Friday, November 28, 2014

With a Teaser Trailer, The Force Awakens (As I see it)

So I didn't bother posting when the title of the latest Star Wars was announced a few weeks back, as I felt that like all Star Wars sequel titles (Revenge of the Sith notwithstanding), it won't really be judged until after the film has been released. It is interesting to note that they're not pushing the Episode VII emphasis, just Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yet one more way in which they are harkening back to the original trilogy, as opposed to the prequel trilogy.

But the teaser trailer, well, that definitely requires some discussion and analysis.

My first impression... well, to be perfectly honest, I was hoping for more. Which is not to say I didn't like what I saw, nor am I suggesting that it's a valid indicator of the quality of the film to come. I just wanted, well, more. And not more in the way of specific plot details, but more in the way of content. If you go back to the original teaser trailer for The Phantom Menace, there was a LOT packed in that one. Did it spoil the story? Not at all. But it gave the fans plenty to chew on for several months.

Regarding that issue, my pal Steve Sansweet raised a valid point on Facebook, which is important to keep in mind:
Not commenting on the substance of your feelings, but we need to remember that the Episode I teaser trailer was released 6 months before the opening (and it was difficult even then to get all the footage that LFL marketing wanted). This is nearly 13 months in advance and it is a true tease, rather than a full teaser trailer, which I'm looking forward to seeing.
That said, I do still think the TPM teaser uses John Williams' music more effectively. In that, right away we got the Force theme—and goosebumps. For The Force Awakens, we get some subdued, original Williams music over a fair amount of black, an ominous voice-over, a barren landscape... and then a musical sting as our protagonist (wearing Stormtrooper armor—his? Or someone else's?) pops into frame. Listen closely for the mumbling of an imperial probe droid on the soundtrack.

Our next introduction is to an R2 unit. He's 'cute' of course, and while there's surely more to him than meets the eye, I can't help look at him through my Ralph McQuarrie-tinted Star Wars glasses and ask, how does that work. Form and function should always trump looking cool for cool's sake, and this concept seems to be firmly in the cool for the sake of looking cool school. The background elements in this shot bring to mind the prequel trilogy (looking a lot like pod-racer engines, though more likely just scrap machinery).

Next up, some revamped Stormtroopers, 30-years post Return of the Jedi. When I first saw this concept, I was thrilled to see them taking an OT concept further, rather than regressing to make it look MORE like one of Ralph McQuarrie's original concepts. Right now, this is my favorite design from TFA.

This is followed by a sequence with another protagonist on another prequel-era looking speeder, which pans to include the only McQuarrie concept that makes an appearance in the trailer, a structure Ralph painted in the late 90's depicting an entrance archway to Jabba's palace (not what I'm suggesting it's being used for here).

We then are treated to another taste of original trilogy goodness in the cockpit of the new split-wing X-Wing (with the single nacelle, like Joe Johnston's original concept, as seen in Ralph's painting).

We then get our money shot of the villain, dressed in tattered black robes, with a requisite red lightsaber.

And to up the ante from Darth Maul's double-bladed saber from the prequels, we get what is already being described by fans as the broadsword saber. Cool for cool's sake? Time will tell.

Finally, we get the John Williams fanfare with the return of the Millennium Falcon. Note the radar dish has been replaced with a new style...

...following the loss of the original radar dish in the assault on the second Death Star in this shot from Return of the Jedi.

 To bring things home, for the first time in 31 years, we see TIE Fighters firing upon the Falcon.

To recap, while I was hoping for more, there are several things I really like in this teaser trailer, and I'm certainly remaining optimistic that the best is yet to come. And frankly,  it can't come soon enough!

No comments:

Post a Comment