A Tale of Two Trailers

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awake-010

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.

Advertisements

The Greatest YouTube Star Wars Videos

YouTube is responsible for some of the best, and of course, worst videos of all time. Its format has allowed amateur directors and film makers from all over the world to produce and upload their videos for the whole internet audience to see. The depth of originality within YouTube is unrivalled than with any other medium and although there is an awful lot of unedited junk, if you sieve through all that and sacrifice lots of time, that could be spent doing useful things, you get some really great videos. One set of videos that have always been a favourite of mine have been the countless Star Wars parodies, pastiches and homage’s from a huge group of fans to a film they love. Here, I will be looking at my five favourite Star Wars videos found on YouTube.

1.) Call Me Maybe Star War style: One of the more recent videos that’s been uploaded, the Star Wars rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s, Call Me Maybe stood out amidst a mass of pastiches sending up the same song. The sheer dedication by the video’s maker to take all of the short, sharp shots and assimilate them to produce a song better than the original is truly a work of genius.

2.) The Emperor gets a job: This fan made video is not only hilarious, with terrific intertextual references to its source material but the man playing the Emperor is uncanny. His voice is so close to that of Ian MacDiarmid’s’ that you’d struggle telling them apart. This only adds to the intelligent script and Oscar worthy acting complete with bathos as Palpatine attempts to find work after his apprentice through him down that cavern in the Death Star.

3.) Lego Star Wars: No, not the successful video game franchise but this four and a half minute video that skims through the entire saga, summing it up perfectly with a humour and sweetness. The effort to complete the near impossible task of condensing over twelve hours of film into this time is pretty amazing whiledone with heart.

4.) Star Wars Kid: The original and most famous of all the Star Wars YouTube videos. After going viral it made a star out of its lightsaber wielding protagonist who would always be known as ‘The Star Wars Kid’ from then on and has been referenced the world over in TV shows and throughout the internet. Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare for the graceful actions of the Star Wars Kid…

5.) Moves Like Jabba: Always end of a song, so my choice for the final video is Moves Like Jabba from the Break Originals. Deriving, obviously from the Maroon 5 song with the similar name the whole thing is great from the decent singing, hilarious lyrics and dynamic video. It really does have the love of the original trilogies at its core while making a really good music video.

There are countless fan made films regarding everything Star Wars. Not only that but YouTube allows everyone to see old Star Wars Robot Chicken and Adam and Joe shorts, as well as being the first place many could see the deleted scenes, lost from the movies for so long. There are so many videos to go to that you could spend hours on end enjoying them all. My list is merely a cross section of these and I’m sure people will keep producing and uploading more and more great, original videos around their favourite saga.

The Almighty Format

The technological age has blessed us with a wealth of formats in which to view films. As well as enjoying them at the cinema and our home entertainment systems we can watch them on demand via the internet, via IPads and IPhones and if we have the patience even sit through them on YouTube, despite the usual lack of quality and pixels. While I agree it is a great thing that more films are being watched and more people have access to them which allows the potential to see and admire something that one would otherwise be ignorant to, I was wondering if some of these formats were a good thing. By watching a film on a four inch screen on a smart phone, does this conflict with how the filmmaker intended it to be seen? Does the lack of size and possible reduction of picture and sound quality jeopardise somebody’s understanding and ultimate enjoyment of the feature?

I mean surely a cinema packed to the rafters with technical equipment and a 300 inch screen should be more compelling than the prospect of the same film on a phone that can fit in your pocket. An expensive home entertainment system should make the film better than that same one uploaded, second hand, to YouTube, shouldn’t it? It is the same film but don’t you need the screen as big as possible and the sound sharp so that you pick up and enjoy every nuance within the film?

That said, when home video first become popular in the 1980s many of the televisions that played the tapes weren’t that big or special and the video had a tendency to wear out, too but people speak very fondly of those films that they could take home, watch by themselves repeatedly, despite cassette jumps or the picture quality not being as crisp as possible.

Maybe there are just certain films that should be reserved for the high def, high fidelity treatment. I don’t think anyone would consider watching 2001: A Space Odyssey or Star Wars for the first time on an Iphone, surely that limits the enjoyment from the spectacle as a whole.

Imagine watching The Lord of the Rings on your phone, constantly being distracted and wincing at the screen size and then compare it against somebody who has just seen the whole spectacle at the cinema. There would most certainly be a different opinion of the film. The whole art of film watching is very subjective and audience’s remembrance of the viewing experience often correlates with their view of the film. If someone at the cinema is chewing too loud on popcorn or the sound quality keeps failing, these things will affect the enjoyment of the viewer. Something as material as the format in which the film is being watched can affect the film as a whole.

At the beginning on the DVD/Blu Ray of Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life there is a message to the viewer beforehand asking at the behest of the producers that the viewer play the film loud. This obviously means that producers and directors intend that their films are seen with a loud volume and good sized picture, thereby allowing for their message and their story to come across as intriguing and striking as possible.

I’m sure that audiences will watch more and more films on smaller and more compact devices in the future and although it is good the film is being watched and being paid for it is a shame that we are dismissing the original intentions of the film makers. I doubt Kubrick would have wanted us to witness 2001 on a device smaller than a pencil case and without enough speaker volume to truly appreciate the first few cords of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Personally, I struggle to see how someone could be getting enjoyment from the film using such a small device to watch it. But, maybe that’s just me, I’m a cinematic romantic and I consider it an affront that cinemas are suffering in favour of on demand films to phones and people uploading grainy copies of classics on YouTube. Maybe this is the future. I’m sure though there are many people who would still rather see these great spectacles on the big screen and maybe cinemas need to take a look at themselves and how they can attract these customers back.