5 reasons the Force Awakens Trailer is Terrible

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

I’m sure I’ll piss off a lot of people with my opinion. Truth is some people should really just get over it. First thing to remember is this is just a teaser trailer, nothing more. Everyone is a critic and you can’t please them all. So I’m not going to try.

I didn’t like either Star Trek movie J.J. Abrams made, and it’s looking like I won’t like the Star Wars movie he’s working on right now either. I’ve kept in mind that this trailer is just a teaser, but from what I’ve seen so far, read so far, and previous movies made by Abrams, he’s not going to do anything revolutionary.

1.  Overreliance on CGI
CGI is a great tool to get a shot done when it just can’t be done in ‘real life’. The thing is for Star Wars, everything the Millennium Falcon, X-wing and Tie fighters, speeders, and droids do can already be shown in model and stop motion. We’ve seen it before in the Original Trilogy. The little bits of CGI thrown into the Special Editions of the originals were great and really enhanced what was already there. But in this new age of technology, CGI is turned to more and more. 

There’s a bit of realism lost when it’s employed, rather than models. I know models are hard, damned near impossible really considering what people expect nowadays, but the sterile, ‘clean’ look of the second trilogy still haunts me. Granted, at least the storm troopers are really there, wearing actual armor, so that’s at least something. But weren’t we promised a throwback to the Original, gritty look and feel? Guess that was too much to hope for. 

2.  Incoherent and short cut scenes
Thirty seconds into the teaser trailer and we had at least half a dozen, if not more quicker clips, flashes of scenes cutting from one location and character to the next. Nothing about these cuts tells us anything about these new characters, what they are really doing, or (more importantly) why we should care. 

Okay, so we get a look at a few things we haven’t seen before, but without any contexts or reason to care, it all falls flat. (See reason 5 for more detail.)

3.  Complete lack of plot or story line
For a second, the somewhat sounding Benedict Cumberbatch narration made me think I was watching the Star Trek: Into Darkness trailer again. And it has been revealed that Andy Serkis spoke the lines. But if you really listen to what he’s saying, he basically states the title of the move. There’s an awakening of the Dark and Light side of the force. Well thanks, we knew that from the title of the damned movie. 

How about having a character say something important about the struggle he’s about to undertake or what’s at stake for loved ones, or maybe how scared or concerned he is about someone or something. How about something like: I want to come with you to Alderaan. There's nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.  See, we don’t get any of that.

4.  Ineffective and comical use of Nostalgia
I know the Falcon is bad ass. We’ve all known that for more than 30 years. Han Solo risked 3720 to 1 odds and successfully navigating an asteroid field to show us just how friggin’ incredible that ship is. Oh and if there were any doubt, Lando whipped that thing through the guts of Death Star number two (albeit with a minor scratch) and made it out in (almost) one piece. Showing the Falcon’s aerial acrobatics is nothing new, and as much as I’d love to see that hambuger–shaped hunk of junk fly all day long, there’s more to the story (or at least there should be) than that.  How about in addition to those acrobatics, show us some new menacing ship the dark side baddies have, maybe something our heroes have no answer for. That would certainly build tension. 

Also, although it’s great to see Tie Fighters, X-Wings and the like, if this movie takes place 30 years after Jedi, ship designs probably would have changed just a bit. Couldn’t we see some of that instead of more of the same. I get there’s a bit of homage payment due considering the prequels were atrocious, but 30 years have passed since Yavin. Show it.

5.  No emotional impact or development of engagement
I really paid attention to this trailer, hoping there would be an emotional punch, or at least a hook that drew me in. I didn’t get that. Each shot shows the supposed main characters alone: Boyega in the desert, the comically rolling droid, Daisy Ridley on the Speeder, Oscar Isaac in the X-wing, the cloaked figure in a forest, heck, the storm troopers were the only ones in a group. 

The lack of interaction here may be sending a message of detachment or the need for our heroes to ‘come together’ but to me, the way it was presented, it only showcases (poorly) that these people are in the movie. How about we see them talking, or fighting together, or something, anything…


Here's Hoping the Movie is Better
The original Star Wars trilogy set up a definable story arc that propelled the plot and drove the narrative. Character interaction played a huge part in making the story memorable and lovable. When the first Star Trek movie by JJ Abrams came out, I hoped that the magic of the original series and the movies would be captured, at least a little bit. 

What I saw, carried over to Into Darkness as well, was weak storytelling, borrowed plot points, lame McGuffins (Red Matter…Really? WTF) and rehashed elements of stories previously told. Into Darkness turned out to be a soulless and uninteresting retelling of the Wrath of Khan, which was an emotional, powerful and damned good story.

My guess is JJ Abrams is going to borrow similarly from the Original Star Wars trilogy without investing any real emotional depth or feeling, essentially pandering to Star Wars fans while simultaneously cheapening the underlying greatness of those stories. 

As I said in the beginning, this was just a teaser trailer. But from the efforts previously offered by Abrams, there’s little hope something new, inspiring, and profound is on its way. We shall see next year.

Let the blood letting and flaming begin!
Thanks for reading.


Questions and comments are welcome.

Comments

  1. Terrible?!? It lacked a bit of 'in your face' kind of stank I like, but I wouldn't go so far as to say Terrible. Of course the Into Darkness preview was bad ass and the movie was kind of a limp dick.

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