I shall be mapping out Star Wars: The Force Awakens, investigating its space and analysing its stars to observe if it’s a super nova or a black hole. So read on only if you’ve already seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or don’t plan to.
0:00:51 We learn from the opening crawler that the First Order has replaced the evil Empire and they want to eliminate Luke Skywalker, who has disappeared. The New Republic (a.k.a. ‘the good guys’) is led by once Princess Leia Organa, now a General, who is also looking for Luke, her brother. She has sent ‘her most daring pilot’ (Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron) to a planet called Jakku, ‘where an old ally [Max Von Sydow as Jedi historian Lor San Tekka] has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts’.
0:02:27 The Stormtroopers in the carrier ship at the beginning are a tribute to the landing of the troops at the beginning of the Spielberg masterpiece Saving Private Ryan.
0:03:14 Lor gives Poe an electronic file with a map to Luke’s location.
This should begin to make things right.
Lor San Tekka
The first line of the film is an apology for Star Wars prequels 1-3!
0:03:24 BB-8, SW:TFA‘s (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) version of R2-D2, informs Poe and Lor that the enemy’s arrival is imminent.
0:03:57 Gloria Garcia, my Twitter follower!
Lor: The First Order rose from the Dark Side. You did not.
Here, Lor references Kylo’s heritage as the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa.
0:07:36 Kylo kills Lor with a crossguard lightsaber, following which Poe is arrested while trying to shoot Kylo.
0:08:36 In case you needed to be reminded that Kylo is evil, he orders the mass execution of the villagers on Jakku. The blood smeared Stormtrooper from earlier isn’t able to go through with this.
0:10:26 The Captain of the Stormtroopers (Gwendoline Christie as Phasma) tells Trooper FN-2187 to submit his blaster for inspection because she suspects him of not shooting enough villagers (and not because of his Stormtrooper aim).
[N.B. This is the first Game of Thrones cameo, as Gwendoline Christie is Brienne of Tarth in GoT. In other news, Phasma’s armour is chrome as it coated in salvaged chromium from a Naboo yacht once owned by Emperor Palpatine.]
[N.B. Her name, Phasma, is a nod to one of Abrams’ cult films Phantasm, in which the antagonist uses a deadly silver sphere as a weapon.]
0:11:34 A young woman (Daisy Ridley as Rey, SW:TFA‘s Luke Skywalker) is scavenging a wrecked Star Destroyer for parts.
The helmet Rey puts on belonged to Captain Dosmit Ræh of the Tierfon Yellow Aces. (The characters on the side are Aurebesh characters that spell ‘Ræh’, pronounced ‘Rey’. This implies she took the name Rey from the helmet, and that her real name, and lineage, are a mystery.)
0:15:22 Rey rescues BB-8 from Teedo, who only wants BB-8 for parts. Frankly, I’m surprised the little bugger gave up BB-8 so easily. You’d think it’d be the law of finders/keepers in the world of scavenging.
Niima Outpost is that way. Stay off Kelvin Ridge. Keep away from the Sinking Fields in the north.
Rey to BB-8
Henry Kelvin is J.J. Abrams’ grandfather.
0:16:44 Rey reluctantly agrees to look after BB-8 for the night. I call WTF!? Why is she against keeping him? Why would anyone not want to have a sophisticated droid about?
0:18:24 Rey mentions she’s waiting for her family to return and it sounds like false optimism.
Finn: Stay calm, stay calm.
Poe: I am calm.
Finn: I was talking to myself.
[N.B. Another GoT cameo. Thomas Brodie-Sangster appears here as Petty Officer Thanisson, and is Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones.]
Poe Dameron: Hey, what’s your name?
Poe: F… what?
FN-2187/Finn: That’s the only name they ever gave me.
Poe: Well, I ain’t using it. F-N, huh? ‘Finn’. I’m going to call you ‘Finn’.
[N.B. ‘2187’ was also Princess Leia’s holding cell number in A New Hope and a reference to the film 21-87 which inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars.]
0:23:41 The TIE fighter is hit by enemy lasers and crash lands on Jakku, which is where Poe was headed anyway as he wants to retrieve his droid.
0:24:44 At the wreckage, Finn has only enough time to recover Poe’s leather jacket before the TIE fighter is swallowed by the Sinking Fields (see Rey, 15:58).
Kylo Ren: How capable are your soldiers, General?
General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson): I won’t have you question my methods.
Kylo: They’re obviously skilled at committing high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army.
0:28:32 Finn finds his way across the desert to the Niima Outpost, where Rey stops him after BB-8 recognizes the jacket Finn is wearing.
