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Now that you've seen TFA, rank the Star Wars Films! (AGAIN!)


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Hi all here at Nightly. An old timer, friend from the past here to offer my wisdom. Hopefully I won't get blown away in the first act by the cocky or brooding youngsters around here. Its nice to see some old familiar names lurking around and it's interesting reading everyone's initial reactions. It would be really interesting to revisit some of the original discussion threads back at the release of the prequels. There was always some hate but there was also a lot of love and those of us who were prequel defenders. Anyway heres my rankings after 1 viewing of TFA. Will be seeing it again in a couple of days.

 

1. ESB - I was 13 when I first saw this in the cinema in 1980. My mum, aunt, brothers, cousins and I all trooped into the city and lined up around the corner. It was an event and the movie did not disappoint. We were completely unspoilt in those days and totally surprised with the "I am your father" moment. It's hard to imagine now that there ever was a time when it was an unknown. I also feel that being a bit older, I was able to appreciate the darker aspects and to come to see Star Wars as not just for kids. To this day, it is not only my favourite Star Wars but favourite movie of all time.

 

2. TFA - Bare with me on this. Do not pass judgment on my judgement until you read my reasoning. For me it's as much about the experience. This time I tried to remain as unspoilt as possible I stayed way from here (I was very active in the lead up to the PT) and ignored the lure of Internet spoiler sites. I unfollowed Star Wars on Facebook and only allowed myself the glimpse afforded by the official trailers. I tempered my expectations and was prepared. In that frame of mind, I preorderd online tickets for myself, hubby and my 3 daughters aged 22, 19 and 17. My eldest 2 were quite versed in Star Wars having inherited the love while the youngest hadn't seen the OT until recently. Well let's say it was the most fun we have had as a family since our trip 3 years ago to Disney World and Harry Potter World! We all loved it and as a family of girls (our eldest is a writer who specialises in blogging about feminist issues in pop culture) we were over the moon about how Rey was portrayed. TFA felt like Star Wars even in its weakest moments, moments all Star Wars films have to some degree. It's OT plot similarities to me where a way to reconnect to the OT mythology, a mythology itself borrowed from many sources. I have faith that the next 2 films will find there own niche within this framework. For me as a film and as an experience, it is number 2.

 

3. ANH - I was 10 and believe it or not I actually read the novelisation before I saw the movie. Talk about the ultimate spoiler! Living in the suburbs of Sydney in those days, we had to troop into the city (see my ESB experience) to see movies on first release. That was just not something my mum could do with our young family at that time. So we had to wait a year before we could see it. In the meantime, my friend came home from a trip to the States raving about the film. When the novelisation, complete with movie stills became available in the Scholastics book club, I devoured it. Of course I was a little disappointed some scenes were different and some were left out. My 10 year old imagination had already pictured the creatures in the cantina and I found that what I saw on the screen didn't live up to my imagination. Still the awe inspiring opening scene, the wonderful music and the overall fantastic effects- that first jump to light speed is something I will never forget seeing - all led to an experience that was to change my view of the world. That's what Star Wars did for our generation.

 

4. ROTJ - I was 16 and I trooped into the city with friends from my year 10 English class. Cynical teenage boys trying to impress by sounding blasé attempted to ruin the experience. But I was not deterred. I had been looking forward to this for 3 years. I actually love the scenes in Jabbas palace the rescue on the barge and all the little details that seem to spring into life as the cgi improved. The middle Forest Moon of Endor stuff tends to bore me. I don't mind the Ewoks getting in on the fight but the village scenes are too cutesy. The final showdown with the Emperor and Vaders redemption allow me place this just above ROTS.

 

5. ROTS - After the storylines of the prequels progressively deteriorated Sith finds some redemption in Obi Wan/Anakin showdown. To this day though I'm so mad at how Padme's character was treated. I refuse to believe she would have given up life so easily after giving birth to Luke and Leia. Those incompetent fools just let her die and Obi Wan just stands there! Unforgivable. It's above the others for me though because of the drama and the sense of inevitable decline into the dark times. Palatines manipulation of Anakin, Order 66 and the slaughter of the younglings. You can really see the birth of Vader in these scenes.

