Episode 391: Star Wars: A Child Is A Reboot of the Grittiest Sort

The Overthinkers delve deeper into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, talking about the movie’s self-referentiality and the global media onslaught surrounding it.

Ben Adams, Matt Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Ryan Sheely, and Matt Wrather continue their discussion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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15 Comments on “Episode 391: Star Wars: A Child Is A Reboot of the Grittiest Sort”

  1. Emil #

    This episode had so many turns I think I’ve already forgotten all the points made. %)


    • Chimalpahin #

      I know huh? Will we get a complete trilogy?

      This is like the total opposite of their Harry Potter podcast where they didn’t talk about Harry Potter.


  2. Chimalpahin #

    I dunno I have to agree with Belinkie, I was also underwhelmed by the movie. Freeze us in carbonite I don’t care!

    Anyways maybe it’s my age but for better or for worse I grew up with the prequels and for Star Wars has always had dark vs light and political machinations. Maybe it’s why I was never fully invested in the return of all of these OT characters coming back.

    I was much more interested in the new cast. I feel that in their rush to be as unlike the prequels as they could they went overboard and explained next to nothing. I didn’t need an hour long senate scene but I needed something. Fans have already tried to “fix” the problems of TFA online with small fanfilms and edits.

    The film felt rushed to me and I think it could’ve benefited from a few more months to gestate. You know it’s a bit of a failure when I feel more for Alderaan than I do for 5 planets I didn’t give a toss about. They might as well of called it New Alderaan.

    On Finn… why doesn’t he have more combat trainging? Oh right he was a “janitor” Did anyone else find that uncomfortable? Finally we have a hero of color a black man and he has to be a god damn janitor?!

    As for the Asians in the move part of me felt tension because I thought they were going to kill the Asian pilot off like they did in the Original Trilogy. If you weren’t Lando you were getting offed. That first Star Wars movie was blindingly white.

    Maybe most of you find it uncomfortable to talk about but it’s important to us who will rarely if ever see our faces on TV. It’s why it was so cool to see Edward James Olmos on Battlestar Galactica. My god Mexicans in Space! How novel!

    I guess this also shows where my SW fandom comes from because when I think of Star Wars I think of the 2003 microseries Clone Wars and of the Knights of the Old Republic games. So whenever I see Kylo Ren I can only think of Darth Revan yo. Just an emo Revan.


    • Crystal #


      BSG was awesome for having so many women and POC and not making a big deal of it.

      I like emo Kylo Ren. I like that he was “emo” (of course I called myself emo back in high school) and not a generic evil villain with actual reasons for bad strategy (insecurity and all that).


      • Chimalpahin #

        Exactly but there are always jerkwads who cry “social equality”. Really TFA only had one lead of color, Isaacs disappears, and racists exploded! The late great Dwayne McDuffie coined The Rule of Three to talk about this.


    • Lemur #

      Chimalpahin’s comment puts a finger on exactly my biggest reason for why I came away with something of a sense of disappointment – the “five planets I don’t give a toss about.” New Hope made the destruction of Alderaan a huge deal. That movie had the patience and took the time to set up the Death Star as a game-changing new weapon unlike anything ever seen before, to introduce Alderaan as a “peaceful planet”, and then to dwell a bit on the magnitude of its destruction. Force Awakens just kind of casually rushes through the blowing up of not just a planet, but the actual capital world – rather than millions of voices suddenly crying out in terror it’s probably more like tens of billions, and nobody even draws a sharp breath about it on screen. It’s like they don’t earn it. It’s like the people who made the first Star Wars thought that blowing up a planet was a huge big deal, and the people who made this one were like oh, that’s just a thing that happens in this kind of movie.


      • Chimalpahin #

        It might as well call it New Alderaan along with New Yoda, err Maz, and new Tarkin, er Hux. All rushed watered down borrowings.

        Really the actors made the movie. They got some clunky dialogue but damn if Boyega, Ridley and Isaacs didn’t make it work. They had some electrifying chemistry. Sadly Fisher may be too ill or probably wasn’t directed… maybe she’s still bitter about being made to lose weight.


