By James Nelson
So, yesterday one of my comrades released a post explaining why we should not be excited about Seventh Star Wars movie. In it he argued a variety of things but at it’s core was a deep seeded pessimism about the prospect of a new Wars movie, and though I find it completely understandable, I’m here to tell you why he’s wrong. It’s okay to get excited about Star Wars.
Don’t Blame Abrams
The entirety of the previous post centered around the idea that Abrams is a lazy filmmaker who starts projects and doesn’t finish them, and though I’m not going to spend the time going point-by-point with why he’s wrong, I will say that Abrams original movie Super 8 spells out pretty clearly what I am going to get at. The genesis of this movie is that it’s a tribute to Stephen Spielberg. It hews closely to many central themes in Spielberg’s previous films (the protagonists alienation from “normal” life, bad father figures, connections with “weirdness” as a way of coping) and cinematically with the way the shots are framed and even the visual aesthetic of the 1970s. It’s basically looks like Jaws and tries to feel like E.T. The story itself is original, but deals with themes and styles that are not original. This is a perfect choice for Star Wars, which has a very defined visual style and thematic elements, but needs a new, original story to keep it fresh. And after all, this is the closest we’re ever going to get to Spielberg directing a Wars movie, so enjoy it!
You’ve seen the trailers right? This movie looks beautiful! From both the wonderful practical effects to the visual FX that bring back that “used future” look to things that don’t seem to clash with the live actors. With a budget of $200 million it looks like every bit of it was poured into real sets that you can touch and feel. Regardless of anything else, we can say for sure that this movie is going to be a wonder to look at.
Not only did it take a few drafts, the entire question that started it off, according to Abrams, was “Who is Luke Skywalker?” It was that question that brought Abrams into the directing job (that and being goaded by Spielberg into it). In addition, Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the script. He’s know for little know movies like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, and The Empire Strikes Back. So, you know, little things.
And before I forget, lets not leave out the reason that we’re going to see this movie in the first place, we get to see Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie for the first time in thirty-two years! Yeah, they’re older, but when done right stories about older heroes can be great. Look at Unforgiven, The Shootist, and Kingdom Come. Stories about our heroes growing old with age and slowly loosing their “powers” so to speak is one of the greatest types of stories out there. We naturally don’t want to see them do this, because it reminds us of our own mortality, but nevertheless when done right it can connect on an emotional level among any age group, because we all have to deal with reality. Granted, if Luke dies he can just become a force ghost, but still, the point remains, stories dealing with heroes aging can be poignant.
We also get to see new Star Wars stories on the screen, and I’m not talking about prequels. We get to see what happened after Endor and the Emperor’s death. We’ll get to see how the Falcon can pull it’s way out of another hairy situation. We’ll see new TIE fighters and X-Wings going toe-to-toe in a battle that could decide the fate of the galaxy, and we’ll also see more of the nature of the dark side of the force … and the light. I mean, just watch these trailers and try NOT to get excited!
Here’s the first trailer
And the Second
Go ahead. Do it. Allow yourself to get excited even just a little! It’s okay. Worst case scenario we get a bad movie. We’ve had bad Star Wars movies before, and it didn’t kill us then, it won’t now.