Friday, November 28, 2014

First Impressions: Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

I guess this would be an odd first impressions article since it's based off of a minute and twenty-eight second teaser trailer, but that was the best way I could figure to describe today's article.  Sure I might be jumping on a bandwagon if I already wasn't excited about next years installment in the Star Wars franchise.  So, for today's post, I wanted to break down the short 1m28s teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens because it came out a number of hours ago, but less than 24.  

Now, I'm not going to give you a frame-by-frame analysis and tell you that the real Millennium Falcon didn't have that buffer panel next to the radar dish in the original trilogy because I don't tend to notice things like that.  I'm also not going to be making sweeping declarations about how each scene figures into the plot as I really don't know.  I'm not up to date with my Star Wars lore.  I just want to talk about something that has captured my imagination (sigh, clichés) since I first saw Return of the Jedi back in 1983 (at the State Theatre in Woodland, CA).

But first off, watch the trailer (again), this being the real one from the Star Wars people and not one of umteen thousands that were fake and propagated the pages of every social networking site for the past month:

Now, I'm not going to be making assumptions as to who specific characters are, how they relate to each other and the returning cast from the original trilogy.  To note, I've never read any of the books in the Star Wars universe.  The last Star Wars video game I played was Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2.  I'm just going to talk about what I noticed in an almost purely non-contextual way.

Oh, and all of the sights and sounds contained herein are the property of Disney, Lucas Film and those types.

So there's this desert here right.  Probably Tatooine since that's the main (only) desert planet that the audience is associated with.  And there's a dark gruff British voice over that at first (as well as second, third, forth, fifth, etc) listen sounds a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch.  He's not in the cast listing over at IMDb.  Maybe J.J. Abrams just had him record some script lines for trailers and such?

Then there's this guy.  Who is this guy?  I don't know.  Am I supposed to know who he is since he's the first face in this trailer?  Again, no idea.  But he's in a stormtrooper outfit, apparently very frightened and on the run.  Very briefly you can hear the Imperial probe droid noise before the scene cuts to:

what looks to be an R2 unit head on top of a soccer ball.  I would like to think that it's all a single unit, kind of like a mix between the Dyson Ball, a Roomba and an R2 unit.  But where's this little feller off to?  I don't know.  What are those machines in the background?  One looks like a ship.  Was that a ship that was used/mentioned in that one book "Crosscurrent" that had something to do with a Jedi?  Maybe, I just made that reference up.

Then there's an obligatory multi-shot of stormtroopers that look like they're about to jump out of a plane.  Kind of like the beginning of that Godzilla trailer, but you know, at night time.  I think the helmets look a little bit different than they do in the original trilogy.  That's fine.  Things change over time, especially when your second space station gets blown up by a rag-tag group of rebels.

And here's this woman on a hoverbike transportation device thing.  It might be Tatooine again since there's sand, but that's all I can tell you.  I don't even know her connection to the story, just that she makes an appearance here and rides off towards a settlement.  I will say that it didn't look like she put down her goggles before speeding off and that thing probably kicks up a bit of dirt.  Remember, safety first.

This shot is when I got goosebumps.  I'm sure I did anyway.  But it just looks awesome.  I'm sure this shot is 60%+ CG and I'm fine with that.  I don't expect us to have functioning X-Wings for at least another 11 years.  It looks good though.  I'm also fine with X-Wings flying this low as I would do similar "maneuvers" while playing any one of the Rogue Squadron games.

And as much as people make fun of J.J. Abrams for using lens flares, this is probably the closet the trailer gets to a real life genuine lens flare, out here in the wild.

And then there's a Sith guy, trudging through the snow in a black cloak (which isn't great if you're trying to stay hidden in the snow) with a lightsaber.  A lightsaber that apparently has a little lightsaber crossguard.  Part of me thinks that this shot was included to be like the Darth Maul shot from The Phantom Menace, but less dramatic.  I've read over on reddit that crossguards are mentioned in the books so it's not 100% new or out of place.  I just think it looks a lot like a claymore.

Other people have also commented on the weird looking saber-ness of the lightsabers.  I personally just chalk it up to either being a jerry rigged lightsaber or maybe the force isn't strong enough with this one to maintain a strong beam.  Is that a thing?  Is lightsaber strength based on ones power with the force?

The voice also makes a return here and now I am less convinced that it is Benedict Cumberbatch.  Less British somehow.

And finally we have a sequence that kicks off the Star Wars fanfare with a sequence centered on the Millennium Falcon that does a flip/loop-the-loop! over sand dunes (Tatooine again?) while making a charge towards a pair of Tie Fighters.  There is now spoken dialogue from either Han or Chewie (growl or otherwise) so who knows who is piloting the Falcon.  It's a pretty awesome sequence to watch as I get a little dizzy.

I would say this is probably the most exciting part of the teaser for me since, with the exception of the desert opening, is the longest uncut section, lasting a whole 7.71 seconds.  Plus there's the fanfare by John Williams.

Lastly, there's the cut to the Star Wars titles along with the subtitle of "The Force Awakens."  I'm not about to analyze what the title means in relation to the Star Wars universe and all that I care about right now is that I like it.  It's a catchy title that has caught my attention, unlike "The Clone Wars," which just didn't sit right with me.

As the screen goes dark, there's a quick sound effect of a lightsaber being drawn.  I couldn't tell you which faction of lightsaber it belonged to, Sith or Jedi and I'm sure there's someone out there who knows if there is indeed a difference in the sounds that the lightsabers make.  Again, I'm just guessing and not making fun of the people who do notice/know if these little details exist.

So after a lot of speculation, we now have 56 seconds of visuals from the new Star Wars movie that is slated to be released in December 2015.  I can wait.


1 comment:

  1. Right, my question about that dude at the beginning is: Is he a hero, dressed a storm trooper? Or, is he an actual storm trooper, who we get to see humanized? I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with either.