Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A New Hope for The Force Awakens

I've been burned before. I waited for "the Phantom Menace" like a kid at Christmas, hoping for a movie of the ages. Instead I got a big lump of coal. So when the Force Awakens was announced, I shrugged. Sucking seemed to be in it's DNA. But after watching the 2015 Comic Con show reel, I feel a new hope inside that the people making this film actually get it.
The Comic Con reel makes a point of emphasizing how they're making the film tangible, with real props and sets, demonstrating the filmmakers are acutely aware of the pandering the prequels got because they felt too 'computery' and fake.

That alone tells me JJ Abrams and crew understand something of the legacy of the prequels, and how they disappointed so many fans. When I watched the reel and understood that, my blackened heart skipped a beat. Maybe Abrams is crafting something cool in a way A New Hope broke ground in its day. Abrams did an amazing job with the Star Trek reboot - could this be a Star Wars reboot?

I sure hope so. Because whatever sensibilities Lucas brought to Star Wars were completely lost in the prequels, replaced by amateurish writing and glitzy computer effects. It's obvious that the time has come to pass the torch on to other talented people who can make this franchise cool again.

Post prequels, the only glimmer of hope I saw in some sort of turn-around for the franchise was Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars cartoon.

So great. So cool. Wish I worked on this! Tartakovsky understood what made Star Wars awesome, overlaying his own sensibilities of amazing action onto the Star Wars universe that brought back that feeling you got when you first saw Luke head down the Death Star trench. His understanding of the characters was also evident. I mean, he gave Anakin a red lightsaber. Well duh! Revenge of the Sith should have been all Darth Vader, all the time. Show Vader wiping out the jedi with a red lightsaber! You skipped over the cool parts! We don't want to see him lounging around with Padme for god's sake! Ahem, sorry, digressing.

So, bottom line? Looks like "The Force Awakens" could be decent. The filmmakers seem to care a lot about creating something watchable. So let's put all that messy prequel business behind us. Just as a side note: I will never let my kids watch the prequels. I told them not to waste their time. Let's just pretend they never happened, shall we?

Hey, I know it's only a damn movie. But movies are the modern vehicle for mass story-telling and mythology creation. We can only hope the filmmakers weigh that responsibility as we head for the release date.

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