Welcome to the sporadic column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.
Trailer in Discussion
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson (Screenplay), George Lucas (Characters)
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill
- Preamble -
While it has never quite gone away, Star Wars is now in its third year of the "reboot" period. It's the era where the series branches out from the singular episodes that defined it for nearly 30 years by expanding with a new cast full of lively characters. It's also a pretty big time to be a Star Wars fan, especially as A New Hope is on the cusp of turning 40, and the series is introducing its potential final appearance of main actor Mark Hamill. There's a lot that could be dissected just from the title of episode nine, known more properly as The Last Jedi. Who is the last of the do-gooders? What is their fate? Considering that the Jedi is one of the groups that have defined all of the extended Star Wars universe, it would be a big deal if it meant that a new era was on its way.
One of the bright spots has been the choice to give a variety of directors the reins for the franchise. J.J. Abrams expertly set up the reboot era with The Force Awakens while Gareth Edwards made a compelling action film mixed with war imagery in Rogue One. There's a lot for cinephiles to look forward to from Rian Johnson, whose entire filmography has had some of the best of recent cinema, including: Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and the time traveling gem Looper. With exception to Abrams, he may be the most promising director to get his hands on the force, if just because his entire career has been building to a breakthrough to mainstream appeal.
All things considered, these Star Wars movies have had plenty of charm and make the somewhat obsolescence easier to ignore. After all, this is a new era for the franchise, and it's looking to be fraught with more unknown than ever before. What lies ahead once The Last Jedi potentially ends one phase of the franchise? There's a lot to wonder, but thankfully Disney has packed the raptors with a promising staff of creators and actors who will make the series appeal to the 21st century and give them to a new audience. With that said, there's a lot to wonder what lies ahead after the end of The Force Awakens. What will we see? The first trailer dropped, and it's time to start prognosticating.
- Dissection -
In proper form, the teaser trailer is nothing more than that. It unveils a series of cryptic images and dialogue that convey things that will be in the film without overtly stating what they are. It's generally how teasers should be set up. It's probably the strong suit of borrowing notes from Abrams' mystery box style of marketing. It gives you enough to feel like you know what's going on, but not enough to know what's going to happen. As a series of images, it makes you wonder what lies ahead not only in Rey's future, but in the entire galaxy of characters, who have all gone on their own interesting journeys.
With that said, is it an effective trailer? It definitely has a lot of the iconography that would make anyone on the nostalgic spectrum feel emotional. This is true not only for the idea of Star Wars, but also for the recent history. Those who loved The Force Awakens and made it the highest grossing movie in history already have grown to know the new codes. They know what seeing these characters should invoke. They want more. They want to know why they're flying around and running through explosions. They want to know why things are broken. They also want to know what's going on with Hamill's Luke Skywalker, who is morose and a tad reluctant in the trailer.
I will admit that I am in part a Star Wars agnostic. I don't flock to the movies with as much enthusiasm as most did. It took me a few years to get around to The Force Awakens. With that said, I found myself becoming impressed that the recent films escaped the traps of what is commonly known as the "prequels." Those were bad and made me misjudge the franchise entirely. That is, until The Force Awakens reminded me that these films have a mainstream appeal that works beyond nonsensical world building. I don't know that any trailer would make me too ecstatic, especially since it's hard to introduce the same world over and over, but I'm curious for the first time for a Star Wars movie to come out.
- One Sentence Sell -
Star Wars is back and you know the drill.
- Trove or Trash -
I think that there's plenty to find appealing in this galaxy far far away, and the fact that the teaser trailer mostly teases instead of spoils is good enough for me.