Opinion Piece: Can the Force Awakens live up to the hype?

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By Jordan and Eddie on 27/11/2015

In but a few weeks’ time a little movie you may’ve heard of happens to be hitting cinema screens the world over, this movie you might know of or perhaps have already purchased tickets for is Star Wars: the Force Awakens.

All jokes aside, it’s quite possible that the newest entry into the beloved Sci-Fi franchise is the movie industries most hyped movie, not merely in this year or this decade, but of all time.

From trailers being watched millions upon millions of time, merchandise flooding our stores and pre-sale tickets being swooped up on-mass faster than an Ewok running through the shrubs, the evidence is all around us that the force is strong with this one.

While hype is great and in this case justified, it leaves director J.J. Abrams film with a mighty expectation to meet and in considering this we here at J and E have decided to provide our none to professional opinion on whether or not we think the Force Awakens can realistically live up to the hype.

Using a simple Pro’s and Con’s formula with a final verdict, below you’ll find our analysis and no doubt we will see you all on December 17th, lined up and ready to witness a new age of Star Wars.

Happy reading and happy watching!

Eddie’s Take

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Pros

  • J.J. Abrams – As a personally unashamed fan and supporter of Abrams, from the excellent and oft misunderstood Lost through to the fun and enjoyable Sci-Fi yarns of Star Trek and Super 8, he seems to me to be arguable the best man for the job and knows how to mould thrills with heart and an understated humour. Perfect for the Star Wars universe then.
  • The Cast – What a major bonus for the Force Awakens to net all major cast members from the old beloved trilogy. While Disney and the filmmakers here could’ve gone for the easy option of recasting or the doing away with characters of old, they went about harnessing together everyone from Harrison Ford through to Peter Mayhew. While there might be a few more wrinkles on screen than ever before, it will be a dream come true for many getting to see the faces we know and love back on screen once more.
  • The Trailers – Ever since the very first image was glimpsed of the first teaser for the first teaser the hype train started rolling and rightfully so! Every TV spot, every trailer and every behind the scenes look at the Force Awakens suggests that a mix of mind blowing visuals and a thrilling story will teleport us to a galaxy far far away that we will want to revisit again and again.
  • No Jar Jar Binks – Seriously how good will that be! Oh and no Hayden Christensen to boot!

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Cons

  • The Hype – It wouldn’t be wrong to say the Force Awakens is holding up nerd/geek/movie loving hopes on its very shoulders. Never before has hype for a feature film been this world spanning, this extreme and against unmeasurable history. Only on December 17th will we know if the hype was worth it but with great hype comes great responsibility!
  • The Story – Unless you’ve delved deep into the recesses of the Internet’s underbelly or somehow snuck on set, chances are the actual plot line to the Force Awakens remains largely under wraps. Will the narrative centre around a missing Luke Skywalker? Is Darth Vader somehow going to return? We mere mortals are none the wiser but what made the original films so good were strong narratives that were largely lost in the later prequels and hopefully not lost here.
  • The Cast – We can talk about the old cast but can a group of largely unknowns and up and comers become the new Han Solo, Princess Leia, Jaba the Hut etc.? A lot is riding on an untried Star Wars cast with the likes of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac just to name a few and it will be interesting to see how they compare alongside their more seasoned space explorers.
  • BB-8 – The new Jar Jar? Only time will tell but let’s hope this loveable looking droid isn’t there for unwarranted comic relief or just hijinks of many different shapes and forms.

Can the Force Awakens live up to the hype?

Final Verdict – Yes. If anyone can do it it’s J.J. Abrams and on face value evidence the Force Awakens looks like everything any fan of the series could’ve ever hoped for! The hype is truly incredible and the expectations high but just like the original Star Wars film proved, it’s possible to believe in the impossible and be transported to worlds that seem real, true and most importantly breathtakingly entertaining. May the force be with you indeed!

