Saturday, November 29, 2014
Hey, Have You Guys Heard About Star Wars?
The teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit the internet this weekend, causing fandom to lose its collective shit. Some were unimpressed. Others had their faith restored in a series that seemed to have lost its way in the last 30 years.
So this seems like a good time to talk about Star Wars -- not just our reactions to The Force Awakens (notice how quickly everyone stopped making fun of the title when they liked the footage they saw? That's called "waiting to see," and it's an effective way to not be an asshole), but all of Star Wars. What does the series still mean to us? Did the prequels ruin it for any of you, or are you still as excited for this new film as you were when you paid to see The Waterboy in 1998 so you could get the teaser for The Phantom Menace? You totally should have paid to see Meet Joe Black instead, because then you would have at least gotten to see a good movie. #JoeBlack4Life
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I was never a Star Wars kid growing up, so the fanaticism about the trilogy is not something that I identify with. Without wanting to come across as The Contrarian, while I've always enjoyed them I don't quite get the excessive enthusiasm it bring out in people, especially the "Empire Strikes Back is the best movie/sequel ever" versus "Return of the Jedi, blah, Ewoks are awful, Muppets, am i right" rants. IMO, they are all good fun, neither fantastic nor horrible.ReplyDelete
The prequels are a crash course in how not to construct a narrative. I learn more from bad movies than good ones, and the prequels are fascinating in their Not-Getting-It-istics.
Despite all this, I'm as eager as most for the sequels. Star Wars is a full blown mythology and i appreciate that.
Holy shit I am so excited. Im sorry but im going fully nerdy here but I literally cant wait.ReplyDelete
If you want to hear a quibble im not to taken with the triple beam light saber but the shots in the trailer looked great
Yeah, I'm pumped. My Star Wars fandom was all but over by the time Episode I came out (I didn't even see it until July) and slogging through the prequels it just seemed more and more impossible that the mythical Episodes 7-9 would ever happen, especially with original cast members. But here we are and I'm genuinely excited again - a childhood dream has come true (unlike the one where I'm a Superbowl-winning quarterback...yet). I have a lot of faith that JJ gets it and there's just no fucking way they can be as bad as the prequels - the bar has been set so low, I can already hear a million nerd voices sighing with contented relief. I knew it was a good sign when I watched the trailer with my wife (who knows nothing about Star Wars really) and she said, "Ugh, it looks more like the OLD ones." Yes, yes it does.ReplyDelete
I don't know how one could be unimpressed by what this trailer shows, but I suppose those naysayers do exist. Then again, a good trailer doesn't necessarily translate to a good movie, so who knows?ReplyDelete
I'm with Sol. The bar has already been set so low, what possible direction could there be to go but up?
The prequels have been so non-existent in my life, basically, that they can't tarnish the love and excitement that I have for the old movies or what's to come, especially considering the names associated with these new ones (J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Rian Johnson). They're very unlikely to create crap, I would think.
The teaser trailer was basically a series of nostalgia fuelled iconic sound effects with new exciting visuals.Delete
Both good things, haha.Delete
I'm also very nervous that it's going to be a series of nostalgic-fueled shots. Which, let's not forget, is basically what the Phantom Menace was. We can all look at the Phantom Menace teaser now and say that it sucks (because we know the movie that it spawned), but in 1998 is garnered a very similar response.Delete
Again, I would still argue that there is better talent, both behind and in front of cameras, involved with these movies, which I believe will make the difference. I'm optimistic that characters and story will be much improved here, and it won't just be about nostalgia.Delete
And dialogue, too. None of that "I don't like sand" and "now this is pod racing" business and more "I love you" "I know." Kasdan, please don't prove me wrong.Delete
And "Are you an Angel" always makes me smile. That's Patricks fault though. If you've heard the podcast you will understand ;)Delete
Yes, it's humorous in the contest of Patrick's impression, but it's just another garbage line in the actual movie, haha.Delete
Very excited for Episode VII. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite film, and the rest of the original trilogy is pretty high up there for me as well. The prequels are the best worst movies ever, as they're bad in all the right ways to be both hilarious and fun to dissect.ReplyDelete
Helps that I just recently rewatched Star Trek '09. If JJ can bring that spirit to Star Wars we have a winning film on our hands.
