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“The Force Awakens” Trailer 10 Takeaways

It’s been more than thirty years since we’ve seen Star Wars footage that wasn’t prequel-related. This is not the story of Anakin Skywalker and his stalker love for Natalie Portman (seriously quick sidebar, even when he was like 9 he was hitting on her calling her an angel.) This is a SEQUEL to Return of the Jedi!! Unfortunately, a small, micro bit of unease from the prequel squirmed its way into my mind watching this trailer. But overall, it felt like 80 percent original trilogy and 20 percent prequel eye roll. Is that a good thing? Honestly, it’s way too early to tell. I’m both skeptical and hopeful at the same time. Here are ten takeaways from a die-hard fan.

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1. The Dark Jedi Knigth Rises? The narrator at the beginning is a bit distracting. I won’t go as far as saying it’s laughable, but at first, I had my doubts this trailer was the real thing. I came to accept it more after watching it a few more times. But at first, it sounded exactly like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. Cue the mashup video. Turns out it wasn’t Tom Hardy, but Andy Serkis doing the voice. At least that’s according to Collider. They also say Serkis is playing a pivotal role in the film. New head of the Sith??

Takeaway = Leaning Negative

 

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2. John Boyega will be great. But, is he a stormtrooper or pretending to be a stormtrooper on Tatooine? This is one of my favorite shots from the trailer. Why? It recalls the first film A New Hope. Both Han and Luke put on stormtrooper outfits to rescue Princess Leia. You can also hear the Imperial Probe Droid in the background. Another reference to the original trilogy. And he’s sweaty. Why is that important? Because can you remember any shot, at any time where anyone in the prequels looked like this? Nope. No matter what situation they were in the characters looked like they were in a controlled environment and the dialogue wooden. In just one panicked look, Boyega already proves to me he’s surpassed the terrible acting of the prequels.

Takeaway = Positive

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3. The stormtroopers are back! The Boyega shot and the following sequence reveal, stormtroopers will be featured heavily. But in what way? Yes, the Empire was beaten by the Rebel Alliance, but you can’t believe they were all wiped out. Can you? It’s possible the Empire survived and lived under the radar for 30 years, plotting its return. Or could the Rebels have become so powerful that they now use stormtroopers? A nod to the clones of the prequels perhaps? I like the first theory better. Also, the helmets are a little different from the originals. Kind of like this Ralph McQuarrie design.

Takeaway = Positive

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4. Daisy Ridley looks like her mom. Ridley could be cut into Return of the Jedi seamlessly. If she’s not a dead ringer for Carrie Fisher, I’m not sure who is. It has yet to be confirmed, but my best guess is Ridley plays the daughter of Princess Leia and Han Solo. And her outfit could not be more like a mix of Tatooine garb and Endor from the original trilogy. Some have complained about the look of her speeder bike, but I’m not one to complain about ship/transport design.

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Takeaway = Positive

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5. The soccer ball droid. Yes, the soccer ball droid. And it’s CGI. Kind of cringe worthy for me. This felt very prequel trilogy and out of place. I get there should be advances in droids over the past thirty years, but a rolling ball? I like the fact that the head looks like an astromech, but this worries me.

Takeaway = Negative

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6. The return of the X-wing. They are flying over a body of water and not in space. This shot gives me a sense of how I need to let go of the original trilogy and embrace the future. It reminds of what I loved as a kid, but cranked up a bit with today’s technology and look. The design of the ships are a tweaked, but that seems to be a theme. Appreciating the past, but making it look fresh. Kind of like the difference between cars from the 80s and today. More on that later.

Takeaway = Positive

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7. Oscar Isaacs is with the rebels. 99% sure this is a shot of actor Oscar Isaacs. It would appear he plays a role as a rebel pilot or leader. It’s the old cockpit shot. He’s apparently leading some sort of assault or defense against an unknown foe. Red Five standing by.

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Takeaway = Positive

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8. Revenge of the Sith. It would appear the dark side has risen once again. This is not at all surprising. To not have a dark jedi group as the enemy would be a bold move indeed. This shot also gave me pause though. It’s a “new” lightsaber design. On the surface it feels like a gimmick. And I was kind of waiting to hear what function it could have. Many people posted it looked like a longsword. The blades on the hilt are meant to protect from sword-sliding and your hand being cut off. So, if it’s functionality…I’m all for it. As for who this black robed menace is? Looks thin to me, Adam Driver? Lupita Nyong’o? A female villain would be pretty cool. Or is Luke Skywalker finally succumbing to the dark side and protecting his old injury with two-extra blades?

Takeaway = Leaning positive

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9. The Falcon Returns! This sequence had my mouth watering. Zipping over the surface of what we assume is Tatooine evading Tie-Fighters. Reminds me of the action from the middle part of The Empire Strikes Back. 

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Eagle-eyed fans will also notice the Falcon has a new rectangular radar dish, since the round one was lost in the guts of the second Death Star.

