Millions of football fans were treated to a new Star Wars trailer at halftime of Monday Night Football on ESPN. And plenty of Star Wars fans were subjected to the first half of the Bears-Vikings game. But despite the strong praise from the nerd community, of which I am a proud member, I wasn’t a fan of the first full trailer for The Last Jedi.
This might be unfair to single out Lucasfilm, but they fell right into a disturbing trend of giving up too much information in the trailer. I understand the Cineplex faces tough times and has to go all out in previews, but showing me half the movie in advance isn’t going to encourage me to buy a ticket.
The first trailer for The Last Jedi was elegant, concise and mysterious.
The current trailer is either a catalog of major plot lines or a series of mis-directions you’d expect from a lame network soap opera.
Here are some of my specific issues with the trailer:
The fact that I have to issue a spoiler alert to analyze the trailer is a bad sign. If the people who cut this trailer together worked on the Empire Strikes Back, they would have led with Darth Vader telling Luke that he’s his father.
There’s a scene where Adam Driver’s character Kylo Ren is in a TIE fighter with a voice over about “killing the past.” Cut to a close-up of Princess Leia in a bigger ship looking doomed. So does Kylo Ren kill her like he did Han Solo? That’s the clear implication. If he did kill his mother, they might not want to give that away. If he didn’t, which I expect, that’s a blatant false tease that they don’t need to rely on. This is Star Wars, not Gossip Girl. They don’t need hokey devices to get us to tune in.
They also strongly hint that Rey will flirt with the dark side and possibly join her brother’s cause. Save it for the movie. Or that’s another red herring. Great movies don’t need to introduce false plot points. Citizen Kane didn’t have a trailer implying Rosebud was Orson Welles’ golden retriever.
Haven’t we seen this?
Visually, it seems very similar to The Force Awakens. I have no problem with the fact that they never think of a new plot line for the third act—a plucky group figures out how to lower the shields so a fighter plane can take advantage of a weak spot in the Death Star. But I’m having trouble distinguishing in my head what happened in The Force Awakens and what went down in Rogue One. Can we see some new kinds of light sabers or ships or something cool? They did give us an animal called an ice fox, but it looks like someone put rabbit ears on a dog for Halloween.
Lame training montage
Rey’s tutelage under Luke Skywalker appears to be headed toward well-worn territory. She is about to hit a rock with a light saber but has the incredible self-control to stop right beforehand? I could do that. She thinks really hard and makes some rocks rise off the ground? I’d think Luke has picked up some new Jedi training tricks after all these years. This is barely more advanced than his early days with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Luke is soft
A large portion of the trailer seems to be dedicated to how neurotic Luke has become in isolation. Unlike Yoda—who kept his bad-assness while hiding out in Dagobah—Luke appears to have devolved into a creepy loner with dark fears about the future. You’re a Jedi with a Terminator hand—what are you afraid of? Man up, Luke. If I’m Luke, I’m not hiding out on the island from Lost …. I’m out Jedi mind-tricking and kicking ass all over the place.
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Too much Kylo Ren
There’s a moment where Kylo Ren punches the wall in frustration that seems to come right out of the latest tweener flick. Adam Driver’s getting pretty close to James Van Der Beek yelling “I don’t want your life” in Varsity Blues. Can you picture Darth Vader punching a wall? He strangled guys with his mind in trailers—he didn’t storm off to his room.
More Oscar Isaac, Benicio Del Toro
The actor who plays Poe Dameron gets very little face time, but does give part of an inspiring speech about taking down the First Order. I’m still not sure how big his role will be, but he’s probably the best actor in this group. And where is Benicio, who will play a character named DJ? OK, I appreciate that they didn’t give away too much about his new character. But it’s Benicio—he’s instantly the coolest guy in the movie.
The trailer introduced a cute lovable porg—a high-pitched owl thingy that Disney will sell to kids. The internet did a fine job destroying this thing. But for good measure, I would aim the new version of the Death Star right at the porg and blows it out of the sky. I’m sorry, that’s very cruel and I don’t know if porgs fly. But if we’re going to kill Lucasfilm for Jar Jar Binks, how can anyone give the porg a pass?
As critical as I’ve been, I will try to see the movie on opening night. My issue is not with the movie. It’s the trailer. And apparently ratings were up for that portion of the Vikings-Bears game, which means we’ll see more over-sharing previews during primetime football games. Hopefully they don’t give away too much. There are sacred plot points that have to be revealed in the theater: Rosebud was a sled, Bruce Willis was a ghost, Brad Pitt wasn’t real in Fight Club and Kevin Spacey was Keyser Soze. Oops, probably should have put in a spoiler alert there for anyone who haven’t seen those yet. Sorry.