I don’t care for trailers.
I love watching movies — especially in theaters. I get excited for movies months and months in advance. But I don’t care for trailers, those frantically edited, often misleading reductions of a much grander work of art.
I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s first trailer. Maybe that’s because of the adrenaline that was pulsing through me as I watched the rambling lead-up to its premiere. I love Mark Hamill, sure, but when I know that Star Wars Celebration is jogging its way toward some real, meaty news, I don’t have much patience for his dad jokes.
But I think what really sold me on The Last Jedi teaser’s two minutes of vague story hints and unrelated action snippets is this image:
As a director, Rian Johnson has a taste for canted angles, experimental framing and intense focus. We got a lot of that in the Star Wars trailer, showing that he hasn’t shirked his indie sensibilities when transitioning into the big leagues. (Go see his 2005 picture Brick if you haven’t; it’s one of those movies that reminds you exactly what filmmaking is capable of.)
I might love this shot because of how breathtaking it is divorced from any context. It’s like a painting; Rey and Luke are tiny, shot from incredibly far away. They’re bathed in shadow. The sky and the water meet, blending into one, reflecting light upon each other to become a seafoam green.
The Force Awakens’ director J.J. Abrams never gave us a shot like this, and he never could have. George Lucas, an auteur in his own right back in the day, had fun playing with camera angles too — but Johnson’s already put his irresistible, artistic mark on Star Wars in an unspeakably gorgeous way.
It’s this one shot that reminds me why people crave trailers. For as much as they can get wrong — misinterpreting a director’s vision or showing off scenes that inevitably get cut — sometimes, they get something very, very right.