Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Watchin' Trailerz with Doug, Star Wars Teaser Edition

by Doug Schultz
Flick Bait is being hijacked by my old column this week in order to feature the new Force Awakens teaser, as well as the very first trailerz from the previous six films.

1. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

Looks cool! I'll have to check it out! Because nothing sells space opera like, "the man who brought you American Graffiti." Apparently, "somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now" ... um, how about A LONG TIME AGO? This is a pretty great preview, given the era [ERA]. At two minutes long, it feels like a regular trailer, but it's labeled as a "teaser" online (and the Internet NEVER lies). And that makes sense! Because things were different in the '70s, man. YOU HAD TO BE THERE. Carter was president. A stoic American Indian (by way of Italy) shed a tear at our polluted planet. And Reggie "Mr. October" led his New York Yankees to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. BUT HOLD ON. Can we all take a giant leap back and admit that Star Wars is a pretty terrible name for a movie? Look, I love the franchise as much (if not more) than most of you. But dat title ...

2. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

HOLY SHIT THIS TRAILER. This is just perfect (because it's nuts). Seriously, if you skip most of these previews and simply read my commentary (I'm fatter, uh ... I mean "flattered"!), I would really encourage you to watch this one. It's mostly drawings and stilted narration with mispronounced names. I mean, seriously ... Princess LEE-ah? Lan-DOW Calrissian? There's not one live action shot in the entire 90 second runtime (excluding the kind of cool-looking image of Darth Vader's helmet at the end, which is not actually in the movie). It feels like some ad executive took very rough notes at a Lucasfilm meeting, grabbed a couple storyboards, and just said FUCK IT. And you know what? It STILL works! Although maybe I'm biased, because we know how great the movie ends up being.

3. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

Aaaand ... here it is. REVENGE of the Jedi. The way it should be! Just kidding! Because who really cares about whether it's "Revenge" or "Return"? I mean, sure -- a Jedi would not seek revenge. Right. Gotcha. But, according to Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Only the Sith deal in absolutes," which, as we all know, is an absolute. So ... Obi-Wan's a Sith? Of course not! It's a [stupid] quote from a [stupid] prequel! MY POINT: let's not read too much into fantasy films, k? Also, this teaser isn't very good.

4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

ARE YOU AN ANGELLLLL? Can we all take a moment to mourn (SPOILERS!?) the premature passing of the most legit character in any of the prequels? I'm speaking, of course, about Darth Maul, who appears here in all his menacing, double-bladed lightsaber glory. George Lucas is such a fool, killing off his awesomest (it's a word) character in favor of a vaguely racist-stereotype Gungan (whose dopey name I refuse to mention). Thankfully, this teaser(? Which runs just over two minutes [weird]) looks pretty badass, even now (especially with all of us knowing how bad the Episode I truly is). Little is shown of the bad stuff. Lots of the good stuff is on display. I kind of ... want to watch this movie again?

5. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

Some quick thoughts (it's late and I'm drunk) ... Darth Vader breathing! But why? Anakin Skywalker doesn't "become" Darth Vader until the very end of the NEXT movie! That CGI looks not very good! Anakin has a gross rattail! I prefer the puppet Yoda (which was still in use in The Phantom Menace). Samuel L. Jackson looks pensive! Why so sad, Sam Jackson? Zip-lining! I want to kiss Natalie Portman! Why is Watto featured so prominently in both of the last two teasers? Do people really care about this second-rate, punchable Toydarian slave owner? But whatever! As soon as the 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm logos appear on screen, I'm a little kid again!

6. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

This is easily the most kick butt teaser from the entire Star Wars cannon. Probably because it borrows HEAVILY from the original movies (all that Obi-Wan narration, John Williams score and character design DOES NOT HURT). I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to watch this movie again. Right now. Even though I know it's not very good! Ah, marketing! And nostalgia! One-two punch!

7. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

And here it is. Which I'm sure you've all already seen. YOU'RE WELCOME? For a brief, fleeting moment, I foolishly considered making this a Flick Bait column about the fan reactions to the stupid crossguard lightsaber shot. I mean, FOR REAL. So many suggestions for improvement and nit-picky complaints. NERD CULTURE. And let's not even get into the [SHOCK] black Stormtrooper or droid on a soccer ball or Daisy Ridley's character's Fudgsicle-shaped speeder. There's so much to complain about! Yet I won't do that here. Because, honestly, I'm really excited about this movie. And the trailer looks cool! I like the casting, the choice of director, the ambition, the buzz, the fact that it's not written by George Lucas AND the noticeable lack of lens flares. HAVE YOU FELT IT?


