Thursday, 22 October 2015 00:00

A Geek at War with Himself Over Star Wars The Force Awakens

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Big Ross debates with himself whether or not to be worried about the upcoming return to that galaxy far, far away.

Over the weekend the official poster for Star Wars The Force Awakens was released. On Monday the final trailer for the film debuted during Monday Night Football, was shortly thereafter released online, and the internet (rightly) lost its damn mind in response. Oh, and tickets for the movie officially went on sale, and sites like Fandango promptly crashed do to the hordes of rabid Star Wars fans clamoring to get opening night tickets. It’s safe to say that the stakes for this movie couldn’t be any higher.

Which begs the question (at least in my own mind), should we (I) be worried about it? What if it’s terrible? Or (possibly worse) just mediocre? And do I have any reason to think that, or should I trust my feelings that, as the trailers promise, the first Star Wars film in a decade(!) is going to be as amazing as it looks. To try and sort through all of this, I’ve decided to argue with the only true worthy opponent I have: myself. I’ve color coded my arguments in a manner I think you’ll easily understand. Let’s begin! Oh, and there may be some SPOILERS that come up, so be warned!

 

YE GODS!!! That last trailer was AMAZING!!! The imagery! Han looked and sounded great, Leia looked great (but sad, why is she sad?) the music was PHENOMENAL. Seriously, I had gooseflesh from the start, but at the 1:05 mark? And again at 1:25? Chills. Literal chills coursing through my body. HOLY CROM this looks SO FUCKING GOOD.

Yes, yes. It was a very good trailer. But then, that’s exactly what a trailer is supposed to do, isn’t it? It’s a marketing tool, and certainly movie studios have been very good at selling movies for a very long time. I mean, it worked, didn’t it? You were one of those rabid fans clamoring for tickets, weren’t you?

Well, I managed to hold out until the following morning, but yes. Yes I was. But come on! You can’t tell me you didn’t love it!

Of course I did. But then, there have been some really great trailers for movies that were terrible, or simply disappointing. For example, the teaser for Superman Returns, the trailer for Terminator Salvation, the trailer for Prometheus, the first trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for Crom’s sake. Remember that? Remember how great that looked? And do you remember what a steaming pile of crap that movie turned out to be?

Yes, damn you, yes. Why bring that up? We agreed to never speak of it. Though I appreciate you foregoing the nigh-obligatory “bantha poodoo” joke.

Of course. We’re not without scruples. But my point is, trailers can be deceiving. And let’s talk about that other bit of promotional material released over the weekend.

The poster?

The poster.

What was wrong with the poster?

Oh I wouldn’t say anything “was wrong” with it. But two things I want to discuss. First, Han and Leia, almost dead center.

You have a problem with Han and Leia being on the poster?

No, I don’t have a problem with that. My “problem” is with them being in the movie at all. And Luke for that matter.

What?!?

Hear me out. For pure nostalgia, yes it’s great they all came back and are reprising their roles. But what are their roles going to be? How prominent are they? Does anyone want to see an old, gray-haired Han Solo “running” around? Think about-

Don’t say it. I know what you’re about to-

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Damn it! That’s twice!

I’m sorry. It had to be said. What if The Force Awakens is like that? And what if these old characters eclipse the new ones: Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron? Don’t you want new stories?

Of course! But that doesn’t preclude bringing back these existing, and extremely popular I might add, characters. It makes sense to bring them back. To see where they are, what’s become of them in this post-Return of the Jedi galaxy. You can tell new stories with old characters. And I doubt they’ll be the main characters anyway. If anything, the latest trailer points to them being more advisory, mentor-type roles. Luke in a more direct way, given at least one of these new characters (Finn) appears to be Force sensitive. Don’t be so negative. This could work really well.

Alright, alright. I see where you’re coming from. I’ll concede that point, though I want to go on record that I’m still worried.

Well I’m excited. There’s so much we don’t know!

But what if there is? Which brings me to my second point about the poster. Let’s talk about the giant sphere with the glowing red eye in the upper right corner.

What about it?

Every website we looked at that ran the poster talked about how that thing is likely the world-destroying superweapon of this movie. A couple even speculated it is the rumored “Starkiller Station,” and instead of blowing up planets, this thing blows up stars (and entire star systems). Basically the Death Star v3.0. Really? Are they recycling that idea? A third time???