That's all I ask, really. Please just make it as fun and exciting as Star Trek (2009) and I think if will be a satisfying experience.Delete
I am a fair bit of a Star Warrior so I guess I am excited for this. I mean I even find things to like in the prequels. I find Revenge of the Sith to be a decent film while the other two are basically either ambitious failures or just mediocre.ReplyDelete
I am excited that Kasdan was brought in to write, but some of my trepidation actually comes from Abrams. I know some on here really enjoy Star Trek '09 but as an old Trek fan I was not happy with would he did with them. To me they are fun action films but they don't ring as Trek for me.
And I don't me to be "that guy", but in the teaser trailer above, the shots with live actors in them look like fan films to me. Especially the one with the man in the desert. There is no depth in the shot making it look very flat and thus very green-screeny. On the other hand the shot with the Falcon look good.
My feelings are pretty much a clone (trooper) of Brad's. I love the original trilogy, but not with the fervor of most other man-children (I save that fervor for Star Trek and Superman...2013 was a rough summer to be me). The prequels ranged from "left me cold" (Phantom Menace) to "straight-up hated it" (Clones) to "it's fine, maybe these movies just aren't for me anymore" (Sith).ReplyDelete
That being said, I'm genuinely excited for the new movies. The teaser did its job very well...it gave me a tantalizing enough taste that I'm anxious to see what's next, and I can't wait to see what the cast (both old and new) brings to the table.
I watched the trailer just now because Patrick posted it here (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered). As an avid "Star Wars" hater that nevertheless owns all six movies on DVD (but not BD) this looks fine. To be honest the first "Star Trek" is already a trailer for what I can expect JJ to bring to "SW," and this trailer just confirms what we already know: Abrams can point his camera, keep it in focus and swirl it around to max out his CGI resources. It's the humans/story where the last three "SW" movies were seriously wanting, and for that we'll have to wait for the summer/fall trailers.ReplyDelete
Like Brad L. I'm content to sit around and watch the "SW" fanbase tear itself apart over-analyzing every little morsel of info that gets (deliberately) leaked by Disney between now and Dec. of next year. That'll be way more entertaining than anything the movie can deliver to someone like me that, frankly, couldn't care less about the whole thing.
My take: eh, this movie'll probably be fun and well-made, but no way will it or its sequels be a better continuation of the saga than Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy. Those books gave us something radically new - a diabolical, art-obsessed Sherlock Holmes-like chessmaster with dark blue skin and glowing red eyes; he was terrifying even without the Force. Whereas there's no way the new movies' Big Bads won't be Sith guys of some kind, because blockbuster movies and toy sales require lots and lots of saber fights.ReplyDelete
More than that, however, though I loved Star Wars as much as anyone as a kid, I have no idea what the point of endlessly adding stories is. The now-defunct EU, as I understand it, eventually brought in some massive alien invasion from beyond known space, and even came to suggest Palps and Thrawn were partly well-meaning, in that they knew this was coming and were trying to prepare for it. Which: ugh. (Oh, and did I mention one of Han and Leia's kids going evil? Fun for everyone... right?!)
To me, the problem with Star Wars is that, by definition, there must always be war. Always; whereas Star Trek can and does alternate between periods of war and peace, and retains a connection to Earth and the real world. There will never be a Star Wars romantic comedy, or an Episode where the heroes have wacky adventures while saving whales. Even the various TV series, which ought to have more freedom to branch out, are all-war, all-the-time affairs. (Seriously, the Clone Wars series is like Space Band of Brothers for kids, which, ugh.)
Some of Star Trek's finest hours feature no laser-fire at all. Marketplace demands mean that we'll never get a Trek movie without that, which is why many fans hope for an eventual return to TV. Star Wars without laser-fire, on the other hand, is a contradiction in terms.
So, yeah, I'm sure the new movies and spinoffs and whatever will be fine, but even the prospect of more good entries in said franchise frankly kind of bores me. I'm a lot more interested to see where the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes... and, indeed, more intrigued by Jurassic World than The Force Awakens.
Count me in on the "not overly-impressed" camp. Never was a big Star Wars kid, love the Empire Strikes Back, but never cared for a New Hope. So the nostalgic music and quick shots didn't do much for me. Honestly, I thought it was a fake until the Millenium Falcon shot came up. Between the awkward storm trooper shots and the deep voice-over, I thought it was a parody is a JJ Abrams trailer.ReplyDelete
Also put me in the "not a huge JJ Abrams fan" club. I think he's a good director, and has great visual flair, but not a fan of his writing. At all. And while I like 2009's Star Trek, Abrams can't do the same "let's start anew and just have fun" approach. I'm worried that the new Star Wars is going to come out a lot like Star Trek into Darkness, and is going to be a lot of elbow-nudging.