0:29:08 BB-8 is sad thinking Poe died in the accident. 😢
0:31:47 WTF!? I’ve surely missed something. The Millennium Falcon is simply sitting on the runway, full of fuel and ready to go, yet no one is in it or guarding it? Someone simply left the keys in it and took off? If people in the present are too smart to do this, what does it say about the future?
0:32:24 Despite the Falcon’s not having been flown in years, it starts immediately and whisks Rey, Finn and BB-8 off into the galaxy.
[N.B. For those amongst you keeping score, the Super-Star Destroyer through which Rey flies during the chase scene is the Ravager.]
0:39:30 A tractor beam pulls the Millennium Falcon into the giant shipping freighter Eravana, piloted by Han Solo. I call WTF!? If Han was just loitering about air space around Jakku, why didn’t he make an effort to recover the ship himself? That he happens to be in the same lost corner of the entire universe the moment his ship finally takes off for the first time in years…I find fortuitous, to say the least.
Rey: This is the ship that made the Kessel Run in 14 parsecs.
Here’s a running joke that ran all the way from the first film to the last.
Speaking of blasts from the past, here are other things we’ve déja vued…
Han: I never made a deal with Kanjiklub.
[N.B. The Kanjiklub heavies are played by two actors J.J. Abrams noticed in The Raid, one of the best action films I’ve reviewed on this site. Update: A generous reader (who likes my sense of humour, so take that, you haters) pointed out in the Comments that I neglected to mention the cameo of the 3rd and baddest guy from Raid 2 – Cecep Arif Rahman http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00078714.htm Thank you for your assistance, Anon!]
0:45:48 While attempting to close the blast doors to isolate the rival gangs who are both after Solo, Rey accidentally opens the doors that are containing the Rathtars.
Han Solo: I got a bad feeling about this.
If Star Wars truly were a sitcom, this would be Han’s catchphrase.
0:47:11 WTF!? The Rathtars have, up to now, been eating their prey immediately with no pause or hesitation, yet when they capture Finn, they decide to take him on a tour of the ship instead.
0:48:56 After rescuing Finn, Rey and Finn join Han and a wounded Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon for a quick escape.
Han Solo: We’re going out of here at light speed.
Rey: From inside the hangar? Is that even possible?
Han: I never ask that question til after I’ve done it.
0:49:17 Bala-Tik radios a message to the First Order that the droid they’re after is aboard the Millennium Falcon.
[N.B. Snoke’s pose is said to be modeled on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in America.]
0:50:08 Hux wants to use the weapon of mass destruction to destroy the government that supports the Republic. This way, the rebels will be vulnerable and can be stopped before reaching Skywalker.
0:50:31 Snoke speaks to Kylo Ren.
Supreme leader [to Kylo]: The droid we seek is aboard the Millennium Falcon, in the hands of your father…Han Solo.
0:52:58 While looking at the piece of the map BB-8 is carrying, Han speaks to his new compatriots, explaining why Luke went into seclusion.
Han Solo: He was training a new generation of Jedi. One boy, an apprentice, turned against him, destroyed it all. Luke felt responsible. He just walked away from everything.
That boy will turn out to be Kylo Ren.
0:53:29 So, where did Luke go?
Han Solo: The people that knew him best think he went looking for the first Jedi temple.
Rey: The Jedi were real!
Han: I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is, it’s true. The Force. The Jedi. It’s all true.
0:57:04 To get BB-8 on a ship harder to trace than the Falcon, the group must talk to Maz Kanata, a 1000-year-old Force-sensitive female smuggler who has built a castle with her riches on the planet Takodana.
Han: Whatever you do, don’t stare.
Rey & Finn: At what?
Han: Any of it.
[N.B. One of the main differences is that J.J. Abrams reintroduced the wolfman that Lucas removed from A New Hope.]
0:59:42 Kylo Ren prays to Darth Vader’s helmet, asking to be shown the force of the dark side because he feels himself being drawn to the light. He refers to Darth Vader as ‘grandfather’ because his mother, General Leia Organa, is Darth Vader’s daughter.
Maz uses her adjustable goggles to get a better look into people’s eyes so that she might see what they’re feeling.
1:02:08 Finn finally admits to Rey that he’s not really in the Resistance, and that his main interest at this point is hiding in the Outer Rim, a sort of wild west in the Star Wars’ universe.
1:05:33 After Finn leaves to seek his misfortune, Rey hears the disjointed voice of a child calling out coming from the cellar. When she goes to investigate, she discovers a lightsaber.
1:06:34 When she touches it, she has a very intense vision. This reaction is a demonstration of a new power attributed to Jedis: Psychometry. This is the gift by which a Jedi can tell the history and future of an object simply by touching it.
