Monday, April 7, 2014

How I Learned To Stop Caring And Get Excited For Star Wars Episode VII

Is the theme already playing in your head?

I have found it difficult to get excited for J.J. Abrams' forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII.

Depending on one's level of fandom, Stars Wars is a complicated bit of living cinematic art. The franchise was at one time so deeply ingrained in my consciousness, so significant to my childhood and adolescent life, that it's difficult to accept how, with age and an increasingly commercial-seeming world, my enthusiasm, interest, and hope for the future of this beloved fantasy has faded.

Just beautiful in every way.
My initial pure and rightful love of Star Wars has been gradually polluted by years and years of altered DVDs and altered Blu-Rays and re-releases and subpar video games and subpar action figures and the sale of the franchise to Disney and the potential spin-off films and the caliber of filmmakers and the caliber of screenwriters brought on to make what's shaping into a nostalgia film crafted by committee to hit all the right focus-group criteria for what makes a "good" movie.

To find your honest love tainted by a world of interconnected corporate power is disheartening and inevitably leads to cynicism. The new Star Wars seems more like a giant ad for Disney than a film, little more than an elaborate power point presentation.

So disheartened, I've even started to question whether or not my love was real - if the beloved work of art was never really as good as I thought it was. I've gone back and tried to watch the films, but simply found it too painful because it has become impossible to have a pure experience of them.

The love of Star Wars is founded on everything that is good in the human spirit. The films are a tapestry of sonic and visual joy that taps into our desire to be heroic. Despite how convoluted the series has become, diluted by years of Lucas-interference, I have to believe the initial goodness of those first three movies was real, and that someday I'll be able to enjoy them again.

The recent news that Chewbacca will return for the new film does little to peak my interest, but it did inspire me to seek out my favorite Star Wars song and give it a listen.

And I'll be damned if simply listening to The Force Theme didn't get me pretty psyched for a new Star Wars movie.

Please hit play now, and listen as you read.

Hearing John Williams' score, and particularly what I consider to be the best piece of music in the entire Star Wars saga, instantly reignited my imagination and my hope.

I immediately crafted, in my mind, my very own trailer for the new film.

It would be silent, save this entire song, and it would open with a slow fade-in. The camera pans up, revealing the twin suns of Tattooine and a distant, cloaked figure watching them set.

From there we travel through the familiar locations of the original saga, slowly fading in and out of each locale, getting a glimpse of aged Rebel Bases and debunked Imperial ship yards.

And then, as we reach the initial crescendo in the song, we get our first glimpse of a familiar face or two - perhaps R2-D2 and C-3P0, and eventually Han and Leia, each of them staring off into the distance - standing on balconies of the Jedi Temple or the rooftops of Coruscant.

And then we see some new faces - the children of Han and Leia - perhaps we see them age in a few cross-fades, with the loving parents watching them grow. We see children as Padawans, tying their traditional braids, putting on their robes, training with Lightsabers. We see Han and Leia's children graduating from the Jedi Academy, bowing before a foreboding, cloaked figure whose face we cannot see.

The family is proud, and the world seems at peace, the old heroes enjoying the fruits of their labor.

And then, as the tone of the music shifts, we see a dark presence rising in the galaxy - the Imperial Remnant, or a lone Sith Lord, training his/her own legion of dark followers.

The haunting score continues despite the consistently somber, yet positive tone.

But we are now bombarded with images of tragedy and destruction. The Jedi Academy is besieged. Han shooting his trusty blaster, looking haggard and ancient, face covered in sweat and dirt. Leia crying, R2-D2, C-3P0, and Chewbacca racing to The Millennium Falcon.

The Dark Sith Lord approaching a downed and scrambling Han Solo, red lightsaber gleaming across the screen.

Han and Leia's kids fighting hordes of enemies, deflecting laser-fire with their sabers, running, leaping, screaming, their costumes tattered and worn.

And then we take to the stars - bolts of laser fire and exploding ships, a brief glimpse inside the old Falcon.

Finally, as the music slowly fades, we return to Tattoine, to the cloaked figure, watching the twin suns set.

Cut to a close up of an old Luke Skywalker's face, shrouded in shadow beneath the hood of his cloak. He takes the hood off, his face bathed in the light of the setting suns. There is a mournful look in his eyes - we do not know what this weathered warrior has endured.

And then, slowly, he walks out of sight and the title fills the screen.

This is my ideal trailer, and my ideal set up for a new Star Wars film.

The new film can easily, and excellently bridge the gap between the old and the new. In deft hands, a truly powerful, emotional film that plays on 30 years worth of love and joy could result in an astounding picture. In my ideal film we would lose some of our beloved heroes to the tide of a new war that must be won by the next generation. The sons and daughters of the original cast might find themselves on opposing sides as the new trilogy develops, and gradually, as before, peace shall be restored in the end.

Luke Skywalker is the character I care about the most, and while I have my misgivings about this movie, I firmly believe Luke can be a fascinating character in his old age. To see Mark Hammil go from a young, bright-eyed kid, to the wise old mentor-character once played by Alec Guinness in A New Hope, would be cinematic history and possibly assist in telling a new, great story.

So treat yourself to some Star Wars music, switch off the internet, and let your natural inclination to get excited for a new Star Wars film take over. I promise it will make you smile.

Thanks for reading and may the force be with you. Always.

Follow @MaximusWrestler for all your nerd-news.

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