The trailer is out and Star Wars fans across the galaxy are counting the minutes until Episode Seven hits the big screens. The Force Awakens, directed by J. J. Abrams, is set some thirty years after the death of the Emperor Palpatine. The Rebel Alliance may have knocked out the kingpin, thanks chiefly to a battalion of palaeolithic Care Bears, but the Imperial Remnant lingers on and those troublesome Sith worshippers are determined to convert people to the Dark Side, behead anyone that disagrees with them, force women to wear veils, throw homosexuals off buildings and enslave non-believers. Wait, who were we talking about, again?
Star Wars 7 is blessed with many returning characters, including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Antony Daniels. Newcomers include Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson and everyone’s favourite tomboy, Gwendoline Christie. I remain cautiously optimistic about this film. The trailer has whetted my appetite and the word on the street is that The Force Awakens has gone back to the franchise’s space opera roots: plot, character and all that jazz. I adore the whole Star Wars mythos, so I’m really hoping that this film doesn’t disappoint. If they get it right, there will be much rejoicing and we can all put the pain of episodes 1 – 3 behind us at last. Below are reasons to be cheerful:
- It’s not a prequel. Hallelujah! How many times have we seen science fiction films in reverse-chronological order, wondering each time why the world seemed to be technologically more advanced in the good old days? Comic book adaptations are the worst culprits. In future, any film-maker who is planning on lifting material straight from the nerdy world of graphic novels should start with the back story and work his way forward. No doubt many of you wondered what happened after the Death Star exploded. Was it really all happy-ever-after? Did Han Solo hang up his laser pistol and spend the remainder of his years sipping pink gin at his island villa in sunny Dantooine? Did Mr. Skywalker decide that levitating spacecraft out of swamps wasn’t for him and embark upon a career in property law? Did Leia Organa keep that bronze bikini? Wonder no longer, for all will be revealed.
- The stormtroopers have had a makeover and they look fabulous! I suppose it would be too much to expect their aim to have improved after thirty years of interplanetary warfare. While I am resigned to watching those jarheads fail to hit a barn door at ten paces, at least now they won’t miss on the catwalk. Would it be fair to say that white is the new black this season?
- Daisy Ridley. This up-and-coming actress plays Rey, one of the chief protagonists in the film. Assuming all goes well at the box office, her career has just taken a quantum leap and her place is sci-fi history is assured. Did I also mention that she’s gorgeous? Miss Ridley alone is reason enough for a red-blooded male to go and see The Force Awakens. Yes, I’d love to use a few Jedi mind tricks on her….
- Jar-Jar Binks, to the best of my knowledge, will not be making an appearance in this movie. My condolences to the under-fives, the severely retarded and all Michael McIntyre fans.
My cinematic experiences over the last few years have been underwhelming, so I’d really like this film to be something special. I don’t ask for much: first-class acting, an interesting storyline, special effects that augment the film, rather than plaster over the shoddy workmanship, good pacing, a galaxy free of Jar-Jar Binks. Can J. J. Abrams and his Disney overlords recreate the magic of 1977? The movie industry (especially the science fiction and comedy genres) has internationalised a great deal since then. Nowadays, film-makers are so cautious about offending or confusing their Asian audiences that they water down the dialogue and suck out all context and nuance, leaving us with three hours of loud noises, bright lights and one-liners. The small screen has enjoyed a renaissance that I would say began with HBO’s The Sopranos. There is no shortage of high-quality shows out there with first-rate actors and talented scriptwriters. The video games industry, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength. The golden age of films, however, has long since come to pass, and Hollywood – box office takings aside – has reached its creative nadir. I hope that The Force Awakens will rekindle a little of the old magic. So please, Mr. Abrams, have a heart this Christmas! Give us a film that’s worth talking about, I pray.
Are you looking forward to Episode 7? Which aspects of the Star Wars universe would you most like to be put to the big screen? Is there still hope for the film industry? Answers on a postcard, boys and girls. Spideron out.