Fine, I Can’t Make Myself Not Talk About the Star Wars Trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens premiered last week. In case you have somehow found my website but not it, here it is:

I was hesitant to comment on it, for a number of reasons, but you know me and my loud mouth. If you feel your parade may be rained on here, leave now.

I’m not alone in being wary of this movie. The prequel series landed with a moist thud, despite lots of really good trailers. A lot of folks are trying not to get too worked up about it. Granted, this time there’s a different director, but that director is J.J. Abrams. Quick, name your favorite J.J. Abrams movie; by simple process of elimination, you have one, though you may not know offhand what it is.

This trailer seems to have put some people at ease, making them feel like everything’s going to be all right. There’s even a direct line to them at 1:34, when Old Man Solo says, “Chewie, we’re home”. People have claimed to be moved to tears by that moment and I am not being flip when I say I envy them. I didn’t feel that way and I can’t imagine feeling that way, and it might be nice to be able to.

For me, though, this moment does the opposite. I seem to be the only person who doesn’t really want to see the old gang back together. While I understand that they’re all still alive and able to do this, I think it’s more important for the story to move on. Luke, Han, and Leia had their story. Let’s have a new story. I love the Millennium Falcon but how about a different spaceship we can think is cool?

We have new characters, and they seem pretty cool. The new droid is adorable. The new bad guys — ha ha I kid, it’s the same old bad guys. (After spending seven years paging through five hundred million “hilarious” and “epic” Lego storm/clonetrooper pictures for Lego Diem, let me tell you how excited I am to start all over again with Newtroopers.) Why bring back the old heroes, even if it’s briefly? Why give us a scene of the Millennium Falcon flying through some superstructure like we haven’t seen that before (in a movie where we destroyed the Death Star again, no less). The trailer opens with downed, decrepit hardware from the old movies, which I like, but then does a record scratch and gives us the same stuff.

This isn’t unusual for the Star Wars universe, unfortunately. Thirteen years ago I wrote about how the goal seemed to be to take the world everyone liked for seeming so big and lived in and making it as small and cramped as possible, making sure everyone and everything in it was no more than two degrees of separation from anything else. It’s as though someone thought that, without the inclusion of a character directly from the movies, there was no possible way for anyone to recognize it as Star Wars.

This also brings forward my biggest complaint about the movies, and especially the original trilogy. In the first movie Luke is some dumb kid whose dad was a big war hero but is otherwise not particularly remarkable. He happens to get involved in the Rebellion, and finds his courage and heart within to triumph. But in The Empire Strikes Back, we find out, no, he’s been destined for this by biology, and this is developed even further in Return of the Jedi. Instead of a nobody becoming a hero we have a power dynasty fulfilling its destiny to have the events of the galaxy revolve around it. That second story is incredibly uninteresting to me, compared to the first, and I’m not particularly interested in further adventures of the sacred and superior bloodline. (And, after the prequel trilogy, I really don’t want to see any more Jedi and can’t imagine anyone else in that world would want to, either.)

I realize that I’m reacting to less than two minutes of a movie, making all kinds of assumptions about it. But being that this movie is from the same guy who had New Spock meet Old Spock to find out that the bad guy was in fact a bad guy, instead of just moving on, I’m not hopeful. I’m also not hopeful based on the reactions of my peers to the trailer, which were largely, “Hooray for the things that are very much like the things we already know and like!” I’ve seen a discussion of which existing Expanded Universe characters might be lurking in the trailer as though there’s an expectation that they should be.

I haven’t kept up with Star Wars, with the cartoons and videogames and books and comics and such, feeling as though they weren’t really for me. Which is fine; I’m a 46 year old guy with a mortgage and Roth IRA. It shouldn’t be for me. I guess what I’m trying to say is, this “new” movie seems like it wants to be for me, and I think that’s a bad idea.

PS – All that said, it’s still miles better than this bag of limp, humorless garbage. Is Superman too powerful, too corruptible? Let’s have the white billionaire guy address that.

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