[N.B. There is much debate online concerning Rey’s lineage, with the two main camps citing either Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi as her geniture. IMHO, this scene is proof that Rey is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. The voices she hears when she touches the lightsaber are first Sir Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episodes 4-6) who says ‘Rey’, and then Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episodes 1-3) who adds ‘these are your first steps’.]
Maz: That lightsaber was Luke’s, and his father’s before him [N.B. Darth Vader]. And now, it calls to you…
1:08:34 In a panic, Rey refuses to take the saber, preferring instead to run into the woods to hide.
1:08:39 SW:TFA‘s version of the Death Star, which is meant to be a planet. #deathplanet
1:10:49 The Starkiller Base blows up the Hosnian system (SW:TFA‘s version of the Death Star blowing up Alderaan) consisting of several planets, including Hosnian Prime. This planet was chosen as a target because it was the capital of the New Republic, both politically and militarily.
[N.B. The Hosnian system is named after venerable high school teacher Jim Hosney, who taught film to throngs of people, including several of Abram’s producing partners.]
1:12:16 Finn changes his mind about running away, so Maz gives him Luke’s old lightsaber to give to Rey, while the First Order launch an assault on the planet to find BB-8.
1:13:04 3 Stormtroopers fire 5 shots with 0 hits. Rey, a novice, fires 5 shots and kills 3 Stormtroopers. And, theoretically, the Stormtroopers were trained from birth to do this.
1:15:18 The Stormtroopers decide it’s pointless to try and hit Han, Chewbacca and Finn with their shots, so they arrest them instead.
1:15:32 The Resistance, led by Poe Dameron, come to the rescue.
1:18:37 As the First Order lose the battle, Kylo Ren finds Rey and, realising she’s storing the map leading to Luke in her memory, he puts her under his spell, picks her up and carries her with him as he orders a retreat.
1:19:52 General Leia Organa arrives on a troop ship and reunites with Han, her ex. As per usual, C-3PO ruins the moment. (C-3PO’s red arm is explained here.)
1:24:48 Han and Leia go over their breakup. She blames it on losing their son Kylo when she sent him to train with Luke, because the boy had too much Vader in him. Leia believes Snoke seduced their son to the dark side, but has faith Kylo can still be saved. While Leia’s son is lost, at least Carrie Fisher’s daughter is safe…
1:29:06 Kylo is somewhat taken aback that not only can Rey resist his mental prodding, but she can use the connection to read his mind and learn his biggest fear is that he’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader.
1:29:36 Snoke, General Hux and Kylo decide to destroy the Ileenium system with their massive gun before the Resistance can use BB-8’s map to find Skywalker.
You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open.
Rey to her Storm Trooper guard
The third try she uses the right tone of voice and it creates a whoosh sound which means she’s learned how to use the Force for mind control.
[N.B. The Stormtrooper whose brain she washes is none other than Daniel Craig.]
1:31:56 Meanwhile, those on the new Death Star (sorry, Starkiller Base) start charging the laser by draining energy from a nearby sun.
1:33:26 Finn tells the Resistance how they can lower the defensive shields on the Starkiller to allow the Resistance pilots to fly in and destroy the base by exploding an oscillator. There is also this cameo by Ken Leung as Admiral Statura. Ken was Miles Straume in J.J. Abrams’ Lost.
1:36:20 Han gets through the Starkiller’s shields by flying the Millennium Falcon at light speed. He lands on the edge of a snowy precipice and I’m reminded the Starkiller is simply a weapon built into a planet. Looking at this Screenshot of the Starkiller beside the Death Star, I understand my confusion.
Han: What was your job when you were based here?
WTF!? Then what was he doing on Jakku at the very beginning of the film with the Search & Destroy party? There are not many garbage men that have to massacre entire encampments. On their other hand, this does explain why Stormtroopers can’t even hit the road.
1:37:20 Solar Power
1:38:10 Stormtrooper small talk.
Have you checked out the new T-17s?
The T-17s, as far as I can tell, are a great improvement.
Yeah, that’s what they tell you. But, believe me, they don’t hold up.
This harkens back to a conversation two Stormtroopers had in A New Hope, when they discuss the BT-16.
[N.B. This conversation is barely intelligible. I was able to quote it verbatim as I watch most of the films I review with subtitles on.]
1:39:08 Finn, Solo and Chewbacca pressure Phasma at gunpoint to lower the shields.
Finn: What do we do with her [Phasma]?
Han: Is there a garbage chute? A trash compactor?
This is a reference to Star Wars episode 4: A New Hope, where Han, Leia, Luke and Chewbacca were trapped in a trash compactor on the Death Star.