And that's really my problem with big franchises. A lot of it is starting to come down to wanting people to describe things as "so awesometacular bro." I'm not sure if Abrams will be concerned enough about creating a compelling, interesting and original Star Wars story as he will be about wanting to give the fans the shallow things they want. I know it's hip to blast on the Phantom Menace now, but when it came out, a lot of fans walked away loving it. Because it gave them what they wanted. Lightsabres. Force Pushes. The theme.
I just watched a few youtube reviews for that new animated film Jurassic World (particularly the one by Screen Junkies) and I couldn't help but be bothered with how many time I heard "epic", "badass", "so sick" and "awesome." Like, is that what we've dissolved to? Is it just enough to see a raptor for us to give our approval? Is no one else bothered by prehistoric dinosaurs teaming up with a motorcycle-riding Chris Pratt? Is that scene preceded by Chris Pratt giving these raptors a Hoosiers-style pep talk?
Maybe you have to be a Star Wars fan to be blown away by it. Perhaps I'm getting cynical, but I am very wary of this new Star Wars. I hope JJ has bigger aspirations than just making a "cool" movie that the internets will be impressed with.
JJ Abrams: visual flair through visual flare.Delete
IIRC he is a big fan of Star Wars, so maybe that will cultivate a different tone than the Star Trek reboot.
I was speaking with Heath Holland on Twitter yesterday about this a little bit, I'm in a weird position where I have a lot of faith that the new movie will be very good, and I'm looking forward to seeing it, but I thought the trailer was pretty underwhelming. I didn't expect it to be a huge reveal of the plot, but a lot of people seem to be really excited to see Stormtroopers and the Milennium Falcon again, but it's a Star Wars movie. Of course you're going to see those. It reminded me a lot of what Patrick said in the Phantom Menace podcast about how fans got so excited to see Jawas, but it's a Star Wars movie. Why do you expect to not see them? I liked the original trilogy when I was younger, but over time moved on to other things, I thought the prequels were pretty bland and uninspired. So I'm not a Lucas devotee, if anything I feel like him being removed is probably a great sign. I guess I just wanted to be blown away and be psyched for this movie like everyone else seems to be, but I feel like they showed so little it's hard to feel anything about it. There was no moment for me that rivaled the "Whoa" moment of when Darth Maul's lightsaber extended the second blade from the Phantom Menace trailer, and the Phantom Menace was a pretty awful movie. But the trailer excited me in a way this one doesn't.ReplyDelete
Again, I think this movie will be great, I have a lot of faith in those involved. But I wanted to be caught up in the excitement and I wasn't.
I feel like they absolutely tried to get the "whoa" moment with the three-pronged claymore lightsaber, because the staging is very similar where it looks like a regular lightsaber and then there's a half-second beat before SURPRISE this ain't your granddaddy's lightsaber. For me, at least, that's the only moment that doesn't work in the trailer. The rest was a refreshing surprise as someone who has very little affection for any movies in the series. Based on the bits we've seen I like the cinematography, something I was never expecting to say about a Star Wars movie.Delete
Exactly my reaction GD. I felt like they was trying to recapture the moment in part 4 with the double ended light saber. The same timing pause too. I thought that shot was superb and blew me away the first time I saw itDelete
I was actually thinking about it today and trying to come up with something new for a light saber but all the best ideas have already been done. A small dagger type light saber was the best I could come up with as new
Sorry I should of put part 1. The Phantom MenaceDelete
I think it will be FINE. I know Jar Jar Abrams (writer of Gone Fishin') is capable of making a very good movie. I don't know if he's capable of making a great movie. #BringBackBossNassReplyDelete
The more time that passes from the trailer, and the more absolutely ludicrous hyperbole I'm hearing from people, I am beginning to think I'm just going to have to stay away from a lot of fan oriented sites until December of next year.ReplyDelete
I think most people probably already know this, but if I have a "home base" for movies, it's the six Star Wars films. They're the earliest obsession I can remember having (they predate comics for me) and one that I still actively participate in to this day. I will defend the prequels with my dying breath--though I recognize that they are VERY flawed--and have probably spent more time and money on Star Wars-related movies, TV shows, novels, comics, toys, soundtracks, card games, and video games than on anything, aside from my house.ReplyDelete
I'm VERY excited.
