Why I’m worried about Star Wars: The Force Awakens – All-Reel Drive: Episode 2

All-Reel Drive is back (finally), with a new episode all about Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Specifically, my unpopular feelings of worry over the new film, whose final trailer was released last night. I’ve written about Star Wars before, and the series is not only one of my all time favorites but was instrumental in developing my appreciation for storytelling in general. So I’m very excited for The Force Awakens, but I also have some major concerns, which I discuss in the video. I’ve already purchased my tickets for opening night, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be going in ready to blindly accept what they put on the screen.

In other news, my The Force Awakens poster giveaway was something of a bust, but I’m keeping it open a little longer in case the new trailer ups the interest level. If not, I’ll be giving the poster to one of the handful of people who actually entered. You can find the giveaway here.

Let me know how crazy I am for being worried about The Force Awakens! Or tell me I’m crazy for defending George Lucas and wishing he was still involved! Or just tell me what you think of the video! Either way, leave me a comment, hit me up on twitter or tumblr, or head to the “Feedback” page to send me a direct message. I’m always looking for suggestions for future video topics.

13 thoughts on “Why I’m worried about Star Wars: The Force Awakens – All-Reel Drive: Episode 2

  1. Interesting take on it. Definitely different than my views especially on the prequels which I found to be plodding and poorly written. I think Lucas loves creating the imagery more than the story so I’m glad he is only a creative consultant on Force Awakens. I think the reason why Empire Strikes Back is so great is because Irvin Kershner was able to reign in Lucas and keep the story focused on the characters. The prequels create really bland characters that are one note and kind of annoying to me. George Lucas is famous for saying he loves animation because you don’t have to work with actors and Mark Hammil and others have commented on how Lucas gave them little to nothing to work with on their characters. Again having other directors and writers made things work but given free reign on the prequels led to a lot of empty characters, exposition and bland storytelling. It’s not that a political drama would have been bad but any movie has to have characters I care about to work.
    I’m thrilled for Force Awakens mostly because I think the characters and acting will finally be strong and it won’t be a bunch of green screen sets all the time. Can’t wait!

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    • Thanks for the comment! I’m glad that you’re excited, and I am too despite my worries! I agree that Lucas isn’t great with actors, and there’s definitely some stiff writing and acting throughout the prequels. But Lucas is a huge classic film fan as well as a fan of mythology in general, and if you can look past some of the poor character moments to the larger archetypes he’s playing with it really changes the feel of the films. They’re intentionally anti-modern, styled very much in the vein of the classic epics from the 1930s and 40s, so the stilted dialogue and the formal directing style are intentional. That’s the sort of stuff he likes (and I do too). But it’s very much in contrast to the modern, intimate characters we see these days. I very much disagree that the storytelling was bland, but some of the characters are designed more to fill a classic role than to make you feel for them. I’m excited to see how JJ Abrams brings some vitality to the series, but I’m crushed that we won’t be seeing Lucas’s vision for the story. (I don’t know if you’ve read it, but I did a separate article a couple years ago defending the prequels against some of the more common attacks on them. Though I definitely respect those who find them boring.)

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      • Yeah we definitely disagree on the prequels but that’s cool. I found the acting poor, the storytelling muddled, the visuals one green screen room after another and no satisfying climax (1 and 2 only ones I’ve seen them). I like political dramas but they have to be done with concern to pacing and the acting has to be better with better dialogue. But to each their own.

        I’m thrilled Lucas is just a creative consultant. Whether it is Strange Magic, Kingdom of Crystal Skull or the Prequels he’s had too many strikeouts for me. But to each their own.

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  2. I never really thought about it from that perspective. At the rate of the ticket sales crashing Fandango, it looks like it doesn’t even matter if The Force Awakens is good, it will likely be a financial hit. However, I tend to view that as more of the double-edged sword of the movie rather than the actual standard at this point. It could very well be the shallow explosion that Jurassic World is or a worthy addition in the mythology. At this point, they are probably doing right in not giving too much information about the movie out right now based on people’s changing reactions, although I REALLY want to know why they won’t tell us Finn or Rey’s last names.

