Two weeks ago it was announced that J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode 7 film would officially be titled Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It appears they’re ditching the episodic numbers that were introduced alongside the first prequel, Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, and personally I’m totally okay with that. It made sense to start numbering the movies back when they did the prequels so that everyone would be clear on the order (after all, I’m pretty sure it was the first movie prequel trilogy ever) but I don’t think it’s really necessary anymore. What I’m not okay with, however, is the subtitle they’ve chosen. Initially I was indifferent, but the more I think about the title, the more I have a bad feeling about it.
First of all, allow me to express that I think it’s a pretty lazy and uninspired title. It is way too similar to the title of the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and yet it’s far less cool. This marks the first time a Star Wars movie has ever referred to the Force in its title, and still they couldn’t manage to think of a better name than the one from that lousy video game? I'd say that’s a little disappointing. Although that’s not the real problem here, so let’s just push that nitpicking aside and analyze the title a bit deeper.
The real issue with “The Force Awakens” as a title is that it seems to show a misunderstanding of the Force as we know it. The title appears to suggest that the force has become dormant after Return of the Jedi, and knowing what we do about the Force, that simply cannot be so. The Force is around us in all things. It exists whether we can harness its power or not. It doesn’t just go away. It's like the essence of life itself - the cellular energy that connects us to our world and to each other. To say that it awakens is to either alter the very meaning of what the Force is or is to misinterpret it altogether.
If we examine the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, it leaves us with Luke Skywalker as the only known remaining jedi. Is it possible then that by being the only jedi left, Luke could lose the power to wield the Force? That without a villain to bring balance to the Force, his connection to it could dissipate? That the Force would need to be awakened? I find that possibility highly unlikely and considering that we know from the extended universe that Luke’s son becomes a jedi like his father before him (and his father before him), that idea seems quite impractical.
Perhaps the title is saying that the Force itself isn't being reawakened, but that it's awakening in our young new jedi. I can somewhat go along with that, but even if that's the intent of the title, it's an awkward and poor choice of words. When Luke Skywalker was training with Yoda on Dagobah, would we have said that the Force awakened with him? No. It was always within him. Just in that moment, he learned how to control it. He learned to "use the Force". That same logic would apply to his children as well, would it not?
The problem with the title is that the possession is misplaced. We might refer to that pivotal moment with Yoda as "Luke's Awakening", though it is not the Force that's being awakened but rather Luke's interaction with it. If they were to call it "The Force Awakens Within" instead, it would make more sense and alleviate this issue. While I'm not suggesting that's the alternative title that should be used, it would remedy this problem since it makes it clear that the force is being awakened to someone, rather than the flawed idea that the entire Force is being reawakened itself.
I'm not typically one to make much of a fuss about such things, but this is Star Wars. It's a big deal. With the trailer coming out later today, it doesn't seem there's any chance of the title being corrected, but perhaps we'll get a better understanding of it. I think J.J. Abrams is a great director and I trust that he knows what he's doing, but I do think his choice of subtitle is a bit flawed.
Regardless, I'm truly excited to see the trailer when its released later today. Even as a huge Star Wars fan, I really never thought the day would come when we'd see a sequel to the original trilogy. I'm glad it's finally happening (with the return of the original stars, no less) and I'm confident that the series is in great hands with Disney. When this film comes out next December, it will have been 32 years since Return of the Jedi first came to theaters. That's a really long time ago. I sure can't wait to see what lies on the horizon in a galaxy far, far away.
J.J. Abrams, may the Force be with you...
People of the Internet, I am alive!
Sorry about my extended absence. My computer monitor had been on the fritz and decided to stop working entirely the morning after Halloween. Without it, I had no way of working on the site, which, to be completely honest, was quite liberating and enjoyable. It was a much needed break. No offense to you guys, of course, but working on my website nearly every day for almost 6 months has been pretty a exhausting endeavor. Don't get me wrong, as I do enjoy this site immensely, but trying to keep up with the movie industry almost entirely by myself is clearly a pipe dream.
In other words, I've decided that it's in my best interest to cut back on some things on the website. I put a great deal of time and effort into this site, and yet I wish I had more to show for it. I've got a pile stacked with dozens of reviews to finish, and yet most of my free time is spent working on movie pages or image galleries (while data shows that very few of you actually look at them anyway). Therefore, I will no longer be creating movie main pages. It really pains me to do this, but it simply takes up far too much of my time, and truthfully they don't get a lot of page views or interaction. I'm proud of them, and won't be deleting the ones that have already been made, but it's pointless for me to continue doing them when my time would be better spent in other areas.
I will still continue with the galleries, however, although that's primarily because searching for high quality movie stills online is actually just as time consuming as taking the screenshots myself. That may sound hard to believe, but often times the search results are slim pickings. Doing it myself means the images are all great quality and the same size, and I can take whatever pictures I want, which comes in really handy when I need them for use in my features.
A few blog posts ago, I announced that I would be creating a discussion forum for the website, but considering that my website now allows for full implementation of Disqus, I'm opting to use that instead. I encourage you guys to sign up for Disqus, since it's a great and popular discussion tool that can be used on many websites. However, if you don't want to make a Disqus account, you can always comment through your Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts instead. Pretty convenient, right? Previously I had two different comment systems in place on my website, and I kind of hated that because it was clunky and unprofessional. Now I've transitioned the site entirely to Disqus. On the downside, that does mean all of the previous comments on the website are no longer visible, although I still have access to them, so they're not lost forever. Additionally, I learned that I've been setting up Disqus all wrong, so that problem has been addressed and mostly fixed. I hope you'll all be pleased with that change.
It goes without saying that I've struggled to stay on top of the constant influx of movie news. This is not a dedicated movie news site and I never actually intended for it to be. Perhaps one day the site will be able to manage that, but that would require a fully functioning staff with paid employees and the site isn't there yet. Fortunately I've had the help of friends Hannah and Ammy to get more news to you, and I'm truly grateful for them volunteering their time to write news articles when they can. In order to alleviate the burden of so much news, I've been thinking about making a weekly news feature where I can briefly discuss some of the week's big movie announcements, without having to give each news piece its own separate article. This idea isn't set in stone, but I believe It would allow me to talk about more movies more quickly, while allowing me to continue to place emphasis on the news I find most interesting.
Pick My Flick is running very late this month. but in its defense, there aren't very many exciting picks for you to vote on this November beyond the films I've already decided to see. Currently I've already seen Big Hero 6, Interstellar, and Dumb and Dumber To. This week, I'll see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, and then I'll give you four movies to vote on. I've decided this month's Pick My Flick will only have a 7-day voting period, but you will be able to vote every 24 hours. I hope that works out for you guys, and at the very least, I hope it will please my nagging sister.
In my off-time, I watched a few movies at home, which I had started writing about here at length. However, if I'm gonna write that much, I might as well turn them into reviews rather than allowing them to get lost in a blog, right? For the record, I watched Man of Steel, Dredd, and Prisoners. Maybe these movies can help me get my Rear View Reviews section finally up and running.
When I started 5 Minute Movie Guy, my main interest was in writing reviews and blogs. Since then, things have grown to the point that I've been struggling to just stay afloat. While it may appear that I'm taking some big steps backwards, it should at least give me more time to get things back and track so I can start moving forward again. I am sorry about any inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your continued support.
Oh, and one last thing...
Check out my brand new HP monitor with 25 inches of widescreen HD glory! I bought the largest size I could fit within the space of my desk, and look! It fits...
LIKE A GLOVE!