  1. Doug, did you know they brought Darth Maul back in the Clone Wars TV series? Which was produced and overseen by George Lucas? And that it was all his idea to do so? AND that Disney considers Clone Wars to be part of the official Star Wars canon outside of the films themselves? Can I end more sentences with question marks?! Granted, Darth Maul in Clone Wars is not nearly as cool as he was in Phantom Menace, but it's SOMETHING. It takes a bit of the salt out of the wound. And it's cool to think that the official timeline has him still floating around out there, robotic from the waist down, half-crazy, and looking for revenge.

    1. Oh, spoilers for the Clone Wars, I guess. Whoops. (No one watched Clone Wars.)

    2. Heath, I did NOT know that (and you're probably right -- no one watched Clone Wars). And I guess that's cool. It shows a little course-correction on Lucas' part.

      My problem is more with Lucas' latter-day instincts. Why on earth would he kill off Darth Maul so soon in the first place? So we can spend more time with Jar Jar/Watto/Grievous? Those characters all suck.

    3. Oh, I don't know. Ladies love Watto. Watto's the sexiest dude in the entire saga. That manly beard stubble, those powerful wings, and that loooooong nose. You know what they say about Star Wars characters with long noses, don't you? They can smell things really far away. What? Did you think I was going somewhere else with that?

      Also? Huge wiener. It's an grower, not a shower.

    4. I have watched some of the Clones Wars and enjoy for most part what I have seen. I think if I were ten I would absolutely love it. To invoke the tired tautology; it is what it is. But I am a pretty easy to please Star Wars fan.

    5. It's weirdly inconsistent in tone. I'm going through them all again, season by season (I decreed tht 2015 will be the year of Star Wars in the Holland House, but I started early) and I'm taken aback by how some episodes seem geared for kids while other episodes are very adult in tone. When it's good, it's very good and fleshes out the characters in ways the movies didn't. Problem is, it isn't always good.

    6. I am going to have to dig up the Clone Wars now and work my way through them.

      Since you guys mentioned Darth Maul, have you read any of the Dark Horse comics themed around him? I have not, I just know of them and was wondering if they are any good.

      Feeling inspired, I just search Youtube and found that some episodes of "Droids" have been uploaded. Now I just have to find some old "3P-Os" cereal to eat while watching them to recreate those Saturday mornings in 1985.

    7. I've read SOME of the Darth Maul comics, but not the newer "Son of Dathomir" story, which was a holdover from The Clone Wars season six that never got animated. I guess with Dark Horse comics losing the license to Marvel, that stuff could be hard to find soon. I'm trying to get what I want before it's all out of print. I feel like what I've read was fun, but there's nothing life changing; the comics usually just show how badass Maul is and flesh out some of his origin. Come to think of it, I guess that's pretty cool after all.

      Also, the Darth Maul novel, Shadow Hunter, is pretty great.

    8. But it was terrible. Skip it and watch Rebels. Disney can consider whatever they want to be canon canon. For me, whatever is good is canon. More fun that way :)

    9. Anyone who hasn't should check out the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" miniseries by Genndy Tartakovsky who helmed the excellent "Samurai Jack." It's probably the best thing I've seen in the Star Wars universe outside the OT.

    10. Starting in Season 2, Clone Wars tends to split their seasons between kiddy and ... for lack of a better word ... "adult" story arcs. The first half of a season tends to be the former, while the really good stuff ... at least for fans over the age of 10 or so ... tends to occur in the back half.

      All the stuff with Darth Maul and his Clancy Brown-voiced bro is really great.

  2. Doug, you should watch A Band Called Death. It's good.

  3. Yay! We can haz trailerz! Great to see the column again.

    Initially I thought the first trailer was a hoax, but I guess there was no humor to be had from the man who brought you American Graffiti.

  4. Oh man the trailer for episode 5 is simply hilarious. I think I love it. But the trailer for 7 really piqued my interest in a movie I wasn't all that excited for. Bravo Disney marketing people.

  5. The force is strong with this thread.

    Thanks Doug, it's cool to see all of these trailers.

  6. Doug, you honestly prefer that Yoda puppet they used in Episode I? Episode V Yoda compared to Episode I Yoda is like 2013 Renee Zellweger compared to 2014 Renee Zellweger - barely recognizable as the same thing and I'd rather not look at it, thanks.

    Brilliant job Trailerzing the Star Wars franchise - you hit my G-spot AND my D-spot!

  7. Yoda and Renee! Thats probably the first time ever they have been mentioned in the same sentence together. Congratulations, not easy to do ;)