Friday, November 28, 2014

'Star Wars:The Force Awakens' trailer review

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their family, loved ones and friends!

And for "Star Wars" fans, what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving 2014 then with the teaser trailer for director J.J. Abrams' "Episode VII: The Force Awakens"?! ... (Obviously, that's a rhetorical question, but the even more obvious answer is "nothing"!)

Before I get into my nearly second-by-second review of the trailer, let me address a few things -- all of which I find to be extremely positive. Or to use a bad "Star Wars" pun, these things give me "A New Hope." (Sorry. Couldn't resist!)

First of all, let me say it's obvious Team Abrams is making the "Star Wars" universe much more diverse. That's been the case since the confirmed casting of African-American actors John Boyega (the first actor we saw onscreen -- as nothing less than an unmasked Imperial Stormtrooper!), Crystal Clark and of course, Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave").

And that diversity doesn't just have to do with race.

"The Force Awakens" won't just be the boys' club/sausage fest like the original trilogy (and to a lesser extent, the prequels). At the 38-second mark, there's a young lady -- also
The cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" meets
for the first time. Note R2-D2 waiting patiently in a box (top right)
as director J.J. Abrams and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) talk shop.
obviously in a panic and trying to get away from some unseen danger -- who is trying to get a speeder bike started.

I'm certain you noticed we didn't see any footage of the Big Three -- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison as Han Solo or Carrie Fisher's Leia. Also absent were R2-D2, C-3PO or even Chewbacca -- but we did get to see the Millennium Falcon. There's no doubt Solo is in the Falcon's cockpit with as he tries to outrace TIE fighters.

Really, aside from the Falcon chase sequence (1:00-1:07) and the cockpit shot of the X-Wing fighter (at the 43-second mark), the trailer doesn't show us too much of what we're used to seeing from the classic "Star Wars" films.

The Millennium Falcon once again is avoiding TIE Fighters in this image
from the "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" teaser trailer.
And I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Why not keep up the anticipation of what the Big Three will look like as the older versions of Luke, Han and Leia? Why ruin it now? Why not let "Star Wars" fans wait a bit longer?

I'm going to go ahead and make a prediction: We likely won't see the likenesses of Luke, Han and Leia until the full trailer is released or more than likely, an officially released picture from a photo shot. And in that case, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY seems to have the corner on Big Reveals -- so look for the Big Three on the cover of EW in the coming months! (Keep in mind in October 2012, I predicted Hamill, Ford and Fisher would reprise their iconic roles right after we heard "Episode VII" would be released -- and just a few weeks before the official announcement with that exciting casting news.)

Without further ado, check out the highlights of -- and only things in -- the "Episode VII - The Force Awakens" trailer:

10 seconds of black screen and silence. It made me wonder if I had clicked the right link.

0:11 — Sand. Lots of sand. Obviously, as rumored, Tatooine, will be one of the settings for "The Force Awakens."

0:22 — Boyega's unmasked Stormtrooper obviously looks scared. Notice how the accompanying score gives a sense of impending doom, as if something bad will happen or the characters shown in this footage are trying to escape something. Or someone.

0:29 — A cute robot of course!

0:33-0:36 — Stormtroopers: Check out the new variations on their helmets! With the ramp coming down from the back of a ship and the troops armed with blasters, I assume they're headed into battle.

0:43 — The classic cockpit shot of an X-Wing fighter pilot

0:46-0:47 —The X-Wings are skimming over a body of water. I wonder if they're trying to avoid detection. Or are they preparing for an attack?

0:52 — The creepy sounding narrator mentions the Dark Side and the masked man (whose back is to the camera) lights up a red lightsaber. Dark Jedi alert!

1:00 — And here's the money sequence, featuring the Millennium Falcon, which once again is avoiding being shot at by TIE Fighters. Especially cool is the triumphant "Star Wars" theme is cued to the first appearance of the Falcon.

And then it fades to the "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" logo and the promise it will be released in December 2105.

Good job, J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm! This perfectly demonstrates what a teaser trailer is; it provides you the much-awaited footage of a highly anticipated film, gives you an idea of what might be in store, yet tells you nothing. Brilliant! Grade: B+

Happy Thanksgiving! The Force is back with us. Only about one year and a month to wait!

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