Frame By Frame: Star Wars
UNL Film Studies Professor Wheeler Winston Dixon discusses the history and future of the Star Wars film franchise.
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- [00:00:16.537]Hello. I'm Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
- [00:00:21.572]and this is Frame By Frame.
- [00:00:23.058]And I want to talk for a few minutes today about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film,
- [00:00:29.049]which is absolutely completely being anticipated by nearly everyone.
- [00:00:32.824]It's directed by J.J. Abrams, and is the first in the Disney series of Star Wars films,
- [00:00:38.356]after George Lucas sold all of the rights to the Star Wars franchise
- [00:00:42.662]for 4.1 billion dollars, which is a very smart investment on Disney's part.
- [00:00:48.479]Disney has launched a very ambitious plan to bring out a new Star Wars film,
- [00:00:53.176]one a year for 15 years, which means there's going to be no shortage of Star Wars films.
- [00:00:58.148]There are a number of things that really interest me about the new Star Wars film.
- [00:01:02.578]One thing is they're using as much as possible, practical special effects.
- [00:01:07.093]They're building very extensive sets because I really sense that there's a backlash against CGI.
- [00:01:13.604]I hear that among my students a lot. EXPLOSION SOUND
- [00:01:18.111]They feel that CGI can be anything, so therefore it really isn't all that impressive anymore.
- [00:01:23.213]And so it's going to be much less CGI and more practical, and I think that's interesting as well.
- [00:01:28.781]The film also has an enormous sense of spectacle, not only because it's real and tactile with the real sets,
- [00:01:34.423]but also because of the entire grandure of the thing. It's a very epic film by nature.
- [00:01:40.430]It's almost a biblical spectacle. And this is something that audiences really want to see.
- [00:01:44.777]This is something, of course, that will bring people to the theater in 2015.
- [00:01:48.594]Where they can stay at home and see something on a small screen, but not if it's a huge spectacle.
- [00:01:53.255]Then they want to go out and witness it firsthand.
- [00:01:55.478]Also, of course, Star Wars has had probably more than any other film series in history, an imprint on popular culture.
- [00:02:02.938]Since the first one appeared in 1977, it's become an absolute cult.
- [00:02:07.645]George Lucas famously directed the first one, and then handed off subsequent iterations to other directors,
- [00:02:13.875]then came back and directed the last three ones in the original series.
- [00:02:17.191]He also went back to the first three and tinkered with them and added additional special effects, which didn't go over so well with fans.
- [00:02:23.986]The film is also interesting because it brings back the original characters, which is something I didn't think would ever happen.
- [00:02:29.866]You're going to see Mark Hammill in it, and Carrie Fisher. And Harrison Ford, who once said he would never play Han Solo again,
- [00:02:36.279]because he was a very thin character. He would love to do Raiders of the Lost Arc again, but not that.
- [00:02:41.337]I actually hold out great hope for this film.
- [00:02:44.289]I think that the Star Wars franchise is much too valuable to let drop.
- [00:02:50.733]Certainly Disney needs the franchise because with things like 'John Carter on Mars' they didn't really hit it very well.
- [00:02:57.772]I think they're taking over an established franchise, but I think they're going to freshen it up.
- [00:03:02.157]Because I noted that on this film, George Lucas gave Disney a whole bunch of notes and they ignored most of them.
- [00:03:09.694]So they're really taking a new and unexpected twist with this film.
- [00:03:13.668]With a total budget of over $400 million, including prints and advertising, this is a big bet!
- [00:03:21.838]But I think that it's going to make a fortune, probably cross the billion mark faster than almost any other film in history.
- [00:03:28.281]So, I'm waiting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I will look forward to that in 2016.
- [00:03:34.320]I'm Wheeler Winston Dixon, and this is Frame By Frame.
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