Rant: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

01 title

Yes. YES.

Another Star Wars movie! The trailer came out recently (no idea why I felt the need to say that, everyone knows) and I’m super excited about it. I’m gonna rant for a while about the movie. It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway because that’s what this site is for: This entire article is nothing but wild speculation and I am in no way trying to convince anyone that I know what the next movie will be about. Also, if I happen to be correct in any of my ramblings, it’s pure luck and I will be just as surprised as you.

SO.

On to the rant…

I’m gonna be completely honest here, my initial reaction was kind of all over the place. Firstly, the voice in the darkness. That was a big yes. Huge grin on my face. Then, the desert landscape, the camera lingering for a while. Check, another huge grin.

02 Desert

BUT THEN –

03 boyega

Then some dude literally pops up from below the camera like a muppet. His placement makes it look like he could be photoshopped into the image: there’s no sense of depth here, no sense of reality. This shot honestly made me feel like I had the wrong trailer; like there was already a parody trailer. Maybe I’ve just seen Spaceballs too many times. Or maybe I’ve been overexposed to dark, gritty movie trailers that are super quiet until all the explosions and bullets, so when a character shows up looking scared and there’s loud music but no explosions or bullets I get confused. Whatever the case, I felt a little deflated at this point of the trailer as it seemed a bit unintentionally comical.

Then we see this crazy little soccer ball droid zipping around:

04 Droid

And again, I’m feeling at this point like I’ve stumbled onto a parody trailer. Someone couldn’t be bothered animating an R2 unit so they stuck its head onto a soccer ball and kicked it along the desert. That was my initial reaction, anyway. After I’d watched the trailer another dozen times or so (you all did it too, admit it) I realised that I like this droid a lot. The head is obviously attached by magnets or a track or something, so it can swivel. The sphere design allows it to travel much faster than an R2 unit while still allowing for the Deus Ex Machina style overabundance of accessories. So, after a cooling down period, this is another check and another grin.

From here the trailer just got super amazing.

05 ridley

Old style, worn down speeder! This one looks industrial ish too, so it seems this young, fierce girl character works or lives on a farm or some similar setting, just like our young, fierce orphan character from the original trilogy… And our young, fierce orphan character from the prequel trilogy…

Cool. So good ol’ JJ is pretty keen on keeping tradition alive. This is a very good sign, he’s obviously going to stick very closely to the look and style of the older OH MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE STORMTROOPERS!

06 troopers

HOLY CRAP.

They look AMAZING!

They’re prepping for a jump out of a carrier! It’s dark, scary, military style action from the Stormtrooper’s perspective, something we’ve never seen before! Our glimpse of the first character shows that he’s wearing the unmistakable armour of the imperial army as well, so maybe it’s his perspective we’re seeing in that dropship. Does he start off as a soldier and see the error of his ways and the evil of the empire’s army? Does he wear the armour as a disguise to infiltrate their ranks? Why are there stormtroopers at all?

I get that killing the Emperor and his right hand man (oh, uh… spoilers?) doesn’t exactly destroy the whole empire, but where are they getting their orders from? Where are they getting all this shiny new gear? There’s obviously still fighting going on between the rebels and the empire (I really hope they’ve renamed themselves, as there’s no Emperor and I think they’ve been bumped up slightly from the term “rebels” to something with a bit more consequence), as we can clearly see from this classic X-Wing flying around –

08 x-wing

– Wait a minute. That thing looks SICK! AND IT’S SKIMMING ALONG THE SURFACE OF THE WATER!

Oh my god. Oh my god you guys, this means there’s gonna be a full on dogfight IN A PLANET’S ATMOSPHERE!

Oh HELL yes, this is amazing!

I almost missed the fact that Oscar Isaac is piloting that thing. I’m still not sure how I feel about him being cast to be honest. He’s stuck in my head as the creepy, violent, rapey dude from Sucker Punch now, so I’m unable to picture him as one of the noble Rebel Alliance. I’m sure JJ knows what he’s doing though, so I’m gonna give that one a rest. At least he looks the part, with the awesome updated gear that the rebels have acquired and those FUCKING AMAZING NEW X-WINGS!

Oh man, look at them! The wings align side by side instead of resting on top of each other, I cannot wait until Lego release this one!

And then the screen goes black… And we’re treated with the most interesting part of the whole trailer…

09 sith02

Oh my god. I don’t know where to start with this one…

Psych, I totally know where to start, you know I’m totally starting with that fucking lightsaber. OK, so this one obviously boggled a lot of minds, and pissed off a lot of people. I felt the same when I first saw it. I still think it’s a little unnecessary, the “normal” lightsaber on its own looks amazing; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, am I right?

