We’ve Seen This Movie Before: Commentary

When the TFA second teaser traile debuted on Thursday it was met with joy, glee, and excitement. Admittedly it was not hard to get caught up in the excitement. I did not camp out overnight at Celebration but I did get in one of the overflow rooms and saw it on a big screen anyway. I spent hours in line just to see the few costumes and models from the film. I even engaged in rabid fan behavior in the Celebration store, like a rat fighting for the last crumb of bread on the floor, in a failed attempt to snag one of the t-shirts. That story is for another day.

But of course people were thrilled…it was the first glimpse of anyone from Eps IV-VI since 1983 and it was more substantive in terms of presenting the post-ROTJ GFFA than the November peep show. Sure, it looks cool. Luke’s narrative sounds cool. There’s a mix of familiar faces (Han and Chewie’s anyway) and a bit more of the new kids in town. We got to see the new villain and more neo-stormtroopers. There’s a chase scene with the Falcon. There’s the Hollywood staple of people running from a big flaming fireball. There’s Williams’s music. What’s there not to love?

Yet later on when I was talking about the trailer with a friend at a booth, he said I sounded a bit hesitant. Well, if I had to nitpick the trailer I felt that since it is the Skywalker family saga, I’d rather have seen actual Skywalkers rather than their hands. It also doesn’t reassure me that this won’t be Rehash of the Jedi. Based on what I saw in the costume exhibit and what was in the trailer, there’s going to be a thin line between the repetition that’s part of myth and just plugging back into a familiar conflict. That story is also for another day.

I told my friend this is strangers making Star Wars and I won’t be reassured they have it right until I actually see the film. I also told my friend that it seemed to me the fan reaction was going to set people up for disappointment and backlash again.

We’ve seen this movie before and it came out November 1998. The reaction to the first TPM trailer was very much like the reaction to this trailer a few days ago. The media went nuts reporting about it and the hype machine for TPM fired into overdrive. People were saying this was going to be Biblical, epic, the greatest movie ever, a return to idyllic childhoods, the cure for cancer, and other over-the-top gushing. Then they got mad when the actual film didn’t deliver on their wild-eyed expectations and they’ve stayed mad for 16 years. This time around, TFA is going to be Biblical, epic, the greatest movie ever, a return to idyllic childhoods, the cure for cancer, a return to 1970s filmmaking (no thanks to Lucasfilm’s/Bad Robot’s own marketing), a rebuke against Lucas and the prequels, a retcon of the prequels so that they don’t exist anymore, and whatever the hell else they expect. I’m going to say right now that opinions on the film will be all over the place. Oh sure, I think Abrams will try to skate by on frenetic pacing, action scenes, nostalgia, and whiz bang, which will impress some people but it still won’t save him from the same kind of inflated expectations that TPM faced. Having read some spoilers/rumors, I can tell you if some of them are true, there will be fans who will find the fates/roles of the OT3 upsetting. And there’s at least one CGI character in the film.

It’s not to rain on anyone’s parade but to caution people. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised than to be bitterly disappointed.

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57 Responses to “We’ve Seen This Movie Before: Commentary”

  1. Link To My Trailer Commentary | lazypadawan's Holocron Says:

    […] https://starwarsprequelappreciationsociety.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/weve-seen-this-movie-before-comm… […]

  2. madmediaman Says:

    Yatzee!

  3. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    “The media went nuts reporting about it and the hype machine for TPM fired into overdrive. People were saying this was going to be Biblical, epic, the greatest movie ever, a return to idyllic childhoods, the cure for cancer, and other over-the-top gushing.”

    And then it was. Phantom is love. Phantom is life.

    All joking aside (well, the fanaticism was a joke, not the underlying sentiment), it gets harder and harder to feel excitement and keep an open mind. But it’s important that we do anyway, or else how can we say we’re better than the bashers?

  4. M. Marshall Says:

    For me the difference between this teaser and Episode 1’s teaser was that Ep 1’s teaser got me excited and hungry for more details. TFA’s trailer just left me underwhelmed.

