Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Third Trailer

Because I've said something about the other Star Wars trailers, I think I'll put down a few quick impressions of the most recent one.


In short, I'm still really impressed. The mood here is what really strikes me. The cinematography is straightforward and yet different somehow from other science fiction epics. I think part of this has to do with the avoidance of simple orange/blue color palettes (although I could be mistaken on that). There's a bit more going on in the X-Wing and Tie-Fighter battle than what we saw in the previous trailers but this is still not the gobs of unnecessary FX of the prequels. As many observers noted, there also seems to be a real focus on emotional impact. In particular, the confrontation between Kylo Ren (he of the radioactive cross guard lightsaber) and Finn registers as very dangerous. The short scene gives us Ren dominating the frame, Finn backed into one corner of the shot. If that is the direction J.J. Abrams goes with the lightsaber fights, I'm all for it. Give me one intense duel with genuine stakes over half a dozen "gee-whiz" nifty Yoda doing aerial acrobatics.

Speaking of stakes, the trailer sets up three potential story lines with dramatic and immediately interesting conflicts. Rey says she's a "no one." Finn has "nothing to fight for." And the presumed big bad, Kylo Ren, while holding the awesomely melted Vader helmet, vows to complete his work. The original trilogy did a great job setting up odd-balls and outsiders against an unstoppable, nearly omnipotent threat. Here we get the slight twist that the bad-guy also has something to prove, and the protagonists, while still outsiders, are in search for meaning.

Anyone else feel - taking a step outside of the hype-train - one thing is already clear? This is one of the most masterful uses of teasers, trailers, conventions, toys, and new media to build a genuine interest in a movie. Any Star Wars movie is going to blow out the box office in the first weekend, but the preparatory campaign behind this movie has leveraged existing fan interest to reach the widest possible audience. I don't always like to mix business and pleasure but you have to hand it to Disney - they know how to whip up a frenzy.
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