 

6. AOTC - This ones pretty to look at and I was quite taken when I first saw it. I also like Obi Wan off on his own. The development of the clone army I think is an interesting plot line that pays off in the Clone Wars series and is what elvates this over TPM for me. Otherwise with subsequent viewings the dialogue just becomes more and more cringeworthy.

 

7. TPM - Just rewatched this with my youngest who insisted after I told her she didn't need to see the prequels. Trade federation, yawn. Pod race yawn. Jake Lloyd is cute. He's good at everything and knows how to fly like a boss but he is too young to be believable. To me the biggest mistake of the PT is right there. Start him off as a talented teenage, too old to start his Jedi training then go from there. The relationship wirh Padme would work better too. Oh the if only's...Ewan McGregor looks so awkward acting with cgi Jar Jar but at least he tries while Liam Neeson hardly seems to bother. The dichotomy of Padme the over dressed figure head and the fighter is quite interesting and she does seem at least in theory a fitting antecedent of Rey. But in comparison to Daisy Ridley's dynamic performance, Natalie Portman now seems even more stilted and confused.

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I just can't believe she made a point with only four words.

I enjoy watching TPM more than ANH. It's a fun movie to watch. ROTJ is my all time favorite movie. It was the first movie my mother took me to see that wasn't her choice. My 8 year old mind was blown

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Not speaking to anyone specifically on this, but I honestly can't see how anyone could put The Force Awakens over A New Hope. I just watched it this afternoon again with my niece after her parents told her that she needed to at least watch the first movie before they would take her to see the new one.

 

Man, in comparison with The Force Awakens, which emulates so many of A New Hope's ideas and structure, it's not even close. Sometimes I forget how perfect some aspects of A New Hope really were. Sure there are some hiccups, but if I were teaching a class on how to make a movie, there are few that I can think of that would provide as many clear examples of what to do it right. It seems that every section where I thought The Force Awakens struggled, A New Hope perfected with astonishing ease. Rampant imagination, conflicts that add to both the narrative and to the characters' growth and story, a legendary climax, each plot point given its own time and weight, yet somehow not slowing down the movie, with the exception of C-3PO (oddly written thanks to Anthony Daniels essentially abandoning the original slick-talking character Lucas created on the set), all characters near perfect in portraying their intend.

 

I know these lists are subjective and there are different things that I like about different movies. On my personal list, The Phantom Menace, could alternate from as high as the 3rd best movie to as low as the 6th based on my mood and what aspects appeal to me more on that day. But A New Hope and The Force Awakens are just so similar by design that I don't understand how the flawed copy which doesn't seem to understand what went right in its predecessor can rise above the original in people's eyes.

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Female protagonist finally done right is how you can rank TFA above ANH. She said it herself and I respect that.

Yup. I adore A New Hope. It's the movie that got me into Star Wars and made me fall in love with Luke Skywalker. Binary Sunset will always be one of the greatest scenes in the history of ever.

 

But I never cheered during ANH as much as I did when Rey grabbed that lightsaber. I connected with that movie way more than ANH. I feel like it was made just for me.

 

 

 

Also - welcome back, Djo! Good to see you posting here again. :)

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Depends on how you rank them. I can easily identify A New Hope as the best of the Star Wars films, but in terms of just pure enjoyment, I'd rather watch Return of the Jedi, which I know isn't anywhere near as well made.

Like I said, my comment is pretty much exclusive to thinking that you can't put The Force Awakens above A New Hope. The other films have so many different sets of strengths and weaknesses that you can't really argue based on taste. Several of the films might just crawl up and down my own personal list based on which side of the bed I woke up this morning.

 

But The Force Awakens is just so much of a remake of A New Hope, and wants to be A New Hope, but falters exactly where A New Hope succeeded brilliantly.



Female protagonist finally done right is how you can rank TFA above ANH. She said it herself and I respect that.

Leia wasn't done right?

 

Besides, announcing a preference is one thing. I'd rather read and watch a woman as the protagonist myself. But doesn't liking an inferior product simply because it's got a girl in it trip over between taste and outright sexism?