  5. blade57hrc Says:

    It’s not the movie or the teaser itself. It is everything surrounding that; the lies, the deceit, the mistrust…

    The movie WILL be loved by those it is made for, because they HAVE to love it. It’s one of the things they ”fought” for during the last 5-10 years…
    It’s end-credits will be better then the PT combined…RLM & Jahns will re-joice…Even if it is ”The Expendables in space”.

  6. BansheeGun Says:

    Whatever you think of TPM or TFA, you cannot deny that ‘The Phantom Menace’ title sounds SOOOO much cooler than ‘The Force Awakens’.

  7. Kenny Kraly Jr Says:

    The 2nd TFA Teaser Trailer is awesome!!! For me I like it. Good vibes all around.

  8. mithrandirolorin Says:

    I wasn’t a Prequel hater. I have good discernment and every film I’ve been over excited for I felt more then satisfied by. Form The Dark Knight to The Winter Solider.

    I”m not excited for TFA however since I do’tn care much for the OT, next in line on my excitement train is Batman V Superman.

  9. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Well said LP, on all counts.

    I personally love the new trailer, and it is that beautiful opening voice-over by Luke Skywalker, echoing Return of the Jedi, that gives me hope that TFA truly is a continuation of the Skywalker saga rather than just a tacky add-on. It’s still too early to call, but this has got me excited. Still not entirely sold on the villain, but that may come with time.

  10. Stefan Kraft Says:

    There is (more than) some truth in the following comment by a Saga fan.
    http://catie-does-things.tumblr.com/post/116942831586/hey-who-wants-to-hear-me-complain-about-the-star
    Now, you can of course argue that the “used look” became important to you when you grew older etc. Still, I think the emphasis on “real sets” is just not right and that they do not make SW automatically great.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I follow Catie Does Things on Tumblr (didn’t have time to run through Tumblr last night). I agree with her 100%.

  11. Simon Maxwell Says:

    I’m hoping that the rumours of one of the big three dying in the film are true. It will be very interesting to see the backlash against Abrams for killing off a beloved character.

    I’m getting a big Expanded Universe feeling about this film. From the film’s title to the promo art, it all feels very EU-ish. I feel the film is going to be a mix-up of the original trilogy and elements from the EU, with nothing much new or original about it.

    Besides, this new trilogy has a major handicap. No Darth Vader. In Darth Vader, Lucas created one of the greatest cinematic villains in history. The new villain/s in this trilogy simply won’t be able to hold a candle to Vader.

    • Simon Maxwell Says:

      By the way, perhaps it’s worth bearing in mind that Abrams’s last Star Trek film was essentially a poor remake of Wrath of Khan, which doesn’t exactly bode well for Episode 7.

    • yellow12 Says:

      The Best Villain in Star Wars is Darth Sidious , though.

      • peacetrainjedi Says:

        Yes, bar none. Sidious is the best villain in any film series, for my money. Perhaps Sauron in LOTR comes close, but no villain has ever been so gleefully evil and had so many awesome lines that Ian McDiarmid delivered to perfection in the Star Wars Saga.

      • yellow12 Says:

        Jo.
        Agree.Palpatine was as important in the course of the saga as the Skywalkers .
        That he and Anakin won’t appear in the Sequels is really underwhelming and sad.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Well, I am sure that Palpatine would not have appeared even if GL was in full control of everything. Sith are not able to become Force Ghosts. (You need a certain selflessness for that, a trait no Sith Lord has ever known…)

    • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

      Vader’s not even the main villain. Never was. It was Tarkin in New Hope and Palpatine in the rest. I suppose you could argue he was the biggest threat in Empire, but even there he’s clearly damaged goods.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      I am really curious who the villain Kyle Ren will be… Hopefully, only a Sith wannabe (and it seems to be something like that if I have correctly interpreted the rumors). I think that we all agree that the Chosen One has fulfilled his destiny and that therefore the Sith are a thing of the past.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        What, again “Kyle” instead of “Kylo”? Sorry.

