Jul 292015

Like many other geeks, Star Wars has had a tremendous impact upon my life. I’m lucky enough to be old enough to have been part of the initial cultural tsunami that the original trilogy brought beginning back in 1977. I was seven years old at the time and seeing Star Wars on the big screen ushered something totally new into my experience, as it did for many, many others. When I heard that J.J. Abrams was making Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was intrigued. One reason was that his Star Trek movies felt more akin to Star Wars, and the other reason was that George Lucas would not have anything to do with it as he sold all his rights off to Disney for $4 billion. That ember of hope for a good movie has roared into a blazing bonfire after watching the Star Wars behind the scenes video that was shown at Comic-Con 2015.

The video is amazing on several levels. The first is that we’re firmly told that the movie will heavily use practical effects. This is monumental as I’m a huge fan of practical effects instead of massive amounts of CGI. One reason why the original trilogy holds up so well is its reliance on practical effects. Viewers instinctively know that what they’re watching is real as practical effects are real constructed sets and actual puppets and automated figures. Such effects do not grow dimmer with time like CGI does. Robbie the Robot from Fantastic Planet looks as great today as he did sixty years ago. The same can be said for the Daleks from Doctor Who. Those were real constructs  lumbering across a sound stage,  not some  animated computer graphics that look great today but will look dated and old just a few years from now.

Another reason why the Star Wars behind the scenes video is amazing is that it really doesn’t give anything away. In this era where most people know every little detail of a movie before it’s released, it’s quite refreshing to know so little about such a large film. What we do get just whets our appetite for much more. Plus, we get a nice dose of nostalgia seeing Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Peter Mayhew in the video. Then there’s the bonus of seeing the new cast being all starry-eyed, and who doesn’t love Simon Pegg geeking out over being in a Star Wars movie?

There are those that are saying that the Star Wars behind the scenes video takes a shot at George Lucas by saying that they’re “finally” getting back to what works. While some people are getting worked up over this, I really don’t care. While I thank George Lucas for bringing us Star Wars, he has repeatedly screwed fans by refusing to release the original films in their original format. He can tinker with his movies all he wants, but his actions denigrating fans that want the Star Wars that they know and love was incredibly childish and petty. The prequels were beyond awful, and he has demonstrated that he has lost his ability to tell a compelling story, which is incredibly sad. As for the new movie, I have high hopes as the Star Wars behind the scenes video has me pumped like I wouldn’t believe.

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