Running Commentary – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Which I really want to be a buddy comedy for some reason.)

Anime Reporter returns once more to give you my thoughts and reactions as I subject myself to a variety of cinematic experiences. As this is a running commentary/narration, some of my comments will be vague, but there will certainly be spoilers. I’ve posted the times for each of my comments so, one day, future internet-archaeologists can waste tremendous amounts of time seeing exactly what moments my comments sync up with.

Here we go!

00:00 – Okay, so full disclosure, I haven’t actually seen this yet. This is the first Running Commentary film that I’m covering during my very first viewing. This film is actually what gave me the idea of watching all the Star Wars films in order as I really wanted to re-enter the series fully refreshed on what came before. I’m going to be cautious but optimistic here. I’ve grown to really get into this series and I’d be really disappointed if this film ended up fitting the style of the prequels more than the originals. I have heard one or two pretty huge spoilers, particularly revolving around two specific characters from the original trilogy, but I’m still going in mostly blind here. Okay, enough stalling… here it goes.

00:20 – A long time ago…Star Wars… so far so good.

00:45 – Squueeeee! The opening exposition already has me hyped. When did I become a Star Wars fan? When did that actually happen?

01:20 – I had no idea this was all going to be about Luke’s location from the get-go. I assumed he was elsewhere and we’d get some hurried dialogue excusing his absence to make room for the new characters.

02:30 – I am genuinely excited.

02:45 – BB8- I want one!

04:10 – So far, so good, evidence already of CGI, but it’s being used as it should be; quickly and as a supplement to practical effects. Of course, I’m only four minutes in, so I should stop getting ahead of myself and pausing the film for my gibbering ramblings.

04:20 – Okay. I’m going to try to take fewer notes and just absorb the film. Starting after this note explaining that I’m going to make efforts to reduce my note-taking.

05:25 – …and as that dude hands his vital info to a droid as stormtroopers close in, I start to see where people got the whole “this is basically Episode IV all over again” vibe.

05:50 – Holy shit! That stormtrooper just smeared a bloody handprint on his friend’s helmet. This is getting very real.

06:45 – That isn’t Darth Vader, but it totally, totally is.

07:10 – Oh, so that’s the Kylo Ren I’ve been hearing about.

07:50 – I’ve heard he’s an emo but that use of the force holding back an energy beam is severely badass and I don’t often use that word.

09:30 – Since BB8 is basically the new R2D2, does that mean there’s no R2D2 in this film?

13:20 – So that’s our new protagonist? Alright, let’s see what she can do.

16:20 – I don’t know why I’ve never questionned characters’ abilities to understand droids’ clicks and beeps before.

20:00 – These guys are going to be buds; scared stormtrooper and cocky pilot, I can feel it.

22:25 – Po and Finn? Sounds like a buddy comedy that needs to happen to me!

24:00 – This is already so much better than the prequels, just 24 minutes in. The characters are driving the story, instead of vague allusions to future events the audience already knows about.

24:30 – It’s nice to see a stormtrooper be an actual character, Very nice touch.

27:40 – Wow, Finn really has a quota on trying to rescue people today. I don’t think she needs the help, buddy.

31:50 – Is that the Falcon? It looks like it. Is it?

34:00 – BB8- I want three!

36:30 – Okay, now Finn and Rey are going to be best friends! Bonding in the Falcon will do that.

37:00 – So, is the First Order made up entirely of teenagers? Is this how teenagers in this galaxy rebel? Is joining up with Space-Nazis effectively like punk rock or naval piercing in Star Wars?

38:40 – Okay, now Finn and BB8 are best friends and I love it! I may have lost all composure at the mini-blowtorch thumbs up.

40:10 – Finn is revealing just a little too much about his great knowledge of stormtroopers.

40:30 – Han. and. Chewie. Awesome!

41:40 – “This is the ship that made the Kessel run in 14 parsecs!” “12!” Excellent.

42:20 – Finn is not shy about revealing the whole ‘map to Luke Skywalker’ business.

47:10 – This girl is a badass, but at this stage, to have those reflexes, she basically has to have the Force.

49:45 – That is one huge Voldemort style emperor dude.

51:00 – Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son. Nice flip of the “I am your father” twist.

55:30 – Han is magnificent.

56:40 – What is Rey waiting for on that planet?

58:30 – This tavern place is awesome. Puppets, puppets, costumes and just enough CGI to pull it all together.

59:40 – Kylo Ren prays to Darth Vader’s helmet for guidance to the dark side, effectively failing to realise that his grandfather was a whiny emo until he turned to the dark side, then acted like an angry whiny emo for years and eventually took it all back when his son kicked his ass.

1:06:40 – Yep, so Rey has the Force. Cool.

1:09:35 – Space Hitler Jr. gives a rousing speech.

1:10:20 – So, that’s a Death Star.

1:11:00 – Correction: That’s a seriously powerful Death Star Plus Omega 2.0.

1:15:45 – Poe!

1:18:50 – Han sees his son and you just… feel it. Nice job by Harrison Ford. He’s putting in the old effort in this role.

1:20:00 – Screw the haters. Leia looks fantastic.

1:20:15 – After all these years, C3PO is still a dick.

1:22:00 – Finn and Poe are super best buds forever. I love these guys!

1:23:00 – Doctor flirts shamelessly with Chewbacca.

1:23:40 – R2!

1:23:50 – BB8 and R2D2 need to be become best friends now.

1:24:10 – C3PO is simultaneously a dick to BB8, R2D2 and the entire audience.

1:26:20 – Kylo Ren face reveal. He’s a fairly normal looking slender young dude. So young though.

1:29:05 – Rey read Kylo Ren. That is awesome.

1:30:45 – Rey attempts Jedi mind tricks. Solid effort.

1:31:10 – Quick learner!

1:31:40 – Kylo Ren has his grandfather’s temper and more than his power, but somehow manages to come off as a poser.

1:34:15 – So, this destroy-the-Starkiller plan really is quite a lot like the old destroy-the-Deathstar plan.

1:37:10 – “That’s not how the Force works!” Well said, Han.

1:43:15 – Han, I really wish you’d just pack up, get on your ship and leave… Be careful Han.

1:46:00 – Han… stop it. Just turn around.

1:47:45 – Kylo Ren, don’t do it.

1:49:00 – Even knowing it was coming, that was… wow. These new characters have so much to them. It;s wonderful. It’s painful.

1:52:45 – There should be more stabbing, less slicing in this lightsaber fight.

1:58:00 – Well at least now Kylo can get that mask he loves so much without feeling like a poser.

2:01:20 – R2! Sweet!

2:01-:35 – C3PO is a dick.

2:06:00 – The money shot. Here it is…

2:07:15 – You know why this was so awesome? They kept Lucas’ hands off it! But I hope he was paying attention, just in case he ever tries to have an idea again.


Wow, so, so many questions. So much left to resolve. But that was awesome! This is exactly what Star Wars should be in the 21st century.

Anime Reporter brings you reviews and insights on anime, manga and whatever else I feel like! Welcome!

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Posted in American Film, Reviews, Running Commentary

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July 2016
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