The Force Awakens… Or a journey Into Darkness…

Well after much speculation the final trailer for Star Wars – The Force Awakens made its online appearance a few days ago. As someone who grew up in the era of the original trilogy. This latest instalment in one of the highest grossing movie franchises has set fans across the internet alight with speculation as to what Disney will do with George Lucas’ blockbuster legacy.

Handing over a pop culture phenomenon that has been loved by so many to someone who doesn’t really “get it”

I can remember seeing reports on the news back in ’77 of crowds of people queuing around a cinema several times over when Star Wars first premiered, however I was not one of them. Due to “difficulties” in our household I was never taken to the cinema as a child so missed out on some of the great cinematic experiences other children had been exposed to. At the time the closest I get to the film was when I persuaded my mother to buy me the soundtrack on cassette and the book. It wasn’t until probably the 80’s when I saw Star Wars on the TV for the first time. At the time we had a video recorder and I can remember recording the film from TV. This was when it took an average of two years for a film to air on TV and longer still  before it made it to VHS (that’s video tape to you kids today!).

Since then I made copies of the original trilogy from VHS, bought the remastered versions and even have them on the ill fated PAL Laserdisc release which was sadly a botched release as they had been given the wrong master tapes to use for the transfer which resulted in completely missing the point of CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) playback of the disc allowing you to get rock solid freeze frames. But that’s another story!

Anyway I digress. So some sixteen years later Lucas revealed the first instalment of the prequels to the original saga The Phantom Menace to the world and it sucked big time. I can say in all honesty that this was one of the times when the trailer was better than the film. Seriously folks it was the biggest pile of horse shit I had seen in years. When the script was leaked online and the popular movie site “Ain’t It Cool News” brought it to our attention my heart sank. The mention of “midichlorians” was met with “say it isn’t so” and for me and probably every Star Wars fan out there destroyed the mythos of the “force” which I think was part of the appeal of the original trilogy.

The lines were every bit as terrible as some of the performances. Natalie Portman had said in a recent interview that the Phantom Menace nearly ruined her career as an actress, that’s how bad it was. Unfortunately Lucas had either run out of steam, lost his touch or more likely lost the plot (if there ever was one) and subjected us to two more disappointing instalments every bit as terrible as the last. The problem with being such a big Director is that once you surround yourself with yes men that no one has the balls to tell him that his script was complete utter rubbish! I know that he had a lot of influence from his children in creating some of the characters but he really should have consigned the scripts to the waste paper basket or as cat litter. There were far better Star Wars novels that would have made better films that that pile of crap!

And so we fast forward to the present day. In less than two months we will see what the combination of George Lucas cashing in on his long time money maker and the partnership of Disney and J.J.Abrams will bring. Having seen “Super 8” which was one of J.J’s earlier endeavours I can see the similarities with becoming a wannabe Spielberg while falling short of the mark in the last reel. His work on the Star Trek reboot was fantastic, perhaps an overindulgence in horizontal lens flare but his second Trek outing was more of a disappointment. I got the impression that he is only interested in making his mark on a film/pop culture phenomenon so he can tell people at parties “Oh yeah I did that!”.

This is one of my greatest fears, handing over a pop culture phenomenon that has been loved by so many to someone who doesn’t really “get it”. And if he treats Star Wars without the reverence it so rightly deserves then we will all be the worse for it. The phenomenal success of Star Wars made Lucas a fortune but also elevated special effects and the art of movie making. I’m sure that the execs at Disney are hoping that they haven’t bought in too late and that they can bring about a saga for a new generation.

May the force be with you…

Update: 18/12/2015

Well from the initial press reviews and those of those who saw the premiere it looks like JJ has pulled it off. I haven’t seen it myself yet as payday is not until Christmas Eve and I’m still finishing off my kitchen remodelling project which began last November but I’ll go when I get the chance and see for myself.

Update: 30/12/2015

I finally got round to seeing The Force Awakens on Monday. I’d read reviews and even looked at *SPOILERS* to see who got killed off. My verdict… it’s a good movie but not a great movie. Lets hope that they don’t try to remake “The Empire Strikes Back” as that was an awesome film in comparison! Would I go and see it again..? I think I’ll wait for the Blu-ray release and watch it at home.