A Tale of Two Trailers

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This is the kind of week we wait for in film. We were treated to not just one, but two of the most anticipated trailers in the history of the Blockbuster. Jurassic World and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens may have only given us a few teasing moments to whet the appetite but they were enough to fuel anticipation levels and get everyone intensely talking and speculating.

 

The Jurassic World trailer came earlier in the week and because it’s due for a release on 12th June more post production has been completed so we got to see quite a bit of footage. In terms of plot there is a base to work upon here. 22 years after John Hammond’s initial attempt to bring dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park and create a park that would showcase these marvels it would seem someone has made this idea into a fully operational and popular attraction. Meanwhile, scientists (including the returning BD Wong as Henry Wu) are treading new genetic ground by creating the first hybrid dinosaur. The exact nature of this super dinosaur are very much under wraps and all we know are that it’s highly intelligent and kills at will, which suggests a velociraptor merged with something bigger, but that still remains a secret.

Being an obsessive follower of the Jurassic Park series it’s so great to actually see this trailer, just because it’s finally come to fruition. After years in development hell with massing uncertainty over who will direct or star or what story will be used it’s finally only six months away. Not only that but it looks great, it’s impossible to judge an entire film from a trailer but Jurassic World really does look the part and director Colin Trevorrow looks to have kept the essence of the original while adding his own style. There are only snippets of the various dinosaurs but there are plenty of them. Introducing new dinosaurs, including the massive sea dwelling Mosasaurus, and adding new dimensions to the old ones including the raptors, who are said to be working with staff member Owen played by Chris Pratt, both the human and dinosaur performances look a lot more layered than the one dimensional Jurassic Park III.

An issue with a lot of the trailers these days is they give away entire plotlines or all the best jokes in an attempt to sell the movie but there is still so much of Jurassic World which is shrouded in mystery. Does the T-Rex, the poster dinosaur for the franchise, return with a bigger role than that of the previous film? Will the raptors work with the humans or will they merely betray them? And what are the intentions of the owners of Jurassic World? Both Vincent D’Onofrio and Irrfan Khan are executives of the Masrani Corporation which own the theme park. Two big actors who we did not see in the trailer suggests that something more is afoot and I really cannot wait to see it on the big screen in a mix of excitement and pure unmitigated nostalgia.

Talking about nostalgia, whilst still getting over the trailer for Jurassic World only a few days later we had out first glimpse at The Force Awakens. I say a glimpse being it was only a minute and a half long. J.J Abrams and co have only just completed principal photography a few weeks ago and there will be still a huge amount to add in post production. Being only 88 seconds long and with a year left to complete, it lacked the flow of a theatrical trailer, but as random assortments of images go it was truly the pinnacle. Never before has an ominous voice over (Is it Serkis, Driver or Cumberbatch?) and a few out of context shots amassed so much excitement from so many.

It doesn’t answer a whole host of questions as to what’s in The Force Awakens except that it has The Millennium Falcon in all its glory, a Sith with a red lightsaber that, when ignited, becomes a crucifix shape and the X-Wings are back with Oscar Isaac at the helm of one. John Boyega’s role is uncertain, is he a Stormtrooper, or like Luke in a New Hope is he just donning the uniform and all we know about Daisy Ridley is she’s on Tatooine at some point of the film. So, lots still to speculate about. It’s been a real enjoyment in itself reading all of the various interpretations of what the various images mean. We still have a long way to go until December but from these few images it look promising.

One thing both Jurassic World and The Force Awakens are that John Williams was the composer for the original films and it is that music that really gives the trailer the extra edge over those of other movies. Interestingly, the same composer was look set to take over him for both movies, however, although Michael Giacchino is doing the score for Jurassic World, Williams is returning to the Star Wars universe once again. One thing that will be certain in both movies is the music will be spectacular.

We have been truly spoiled this week, even though the extent of that spoiling was a cumulative four minutes. At least we know that the films are on there way next year and we can go on speculating about plots and characters until they do.

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What I’d Like To See From Episode VII

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J.J Abrams is at the helm, Harrison Ford is on board and it’s going to be set sometime after the events of Return of the Jedi. We don’t know too much about Star Wars Episode VII, let alone VIII and IX that make up the sequel trilogy. We don’t know at what stage of development it’s in, or much at all really, but as pieces of information emerge from one of the most highly anticipated film of the next few years we shall begin to see what kind of form Episode VII will take soon.

