As summer ends, people start asking me which fall films I’m most eagerly anticipating. I’ve learned from decades of reviewing movies to keep such expectations in check, because so often they lead to disappointment. (“Serena,” anyone?)
But the upcoming 2015 film I’m least excited about? That’s easy: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’’ I’m already sick to death of this blockbuster, and we’re still four months away from it occupying hundreds of thousands of theaters worldwide, in a siege that threatens to last until next spring.
I’m turned off by Disney’s nonstop, multipronged 24/7 marketing campaign — the relentless teaser snippets they’ve been force-feeding us for what feels like the last five years. And then there’s the breathless, constant coverage by media (yes, including us).
Any enthusiasm I may have had for the return of Han, Luke and Leia played by the original aging actors in supporting roles has evaporated amid announcement of two more installments. Not to mention a couple of spinoff movies — one of which the entire world knows Josh Trank won’t be directing, and the other for which Disney may reportedly use digital wizardry to exhume Peter Cushing (who died in 1994) to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin.
These days my Twitter feed is not only clogged with click-bait concerning these and many other nonstories about the Force, but endless coverage of Disney’s plans for “Star Wars’’ theme-park attractions , Harrison Ford’s health, an 18-hour “worldwide unboxing event’’ for new “Star Wars’’ toys, and tweets promoting soup, shoes, cereals, big-box stores and God-knows-what-else from companies that have eagerly signed on as marketing partners.
Enough already. And I’m not a lone crank here: A small but growing number of people on Twitter are also getting fed up. Just search for “sick of Star Wars’’ and “tired of Star Wars’’ and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Even longtime “Star Wars’’ fans, like film blogger Will McKinley, have reached the breaking point, vowing on Twitter he was going to try to filter out all this blather until the arrival of the actual movie.
“Star Wars dominated my late-1970s and early-’80s childhood,’’ he says. “A big part of the fun was the anticipation between films and the complete mystery of what we were going to see next. Disney’s approach feels more like an assault than a release, and the frustrating thing is, it’s not necessary. We’re all going to see it anyway.’’
I have to confess I’ve always been ambivalent about the “Star Wars’’ series — I may have given “Attack of the Clones’’ 3.5 stars out of what seems sheer, misguided nostalgia back in 2002, but I’ve never been tempted to revisit the original six films; my Blu-ray set has sat unopened for years.
But I will see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’’ when it finally arrives on Dec. 18, if only out of morbid curiosity. It may actually be good — though director J.J. Abrams’ last “Star Trek’’ film doesn’t give me reason to be hugely optimistic.
And then there’s that preposterous prediction of a $615 million worldwide opening — when all of the current record holders opened during the summer and weren’t competing with holiday activities, Oscar bait, blizzards and massive “Star Wars’’ overkill.
I know some “Star Wars’’ die-hards will accuse me of trolling — but guess what? Disney, its marketing partners and media enablers are doing this to everybody on a wholly unprecedented scale. Wake me when “The Force Awakens’’ — and maybe we can talk about the actual movie.
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