When Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens hits cinemas worldwide next month, it’s predicted to shatter every box-office record known to man, Jedi, or droid.
Unlike money, the Force sometimes sleeps, but this festive season, when The Force Awakens, it has the power to be the biggest opening weekend for a film ever. It will make an obscene amount of money estimated to be somewhere between $185 million and $210 million, and there’ll be no corner of the known galaxy, no matter how dark or remote, where you can hide from its imperial might.
The hype surrounding the new Star Wars film will hunt you down, find you, and force you to have an opinion on it one way or the other.
Disney’s Machiavellian marketing and merchandise monster has been limbering up for many a moon now, and it’s almost fight night for the many-headed best.
Of course, once upon a time, long ago in a galaxy far, far, away, a relatively unknown filmmaker named George Lucas came up with the crazy idea of setting a soap opera in space about intergalactic knights. He called it Star Wars, and serious directors and theatrical thespians scornfully laughed at such “fairytale rubbish.”
However, the bearded visionary who reached for the stars and brought back Darth Vader, had the last laugh. The film went on to become a runaway success and made its creator a lot of dough. It also spawned a series of films, a franchise, and a made-up universe which people take a little too seriously for their own good.
Yet the hysteria surrounding the new film hasn’t just reached a fever pitch — it’s become a mental disorder all of its own. Grown men are practically crying in anticipation of seeing Luke Skywalker again, albeit a slightly tubby one with an unkempt beard. Serious broadsheets are running probing editorials earnestly gushing “Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens – what we learned from the Thanksgiving trailer.” And where once the internet was riddled with conspiracy theories about “Who killed Princess Diana?” And “What really happened to the Twin Towers?” we are now plagued with lengthy tirades concerning the true identity and nature of Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren.
Heavens preserve us. It’s enough to drive one to reach for their nearest lightsaber and go mental.
Yet all the anticipation is definitely building up into the sort of anti-climax that, like the Death Star, could destroy a planet. In the mid-1970s, when Star Wars was first unleashed, its key appeal was its pace, special effects, simple story, and a catchy and majestic soundtrack by John Williams.
Kids lapped it up, and the story just about justified three films. However, after The Return of the Jedi, a lone voice of reason should have said, “That’s quite enough ladies and gentleman, move on if you please.”
But we didn’t. The Star Wars fans grew old, and with age came a fierce fanaticism and disturbing obsession. Star Wars was a part of our youth, and we couldn’t let it go. Thus, we were subjected to the grotesque pantomime and dire travesty known as the prequels. The Phantom Menace, anyone? Remember how much hype surrounded that little nugget and just how pathetic a film it turned out to be?
Of course, there’s a lot of fanfare that The Force Awakens will blow the prequels out of the water. Sorry boss, that’s just not good enough. If it’s not better, and by a large margin (doubtful) than the first three, what’s the point in flogging this dead horse, again and again and again?
Last but not least, Star Wars is really a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions, and it revolves around one character and one charter alone — Darth Vader. Darth is now out of the picture, so what exactly is the point in the Force Awakens except an empty but extremely profitable exercise in nostalgia?
[Image via Lucasfilm]