One of the most popular videos on the Internet right now is a very clever mashup of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer with a scene in Interstellar in which Matthew McConaughey is weeping tears of joy. The idea is that McConaughey’s reaction in the film is the exact same one that millions of Star Wars fans around the world had to the incredible new trailer that showed us, among other things, Han Solo and Chewbacca back in the Millennium Falcon.
I’ll admit that this was pretty much my reaction to the trailer as well… until I remembered that it was also my reaction to the first trailer for The Phantom Menace. And man, did that turn out poorly.
The thing about the first Phantom Menace trailer was that it very prominently showed the two worst things about the movie — namely, Jar Jar Binks and the horrendous actor who played young Anakin Skywalker — but it did a brilliant job of covering them up so we didn’t notice their stench.
Jar Jar, for instance, never says a single word in the entire trailer, while the young Anakin was limited to one line. This led me to re-watch the new Force Awakens trailer without any fanboy goggles on to see if I could detect any secret Jar Jars lurking in the shadows.
Happily, I didn’t really find anything obvious, although there’s one thing that did concern me. Throughout the trailer, Luke is addressing an unseen person and telling them about how the Force is strong in his family… including the unseen character. This immediately had me freaking out that Luke was addressing yet another untalented child actor along the lines of Jake Lloyd who would yell out a cringe-inducing “YIPPEEEEE!” the first time he held a light saber.
I know that this is all rank paranoia but after the experience of The Phantom Menace, I just can’t be too careful. I understand J.J. Abrams is now running the project and that he generally produces very good movies but I’m still waiting in the back of my head for another shoe to drop that will tip me off that the movie will actually suck.
If you think about it, this is actually a very impressive feat on George Lucas’s part. He made a movie so bad in The Phantom Menace that its memory still haunts me 16 years after I first saw it. In fact, the only other instance of another movie that single-handedly ruined a franchise for me also came from Lucas in the form of the fourth Indiana Jones movie and its infamous fridge-nuking scene.
But this is a new Star Wars done by a fresh set of eyes. It has to be awesome… right?