1:4:28 My new favourite member of the Resistance is officially Ello Asty! He’s named after the Beastie Boys album Hello Nasty (J.J. Abrams is a fan of the Beasties), and the inscription on the side of his helmet is Aurebesh for ‘Born to Ill’. This inscription is a reference to both ‘Born To Kill’ (the text scrawled across Matthew Modine‘s helmet in Full Metal Jacket) and the Beastie Boys’ album Licensed to Ill.
1:40:48 TIE fighters join the fight to repel the resistance fighters shooting at the oscillator, which will trigger the self-destruction of the laser.
1:41:52 Finn, Han and Chewbacca meet up with Rey in the corridor of the Starkiller.
1:45:28 While placing explosive devices in the Starkiller to hamper the First Order’s destruction of the attacking resistance X-wing force, Han comes out of hiding to confront his son (whom he addresses as Ben).
I’d like to call WTF. At 1:36:34, Kylo senses his father dozens of miles away through space and a spacecraft, yet he doesn’t sense him when they’re in the same room?
1:49:06 Kylo Ren says he’s torn between the dark and light side and asks his father for help. The help he means is to die for him, because he kills his father with a lightsaber.
[N.B. We can even see Kylo literally make the transition from 50% Dark side to 100% Dark side.]
1:50:32 Chewbacca, in his grief, shoots and wounds Kylo, then detonates the explosives he and Han placed. The oscillator is damaged, but the laser still will go off…in two minutes.
1:51:47 Kylo catches up with Finn and Rey as they make a break through the forest to reach the Millennium Falcon. He throws Rey against a tree using the Force, and then commences a lightsaber duel with Finn.
1:52:24 WTF!? For a janitor, Finn defends himself very well against a Jedi master.
1:53:06 Rey regains consciousness and wins a Force tug-of-war with Kylo Ren over the lightsaber Finn has dropped.
1:54:14 Like in A New Hope, the resistance has to fly the fighters through a narrow passage to attain their target and destroy the Death Star Starkiller Base.
1:55:18 Poe hits his target and destroys the laser.
1:57:01 Meanwhile, Rey is doing much worse against Kylo than a garbage man, until Kylo reminds her she has the Force. He says he’ll train her, but just remembering she can use the Force is enough to turn the tide of the battle and give her the upper hand.
1:58:06 Before she can kill Kylo, the explosion divides the earth between them, and Rey runs back to Finn.
1:58:34 Snoke tells General Hux to abandon the planet and come to him with Kylo Ren so that he might finish Kylo’s training. His tone is so ominous that its repercussions will be felt in the sequel.
2:00:51 Back on the Ileenium system, Leia, realising her fears are true and that Han is dead, hugs Rey tightly.
[N.B. If you haven’t had the feels for a while, check out the story behind the pink R2 unit at the bottom of the screenshot. The bot is called R2-KT after Katy Johnson, a young girl with a terminal illness who has become a part of Star Wars canon. Read the story here, but be forewarned, your eyes are going to water…]
2:01:22 Somehow, R2-D2 knows all of this has transpired and magically comes to life to complement BB-8’s map with a larger one for context. That way, everyone can see where the planet with the first Jedi temple where Luke is hiding is.
2:03:55 The goodbye party for Rey and Chewbacca as they take the Millennium Falcon to find Luke on Ahch-To.
2:06:05 At long last, Rey reaches her goal and returns Luke’s lightsaber to its rightful owner.
- WTF!?’s: 10 stellar ones
- When to Follow: In place of any of the episodes 1-3. Or, if you’re a fan of the Machete Order, this should be placed at the end. If you don’t know what order you like, look here.
- Where’s This Found: This film holds its own in the Star Wars universe. While I find it so similar to the original (Episode IV – A New Hope) that it feels more like a remake than a relaunch, I enjoyed watching it far more than any of the newer episodes (Episode I – Phantom Menace, Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith). The cast, the story line and the absence of Jar Jar Binks, Ewoks or Hayden Christensen (who is a combination of Ewoks and Jar Jar, if you think about it), means that I count this one as a win. Out of a possible 10, I have 7 F’s to give
- What To Feedback: In addition to commenting on any Easter Eggs I might have forgotten (or ignored), please answer the following!
[N.B. I used the very informative Star Wars Force Awakens ALL Easter Eggs & References ( FULL MOVIE ) video and Wookieepdia: The Star Wars Wiki as research tools for this review]
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Left over GIFs
Left over photos
Prints suitable for reposting!
WTF!? did they say?
WTF!? do you meme?
What to Follow Up
Bar None Review
Fernby Films Review
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