      • yellow12 Says:

        The one thing that would ruin my experience of the Sequel Trilogy is that they completely ignore the prophecy of the chosen one.

  12. Hunk a Junk Says:

    I want TFA to be great. I really do. But I want it to be great for the right reasons. I want it to be great for honoring George Lucas’ story, not “fixing it.” I want it to be great because it continues the six-part story, not retcons the parts some fans don’t like. I want it to be great because it doesn’t just try to pander to nostalgia or narcissistic fanboy needs. I want it to be great because it expands the definition of what Star Wars is and not because it’s trying to solidify a rigid creative dogma (your “4 Rules” BS). I want it to be great because it brings new ideas to the saga, not just recycling of old ones. Most importantly, I want it to be great because it brings Star Wars fans closer together, not cater to only one segment of fans at the expense of another.

  13. Eduardo Vargas Says:

    One of the biggest problems with this film is not only the difficulty of getting things right after the conclusion of Jedi ( from a storytelling standpoint, continuing the story after it ends is probably the easiest way to ruin the story- just look at the EU). And as much as I really dislike the EU post Jedi, there are some elements that I prefer more than what Have been glanced in the rumors.

    Granted, rumors are usually more of fan wish-fulfillment things than they are reality, and even sites like MakingStarWars that have been right in the past have been having a mediocre track record recently- they where WAY off in the 2nd trailer description. So for now I think that waiting for more info to come out is the only thing we can hope for.

    Unfortunately, JJ and his obsession with secrecy has led to the release of the novelization to being released digitally the same day of the film. So knowing for sure what they are really up to will probably have to be restricted to watching the movie in theaters, and I find that to be somewhat terrifying- ( how Is my fandom supposed to move on if I don’t like it?)

    I really liked the trailer and I hope the movie is great, but I also hope that this movie has more substance to it than what we have seen so far. And that George’s out put is still there and respected

  14. Chris N. Says:

    • yellow12 Says:

      Maybe inappropriate, but LOL. .. So true

      On topic , there are too many people going nuts about this trailers and I’m sure there will be backlash from them anyway.(or the films will be so nostalgia and fanboy centric so that people will praise J.J. as the best filmmaker on the world/sigh)
      BTW I really don’t know how to feel about J.J. .

      • Chris N. Says:

        I’d say the way Lucasfilm is behaving is what’s inappropriate, but hey, I’m just a fan.

    • Chris N. Says:

      Deleted scene:

      I may not agree with his opinion all the time, but as far as this matter goes, he’s our only hope inside Lucasfilm.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      A bit mean, but my worst fear is indeed that the story treatments (or an alternative good idea for the matter) will play an important role. However, let’s wait and see. (BTW, this Kyle Ren character reminds me of Darth Revan. Or is it just me?)

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        will *not* play an important role. Oh my.

      • peacetrainjedi Says:

        Yes, Kylo Ren’s mask is 90% Revan, 10% Samurai. I love the KotOR stories, but this seems like it’s just borrowing the Revan aesthetic and not the old EU lore that came with it. Unless they suddenly canonize Revan and make Kylo Ren have some sort of connection to him (i.e. he found his mask), then I feel like they should have went with a different design choice. I love most of the new trailer, but I am not sold on the new villain at all. Feels like a poor man’s Sith, but it’s too early to know for sure.

      • BansheeGun Says:

        Revan looks cooler IMO. Kylo looks like something ripped from Battlestar Galactica.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        I wrote “Kyle Ren”? Thanks for the correct spelling, peacetrainjedi. And good to know I am not the only one who sees a possible source for the design.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I have to admit, I had a tough time at the con figuring out whether someone was cosplaying as Revan or as Kylo Ren. Costumes are similar.

    • madmediaman Says:

      LOL! Worthy of a spit take there. That’s some high quality humor… and like most good humor it’s based on a certain amount of truth.