 

Maybe if this was some sort of revolutionary role, I'd see the point, but we've had great female action heroines around for decades. In fact, Rey will never hold a candle to Leia's legacy in enlarging women's roles in action films and serving as a forerunner to Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and the like.

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It isn't sexism to enjoy seeing someone you can relate to being the bad ass protagonist. Especially when you had to dig into it to even realize that was the reason for the preference. They didn't take an ad out in the paper.

 

 

Female protagonist finally done right is how you can rank TFA above ANH. She said it herself and I respect that.

Do you mean in SW or films in general?

Star Wars.

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Ofcourse Rey is the protagonist.

There's not really a clear central protagonist in The Force Awakens. Han and Finn do much more to drive the larger conflict along. In fact, Rey adds very little. You could completely cut her out of the movie and it really wouldn't effect the story structure that much.

 

Rey was just sort of there. Her main contribution being that she got Finn and BB-8 off of Jakku. After that, she might as well have not been there. In fact, for key portions of the movie, she wasn't. She didn't get BB-8 back to the Resistance. She had absolutely nothing to do with the destruction of Starkiller Base. She was not the key POV character for Han's death. Her role in the climax was basically saving herself.

 

The closest comparison would be The Phantom Menace which doesn't have a clear central protagonist either. Rey is similar to Anakin. Except she's further removed from the central plot. Anakin at least had a critical role in being the solution to the 2nd Act's major problem of the ship's broken hyperdrive and, of course, he destroyed the Trade Federation's control ship in the climax.

 

I'm sure Rey will grow into being the protagonist for the trilogy. But, for this movie, if you're using the definition of a main character who brings forth and resolve the story's conflict(s), she's really not.

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The destruction of Starkiller base is maybe the third most important plotline in the movie. It's not even introduced until the movie is probably half way over. It's there to add a cool air battle and a ticking clock. It's not the driving force behind the movie.

 

The 2 main plotlines are 1-Rey discovering she is strong in the Force, accepting it and finally embracing it. and 2-finding Luke Skywalker.

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The 2 main plotlines are 1-Rey discovering she is strong in the Force

 

That takes place even later in the movie than Starkiller Base's unveiling. And it's not the plot. It's Rey's progression within her own story, but it's completely orphaned from the whole rest of the movie.

 

 

 

and 2-finding Luke Skywalker.

 

Told through bringing BB-8 back to the Resistance. A task that Han and Finn completed without her. Heck, a mission that wasn't even completed by bringing back BB-8. Eventually, R2-D2 just woke up and gave them the final solution to that quest.

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The attack in Starkiller base is just something for the characters to do. In fact, I'd also put it behind Ren's conflict and eventual killing of Han which he believes will end the conflict within himself as a plot line.

 

Even while the attack on Starkiller base is actually happening, it is clearly less given less importance than what's going on down on the surface of the planet.

 

Saying Rey isn't the protagonist is like when people say that Indiana Jones isn't needed in the plot of Raiders because the Nazis would have all died when they opened the ark anyway.

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Saying Rey isn't the protagonist is like when people say that Indiana Jones isn't needed in the plot of Raiders because the Nazis would have all died when they opened the ark anyway.

 

Indiana Jones is clearly driving the story from beginning to end. Rey just isn't. Like I said, you could have pretty much had the same movie with the same beats without her. All you'd be missing is the orphaned subplot about her discovering her powers. You could still have the search for Luke. Kylo Ren could still have his crisis of faith. Han can still rediscover his inner hero. Kylo Ren and Han's story could still intersect and end in the same way. Starkiller Base could be destroyed in the same way in the climax. Rey's contribution, in the end, only truly effects Rey and Finn.

 

You could not have the same story if you take away Indiana Jones even if he was a blind spectator to the resolution. Also, if nothing else, you're demonstrating just how muddled the plot of this movie truly is.

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If you want to get truly technical, her kindness towards BB8 prevents the droid from being sold for parts. She is the one who can pilot the Falcon, which leads to meeting Han, which leads to getting to Maz's. Which leads to Leia showing up, Han seeing Ren. Her reaction to her vision leads to her getting taken prisoner, which is the whole reason Finn and Han go to Starkiller base. Without them there, they could not have blown it up. Her knowledge of machines also allowed her to open the doors for Han and Chewie which allowed them to set the explosives to blow up part of the base. Which ofcourse led to Han's confrontation with Ren.