Jordan’s Take

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Pros

  • The Timing – It’s been ten years since Revenge of the Sith concluded the prequel trilogy, meaning that a huge portion of The Force Awakens’ audience will be kids seeing their first cannon Star Wars movie after years of Clone Wars animations, while the ample rest of us will be seeing our 7th after a decade long break filled with rumour and anticipation.
  • 7th Time is a Charm – The 7th entry in a film franchise has often brought the goods over its sequel predecessors, see: Furious 7, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and of course Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow. So its scientifically proven then that this has to be good.
  • The Secrecy – Sure, we know the cast of returning characters and various technical specs, but only because these things are often impossible to keep from an audience. The fact that the plot has been kept under wraps to such a successful extent surely signifies how proud the creative minds behind it are, and that there are many surprises awaiting us.
  • No Hayden Christensen – There is no place for moody adolescence in the Star Wars universe.

Cons

  • The Technology – A New Hope introduced galactic warfare on a scale not previously seen and it wowed audiences and critics alike, and like it or loath it, the pod racer sequence in A Phantom Menace was the stuff of dreams for kids at the time who would watch it over and over again. In an era now where Interstellar has made space exploration seem all the more believable and the Marvel films have seamlessly integrated CGI into live action, can The Force Awakens have the wow factor of previous entries?
  • Can it win over a new audience? – Sure, pre-sale tickets have already gone some way to recovering the budget for this one, but if it is to the first of a new trilogy then it needs to snare new converts, and I’m not convinced those unfamiliar with the mythology and nonplussed on the brand will see it.
  • Return of the Old Timers – If Han Solo and Princess Leia are somehow as vibrant now as they were nearly 40 years ago, then this will be moved to the Pros list, but one can’t help but fear that the return of Ford, Fisher and Hamill (please no… remember Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) will slightly tarnish the legacy of the originals if they act at all in a knowing, self referential or lacklustre manner (I’m looking at you, Harrison).
  • Kylo Ren’s lightsaber – Seriously, what is the point of those 2 side sabers?

Can the Force Awakens live up to the hype?

Final Verdict – Yes. Of course it can. If J.J. Abrams can make Star Trek popular to the mainstream in a fun, adventurous and exciting manner then he can do even more with a franchise pre-loaded with style and a lore that leaves the rest cinema has to offer in it’s space dust. This will be one of the best movies of 2015.

Star Wars: the Force Awakens opens in Australia on Thursday December 17th.

What are your thoughts on the Force Awakens? Do you trust Abrams or are you still reeling from the finale of Lost? We’d love to hear from you so drop us a line in the comments below! And may the force be with you.

Force Awakens poster

 

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45 responses to “Opinion Piece: Can the Force Awakens live up to the hype?

  1. Great discussion. You both make some great points. I for some reason am not as affected by hype as other people are but I think many are nervous about Force Awakens. But in a way the prequels set the bar pretty low. I think as long as FA is better than they were most fans will be thrilled. Plus Rogue 1 will be coming with a new fresh take so it’s the start of a whole lot of new stuff.

    One thing gives me confidence is Star Wars Rebels is a great show which makes me feel like Disney and Lucasfilm are going to make FA good too

  2. I’m actually pretty confident this film will “live up to the hype,” and would be willing to bet a fair amount of money on it because of one thing, and one thing only: The Prequels.

    I maintain that, never again, will a movie be so anticipated (or a bigger disappointment) than The Phantom Menace; Attack of the Clones sunk the franchise even lower, and Revenge of the Sith was too little, too late. There’s going to be immense pressure *to like* these new films simply out of fans’ spite for George Lucas’ borderline infanticide of his brainchild with both the prequel trilogy and those increasingly embarrassing Special Editions. That, and let’s remember that JJ, Kennedy, and Disney have gone to great lengths to emphasize the contrast in filmmaking styles between TFA and the pequels (e.g. “Real sets…. practical effects”).

    In fact, my only real fear with these new films is that they’ll be too similar to the original films, and won’t take *enough* chances with expanding the source material — e.g. ANOTHER Death Star, Jedi vs. The Dark Side (again), The Empire, learning to work together as a team, aaaaauuuwwww. Ironic, eh? I think JJ is the perfect man to direct these films, and I think Kasdan is the perfect man to write them, but I’m not gonna sit here and predict the sequel trilogy is gonna be some earth-shattering, ground-breaking blockbuster experience.

  3. One can only hope. Two big con’s I see are Disney is at the helm and no George Lucas. Lucas has divested himself from the Franchise and Disney doesn’t exactly have the best record when it comes to Sci-Fi movies. Tomorrowland didn’t do so well. John Carter was only half way descent. Tron, The Black Hole and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea were probably their most shining gems for Sci-Fi Disney ever done. Some are just too cutzy like Flubber, The Cat From Outer Space, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Wall E. Lets just hope they left the Cute factor with the animation department. The best Pro IS by far…JJ Abrams, if they gave him true control.

