By Tanya Blake
Trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Goes Online
This will be a day long remembered by fans of science-fiction fantasies, aficionados of mega-budget movie franchises and viewers who regard the “Star Wars” series with a reverence bordering on the religious.
On Friday morning, Lucasfilm released a teaser trailer online for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the first new live-action “Star Wars” film in nearly a decade, which will open theatrically in December 2015.
Though less than 90 seconds long and offering only the barest glimpses of a motion picture that audiences cannot see for more than a year, the “Star Wars” trailer set off an instantaneous wave of online analysis and armchair commentary: a cycle of approval, criticism, and criticism of that criticism after the trailer’s release.
The trailer, which is also being shown in about 30 North American movie theaters over the weekend, represents the first new piece of flesh-and-blood “Star Wars” material since this influential space adventure saga appeared to come to an end in 2005, with “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.” (Despite the Roman numerals, this was actually the sixth film in a sequence that began with the release of George Lucas’s original 1977 blockbuster, “Star Wars.”)
The seemingly dormant franchise was resuscitated when the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 and started work on a new series of “Star Wars” films. The first of these, “The Force Awakens,” is directed by J. J. Abrams, and its cast mixes actors made famous by the original “Star Wars” trilogy (including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) with younger newcomers (like Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley).
Not long after the trailer appeared online around 10 a.m., comment pages and Twitter feeds were filled with diametrically opposed assessments. One YouTube pundit happily wrote that he was “geeking out over here” and experiencing a “code red nerdgasm,” while another complained that the movie’s actors looked “like cheap actors they found in the gutter,” rather than those you expect in “a full-blown expensive film.”
Devin Faraci, a Los Angeles-based writer and editor of the film site badassdigest.com, said in a telephone interview that he was glad the online release of the trailer meant that he did not have to watch it at a 7 a.m. showing of the Disney animated feature “Big Hero 6.” Releasing the trailer in only 30 theaters was an apparent calculation to arouse interest.
Over all, Mr. Faraci said he was glad that the trailer emphasized newer players like Mr. Boyega, a rare black actor in the “Star Wars” series.
“It would have been so easy to make a trailer that was nothing but nostalgic callbacks,” Mr. Faraci said. “But it does capture the feeling of what a ‘Star Wars’ movie is.”
Linda Holmes, a culture writer for NPR, said she also enjoyed the trailer, but expressed dismay at the volume of vehemently negative comments she had seen — remarks directed at the trailer as well as at other commenters.
As often happens in the lengthy buildup to a work of mass entertainment, Ms. Holmes said in a telephone interview: “It’s all about being mad all the time. No matter whether people wind up liking it or not liking it, the conversation becomes negative.”
“There are times when enthusiasm can only be expressed through dissatisfaction with the product that you get,” she said. “Or if you like the product you get, it becomes all about expressing your dissatisfaction with other people’s failure to appreciate it.”
With the “Star Wars” franchise, Ms. Holmes said, some moviegoers already feel burned by the so-called “prequel trilogy,” three follow-up films released between 1999 and 2005, “that people really substantively didn’t like.” Some of the knee-jerk negativity directed at “The Force Awakens,” she said, “is baked-in skepticism from actual experience.”
Whether viewers were commenting on the retrograde aesthetic of the new “Star Wars” trailer or the handle on a new lightsaber weapon, Ms. Holmes said they were really trying to stake out pre-emptive opinions that would still seem insightful many months from now.
Mr. Faraci said that this kind of bickering was a longstanding tradition with “Star Wars” fans: those who regard the original trilogy of films as canonical, those who worship at the altar of the prequels, and those who embrace various films across the franchise.
The release of another round of films, he said, “will just create another schism of the faithful.”
He added, “This will be the new reformed church of Star Wars.”
News Source: NYTimes.com