Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Let's Keep A Little Optimism Here."

     Since this is May the 4th, I thought I'd take a little break from the drawing board and do some more "traditional" blogging about a certain blockbuster that has me filled with anticipation.

Cue Epic Fanfare
     I know the new chapter in the Star Wars saga is still pretty far off, but since the news of Disney buying Lucasfilm and putting Episode VII into motion, the interwebs have been flooded with opinions and speculation! This is me chiming in. I admit, when I first heard about it, I was somewhat perturbed. I'm not sure why, exactly. I guess I, like many I'm sure, have just grown accustomed to moaning and groaning anytime something new with a Star Wars label is announced.

Let's call it "prequel burn."
     That was my initial reaction. But as I drove home from work that day, I contemplated on the entirety of the situation and decided, for the time being, to think positively. Always look on the bright side, after all.

And when I think about it, most of the sides ARE bright sides. For instance:

BRIGHT SIDE #1 - Disney
  I've read a lot of rants from people worrying over the Walt Disney company destroying this beloved franchise with ridiculous stuff like Jedi Pixies or Miley Cyrus as Princess Leia! As if Cinderella sequels and Tweenage Disney Channel nonsense are the only products that Disney is capable of producing. I'm sure those same bellyachers were there cheering on opening night of "The Avengers." I think Disney did, and is doing, a pretty good job with that property, and unless I'm mistaken, I haven't seen one fairy princess yet!

I'm mistaken.
     Of course, I'm a huge Disney geek, so maybe I'm a little bias on this point, but after seeing the way Disney has leveraged other brands like Pixar, Marvel, and The Muppets, I'm confident that they'll give our beloved Star Wars nothing short of the royal treatment.

BRIGHT SIDE #2 - Michael Arndt
  Years ago, I got upset after hearing about an addition to another set of movies that I enjoyed. I'm talking about the Toy Story movies. When I first heard that Pixar was making "Toy Story 3," I moaned and groaned just like I did with the Episode VII news. I thought the first two Toy Story films were perfect on their own, and to throw in a third movie would just be a marketing driven cash grab that would lower their integrity. Boy! Was I wrong about that one! "Toy Story 3" has to be my favorite Pixar film to date! If anything, it enhances the integrity of the first two! I mean, I thought it was sad when Jessie tells her little story in "Toy Story 2!" Then the third one comes along and blows me away! I had no idea the level of emotion that these characters were capable of making me feel!

This scene reduces me to a quivering teary mess every time!
     The point I'm taking my sweet time getting to here is that "Toy Story 3" was written by Michael Arndt, the same screenwriter working on Episode VII. Anytime I feel any reservations about the new Star Wars, I remember what Mr. Arndt already did with a highly anticipated sequel to a well established franchise… which was also owned by Disney.

Seriously! EVERY TIME!

BRIGHT SIDE #3 - J.J. Abrams
  Finally, there's the directorial powerhouse that is Mr. J.J. Abrams! I first fell in love with this man back in 2007 after I happened upon the presentation he gave at a TED conference. He has such a contagious enthusiasm for movies as well as a brilliant approach to filmmaking! It's basically impossible for me not to have a man crush on the guy!

Lens flares set my heart aflutter.
  If you watch J.J. Abrams' TED Talk, you'll hear him mention Star Wars a little bit, which, by the way, just the small amount of time he spends discussing Star Wars shows the large amount of understanding he actually has. But what I really like is how he talks about how, with great films, the audience thinks they're watching one thing, when in reality, they're watching something else. He put this to work two years later when he made Star Trek. Here's another blockbuster set in outer space that, like Star Wars, had decades of already established concepts and themes leading up to its release. We all thought we had a pretty good idea what to expect, and then, within the first ten minutes of the film, we're sent off on this incredibly unexpected roller coaster of emotion!

I guess an overall theme here is that I like it when movies make me cry.
     Not only does this let the audience know right from the start that this is going to be a completely different Star Trek experience, but it invests the audience so much in the characters that, for the rest of the film, we're not just looking at a bunch of spaceships and transporter beams, but are actually involved in what's going on. This is exactly what Star Wars has been needing, and I think Mr. Abrams has proven that he can deliver.

As long as lens flares are part of the package!
  Now I'm not refusing to believe that Episode VII will be bad. No movie is immune to being a critical flop, especially when it comes to Star Wars. But when you consider the positive, there's plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the time being.

     These are just my opinions though. If you've been kind enough to read through this entire spiel of mine, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment. And since this is an art blog, and not a ramble on and on blog, I thought I'd go ahead and draw something.

May the 4th be with you!


Richard Joseph Coughlin said...

Really interesting read Nate, I think I had the same reaction as you when I first read the news of the new Star Wars and after discovering who was actually working on the project Arndt & Abrams all my doubts were put aside as these are two people I think also are very capable of taking care of the new Star Wars.

Nathan H. Boyd said...

Yeah! And lately I've been seeing video after video of J.J. Abrams promoting "Star Trek Into Darkness" where he'll make a small mention of his approach to Star Wars. It's always super brief, but just the fact that he talks about the importance of the story and characters rather than breaking new ground in movie technology gives me a lot of hope.

Amanda said...

To be completely honest, when I heard that a) there'd be a new Star Wars movie, my first thought was something along the lines of "aw, crap", and when I heard that b) Disney would be producing said movie, my thought went to "awww, crap!" Then I heard Abrams would be doing it and now I actually can't wait to see how he does it.

However, I wasn't really holding out too much hope though (because I'm of the thought that thinks they should have just stopped the Star Wars franchise before they started the prequels) but after reading your post about it (which I found completely by accident while looking for design inspiration) I think I'm now fairly certain that Abrams may just do enough of a fantastic job (like he tends to) that it might redeem Star Wars for a lot of the fans.

We can always use more lens flares in space movies, anyway, haha.

P.S. I think J.J. Abrams' enthusiasm is incredibly contagious. I hadn't seen the TED talk before today, but I'm very glad I have now. Thank you Nathan!

Red Takazawa said...

I'm also a fan of Star Wars. I mean it! I've seen the six videos of it and I can't still get over it.

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Nathan H. Boyd said...

I hope Episode 7 will redeem Star Wars. I don't think it could ruin it. That, according to some, has already been done. I don't see how, especially in the hands of J.J. Abrams, it could possibly be worse.