Tuesday, November 10, 2015

'Hope is not lost today': Review of the 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' international trailer

"Hope is not lost today; it is found." — Maz Kanata

In my experience, international trailers only add a very small amount of footage to the previously releases. The Japanese trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has blown that out of the water! (I'm a little late in reviewing this killer footage, due to my work week and spending Saturday at the Fantasticon in Mount Clemens, Mich.)

Here's an almost second-by-second breakdown of this exciting footage:

0:11-0:15 — "Who are you?" Rey's response to the question from Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong'o) is a simple one: "I am no one."

I'm assuming this happens early in "The Force Awakens." Rey's response seems to confirm I'm correct in my review of the so-called "final" trailer that she is an outsider on the barren planet of Jakku. (As I mentioned, that footage emphasizes "the journey of self-discovery and/or self-identity" for both Rey and Finn.)

Now in this post-"Return of the Jedi" story, Rey decidedly is the Luke Skywalker-type character who is unaware of the adventure awaiting her and has yet to find out who she is, much less her potential.

0:24-0:29 — Rey is speaking to the droid B-88.

(Am I the only fan who wonders where B-88 originates? I read one review/breakdown of this trailer in which it was said he/she/it belongs to pilot Poe Dameron, but I don't remember reading any confirmation of this.  Although there's footage later that might provide a clue. …)

Rey must be wondering about her own origins, asking the droid: "Where do you come from? … I am all about waiting … for my family."

There's been a lot of speculation that Rey is the grown daughter of Han Solo, alluding to Solo telling Chewbacca "we're home" in the first trailer (which I reviewed in April). I don't take a lot of stock in that, as it seems a bit too easy of a plot device.

It could instead be that the "we're home" clip refers to Solo and his co-pilot landing on Corellia (Solo's actual home planet) or another locale the one-time smuggler calls home. Also, I gotta believe his quote happens in a different place than Jakku — and a different time in "The Force Awakens" — and its appearance in the trailer has been placed to have us assume Solo and Rey are related. Besides, I don't see Solo — even as independent as he is — abandoning his daughter on a barren world.

0:32 — B-88 warns Rey and Finn about the TIE fighters approaching on the horizon. This, by far, is the most powerful image in the trailer.

0:38 — A Stormtrooper uses a flame thrower after Kylo Ren and his soldiers have invaded Jakku. Something tells me this is part of the sequence in which Ren makes his first appearance. I've assumed the Dark Lord of the Sith is hunting down Finn, but that's a lot of manpower devoted to looking for a dude who went to AWOL. Hmmm. …

0:46 — "I will finish what you started." This is what Kylo Ren says to Darth Vader's burned-up mask. Having given this some more thought, I have to wonder if Ren means killing the Jedi or continuing the domination of the Empire.

0:52 — Rey and Finn run for their lives. This confirms my assumption that the Stormtroopers are looking for Finn. But could they be hunting down Rey too — and that's what brings them to Jakku?

0:57-1:01 — Finn and Rey introduce themselves to each other inside the Millennium Falcon. How long  had they known each other before knowing each other's names? And did this happen after Solo and Chewie rescue them from the aforementioned Stormtroopers?

1:04 — Rey tells Solo: "There were stories of what happened."

About this time, we get our second look at Princess Leia, with C-3PO in the background. It appears she is studying tactical maps, as seen on the Yavin moon in the original "Star Wars" film and in the Hoth base in "The Empire Strikes Back." Leia looks concerned; is it about the battle we've seen between TIE fighters and X-wings in this trailer and the others?

1:09-1:10 — In this shot it's clear the kneeling person (whom I assume is Rey) is handing the lightsaber to the standing woman (Leia possibly?). Like many fans, I assumed it was the other way around in the other trailers. Look at this shot again and you'll see what I mean.

What does this hand-off mean? Is it Rey's rejection of the Jedi way of training to become a Jedi Knight? Or is she turning in Finn's lightsaber? (That's assuming he dies in the battle with Kylo Ren).

1:19-1:20 — Chewbacca sets off a bomb — the same one that Stormtroopers take the brunt of, as seen in the other trailers.

1:22-1:23 — This is the "oh s***" moment of the entire trailer that caused me to fangasm. Kylo Ren threatens Rey with his lightsaber, putting it just near her face. Does this mean he had been looking for her on Jakku? I assume the lightsaber-threatening scene is set in the woods, presumably where Finn confronts Ren in a lightsaber duel in the dark. Has Finn come to rescue Rey, who may have been kidnapped by the Dark Lord of the Sith?

1:24 — B-88 is in the back of an X-Wing fighter. It's been assumed Dameron owns the droid. I expect him to be the star of the upcoming "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" set to be released Dec. 16, 2016 — almost year after the release of "The Force Awakens."

1:30-1:34 — "Hope is not lost today. It is found." Maz Kanata's line eloquently ties in the theme of "A New Hope" (the original "Star Wars") and seemingly confirms my conjecture in the this review that Rey (and possibly Finn) are the newest "New Hope" for this era of "Star Wars."

As if I couldn't be more excited about "The Force Awakens," ... here's this footage! Grade: A

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