Thoughts (Part 2) About Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is a continuation of a previous article, Thoughts About Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m guessing that this is not the last you’ll hear from me on this subject.
What’s with the nazi imagery?
In the original Star Wars trilogy, there are definitely some Nazi undertones and reminders within the uniforms, practices, and attitudes of the Empire. I think I heard that even the word Stormtrooper comes from the Nazis (this is hardly comprehensive, but here’s a bit on that subject from Wikipedia). In The Force Awakens, this comparison is blatant. It’s practically verbatim. You know the scene I’m really talking about. The First Order General is addressing legions of troops lined up in formation. The platforms they’re standing on are completely gray and black. There are large vertical red banners. For some reason the general is shouting in a terse practically German tone about the superiority of the first order and how they will reign supreme (or something to that effect). And finally all the troopers simultaneously raise their arms in salute. It will be interesting to see how this scene holds up over time. But it’s so blatantly painting of picture of the nazi party that it interrupts your suspension of disbelief – – if you’re really in the zone of the story, it takes you out for a moment and reminds you that you’re watching a movie.
Why don’t we see Captain Phasma with the mask off?
I knew going into the film that Gwendoline Christie, best known from her role in Game of Thrones, was playing this character, what a friend of mine called a “jacked up chromed out stormtrooper”. But we never see her expect in full armor, helmet and all. One wonders if this was planned, and if maybe some scenes were shot at least with her helmet off. I’m sure the actress was as excited as anyone to be cast in a Star Wars film for several reasons (high-profile exposure, probably a hefty paycheck and royalties, the chance to work with Abrams and some other big players, and heck, it’s Star Wars), but I imagine she’s gotta be a little disappointed that we don’t see her face even once.
People say The Force Awakens rips off the original Star Wars. I don’t see that.
I’ve heard a couple Internet grumblings that the plot of The Force Awakens strongly echoes that of the original Star Wars. One of my colleagues felt this way, especially citing the scene where Han Solo and Kylo Ren are on a bridge over a giant chasm, in his mind “exactly” like the scene we all know so well from The Empire Strikes Back. I won’t deny that there are lots of similarities. But not only did this not bother me while I was watching the film, in fact I didn’t notice. I mean, yeah, there are X-Wing fighters trying to attack and blow up a Death Star. And yeah, we saw that in Star Wars. And we saw it again in Return of the Jedi. It’s familiar, but for me, it’s not formulaic. From my perspective, this is just business as usual in the Star Wars realm. The same way that most of the fighting is done with blasters and lightsabers. The same way that the bad guys wear black and the good guys wear, uh, beige.
Thanks for listening. If you have any thoughts that you’d care to share, please do so in the comments.