One of my favourite parts of looking forward to a new film in a franchise is seeing the rumours that emerge, and when a film with such a big fan base start voicing these opinions and possibilities it gets the juices flowing even more. Anything is possible at this stage in time; it could be totally new ideas or allowing some of the Expanded Universe to feed into the movies. Admiral Ackbar or Nien Numb could be our protagonist as they battle against an army of Mandalorians on Malastare, who knows? It’s all speculation at the moment and that can be just as entertaining as the finished film.

Darth Maul

Some of the rumours during production of the prequels still remain with me such as the potential that N Sync were going to perform in the Geonosian Arena or the countless actors, including Leonardo Di Caprio, that might of played Anakin . These prospects just sent my imagination into overload and the drips of information that came from Lucasfilm kept me hungry for more.

Everyone’s got an idea of how they want the movies and how they can see them happening. Putting the potential spin offs aside for now (that’s another blog in the making) here is my wish list for the Star Wars: Episode VII and what Abrams and the crew could do to keep it fresh and shake off some of the negativity that the prequels created.

1.)    No more Tatooine:

Binary sunset

Don’t get me wrong, Tatooine is a great planet that has given many memorable moments throughout the saga such as the Binary Sunset, the scenes in Jabba’s Palace and the Podrace. However, it’s appeared in five out of the six films and there is a whole galaxy out there to explore. It was integral as it was the birthplace of both Anakin and Luke. But, maybe it’s time to traverse new environments as the Clone Wars TV show does. A new trilogy can call for new planets to get the audience excited. Anybody who reads the Expanded Universe novels or plays the Star Wars games knows how vast the system is and I want to see as much of it as possible.

2.)    Concieve some new protagonists:

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Harrison Ford is back as Han Solo and Mark Hamill is in talks, this is positive because it links into the previous films and helps us back into the Star Wars world. Obviously they were amazing in the original trilogy but Episode VII cannot go the way of Crystal Skull though, where Ford and Hammill run around whilst describing how old and worn out they are. It would be great if we saw an old Luke running his own Jedi academy and training apprentices with the originally stoical attitude of Yoda or Obi-Wan, but if we see him jumping around with his lightsaber in his 60s, it might start to look a bit silly. And RD-D2, C-3PO and Chewie have to be there on merit, not like the prequels just so people can go oh look its them.

3.)    Go easy on the Blue Screen:

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One of the reasons that A New Hope worked so well is because George Lucas made the future looked used and dirty, this was a revelation, not done by previous science fiction films. This inspired film makers and created a believable world. In the prequels though, because of the abundance of blue screen, everything was too clean and crisp. You couldn’t believe that people lived in Naboo or Coruscant; there was no pollution or dirt anywhere. Kamino is so clean it’s blinding, even the Clones don’t have anything to eat on their clean white plates (See Below). Episode VII needs to reincorporate this used feel to create a true verisimilitude.

Clone food

4.)    And on the CGI characters

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Lucas has argued in the past that a fake alien created with prosthetics and played by a person is in no way more believable than a CGI character. I can’t agree with this and I know many of the fans of the prequels couldn’t either. The advancements in computer technology can give Jar Jar 100,000 different facial movements, so what? Nobody cares, he still looks fake, so does Boss Nass and Watto and the mess that is the rabble of Separatist leaders. People can tell when a computer is being used and there is something great about the people in suits in the original trilogy, Greedo, Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt are much loved by the fans and iconic. I think, if they were computerised they’d lose some of their charm. I’d like to think Abrams would try to encapsulate this charm of the originals with his movies. Instead of making do with this…

CGI thing

 5.)    Create worthy adversaries

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Why not make some threatening villains that can shoot straight and create genuine fear and chaos. The battle droids were useless, Lucas knows they were useless and could not create jeopardy but he put them in so many scenes. Wasting everybody’s time, they were more like a distraction than a threat. The darker Lord of the Rings and recent Batman films show that audiences respond to threatening, interesting villains. Star Wars have already done is once with Vader and can do it again. A main villain that lasts the three films would be great. One that goes through an arc, otherwise we might be left with another General Grevious.

So there are some of the things I would like in the new films. I’m not just using this blog to do some prequel bashing, I enjoy the prequels, watching them on a regular basis, but there are things that can be changed for the better and I’m sure any fan of Star Wars would tell you the same. Only time will tell what will happen before summer 2015 and I cannot wait to be embedded with speculation and conformation and see where Episode VII is going.