As much as I hate to admit it, you have a point there. Yeah, I’m a little worried about that too.

Right? That’s the direction they decide to go in? And I’m sure The First Order brass will be convinced they’ve fixed the flaws of previous versions and this new battle station will be indestructible. Wanna bet one of our intrepid young heroes, perhaps one who is strong in the Force finds a way to destroy it?

That’s pure speculation. We don’t know what the plans are for that thing. They could surprise us.

Sure, like Abrams did with how bad Star Trek Into Darkness was?

First of all, I’m not entirely comfortable with crossing the streams of these two franchises. Could be dangerous. Secondly, that’s a low blow.

But you admit it was bad. You’re willing to admit they took these old characters and story ideas, recycled them, flipped them on their head a few times, but mostly made an incoherent mess of a movie that tried to get by on nostalgia. And that could happen again!

Let the record show that Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof wrote Star Trek Into Darkness. Lindelof wrote Lost, Cowboys and Aliens, Prometheus, and World War Z, hot messes, each and every one. Orci and Kurtzman were co-writers on a lot of those AND The Island, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which killed that particular franchise. Force Awakens was co-written by Abrams and Lawrence Freakin’ Kasdan. Co-writer of the greatest of all Star Wars films, Empire Strikes Back.

Touche’. But! Bringing back the original cast, yet another Death Star, Darth Vader’s helmet! We haven’t even talked about Vader’s helmet!

I’m almost afraid to ask. What about it?

I read a rumor that Kylo Ren’s mission or plan or whatever, the reason he has Vader’s helmet is that he’s trying to clone him, to resurrect Darth Vader.

Again, while I agree that would be pretty lame if true, it’s PURE SPECULATION. We don’t know that’s his plan. It could simply be a relic. Something he keeps as a sort of talisman. Something he worships, or someone he emulates and tries to live up to. The fact remains, we don’t know.

True enough. We don’t know. That’s ultimately my problem. That is precisely what I worry about. We don’t know what this movie is going to be. Can it stand on its own? Will it be another Empire Strikes Back, or another Phantom Menace? Will it tell a compelling story full of interesting, complex characters, or will it be a Jurassic World?

You say that like it would be a bad thing. We loved Jurassic World, remember?

Oh I won’t deny it. LOVED that movie. But why did we love it? Was it a good movie? Remember what our wife said about the dialogue?

Oh yes. That it “felt like it was written by George Lucas.” It was a sweet burn. We were very proud of her.

Damn right we were, and damn right she was. Objectively, that movie isn’t very good. But what it’s very good, no great at, is pinging our pleasure centers. Going back to the island, all the dinosaurs, the fully-realized Disney Worldesque theme park built around dinosaurs, the fight at the end between the two biggest, baddest dinosaurs, it was full of incredible imagery (and dinosaurs). I would argue that Jurassic Park is the better movie, and a great movie in its own right. Jurassic World is a compilation of images that bore into our minds and pinged our pleasure centers, those nostalgic, fond memories of the original movie. Hell, some of the marketing for the resurgence of Star Wars is designed around that very thing:

You’re completely missing the point! The brilliance of that ad is precisely why we should be excited for this movie! Look I get it. I do. I understand what’s wrong with you. It’s not your fault.

What do you mean? What are you talking about?

Listen to me. It’s not your fault. You’re like a dog who can’t see past the abuse of recent years to the good times that came before. You were in a rescue shelter for a while, and now you’ve been adopted by this new guy. He’s nerdy but sort of sweet, and you want to like him. You really do, but you’re afraid. He talks really nice, but is he going to raise that hand? Are you going to get burned again?

You know us too well.

Of course. The first Star Wars film was titled A New Hope. But really, that should be the title of this new movie. Because that’s what it is, a new hope for all of us. We’re all full of hope that this new movie will wash away the bitter taste of the Prequels. That it will reignite our passion for the original trilogy and this universe in general.

But what if-

No. Enough. Let’s not play that game. Fear. Anger. Suffering. That way leads to the Dark Side. I find your lack of faith disturbing. We’ve bought the tickets. We are going to see this movie. Good or bad we are going to go in and give it every chance in the world to be great. Because it just might be.

Search your feelings. Give into hope.

Read 7365 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 15:01
Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

Big Ross is big.  Real Big. When he's not playing God in the lab, he coaches Superman on catching bullets with his teeth.