Star Wars ushers in a new era
Everyone’s favorite franchise revitalizes a lesser year for film. | starwars.com
The best films of the year are typically saved for the last three months. As Oscar season approaches, predictions are already being made about what will be nominated, but nothing is generating much excitement. When placed next to the last two years of cinema, 2015 cannot help but look a little weak.
A High Bar
The 2013 Oscar season saw the release of masterpieces like “Her,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” alongside many other great films. 2014 was an even better year thanks to the sheer amount of great films spread out over the whole year, with the best of the best, “Under the Skin,” being released in April.
Compared to the packed year that preceded it, 2015 has only distinguished itself with a disproportionate amount of good blockbusters. And when you consider 2011 and 2012, both good years elevated by two of the greatest American films ever made ― “The Tree of Life” and “The Master,” respectively ― 2015 begins to look like perhaps the weakest year in an already incredible decade for cinema. Very good movies like “Inside Out” have been released and exciting films like “Macbeth,” “Anomalisa,” and “Carol” are all on their way, but even with these, the year feels indistinct when compared with what came before.
But regardless of where 2015 ranks come the end of the decade, it will be significant for a single reason: “Star Wars” is back.
Considering the excitement surrounding the Dec. 18 release of “The Force Awakens,” it has been several decades since the last entry in the series instead of just one. But not too many people like to think about 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith” or the rest of the prequel trilogy it concluded.
With a new trilogy beginning, even the title of its first part suggests the revival of something long dormant. With Disney controlling the direction of the franchise, “Star Wars” feels like something fresh for the first time in years. Three new directors will bring their vision to the series, each helming one film in the trilogy.
The Big Three
The first is JJ Abrams, coming off two “Star Trek” movies that drew much more from “Star Wars” in style than its own source material.
On top of this new trilogy, Disney is releasing anthology films taking place in different places and time periods in the “Star Wars” universe, the first of which will be from “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards. It will not take long for Disney to recoup its $4 billion investment, but it is not clear just how many “Star Wars” films they plan on making.
Determining Film History
In spite of all the excitement Disney has generated, it is easy to worry that each subsequent sequel and spinoff will diminish the significance of the original. Perhaps by the end of the decade the effect of its return will be more clear. Whether it, or any other film, can better solidify 2015’s place in film history also remains to be seen.
But for now, it is simply good to have “Star Wars” back.