Lessons From…Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Just in case you have been living under several boulders without internet access for the last few weeks, here is the much discussed Star Wars trailer:

It still gives me chills. Seriously, after the disaster of the last trilogy, the idea of anyone trying to continue to play in this universe on such a grand scale was nauseating. As in actual stomach pains. I was pleasantly surprised by both the tease/trailer and the generally positive reaction to it (mine included). Frankly, the amazingly positive response got me thinking and as it usually goes, thinking became writing and lead to this post.

Do I still have to justify using this thing? I just like it, okay.

Do I still have to justify using this thing? I just like it, okay.

I think one of the major reasons why virtually everyone seemed to love this trailer was simply because after viewing it (repeatedly) you still have no fucking clue what the story is. Seriously, most trailers, even teasers, have big reveals of what is going to happen or will occur during the film. I don’t know why many film studios are in the habit of doing this, but it is kind of annoying and takes away from the actual impact a film narrative could have. I know it’s a cliche but it is so for a reason; less is more and sometimes the mystery, not the answer, is the prize. Please, to all creators, keep the mystery alive as long as possible. The payoff is well worth the wait and price of admission. Be more Star Wars and less Terminator: Genysis.

Beyond that, the trailer just looked fun. It somehow captured all the old feelings of nostalgia, humor, and excitement of the original trilogy while managing to keep things new, interesting, and, for lack of a better term, fresh. There seems to be a push for dark, gritty, realism in entertainment media. (See pretty much all of DC’s upcoming cinematic universe for examples) People have to get it in their heads that “dark and gritty” does not equal “adult or mature.” It’s kind of how in high school and college, a few of your friends really get into nihilism and Nietzsche and Ayn Rand for like a minute and then hopefully come to their senses. In reality, there have always been mature and adult themes, ideas, and narratives in entertainment media. It was just that they were interlaced and mixed with the colorful and funny and juvenile. (See DC’s earlier animated universe for examples. Shout out specifically to Batman: The Animated Series) Basically, just because something is colorful, weird, funny, or even intended for children doesn’t mean it lacks depth or meaning and vice versa.

You'll always be my Batman.

You’ll always be my Batman. 

Look, it is very much possible that this movie will end up utter crap. Let’s be honest, Star Wars fans have been burned before. (Damn you, Jar Jar! Damn you straight to the worst of hells!!) However, there is also a sense of longing and hope (A New Hope, perhaps? Sorry.) with this new trailer/teaser, and that is more than enough for now. For the most part, there was anxiety and worry over what horrors these new installments would bring, but now there seems to be mostly excitement and anxiety over having to wait so long for the next movie to be released. At times the joy of the moment far outweighs the thoughts and possibilities of the future. So every once in a while, we should revel in the moment and not worry about the coming storm or calm.

Perhaps that is the biggest takeaway from the trailer. Enjoy it now for what it is and maybe for what it can be and don’t worry about what eventually will come.

Thus endeth today’s lesson.

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One thought on “Lessons From…Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

  1. What a world we live in where we need a spoiler warning for trailers.

    I admire your cautious optimism, and while I admit my expectations are prejudiced by the prequels, I do not share your feelings about the sequels. The new trilogy are “going back to basics” by evoking the same nostalgia and excitement from that movie. JJ talks about relying on the “western” feel from the first trilogy. In effect, the new trilogy is looking back to a story 40 years old and evoking a cinematic genre that’s 10 years older than that.

    The original trilogy was telling the hero’s journey that’s as old as humanity itself. It was drawing on inspiration from the then-greatest director (Akira Kurosawa) and appropriating a dying genre of western into a Space Opera. The reason I think people will enjoy but not adopt the new like we did the old is because Lucas tapped into something ancient and essential in our quest to be human. JJ is tapping into something old and marketable.

    It’ll sell tickets, and it will be better than the prequels and prettier than the original, but it won’t have the soul.

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