      • Chris N. Says:

        Thanks, although I just did this as a commentary/reaction to what I saw from Celebration. Watching the stream was painful at times.

  15. Nick Skywalker Says:

    I initially wasn’t too excited about TFA but the latest trailer really has gotten me excited. But I still don’t know what to expect. There are 3 possible outcomes in my opinion, 1) The films are actually really good but we won’t be able to escape all the “so much better than the prequel” crap, 2) the movie is actually so-so (not bad, but not fantastically great) but just because it’s not the prequels it will get a ton of love and in the process become disturbingly overrated, or 3) JJ does something risky that pisses the hateboys off sending them into rage and bashing the film. All 3 outcomes are equally possible but I see 2 happening the most.

    The only guarantee is that either outcome, Disney will be laughing all the way to the bank. Over and over again. News outlets are predicting that in the opening weekend alone, TFA could make 500 million and possibly hit the 2 billion mark. And that’s just ticket sales. Merchandise leading up to and after the film will sell like hot and the DVD/Blu Ray sales will be impressive either outcome too. A lot of hateboys own the prequels on DVD.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I think those estimates are based on nothing but hype and uninformed speculation. $500 million opening weekend worldwide might be possible but it will have a huge dropoff the second or third week as everyone would’ve seen it already. In a world where even hit movies are out on DVD/Blu-Ray/digital in four months and piracy is rampant, it’s really tough to make that kind of money. Not even highly-praised, popular genre films like the LOTR trilogy, the Harry Potter flicks, “The Hunger Games,” or “The Avengers” did that well. Monster hits are usually unexpected and always novelties, not the seventh film in a series that’s been around for 40 years.

      See, just like with TPM. Remember when everyone thought for sure it was going to beat “Titanic?” I knew topping $600 million domestic was going to be a very tall order and I was right…no film was able to do it until “Avatar” 12 years later which has a $900 million-plus domestic gross. By the way, no film since 1998 has even come CLOSE to either “Titanic” or “Avatar.” I think it’s possible TFA will surpass TPM’s $1 billion global, but unless ticket prices double suddenly, I really doubt it’ll be anywhere near $2 billion.

      • blade57hrc Says:

        There’s another reason Avatar did those extraordinary numbers. It HAD to be seen at a cinema to witness the 3D.

        Amongst other reasons others have mentioned, SW isn’t as big around the world as it is in the US. In my country for example there was a trailer for a movie shown on the News last week and it wasn’t SW….it was the Batman VS Superman teaser. Comic-book movies have a much larger worldwide audience.

        I suspect SW won’t beat Avengers…

    • madmediaman Says:

      With this being a popcorn film coming out at Christmas I just don’t see those numbers. Expecting Titanic, or Avatar numbers is just wishful thinking. I suspect something in the neighborhood of $365 million domestic is realistic with TFA topping out at $405 if it’s real lucky. Outside of those two films the biggest grossing December film of all time was Return of the King. Christmas just generally has a very limited box office shelf life and most films have petered out by mid January.

    • madmediaman Says:

      Plus there’s a reason they are moving the Saga back to May… there’s far more money to be made there. JJ’s delays is what caused the December release.

    • Christopher Dugan Says:

      The “not great but still better than the prequels” reviews are already being written in people’s minds as we speak. Even the teaser is getting that kind of reaction despite it not really showing anything new, containing almost no dialogue and giving no hint as to what the story is. There’s an element of blind praise going on here that’s a little odd if you ask me.

      Inflation alone dictates this will be the biggest SW film of all-time. It may top “Avengers” but it will be hard beat “Avatar”. The fact that TFW will play on IMAX 3D screens will help but most people will see it in a normal theater. Star Wars typically gets a lot of repeat customers—did people see “Avatar” 5 or 6 times?

      The merchandising returns will be off the charts. If we are being honest that’s the real reason Disney gobbled this up. They want a long-term property in the fantasy/adventure category and sans-Marvel have failed pretty much every time they’ve tried to make their own for the past 4 decades (Black Hole, Tron, Rocketeer, Prince of Persia, John Carter, Tomorrowland in a few weeks…) It’s funny Lucas got slammed for doing the prequels only for the merchandising. A giant corporation steps in with a history of merchandising the holy hell out of everything and nobody bats an eye.