Takeaway = About as positive as it gets!!!

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10. Remember these guys? Yeah, me too. Where are they?? This was one of my biggest disappointments with this trailer after the first viewing. Where were the people who captured my imagination from the Original Trilogy? Han, Luke, Leia and Chewy were nowhere to be seen. Even the droids were beaten out by the soccer ball! The explanation could be as simple as a Disney edict. They wanted to introduce the Star Wars universe to a a new generation with young actors, not people who look like their grandparents. I get that. My worry, are they included not because of performance or how they look? I think one of the main questions heading into this trilogy, would the actors be able to return to their iconic alter egos? They weren’t in there for a reason. The question is why?

Takeaway = Mystery

So, truth be told. I was initially underwhelmed the first time I watched the trailer. But I have grown more and more excited on viewings afterward. Will this movie be any good? I really can’t answer that. Though, by all indications, JJ Abrams has stayed true to the feel of the original trilogy and is making his best effort to create characters that aren’t just cool looking toys. And the best part? I didn’t hear one thing about senators, the trade federation or hating sand!!!

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Disney,JJ Abrams,Star Wars and have No Comments

‘Star Wars’ Holiday Special?

We are coming up on what’s known as a Star Wars holiday. May 4th or May the Fourth Be With You. May has been synonymous with the intergalactic franchise since day one. Every film Episode I through VI has come out in late May. But that’s about to change.

Gone are the days of “summer blockbusters.” Instead, the roll out for summer is much earlier. April, even March at times. And while November and December used to be Oscar-bait films or holiday flicks, plenty of studios are now opting to use those months for their biggest movies, like the yet-to-be-titled “Star Wars: Episode VII.

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This brings about an interesting quandary. Will superfans be willing to camp out weeks in advance to see this next installment? 

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers Jedi from the swift completion of their appointed rounds movie-going experience.

Star Wars fans aren’t the United States Postal Service, but being one myself, I could argue we may be even belligerent in our quest to see, devour and consume every detail, television show or movie Lucasfilm throws at us.

So, how will this Hoth-like dilemma play out? Will everyone have long johns under their Han Solo slacks? Could Princess Leia hair buns double as ear muffs? Or will everyone just go covered in faux fur ala Chewbacca?

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Sure, this won’t be a problem in Los Angeles. But, what about the Northeast? We just suffered through what was arguably one of the worst winters in recent memory. If Star Wars comes out on December 18th, how could we possibly go back to see it multiple times over snow and ice covered roads? Surely, a Tauntaun ride would be in order. Well, as long as I didn’t take it too close to that first marker, then that Tauntaun would probably be toast.

And let’s say you are man or woman enough to set up an igloo outside New York City’s Ziegfeld theatre and dress in a Boba Fett or Oola (look it up) costume, how many of those people are going to be wearing a Santa hat or candy cane blaster? Probably too many to fit under the Rockefeller Christmas tree.

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The cold aside, my point is this will be different. The Star Wars summer event is over. It’s still awesome to have a new film coming out, but will it really feel the same? Nostalgia can be a very powerful thing and a great number of people who grew up with the original trilogy will miss the anticipation of a May release. Still, perhaps the next generation of fans will carry the same feelings toward December. Just think warm thoughts when you queue up alongside your fellow sith lords. A jedi mind trick may be in order.

 

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in JJ Abrams,Star Wars and have No Comments

J.J. Abrams Mysterious Trailer

The man known for his mysteries that are often more fun than the actual payoff is doing it again. JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot has released this trailer. For what? Well, that’s the mystery.

 

In the clip, a long-haired man is seen washing ashore with what looks like broken ropes around his hands. He staggers through the ocean tide as a narrator reads the following:

“He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there shall once more begin. This is what happens: Men become lost; men vanish; men are erased – and reborn.”

Then, a light engulfs the screen and a creepy face appears; a man with lips that are shut with stitches.

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This could be a teaser for any number of Abrams projects. This does have a very “Lost” feel to it though. I highly doubt that it’s in any way connected to that though. Could there be a “Star Wars” link? Doubtful, but this type of feel would sure give the series some legitimacy again. However, I can’t imagine a relatively kid-friendly series taking this type of turn.

The consensus seems to be that this is actually a video teaser for a book being released by JJ Abrams and author Doug Dorst. The novel “S.” apparently ties in real-life “ephemera” with the book’s characters. This is the description on publisher Mulholland’s website:

“S., conceived of and developed by Abrams and written by award-winning author Doug Dorst, is Abrams’s first foray into publishing and will be released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013. At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.”

It does make sense for it to be tied to this. The book comes out in two months, “S.” is the title of the book and “Stranger” was the title of the video clip. So, what do you think? Is this really for the novel? Or is this a very dark turn for “Star Wars?” Or is “Lost” back?

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in JJ Abrams and have No Comments