The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer: Can We Trust It?
In early 1999, the world was bracing for it’s first new Star Wars movie in 16 years. The excitement level was so high that many fans might as well have been in a galaxy far, far, away. Back then, lines to get into the theater formed nearly a month before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released. People camped out in front of movie theaters, living like Tusken Raiders or something, for weeks. In 2015, 10 years since our last installment (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith), people no longer need to wait on line in the cold for days… We’ve got the internet, and Fandango.com. Take that, jerks from 1999!
Anyway, check out this video uploaded by YouTuber, Wishnow, showing just how excited people were for The Phantom Menace. Look at how much hope they had before learning what a midi-chlorian was:
As we approach the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, people are pretty excited, but the excitement seems to be tempered with the understanding that The Phantom Menace didn’t live up to the promise of it’s hype. Thing is, Episode I did live up to the promise of it’s trailer. I mean, everything that people hate about the movie is in there, staring them in the face. Jar Jar, The Pod Race, Anakin’s acting skills, and dialogue that not even Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor could make cool. We were blinded by the hype.
Should this scare those who are excited to see what Han and Chewie have been up to for the last 30 years? I decided to look at the The Force Awakens trailer specifically looking for anything that might come back to bite us.
Not for nothing, this trailer is so much better than the clip for The Phantom Menace, at least I think it is. The only questionable moments that I can pull out include that shot of the melted Darth Vader helmet, and director, J.J. Abrams’ signature lens flares, which honestly everyone was expecting. Now, I don’t think those lens flares will ruin the movie. In my gut, I just felt like it was important to mention. The helmet however does scare me a bit. I can’t think of a very good story that would involve a melty-ass Vader grill. It could be part of a dream sequence, we don’t know. Otherwise, the rest of the new trailer is more or less void of Jar Jars.
One other thing to think about, is that the current crop of blockbuster movies have mostly been marinated in nostalgia. Sometimes the trailers are pretty honest about the movie we’re being given (think Rise of the Planet of the Apes), but then other times the trailer disguises itself like a classic that we love, thematically, while it’s actually delivering a wholly different result. One example of this is the trailer (and entire marketing campaign) for Jurassic World, whose liberal use of nostalgia (the music, the visuals, literally using footage from the original) was basically slight of hand distracting us from a move that was actually really silly and worlds different than the film being advertised.
For the record, I enjoyed Jurassic World. It was a fun popcorn movie. It’s just not what the trailers promised. It also wasn’t much like the original at all, in terms of tone. It did rub our nostalgia bones as frequently as possible, referencing Jurassic Park as much as it possibly could, so the trailer did deliver in that respect.
Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m still excited for The Force Awakens. I guess time will tell whether or not this trailer keeps it’s promise as well.