Maybe I’ve reached a point where I can’t think about this movie logically anymore. For the record, I don’t dislike this trailer. Like I’ve been saying about every Rogue One trailer and promotional material, it’s fine. I’d also like to reiterate that I’m as big a Star Wars fan as they come. The original trilogy are my three favorite films. The Force Awakens was my favorite movie of last year. I even defend Episode III. I’m continually shocked at the reaction these trailers have gotten, in particular this most recent one. I don’t get it. What is so incredible about this trailer? When I look back at The Force Awakens trailers, those were grabbers. The teaser had the Falcon at the end. The second had “Chewie, we’re home.” The third was simply a spectacle to behold. They also didn’t spoil any plot points. Let’s start the complaining there.
I wish every movie trailer was cut by Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams. Once again, we get spoiled. One of my biggest complaints about this film has always been the plot. We know what happens. They get the Death Star plans. There’s not much in the way of surprises to begin with, but one of the few plot elements that could have made this film more enjoyable is now ruined. The main character’s father is a key part in the Death Star’s development. Come on. I’m not apologizing for yelling about this. That’s a major factor into what I’m sure is a big part of Jyn Erso’s motivation. That’s something I’d like to uncover when I watch film. I guess I’m an old fart in that regard.
I’ve addressed this in previous articles, but can someone tell me what is so intriguing about these characters? The strength of Star Wars has always been characters. That’s why the prequels are so maligned. In The Force Awakens teaser trailer, we were instantly intrigued by Finn. Right from the start. This disheveled guy in a storm trooper outfit breathing heavily. Perfect. You immediately want to know that story. With Jyn Erso, it’s the most clichéd back story of all time. Stock dialogue. I’m not grabbed by any of this. And I’m sorry, dialogue matters in movies. Can everyone please look away from the ships for two seconds and really listen to this dialogue:
“Jyn, whatever I do. I do it to protect you.”
“We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.”
“Take hold of this moment.”
Aside from the whatever dialogue, the acting feels off. I know these are great actors, but they come off very monotone here. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t know who the director was.
I’ve said this before, but Gareth Edwards made Godzilla (2014). The worst part about that film is how utterly flat the acting and characters were. I see the same going on here. I understand that Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed are better actors than Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but Edwards also had Elizabeth Olson and Ken Watanabe, and they didn’t do much. The only actor/character who intrigues me right now is Ben Mendelsohn.
My last complaint is going to seem like the biggest trailer nitpick in the history of trailer analysis, but I’m going to defend why it’s not. I’ve already expressed my issues with Darth Vader in this movie. You can read my previous trailer analysis for that. Here’s my Vader complaint in this trailer: the way he walks. It’s too fast. I know. I’m whining about how a character walks. Here’s my defense of this “nitpick.” Just as Vader’s breathing is iconic, Vader’s walk is also a defining characteristic. He walks slow. It’s that build up to when he approaches you. It gives the underling more time to poop his pants. Even when Vader duels, it’s slow and controlled. Methodical. In this trailer, he’s sprinting towards Mendelsohn. I’m sorry. I don’t like it. That to me is missing the point of the character. That’s not how Vader intimidates you. And please, don’t give me the “Well, he’s a younger Vader here.” Stop it.
To regroup, I don’t hate this trailer. The cinematography doesn’t feel Star Wars, but I’m fine with that. The action looks crisp. I like the serious tone. That’s the one positive I can say has been most encouraging. The trailer is okay, but can we please calm down? I’ve made no secret that I’ve been vehemently against these spin-off films. I want nothing more than to eat my words on this movie. I want to love it. We’re two months out though, and I’m still not feeling an ounce of anticipation for a Star Wars movie. For me, that’s incredible.