Why I’m Concerned About “The Force Awakens”

Alright, so this isn’t the next chapter of Brick Neilson’s (Last) Space Adventure and it also isn’t about games or gaming, but I feel it must be said.  I’m worried that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will suck.  Not just that it won’t live up to the hype, I’m worried that it will actually suck.  Not because it’s Disney, who I actually have faith in, or because it’s J.J. Abrams who, aside from Cloverfield, has a pretty solid track record.  No, I’m worried that The Force Awakens will suck for one VERY specific reason: It can.

What do I mean by “it can?”  Just that.  This movie could be objectively the worst film ever, you could get in the theater and it be literally ninety minutes of J.J. Abrams pooping on the face of somebody wearing a Star Wars t-shirt to show that they are a representation of the collective fanbase, and it wouldn’t matter.  They would STILL have your money and a lot of people would STILL go see the next one, because their hype game is that strong.

“But that’s ridiculous!”  you say.  Byutwhy?  They “broke the internet” (a phrase that I still don’t get, unless like, the internet actually goes down I guess?  Did that happen?  I don’t remember it.) with their trailer, they’ve already smashed pre-sale records, in spite of the fact that the last three movies in the franchise were objectively horrible.  “But George Lucas isn’t in charge of this one, so it’s different!” You cry out because I am controlling your argument.  But it might not be different, because it really has nothing to lose by being horrible.  My evidence:  the prequels.

And no, I’m not saying that this movie will be bad because the prequels were bad.  I’m saying it can be bad, because when the prequels were terrible you went to go see them in theaters anyway.  When The Phantom Menace turned the Force into dust mites, we went to go see Episode 2 (which was so bad I don’t even care what it’s subtitle was) in theaters anyway.  This time, though, the levels of hype are like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  At least with Revenge of the Sith we all pretended we knew what we were doing.  Everyone I spoke to said “I know it’ll suck, but I saw the others in theaters and want to finish it out”  With this, I know people who are actively planning to see the movie multiple times already.  There’s a meme where a guy claims to have bought all of the tickets for his theater, investing over $2100 in being able to watch this movie alone.  I haven’t hear anyone saying “You know, I’m going to wait a week.  See what people say about it before going in.”

My point is this: If a movie, or game, or book doesn’t need to be good to be successful, you should be careful with your expectations.  Word of mouth doesn’t have much effect on how successful major movies are these days.  Movies that break records get a huge chunk (sometimes almost half, but usually closer to a third) of their money on the opening weekend.  Spider-Man 3 was downright abysmal, but it made over $150 Million before anyone had the chance to warn their friends.  The Force Awakens could be the same way, it could have everyone’s money before anyone has the chance to know better and I think we should be wary of that.

I want to conclude by acknowledging that I could be wrong.  This movie could be so good that I regret not seeing it on opening weekend.  I just wish everyone would acknowledge that it might also suck, and I think we should be ready for that.

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