I'm with you, Heath. I genuinely enjoy the prequels, warts and all. While most will complain about the complete tonal shift between the OT and prequels, I applaud the effort on Lucas' part to not simply copy/paste the originals. That said, I think JJ will align the tone of his movie with the OT, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm giddy as a school girl.Delete
... that is, a school girl who enjoys going to school. Not one of those fussy school girls who refuses to do her homework and just wants to sulk in her desk all day long. You won't one of those school girls, you go over to the AV Club. They seem to hate everything.
The first step to enjoying the prequels is to admit that they're not very well directed and that they weren't what many of us expected or wanted. Regardless of the movies we all thought we would get, we got what we got. All the usual talking points are true: the dialog is wooden, the performances from great actors are flat, and space opera took a backseat to politics. OK, so what now? From a world building standpoint, those movies are full of things to enjoy and dig deeper into. For starters, the idea of a clone army created by Palpatine solely for the purpose of creating anarchy in the galaxy so he could grab the reigns of leadership fascinates me. It's a fabricated war. There are no actual Clone Wars, there's the Galactic Republic, headed by Palpatine, fighting the Separatists, also headed by Palpatine. The clones are his tools to wipe out the current model of government and establish a dictatorship with himself at the helm. The entire prequel trilogy centers around this one dude playing both sides for his own political gain, and I think that's SUPER interesting.Delete
I also find it really interesting that Qui-Gon Jinn was more or less the black sheep of the Jedi order because he didn't stick to the "book" (the Jedi code) and went by his gut. He believed The Force was something living and always present while the Jedi council seemed mired in tradition and stagnant doctrine. They talk about The Force and even use it, but they don't have a symbiotic understanding of it. It's a tool, not a guide for them. There's an argument to be made that Qui-Gonn is the only real practicing Jedi that we ever see in all six films. The rest are just going through the motions without understanding what they believe and what the true nature of The Force is. Of course, Obi Wan seems to have discovered the true nature of The Force while he was hiding out on Tatooine, and Yoda seems to have finally understood it as well as he lies on his death bed. Revisionist history from George Lucas? Probably so, but there's still a whole lot to unpack and explore, if one is so inclined. It's still very interesting to me, even if it's not nearly as good (or magical) as those original three movies. I'm ready for the tone of those classic films to return, finally. I've been waiting over thirty years for more of that world.
Having said that,
Having said that, Lucas selling the whole shebang to Disney was the best thing for everyone involved. I think it was bigger than he was and I'm not sure he ever understood what made those first three movies connect like they did. I wonder what those first three movies would have been like if he had exercised total control like he did on the prequels? I'm of the opinion that the best Star Wars is the Star Wars that other filmmakers made, using those Lucas ideas as a jumping-off point. I think he's a great idea guy, but not the best director.Delete
Interesting school girl comments Adam haha! I am with you Heath, I am very glad he sold it to Disney and hopefully they will just take an inspired by stance and try to bring their own directing styles ect. I am hopeful that JJ will bring something to the table. I am trying to stay away from news and the fuss about it but discussion like this is much more interesting! Adam I just wanted to say thank you so much for what you said about me last week. That was very much appreciated and I hope to have some discussions with you elsewhere if you want to (I really loved your contributions in SMM by the way!).Delete
I'm starting to think they should hire Heath to come in and do rewrite work, the version of the Prequels he describes sounds so much more interesting than the ones we actually saw. I'd be all over those movies.Delete
Bryan, my fee is low. I'd do it for an unlimited supply of Jammy Dodgers, a background cameo, and SAG membership.Delete
Totally agree with your view of the politics in the prequels. I think Lucas is a really good big picture kind of guy who completely loses it in the details. The prequels have some interesting things to say about politics, but it's hard to appreciate it when the faults are so glaring.
Lucas selling Star Wars was a great move for everyone. Personally, I don't know how the guy endured the kind of ire a chunk of the Star Wars fanbase threw his way. I'm sure being fantabulously wealthy helps bolster your inner "Don't Give a Shit" organ, but there's got to be a limit to the amount of times you can take someone accusing you of raping your childhood.