  16. blade57hrc Says:

    I just saw this…
    FFS…
    http://epicstream.com/videos/Watch-George-Lucas-Protest-New-Star-Wars-Films

    I’m sorry but i feel things like this are not even remotely funny.
    Imagine someone doing this at a LOTR gathering mocking J.R.R.Tolkien or a Trek convention mocking Roddenberry…
    Not only would the comment section be flooded with rejection comments but i’m pretty sure anyone doing that would be receiving a few good kicks in the balls…

    This is the most disgusting fanbase ever…sigh…

    • Nick Skywalker Says:

      It’s not funny at all. It’s completely disrespectful.

      I just do not understand the hateboys one bit. If you bash the prequels so much and constantly belittle their importance, WHY do you spend so much time hating on them every single chance you get instead of just saying “Screw these movies, they never existed, let’s not even talk about it”? TPM is 16 years old, AOTC 13, and ROTS turns 10 next month. Let it go already. I don’t understand it. If I hated something THAT much, I would avoid it at all costs. And it’s not like the prequels rectoned anything major (which I can’t say the same about TFA if my doubts hold true) Holding onto all that hate has got to be exhausting. The way they carry on you’d think George killed their parents or something.

      How they can call themselves such die hard fans of a series when they literally only like 2 of the movies completely baffles me.

      • Daniel Xie Says:

        The funny thing is how much they force people to watch the RLM reviews but ironically Stroklasa actually says something like “If you don’t agree with me the prequels are crappy it’s your opinion”. RLM is run by hateboys yet they at the very least don’t mind people liking the PT and they didn’t call on people to force their ideas down their throat, yet their own cult forces it down our throats.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        This fandom is full of people who despise the guy who created the basis for it. It’s bizarre, like trust fund kids who hate their parents but not the money and lifestyle the parents provided for them.

        I didn’t see any of this. I was too busy actually participating in the con and standing in lines.

    • buick runner Says:

      That comedian is a nobody riding Lucas ‘ coattails . Him, Simon Pegg, Stroklassa, are all pilot fish, picking up crumbs.

  17. zch81721 Says:

    I think we are going to see another backlash. All the signs are there. Hell if Lucas couldn’t fullfill the expectations of these people what makes Abrams think he can? He had a hard time winning over the Star Trek community. At this point we might as well have the Star Wars cycle just like the Sonic or Call of Duty cycle. It just keeps repeating.

    • Wizardman Says:

      I’m hoping a potential Star Wars cycle is more like the Zelda cycle, in that the newest entry is always looked down on until another one comes out, at which time the previous entry is now looked at as a classic while the newest one is considered subpar. And on and on….

      Maybe the ST and the Anthology films will take some of the hate off of the prequels. 😛

      • zch81721 Says:

        The prequels did take the hate off Return of the Jedi because I’ve talked to older fans and they’ve told me back in their day Jedi was the one everyone wanted curb stomp.

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        Which is interesting because of the three, it’s Jedi that becomes 100 times better due to I-III – not because of any better or worse quality, but because the story of I-III impacts Jedi’s plot the most and completely changes the perceived dynamic between Luke, Vader, and Palpatine.

      • peacetrainjedi Says:

        Completely agree Adam. The reason why Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars film is because of its strong connections to the prequels. It’s essentially the delayed conclusion of the Palpatine/Anakin story-line that was so brilliantly portrayed in Episode III. Anakin’s ultimate redemption and his appearance as a force ghost at the end of the film get to me every time. I’m not sure any future film could top that payoff of the Saga coming full circle as the light side of the force finally emerged triumphant, and the force ghosts overlooked the joyous celebration on the Sanctuary moon.

  18. cathie bergfels Says:

    here here!! what peacetrainjedi just said

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