Normally I don’t care enough about movies to write about certain critiques of movies that I love. But one critique that really bugs me is the false idea that Episode 7 is a remake of Episode IV, and I need to prove that this idea is completely crazy.
I am what you would call a Star Wars junkie, or nut, or nerd, when it comes to this franchise. So I admit my opinion is going to be a little bit biased. But mind you that while I think it was great to see Anakin’s story being told in the prequels, I’d be the first to admit that they were pretty awful movies. And at the same time I am pretty good at recognizing my own bias and being objective on things. Sorry for this brief paragraph on my Star Wars fandom but I think it is important to preface the rest of this piece with admitting my fandom and also admitting certain parts of this franchise having been bad.
What people seem to be doing is confusing set pieces, like the Star Killer, and the Death Star, with each other. Those set pieces are just there to symbolize power and to exhibit strength from the bad guys in the movie. They are there to move the plot along, but they aren’t actually main pieces of the plot line (we know this because it blew up), the main pieces in this plot are the characters (we know this because they lived). The Star Killer just exists to get the protagonists to face each other at the end, like all movies do! All the other mentions of droids, bad guy in mask, storm troopers, desert planet, X-Wing battle, yada yada yada they are all minor details to the movie to add nostalgia and move the actual plot along.
There is also the idea of bridging the original movies to the sequels, and you had to do that with mixing a little of the old with a little of the new. You couldn’t have everything be new, otherwise it wouldn’t be a saga about the Skywalker family and sci-fans favorite soap opera in space. You had to bring in some things that were cheesy, like the plan of attack scene on the Star Killer, and some other things that brought out teary eyed moments, realizing the garbage was the Millenium Falcon. So if those things didn’t effect you, then you just don’t get Star Wars and likely never will.
So here are the many things that are different as I promised I would show:
The enormous amount of difference between Kylo Ren and Darth Vader. Vader was a well polished Jedi who completed his training, had a padawan, and eventually turned to the dark side and helped dominate a galaxy for decades, and was a very calm, controlled and cool character. Kylo Ren is a kid who resorts to temper tantrums, and struggles with a feeling or two with the light side. Although very powerful with the force, he is completely out of control and reckless, and there are subtle hints that he didn’t kill Luke’s Jedi academy but that he actually recruited them to be his Knights of Ren, which could offer a much larger challenge for Luke and Rey in the next movies.
When it comes to Rey we have a character who I see as a mix of Anakin and Luke. All three were raised on a desert planet, and that is where the similarities end. Rey lost her parents like Luke, but had no guidance. Rey grew up in a slave like situation, like Anakin, but didn’t have a mother. She has been an orphan (in the figurative sense) since the age of 5, she is a perfect mixture of a hardened character with a soft side for life and even robots. We really have no idea what is to come with her development and what she may turn out to be, this type of character is completely new for this franchise. Oh yes, she is also a woman, and she uses a bow like stick to fight. I am so hoping that she develops a light saber similar to Darth Mauls.
As for Fin, we have our first ever storm trooper with a conscious. In this version of storm troopers they are kidnapped children who are highly trained and good shooters! If anything the character most like Luke from episode 4 in this movie is Fin and not Rey. He comes off as naive and lucky and kind of whiny and obnoxious at times. Yet somehow at the end he comes to his sense and helps the resistance in its time of need. Ok so maybe a little mix of Han and Luke!
Then there is how the force is used in this movie. In episode 4 it was force chokes and interrogations with that weird looking floating torture device and a lame light saber battle at the end, and mentions of the force being a dead religion. In this movie we see a blaster bolt frozen in mid air, humans being paralyzed, thoughts being dragged out of their heads, and a shot from Chewies Bowcaster that forces Ren into using his force abilities to keep his guts from falling out.
The differences between Snoke and the Emperor. We have no fucking clue yet! But I will use this space to add a little conjecture. I believe he may be Darth Plagueis, who has abandoned the Sith philosophies and instead tried to create a dark side army, with the Knights of Ren.
So you see the plot is nothing like Episode 4 unless you decide to focus on set pieces that are there to simply move the plot along, which if you are then you also aren’t familiar with how movies work in the first place.
May the force be with you! And please share if you agree!