Friday, April 17, 2015

'Chewie, we're home': Reviewing the new 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' trailer

Cold chills. Every time.

If that's not your reaction to seeing the second "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer each and every time you watch it, then you have no soul. Or at the very least, you've lost your connection to The Force.

Starting with the Lucasfilm logo and ending with the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" logo, director J.J. Abrams has delivered 1:41 of geeky goodness.

As has become my (occasional) tradition in reviewing trailers of importance, follow the break to read my speculation-filled review/breakdown and analysis of the second "Force Awakens" trailer. Who imagined Team Abrams could outdo the first trailer? Well, in short, The Force is strong with this footage!

• 0:25-0:31 — In the seconds before this footage, we once again start with the shot of a desert world. (I assumed it's Tatooine, but it's more likely Jakku, where we meet one of the heroines, Rey (Daisy Reilly), who lives there.) From the left comes what appears to be landspeeder — only to realize that on the far right is a Imperial Star Destroyer crashed into the sand. It obviously has been there for years.

• 0:39 — And if the burnt image of Darth Vader's mask isn't enough to thrill, Mark Hamill's voice-over, as Luke Skywalker, will give you chills. The best kind of chills! Hamill delivers a variation of what he told Leia in "Return of the Jedi" that she is his twin sister. …

"The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. …" (Who is Skywalker addressing? More on that in a bit.)

• 0:46 — Fittingly, the first "good guy" from the original trilogy we see in "The Force Awakens" is R2-D2. The face of the cloaked figure beside him is hidden, but my money is on that being Skywalker. You can't miss the mechanical hand that affectionately rests on the top of Artoo's dome. If this is Skywalker, my question is why has he chosen not to wear the black, leather glove he did in "Jedi"?

• 0:52-0:58 — "… You have that power too."

Obviously, Skywalker is speaking to someone who is strong in the Force. But who is it? And to whom is Skywalker handing a lightsaber? (At least I assume that's who that is.) Is it Rey and is she part of the Skywalker family? Or more likely, is she like Luke, someone who doesn't know she's Force-sensitive until a Jedi Master informs her? Or are Hamill's perfectly and powerfully delivered lines what Skywalker delivers to a newly christened Jedi Knight or padawan?

Regardless, it's apparent Skywalker/Hamill is affirming the next generation of Jedi — and handing off the "Star Wars" legacy to younger cast members. I'm curious to see how he'll be as a teacher/Obi-Wan Kenobi role model for Rey and other Jedi Knights.

• 1:01 — What could be better for Christmas than "Star Wars"?

• 1:05 — Lots of X-Wing fighters flying over a body of water — but in a much more dynamic angle than what Abrams revealed in the teaser trailer.

Recognize that "Woohoo!" the pilot yelps? It's similar to what Han Solo yells at the end of "A New Hope" just about the time Skywalker blows the first Death Star to bits.

• 1:10 — It looks like the fight has come to Jakku as Rey, Finn (John Boyega) and the adorable droid BB-8 run away from a massive explosion.

• 1:11 — The bad guy is revealed! Kylo Ren looks like a complete badass.

• 1:12 — What a great shot of the Stormtroopers!

• 1:15 — Docked TIE fighters are blowing up and Stormtroopers are scrambling. I guess the good guys have brought the firepower to the Empire.

• 1:17 — Finn takes off his Stormtrooper helmet. Is he undercover or is he actually part of the Empire? Either way, just as in the opening seconds of the first trailer, Finn looks distressed and overwhelmed.

• 1:18 — Another great shot from this trailer reminiscent of the original trilogy. The Imperial Star Destroyer looks sharp. Do the approaching ships belong to the good guys or the Empire? They're not a familiar design to this sharp-eyed, first-generation "Star Wars" fan.

• 1:19 — That Stormtrooper is every bit as badass looking as Kylo Ren. Check out the long light panels behind him — yet another homage to "A New Hope"!

Chewie and Han — still looking great after all these years!
• 1:21 — Peekaboo, I see you, BB-8!

Does that shot look familiar? It should: Princess Leia peeked around a corner in her first appearance in "A New Hope" when she was hiding from Stormtroopers. Is the droid doing the same thing?

Of course, Abrams wraps up this killer trailer with a TIE fighter firing on a fleeing Millenium Falcon.

But Team Abrams has left the best for the very last — with a cameo by Han Solo and Chewbacca, one of the Dynamic Duos of "Star Wars." (Don't forget Artoo and C-3PO!) You guys look great!!

• 1:35 — "Chewie … we're home."

Grade: A

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