  3. Jasin #

    you guys missed the best throwback of the whole movie: the reboot of Porkins, the best fat bearded fat X-Wing Pilot in the galaxy. This time played by Greg Gunberg.

    These little details made it clear how much love was put into these films.


  4. Chimalpahin #

    Also why are you assuming it’s important to know who Rey’s DAD is. Why not her mothers?
    I really hope Rey is not Luke’s daughter and if she is her mom better be Mara-Jade


  5. Chimalpahin #

    Also why are you assuming it’s important to know who Rey’s DAD is. Why not her mothers?
    I really hope Rey is not Luke’s daughter and if she is her mom better be Mara-Jade.

    Actually since this movie just straight up lifts its plot from the originals did anyone else think about Jurassic World? Both films tried very hard to emulate and elevate their source material but at the expense of telling their own story. TFA did it better than JW, in that I wasn’t as offended by it but it feels like this is probably what’s going to happen with Independence Day 2: Electric Boogaloo.


  6. Margo #

    I noticed the throwback where Rey donned the helmet of an X-Wing pilot.

    On another topic, does anyone have any theories why all the habitable planets seem to have a single ecosystem? Desert Planet! Ice Planet! City Planet! Etcetera.


  7. asadok #

    Re: indie rock star wars, one of my first reactions to Kylo Ren was’wow! is that [i]analogue[/i] voice distortion?’


  8. Lholcombe #

    A friend and I (2 guys in our early 40s) concluded that one of the reasons Star Wars was so meaningful for us as children was the sci-fi novelty. The original trilogy spared no expense to present us with realistic-looking aliens, inventive space vehicles, and incredibly combat sequences. There were other sci-fi properties at the time, but none of them were even close to the level that Star Wars achieved. I think the prequel trilogy did something similar with digital technology, but there were other properties that were beginning to catch up. Now, cinema technology has kinda plateaued, from the viewer’s perspective. If there was anything new in Ep7 that couldn’t have been done 5 years ago, it’s not obvious to me. Sadly, Star Wars is no longer the bleeding edge of sci-fi filmmaking. Ironically, ILM, which has contributed so much to the development of movie magic software and hardware, is one of the primary causes.

    Also, I have heard from a lot of really nerdy superfans (including Rebel Force Radio podcasters) that this film requires two viewings. The first time, you immediately start over-analyzing, looking for clues, trying to think faster than the movie, and probably totally strung out on hype and your own inflated expectations. The second time, you can settle down, eat some popcorn, and passively let everything wash over you. To put it another way: the first time you watch Star Wars (the cultural phenomenon), the second time you watch The Force Awakens (a new movie that just came out). I’m probably going to try this, see if it works.

    I nearly cried twice. First was when the Resistance forces arrived on Takodana. Just seeing X-wings on screen for the first time in so many years made me quite emotional. The second time was the immediate aftermath of the big scene, when Chewbacca howls in fury, takes a couple shots at his best friend’s son, goes nuts on a bunch of stormtroopers, and then detonates the explosives. It reminded me a little bit of Luke’s final battle with Vader – his anger and pain makes him powerful, and he damn near loses control. It was way more emotional to me than the actual death.


    • Ben #

      I love you guys. The main Overthinkingit pod is probably narrowly my favorite cast amongst mostly sports, politics and movie podcasts. I never fail to learn something new or to look at some topic in a slightly different way.

      And in the second straight Awakens podcast, I was expecting more of the same. And then, out of the blue…

      Belinke didn’t like Awakens!

      I didn’t like Awakens!

      Ryan hated Guardians! Whaaaaa? My head is spinning!

      It was both exhilarating and a little sad to come to the realization that as much as I’ve loved….whatever it is that you do….that now I just really want you guys to do your own version of Around the Horn. #embracedebate


      • Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

        I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it. I’d say I didn’t love it. I’d give it a B maybe? I do want to see it again – all these discussions about it since the release have been really interesting.


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