 

But yeah, she doesn't do anything.

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If you want to get truly technical, her kindness towards BB8 prevents the droid from being sold for parts. She is the one who can pilot the Falcon, which leads to meeting Han, which leads to getting to Maz's. Which leads to Leia showing up, Han seeing Ren. Her reaction to her vision leads to her getting taken prisoner, which is the whole reason Finn and Han go to Starkiller base. Without them there, they could not have blown it up. Her knowledge of machines also allowed her to open the doors for Han and Chewie which allowed them to set the explosives to blow up part of the base. Which ofcourse led to Han's confrontation with Ren.

 

But yeah, she doesn't do anything.

Everything you just said could have easily been accomplished if Rey wasn't in the story. Her helping them get off Jakku would require the most rewriting, but even that could be done pretty easily. Han finding the Millennium Falcon had nothing to do with Rey and everything to do with the coincidence that it was the ship they used to get off the planet. Han going to see Maz had nothing to do with Rey's input. Han would have gone to Starkiller Base whether Rey was there or not. The shield was turned off without any help from Rey. Han made the decision to blow up the weak point without input from Rey. The door could have just not been shut if they weren't looking for an excuse to give Rey an easily surmounted obstacle.

 

Really, Han seems to be the indispensable character here.

 

Rey as the protagonist rests more on our recognizing that she's the POV character and destined to be the hero of the story. But her contributions to the story were fairly small.

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LOL, ofcourse if you change and rewrite the story you could do it without any character.

That's not my point. My point is that it wouldn't have been difficult and that you'd get basically the same movie. You write Luke out of A New Hope, it's not going to be remotely the same movie. You write Indiana Jones out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you don't have a movie in the first place.

 

Rey being written out of the story, for the most part, the movie is structurally still intact. The reason for this, is that Rey does not drive any plot but her own once she gets off Jakku.

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Female protagonist finally done right is how you can rank TFA above ANH. She said it herself and I respect that.

Yup. I adore A New Hope. It's the movie that got me into Star Wars and made me fall in love with Luke Skywalker. Binary Sunset will always be one of the greatest scenes in the history of ever.

 

But I never cheered during ANH as much as I did when Rey grabbed that lightsaber. I connected with that movie way more than ANH. I feel like it was made just for me.

 

Exactly how my girls and I felt :thumbsup:

 

 

 

Also - welcome back, Djo! Good to see you posting here again. :)

 

Thanks Mara :wave:

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LOL, ofcourse if you change and rewrite the story you could do it without any character.

That's not my point. My point is that it wouldn't have been difficult and that you'd get basically the same movie. You write Luke out of A New Hope, it's not going to be remotely the same movie. You write Indiana Jones out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you don't have a movie in the first place.

 

Rey being written out of the story, for the most part, the movie is structurally still intact. The reason for this, is that Rey does not drive any plot but her own once she gets off Jakku.

 

Poe you are looking at it too much from the perspective of having seen how Luke's story played out through the OT. IMHO Rey drives TFA's plot as much as Luke drives ANH Rey finding BB8 (and a piece of a map to Luke) and deciding not to sell her is the catalyst that launches the story. Turning her back on her destiny only to have it find her in the end is a major plot point that will drive the rest of the new saga. We know that Luke's story turns out to be that of destroyer of the death star and eventual redeemer of his father and saviour of the galaxy from the evil Sith Lords. Rey's purpose was to defeat Kylo Ren retrieve Luke's lightsabre and set of to find him using the map that she had a major part in retrieving! Plot driving much?!

 

The past is set but the future is ever changing. Focus on the here and now and you will see that those of us who place TFA above ANH do so with purpose :):rock::jedi: P.S love the emoticons here!

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Honestly I think Force Awakens is getting unfairly ripped on as a remake of A New Hope while people are forgetting that ANH was pretty much considered a Hidden Fortress remake, or at least heavily influenced by it to a large degree. I think it's fair for TFA to take and borrow story elements from ANH when that film borrowed as much from Kurosawa as it did.

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