Ten years. Ten long years since a new Star Wars film. Ten years since I’ve been able to express my love for fantastic choreography, or my disdain for lazy writing and cheesy dialogue. In a world so rich in lore with such a dedicated fanbase, to mess it up would seem utterly irresponsible. Ten years since my eardrums have been blessed by the glorious melodies of the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the brilliant John Williams. Ten years I’ve waited patiently to indulge my… dark side…
It is safe to say that if you didn't know by now that there’s a new Star Wars film coming out, well then I commend you in your commitment in refusing to be part of the machine. But to those who don’t hate life, here are a few thoughts on everything to care about leading into the release of the most highly anticipated and hyped up film since the first Lord of the Rings trilogy was announced.
Set thirty years after Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens is being set up to smash every conceivable cinematic sales record, and, I would predict, to have the largest opening weekend of all time. Not all that inconceivable considering it seems that record gets broken with semi-regularity, however still a great feat nonetheless. Maybe I’m just naive, and my misplaced faith in humanity makes me believe it's going to be at least a good movie. It’s honestly the same reason why I’m a Liverpool FC supporter. Either that or I’m just a masochist.
For those unfamiliar with director JJ Abrams’ work, he is probably most well known for the recent silver screen Star Trek reboot and was a writer on arguably one of the greatest action films of all time in Armageddon (it has Steve Buscemi riding a nuke; what’s not to love?) As far as the Star Trek films go, neither of them were poor movies, and I actually quite enjoyed the first.
One of his biggest criticisms of the films was that they felt too much like Star Wars films, as if he was auditioning for the part. The optimism I hold is in knowing that this new film at the very least won’t be bad. Our expectations are so low for this film after the prequels that anything not involving Gungans is a positive.
For the uninitiated, all the fanfare and hype surrounding Disney’s new cash cow seems a bit over the top. But is it really, when A New Hope was released in 1977 and managed to capture the imagination of an entire generation? In 1980, that same generation was shocked and hooked for life after one of the greatest twists in cinematic history. By the time the prequels, Episodes I, II and III rolled around, that generation had grown up with kids of their own whom they could now introduce to a universe that they held so dear. Little did they know how utterly disappointed they would be with Episode I.
I’ll exercise better judgement and refrain from turning this into 10,000 words on why the prequels were more disappointing than Lindsay Lohan’s career after Mean Girls, but, to summarise, the prequels squandered an opportunity to build upon a legendary franchise, instead adding too much and ruining much of its existing magic.
Instead of an ancient power and sorcery, the Force was now some bullshit about midi-chlorians. The dialogue was atrocious at its worst, and still below average at best. They somehow managed to turn one of the greatest villains of all time into a whiny little teenager with a crush. At first glance, the prequels seemed to be directed towards a younger audience, however their main plot device involved confusing intergalactic trade negotiations. Did anyone really figure out what the fuck was happening in those movies on first viewing?
There were a lot of holes, and many believe these can be attributed to George Lucas being surrounded by yes men during the making of the prequels, rather than the rigorous editing process during the original trilogy that spurred its epic admiration. People tend to forget that the strongest film of the series, The Empire Strike Back, was directed by a completely different person, Irvin Kershner.
I digress. Little is known about the upcoming film, with even the scripts being printed in a particular red ink to prevent photocopies being taken. For those of you who are looking to refresh your memories or dive into the wide world of lightsabres and podracers, then I recommend the following viewing order: begin with Episode IV, A New Hope, and then watch Episodes I, II, III, V and VI in that order. This can alter your perception of the prequels by re-focusing the story around Darth Vader’s redemption. I’m open to any suggestions, but this order has always worked for me.
After paying over $4 billion for the rights to Star Wars, it’s clear that Disney is being careful with its new favourite money printing machine. With plans for another two movies after The Force Awakens and three movie spinoffs of the franchise, new video games and all the toys to go with it, Disney will be making the most of its investment. With much of the old cast coming back, and all the trailers looking very promising, it's given me... a new hope... (I'm sorry, I swear I'll stop.)
At this stage, all we can do is wait and read about why Jar Jar Binks (Darth Jar Jar) might be the greatest antagonist in cinematic history, and try to bide our time until we find out whether or not JJ Abrams will be safe in public areas ever again. Regardless of the outcome of this movie, the cultural influence Star Wars still holds is undeniable. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy the hype.
It’s useless to resist…
Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.