Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Abrams Patrol: Star Wars VII Trailer Autopsy

So I’m back as well after that rather long hiatus, and I won’t lie to you chaps, in the time since I left things in popular culture have gotten rather dire. Uninhibited by our constant podcasts about how he sucked, J.J Abrams has managed to put out a trailer to Star Wars VII. Now I know this is what I get for taking a sabbatical but don’t worry, I'm dedicated to fixing this problem, together every few weeks we will work through the schlock that JJ is producing with Star Wars and Star Trek in the hope of shutting him back in the Pandora’s Box he loves so much. Now without further ado welcome to The Abrams Patrol.

Gabe No! Get away from that man, Half Life is too good for him.

Trailer Overview


So by now I imagine everyone and their Wookie has seen the Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens trailer. I, like many people, was linked it by an overexcited fan boy over social media, and if the aim of a trailer is to purely generate hype, then I think we can count TFA’s trailer as an uncontested success. But in my opinion that isn’t why a trailer exists.

Look at a trailer for something as simple in premise as “Taken 3”, the latest in a extraordinarily average set of films about Liam Neeson killing everyone to protect his family. Even in a franchise as lacking as this, Trailer 1 goes specifically out of the way to lay bare what little plot there is, to inform the audience of what the film is going to be about. 

The second and last trailer I’ll bring up is the Trailer #1 for The Phantom Menace, if you cut this off at 1 minute as well then you’d have a trailer near identical to that of Star Wars VII Force Awakens, lots of unconnected visuals of cool stuff, but the second minute contains plot, we learn about Anakin, the prophecy, their reliance on him and the force. Immediately it is hard to sum up the plot to that mess of a film, but they try and you’d walk into the cinema having a vague idea of what’s going on, before being utterly disappointed. Thankfully 1999 Aaron Chapman didn't know that, he was like 7, lucky bastard.

So The Force Awakens trailer doesn't communicate what is happening, but that doesn't make it not worth examining, however, I feel like it is definitely a large negative when it comes to starting up the hype machine. Of course to most people my argument would be countered with that picture of the X-Wings going over the lake. It is a hard life being cynical.

Closer Inspection.

So as all we really have to go on in this trailer is a series of flashy visuals, I guess the only way to adequately dissect this is to go through them one at a time. Thankfully it shouldn’t take long as the initial shot takes up 30 seconds of the trailer.


Now I've been told that the actor we see in the Stormtrooper uniform is indeed the main character. As one of the many people who attended those open auditions in the UK, it called for a streetwise and independent male, it mentioned nothing of him being a soldier, so we can assume that he isn’t a Stormtrooper turned good, and that he took the uniform, like Han and Luke did in Star Wars IV. As for the voice I'm almost 100% sure that that is Andy Serkis and not Benedict Cumberbatch, it sounded less like Khan and more like Caesar, and oh god I was just reminded Into Darkness existed. Also the voice says nothing of importance.

More Stormtroopers, Rolling Droid, Speed Bike.

These next three shots are so disconnected and brief that they get to share a category. The first is the rolling version of the astromech. Now this makes no sense to me, Astromech droids are designed to navigate inside and outside of small ships for repairs. Hence the very high suction design of their three prolonged leg system. Unless this is an astromech droid that was never meant to explore the ‘Astro’ part then I’d say he is fundamentally useless. He can’t navigate a ship like that, nor can he go outside of the ship and fix it, nor can he even fit inside a standard X-Wing mode I’d wager. He looks like a quirky side character though, so whatever I guess.

The New Stormtroopers look like their mascara leaked everywhere.

I actually almost liked the speeder bike, it has at least got low air resistance, though it does look a bit too much like a choc ice Still, a worthy successor to the 74-Z.

X-Wings, The infamous Lightsabre Crossguard.

Three X-Wings skim across the lake, I really wish I could add more to this, but they look like X-Wings, and they skim across the lake. The pilot is an older man. Pretty strange they still use X-Wings 30 years after. Look at the technology leap in the 30 years between 1-3 and 4-6. Maybe destroying centralised government wasn’t great for the spaceship industry, sure worked for the nostalgia industry though.

I could write a whole essay on why the Lightsabre Crossguard is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and yes, even including all those people trying to defend it, but I don’t think now is the time nor place for that level of nerd rage. Lets just say that an evil sith with a hitherto unseen Lightsabre variation walks into shot.

Sound familiar?

Star Wars Music, Millennium Falcon.

Then the Star Wars music starts up and a CGI Falcon zooms around the place for the last ten seconds. It is a good shot long shot, the CGI looks better than the prequels, more real. For some reason Han Solo (presumably) is fighting Tie Fighters in the desert 30 years later, but who am I to judge, pretty sure in the now defunct extended universe they were fighting the Imperial remnants until they died. The big Words “Star Wars” come up and then the trailer ends, answering no questions and raising many, a perfect hype-machine.


JJ Abrams has once again proven he is an expert marketing device, he has yet to slip up this time however and reveal himself to be a poor creative again, because very little of his work was on show. I guess he is keeping his cards close to his chest like with Into Darkness.  I sure hope he isn't trying to outdo Star Wars in the twist department. I also find it suspect we didn't see any of our main heroes; I really want to see how decaying they look at this point. But I guess that'll have to wait till next time on The Abrams Patrol. Glad to be back Cynics, next article on the weekend.

Bonus Round: Funny re-edits of the trailer, suck it Abrams. 

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