  4. No matter how great this is, people are going to be disappointed. I think the hype is too high. Abrams would have to make the perfect movie, a movie better than the Avengers, for this to be a critical success. Box office totals are already a guarantee and it shouldn’t be hard to pass up the sequels but I don’t know if it’s possible for it to match with Lucas’ original works.

  5. I’ve always loved Star Wars and I grew up with both trilogies. While I prefer the originals I still enjoy the new ones. The new trilogy will be polarizing, but I’m happy they’re still making new Star Wars movies.

  6. I’m worried it will be more of a reboot than a continuation of the saga. Some of the things I’ve seen and heard are worrying. I’m much more excited about Rogue One to be honest. If Force Awakens turns out to be good, it will be a pleasant surprise. The last really impressive and exciting Star Wars film was TESB after all.

  7. I’m an unapologetic defender of Lost, simply adored that show (and still do). I think Abrams done a great job with Star Trek too, so he’s the right man for me. I don’t think it’ll be disappointing. Whether it turns out good or excellent remains to be seen. Exciting times!

    • I’m excited to my man! So glad to hear from another Lost supporter – very much looking forward to a whole series re-watch one day as it’s been far to long! Just need the time to get through 6 seasons ha.
      E

    • Agh, but you do realise the premise of Lost basically ripped off the film Jacobs Ladder (bunch of characters die in traumatic event and then wander in a limbo trying to find peace or penance for past sins) but spread it out over multiple seasons rather than one movie? I loved the first season but felt betrayed by the rest. Too many Abrams projects are like that, recycling/rebooting other peoples ideas.

      • It wasn’t limbo though mate, everything that happened on the island happened. It’s a great debate of the show but yeh only limbo was the final church scene but that wasnt a typical limbo scenario.

      • I think, for me, the fact that the two share a similar premise is irrelevant. It was more about the characters and relationships, the drama and the smaller mysterious. I also hadn’t seen Jacob’s Ladder at that point, which might’ve helped! 🙂

      • Yeah, I loved the show early on. If only it ran for just four seasons, it might have been really special. Bit like stretching The Hobbit into three movies, sometimes creators (or is it the studios?) get too greedy, push it too far. By the time Lost eventually wound up, it felt like a betrayal of those early seasons (that season one cliffhanger! Fantastic!).

      • Yeah I think that’s fair. There are some episodes in the middle seasons that definitely feel superfluous in the grand scheme of things. Season one cliffhanger, fantastic indeed! Great television.

  8. I’m pretty sure that acting and directing will be much better this time around than in the prequels, at least. But IMO what brings most of the modern blockbusters down is the writing and the story, and here, who knows? I do hope that it’s not all about nostalgia and playing “spot that reference” and recycling plot strands from the original trilogy, because I’m well and truly sick of franchises recycling each other and Abrams’ last Star Trek movie was very much guity of that.

  9. First off, great article guys. You got me covered in nerd sweats 😉 Second, yes, it will live up to the hype… and not just because “The 7th time is a charm” (hahaha Jordan). What we we’ve seen so far makes all signs point to awesome. Totally agree with both your points though. The only question mark for me is story. It could get convoluted. For now, I’m staying positive and enjoying every moment of anticipation.

    • The anticipation is so high isn’t it dude! Almost everyone I know has got their tickets already just getting mad keen to get there in a few weeks and kick back and enjoy! I’ve gone the Imax treatment for this one, just hoping as you say the story is of decent quality.
      E

      • right on… imax should be awesome buddy… i havent got tickets yet… does that lose nerd cred? 😉 i’m not in a high demand zone so fingers crossed… i’m thinking good old 2d first, so I can absorb all the pretty better… then 3d, for like a bonus new version… i can’t wait either… gonna be massive

      • I heard Abrams say in an interview that there is only 1 Imax scene (full frame)… “But it’s a good one.” I’m guessing that will be the understatement of the year 😉 I’m expecting a 20 minute Star War sequence. Can’t wait. That’ll definitely “enhance the experience”!

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