JJ Abrams explains R2-D2’s closing scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on Track to Shatter Multiple Box Office Records.

Opening day earnings had previously been estimated at $100 million, which would already have been a record, but Walt Disney DIS -3.83% and Rentrak just upped that number.Han Solo’s line in the new “Stars Wars” film could also apply to Walt Disney Co. and the team of filmmakers, marketers and distribution executives who delivered a record-breaking weekend debut, setting the stage for years of movies, merchandise and attractions tied to the most successful science-fiction franchise in history. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” collected $238 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, topping the $208.8 million hauled in by Universal Studios’ “Jurassic World” in June, Disney said Sunday in a statement. When the first trilogy began back in the late 70s, I was old enough to be wedded to the darker, moodier sci-fi of Solaris, Silent Running and Soylent Green, and young enough to believe that gave me the right to dismiss this latterday Buck Rogers nonsense out of hand.

Now, as Episode VII rolls around, ushering in a new generation of sequels, I find myself at an age so out of whack with the film’s target demographic that what I think about it matters not a jot. The current record holder for an opening weekend is this past summer’s Jurrasic World with $208.8 million. “It’s definitely, no question, a new all-time weekend record,” Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Rentrak, told USA Today. “It’s just a matter of how big this weekend number will get.

A lot of that will depend on how the movie does on Saturday.” This news comes as no surprise: Fortune earlier reported that by mid-day FridayThe Force Awakens had already sold more tickets than any other movie of 2015. With a film whose existence is rooted in fan culture, describing the movie is perilous; even revealing the cast list runs the risk of providing potential plot spoilers. Suffice to say that the action takes place some years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and involves scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) teaming up with renegade “First Order” Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and globular droid BB-8. The opening scroll sets up an ongoing battle between the forces of good and evil and lays the groundwork for a quasi-mythical quest that will reunite friends old and new, and allow a grizzled Harrison Ford to deliver the line that turned the teaser trailers into something akin to an announcement of the second coming: “Chewie, we’re home…” That sense of coming home runs throughout The Force Awakens, director JJ Abrams working the same regenerative miracle with the Star Wars franchise that he previously pulled off with his Star Trek movies – taking the series back to its roots while giving it a rocket-fuelled, 21st-century twist. As always with this director, the film feels very physical, scenes of dog-fighting TIE fighters and a relaunched Millennium Falcon crashing through trees possessing the kind of heft so sorely lacking from George Lucas’s over-digitised prequels.

Having co-written the series’s previous high-water mark, The Empire Strikes Back, Lawrence Kasdan here shares credits with Abrams and Michael Arndt on a screenplay that is steeped in the dark lineages of the originals (and does not sidestep moments of genuine tragedy), but which subtly realigns its gender dynamics with Rey’s proudly punchy, post-Hunger Games heroine. The spectre of Vader may live on in Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, but it’s Rey in whom the film’s true force resides, likable newcomer Daisy Ridley channelling Carrie Fisher’s Leia and carrying the heavily-mantled weight of the new series with aplomb. Abrams has always been a fan first, and there’s a palpable affection in his staging of scenes that recall the varied alien wildlife of Tatooine’s Mos Eisley Cantina. Just as he proved himself a worthy successor to Spielberg with Super 8, so Abrams here breathes new life into Lucas’s epochal creations in a manner that deftly looks back to the future.

Watching the film in a packed auditorium with an audience almost incandescent with expectation, I found myself listening to a chorus of spontaneous gasps, cheers, laughs, whoops and even occasional cries of anguish.

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