    I, for one, try to stay positive about the movie by looking to the things I am interested in that don’t necessarily link to special effects or explosions. I’m still really curious about the new characters and their history in this world such as Finn being a former Stormtrooper and Rey being a scavenger thrown into this situation. These are things that can be bad or good, but the fact that some people do discuss these details leads me to have some hope that there is time and effort into creating a decent backbone for the action to occur. I am glad that not everyone is simply hooked onto that light-saber crossguard in the movie.

    That is a shame that George Lucas won’t get to tell his view of Star Wars Episode VII, and unless we do get a written description of what it was, I will always be curious as to what it could have been. However, at this point of the Star Wars development, I view the universe as almost comic-book like in the case that it may have multiple iterations and different interpretations while still having the same genre and tone, like this movie. I think the most important thing to recognize is the role that George Lucas had in creating this world to develop and the platform to expand it, that he’s pretty much the Stan Lee of Star Wars. I understand that this may not be how some people view it, but I think that’s how I justify my view of The Force Awakens. In the end, it just matters if it’s good, or that at least I hopefully like it.

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    • I’m sure it’ll be a smash, and the only question is probably whether it’ll be Jurassic World. I’ve already got my tickets! I’m glad they’re not giving too much away, and I’m not going to get too much into theorizing when I do an analysis of the trailer later this week, because I want things to stay a surprise. I have faith that they’ll do Star Wars justice, and you’ll find no bigger fan of Disney buying Lucasfilm than me, but I just feel like what we’re getting can never mean as much as it would have if it were truly Lucas’s story.
      I’m like you, though, in that I try to stay positive at all times, and I’m convinced I’ll love the film, I just think it’s not as special now as it would have been otherwise. I’m excited about the new characters especially Finn and Rey (I don’t get the obsession over Kylo Ren that some people seem to have, but I’ve never been one to fanboy out over a villain). But Star Wars was more than just the surface window dressing of cool ships and aliens and action, and I want it to remain that way. It drove me nuts back in 1999 when all of my friends just wanted to talk about Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber when I was more interested in the political manipulations of Palpatine and the taxation of trade routes, but then again I’m weird and that’s probably why I had no friends in high school.
      I hope Lucas gives us at least a brief rundown of what he had in mind for these films. In a way, I’m glad they’ve removed “Episode VII” from the official title for the film, so I can keep I-VI separate from the new films in my mind. I actually find the idea of the “anthology” movies more appealing than episodes VII-IX right now. I think comparing Lucas to Stan Lee is brilliant, although I look at the universe a little differently. I may have read all of the expanded universe novels back in high school, but they were more like fanfiction to me than actual source material to be treated the same as the films. I’ll probably feel pretty similarly with the new films. And in the end, what matters most is that the film is good, and I’m confident it will be and I’ll see it over and over in the theater.
      I have to admit that part of my hesitation is the way that Lucas was treated by the fans, to the point where he felt that his creation was better off in the hands of others who could disregard his ideas, because that was the only way Star Wars would be able to live on separate from his unfairly tarnished reputation. If the prequels had never happened, and Disney had bought Star Wars and we had learned that they were disregarding his story ideas people would be furious about a lack of respect for the original vision for the story. But because of the prequels and the reaction people are so excited that Lucas is out of the picture that it breaks my heart for him. (I don’t feel too bad, since he has all the money in the world, but still.)
      Regardless, I’ll be the first in line on december 17th and I can’t wait to see what they’ve made. But at this point it’ll be hard for me to ever consider it to be a part of the original 6 films. It’ll always feel like a spinoff done by someone else.

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  3. Pingback: The Force Awakens, George Lucas, and one blogger’s Star Wars-induced writer’s block | The Love Pirate

  4. Pingback: All of the trailers and TV spots for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (with screencaps) | The Love Pirate

  5. OK, saw the movie and really liked it. I’d recommend it, even to those who haven’t seen the original trilogy. There are some nice callbacks but it is also it’s own thing. Also, the Rey and Finn characters are really engaging.
    It’s the second sequel this year I initially didn’t think I’d see, ended up seeing anyway and liked.

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    • Great! I’ve had my tickets since they first went on sale, and I’m really excited despite my fears/concerns. Knowing you liked it definitely helps! I’m probably more interested in Finn and Rey than I am in the original cast, which is the opposite from how I’d feel if Lucas was running the show.

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