I think Lucas is a neat, passionate guy with a lot of ideas but no one to help him cull the good from the bad. I once read -- and I can't remember if it was Rick McCallum or Dave Filoni who said it; maybe neither -- that every time Lucas watched one of his movies, he spotted things he wanted to change. I think that's something every creative person experiences. Lucas just had the means to, unfortunately for us, do something about it. I don't know if he ever saw his movies as classics; I figure, he just saw Star Wars as something he created. And as something he created, there were always nitpicky little details to be corrected. He saw faults none of the rest of us saw, or if we did, simply didn't give a shit about.
Shucks, thanks, Gabby. I'm not sure what that guy's problem was. This seems to be a really good place to discuss movies with reasonable people. His comments were just really out of place and needlessly hostile. Yours was a level voice ... way more than mine would have been.
And thanks for saying such nice things about my SMM contributions. This was my first year participating, and I had a lot of fun. I think I managed to pull off the full month's worth of movies (some nights, I'd play catch up), but didn't manage to crank out reviews for all of them.
Oh, and hearing them read out on the podcast was a real geeky thrill for me. Poor Patrick kept struggling with my last name, though, trying to make it way fancier than it is. It's just "Ar-mer," not the vaguely French-sounding thing most people try to make it in to. We Armours ain't that fancy.
Well said, Adam. Anyone who wants to read an exhaustive (27,000 words) essay on what is really happening in the Star Wars films and what they are "about," I recommend this:Delete
This is undeniable (seriously, by the end there is no denying) evidence through example after example of the big picture Lucas was working on in his movies, and uses dozens of references and sources, including his own words, for verification. I guarantee that it will change the way you view the entire six existing films. There are a lot of things that are true of the prequels--He's not the strongest director, he writes clunky dialog, etc--but the assessment that George Lucas didn't know what he was doing is not one of them.
Thanks, Heath. I will definitely read this (slowly ... over a long period time ... likely while I am supposed to be working).Delete
I'm not a Star Wars fan beyond the prequel trilogy being a large part of pop culture when I was growing up. However, the thing that gets me excited is the fact that three years ago, general consensus was that we would NEVER get another Star Wars movie... and now we have footage of a new Star Wars movie. That's cool in the same way I lost my head over the idea of an Avengers movie back in 2008.ReplyDelete
I'm sure the hype and marketing machine will eventually wear my enthusiasm down (very much in the same way that the Marvel movies have), but I'm enjoying this cynicism-free feeling right now.
I can't complain about the fanboys as there are levels of geekdom for different things. I'm blase about the new Star Wars but when I heard about Twin Peaks coming back I turned back into full dork mode, so, to each his own. I'll see Star Wars, but have zero expectations (which is usually a great thing for me!)ReplyDelete
Really?! No love for Twin Peaks?! I know it's Degobah land in this post but c'mon man!Delete
I agree with Sol that the similarity to the visual style of the first films is a good thing. I'm fine waiting it out, and might pass entirely if feedback is overly negative. There are other releases next year that are more interesting to me: Terminator: Genisys, Ex Machina, and The Martian. (Is Matt Damon the go-to star while Tom Cruise focuses on franchises for the next couple of summers?ReplyDelete
I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and kind of like Heath it was my first obsession. I don't think I ever dorked out on anything else in my life to the degree of Star Wars. When Phantom Menace came out, I was 10 years old, so I was too young and green to realize it's flaws. I bought it and probably wore the VHS out.ReplyDelete
However, even my 12-year-old self hated Episode II, and I didn't watch it again for probably 10 years. That sour taste of ruined hopes and dreams has made me constantly wary about stuff like this because, unfortunately, I just can't love a decent-to-good movie if it shits on what I love. An example would be Watchmen, which I think is probably the best movie they could have made, but I still don't enjoy it because I compare it to a far superior source material.
Anyhow, the teaser looked good enough. I really hope it's as grimy and campy as it feels, compared to the smooth and sterile boring world of the prequels. And even if Abrams screws the pooch, I have a by-God Rian Johnson movie to look forward to.
By the way, I think this is why you should ignore your English teachers and always watch the movie first, to avoid disappointment. :)Delete
The original trilogy will always hold a special place for me. I watched them all countless times and wore out my VHS tapes. I even watched the probably not great Ewok made-for-television movies to fill my love of Star Wars. When I watched "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones", I tried to convince myself that they were good movies. They just weren't entertaining. Even "Revenge of the Sith", the "best" of the prequels, did nothing for me.ReplyDelete
I thought "The Force Awakens" trailer was pretty good for a teaser. It teased. Nothing more. But I really could go until next December to see anymore of the movie. My ass will already be in the seat to see it. It's Star Wars.