Friday, December 5, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser

I have been travelling all week, but before the week’s end I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the new teaser for the upcoming Star Wars film: The Force Awakens. Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, it’s hard to measure just how much influence the original Star Wars trilogy had on my own creativity. I am fairly certain that as a nine-year-old boy sitting in Grauman’s Chinese Theater watching a Rebel Blockade Runner being chased by an Imperial Star Destroyer was a life-altering event. I suspect the same is true for many, or even most, science fiction or fantasy authors who grew up in that same time period. George Lucas essentially created a new mythology for our age (he’s sort of like the Homer of the late 20th Century). I frankly cannot imagine a more influential movie in my lifetime.

All of this said, I was never a fan of the three prequels. Every actor who tried to portray Anakin Skywalker seemed horribly miscast. If Anakin was supposed to be a rock-star Jedi before he went to the dark side, they needed an actor who exuded charisma. A Harrison Ford or Chris Pratt-type, if you will. Hayden Christensen brought none of that. Even Natalie Portman, who has proven herself to be a talented and engaging actress in films like The Professional, Black Swan, and even the two Thor flicks, fell totally flat in the prequels. It didn’t help to have that ridiculous age difference between her and Anakin in the first film, which made the last two rather creepy. All of this has convinced me that the biggest problem with the prequels was the writing and the stories themselves. Author Kristin Lamb wrote a wonderful piece on why the prequels don’t work. You can read it here.

Which brings me to the teaser. I loved it! It looks totally old-school and reminiscent of the original series. I loved seeing the X-wings and the Stormtroopers, and the shot of the Millennium Falcon soaring to John Williams’ famous score gave me chills. I even liked that new dark force light saber. J.J. Abrams (of LOST fame and the new Star Trek films, among others) has proven himself worthy of great filmmaking. May the Force be with him on this one!

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