But after thinking about it for a while, I realised this is actually amazing. Everything about this shot is amazing. Firstly, the character is stumbling and walking away from the camera. Now, again, this is wild speculation, but if you take all the separate pieces and add them together you get something very interesting. Let me do the maths for you:

*Movie Title = The Force Awakens

*Character stumbling away from an isolated area

*Lightsaber looks like a VERY old weapon

That all adds up (in my mind) to the resurrection of an ancient Sith Lord!

SO: I’m betting on an ancient Sith lord being resurrected (possibly and most likely by someone else) in order to sway the balance of the galaxy back to the dark side again. The rebels must have gained a fair bit of traction in their ability to fight evil since the Emperor and Vader died, and I’m thinking someone’s getting desperate to win and calls on powers they can’t control or don’t fully understand.

Then it’s up to a few young heroes to find the legendary Jedi who defeated the Empire at the Battle of Yavin and seek his help and wisdom to fight this new threat.

Weird mini lightsaber cross-guards notwithstanding, the actual blade itself looks absolutely amazing. It looks like it’s made of red Force lightning focused into a blade, like it’s made of something older and more powerful than the modern lightsabers. It actually looks angry. It looks evil. And that sound!

Also a friend of mine made a good point regarding the design. He said that staves aren’t normally very useful in an actual fight. They’re normally used for practice to drill coordination and situational awareness. But despite that, Darth Maul took a practice weapon, something normally very impractical for actual battle, and turned it into an instrument of pure death. This sith lord is obviously (or maybe not obviously, but close enough) from a different era, a time where these weapons were more traditional, more decorative and elegant than just being blades to fight and defend with. This character will have taken a decorative, almost impractical weapon and used it so well that in his hands it becomes as lethal as any modern weapon. In this case it would make sense that he has such an old looking weapon.

And then of course, we get the Falcon! The full Star Wars fanfare blares from every speaker in the world and it goes through the familiar loop-de-loop but this time it’s really close to the desert and is fighting TIE fighters!

10 falcon03

That was the moment I really felt the impact of this trailer. Of course it was the very last shot, but still. Seeing the Falcon again is just the greatest. It’s like seeing an old friend randomly pop up on your TV in the middle of a talk show or the news or whatever. Beautiful.

I love it that all the shots of spaceships have been on the surface of a planet, or in atmosphere. Such an awesome change! It’s not something that was really “missing” from the originals, so it feels like an improvement on something that wasn’t lacking in the first place but in a good way.

The fact that the ships are all so close to the ground just gives it a much more small scale, personal feel, which in turn makes it feel like the stakes are actually higher. It feels more present, more raw, more dangerous. Maybe the rebels are fighting on their home ground, or maybe it’s a rescue mission… either way, at the speeds with which you’d normally pilot those ships, being that close to the ground means that one wrong manoeuvre and you’re a bunch of wrecked pieces spread across the desert.

I’m gonna digress for a bit: Lots of people are just perpetually spewing hate at anything added to the Star Wars universe as though adding more content is somehow actively destroying the original movies. They are automatically pessimistic and needlessly cynical when it comes to sequels or prequels or new stories or different actors or basically anything that isn’t one specific movie that wowed them when they were still a child. To those people I say: Don’t fucking watch it then. Stay away from it. Sit at home and put the original 1977 version on VHS on repeat, and never leave your house again. Unplug the internet because you don’t deserve it. No one wants constant unfiltered negativity exploding at them from their monitor every time they try to get excited about a new movie. No one is raping your childhood, that’s the most ridiculous concept I’ve ever heard. If you hate something that much stay away from it. That’s a very simple idea, and it’s incredibly easy to implement. If you hate the changes George Lucas is making with each re-re-release of the Star Wars original trilogy, STOP BUYING THEM. Watch the version that you DO like.

This movie is going to be great, and it’s going to be great for one reason: It is Star Wars. JJ Abrams is a huge fan of the original trilogy and he wants to make a movie that makes people feel the way he felt when he saw it in 1977. That’s all I need to hear to know that I’ll love it. Everything else is just a bonus, like the fact that Lawrence Kasdan contributed to the script, John Williams is writing the music, Han Luke and Leia are in it, The Falcon is coming back, practical effects are being used instead of CGI, the visual design looks amazing, etc. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s an impressive “pros” list, and I’m not seeing much in the “cons” category.

JJ has basically (so far) perfectly balanced the tone and feel of the original trilogy while bringing his own style and new, unique visual design to the table, and it looks like he’s pulling it off in a big way.

I guess what I’m saying is…

I’m SO KEEN FOR IT!

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