has noticed, Abrams does not care to cater to the fanboys specifically…nor should he. Because fandoms nowadays are whiny little brats who only ever find things to complain about in movies, and there is no movie that can be made that would please them.

    He’s catering to the “casual Star Wars fan”. People who saw those movies the same way people saw “Ghostbusters” or “The Goonies” or other movies that people really like but they don’t fan-obsess over. And he wants to because they’re a larger audience. Unlike Star Trek, however, more Star Wars lore is generally known among the public. Therefore he has to put in more effort to get the same vibe than he did for his Star Trek films.

    Frankly, since I know nothing will ever match childhood memories because childhood memories are, by definition, distorted and unrealistic, I think the best the new trilogy can aim for is being good on its own. And…I think Episode VII pulled that off. My only true complaint other than perhaps a little too much nostalgia and Carrie Fisher keeping the prequel spirit alive by giving us a bona fide wooden performance is that there were a few moments where the new characters stopped being “in the universe” and started sounding like 2015 Americans in a Sci-Fi movie.

    • As I mentioned elsewhere, Abrams caters to the fandom too much, in my opinion. His signature is to take a run-of-the-mill plot template, add tons of CGI, add references to the original work, use as few different settings, characters and as little complicated dialogue as possible, and market it in a huge way.

      The result is a movie that’s fun to watch once, but that does nothing to sustain the franchise it represents. These films are always competently done, but they are very much the lowest common denominator. They are not epic, they are not clever, they are not ground-breaking. They are the work of a routined filmmaker who knows which buttons to press to please a broad, American, casually interested filmgoing crowd, but who in turn contributes to complete and utter stagnation of the franchise in question.

      • Agree completely with this. I didn’t hate the film, but apart from John Boyega’s character and his story we didn’t see much new to this universe that we haven’t seen before in some similar form. It’s the sort of film you can take your kids to without having to explain to them why Star Wars isn’t boring, (I.E. Prequels) but not one you’ll really want to watch again too many times; it’s not got the “re-watchability” factor that say an Edgar Wright film like Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz has. To be honest the first JJ Abrams film I saw was Super 8 and I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t think much of it. There’s an awesome train crash but little of actual substance; the short film the main characters make that they show during the credits is far more entertaining than the actual movie.

  30. George Lucas himself described the relationship between the first two trilogies is like poetry in that they rhyme. The similarities were intentional. They were meant to mirror each other. I had a feeling that the new movies would do the same, but how do you add to a mirror? A mirror of a mirror?

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