Hit Me with Your Best Shot – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My (once again late) Hit Me With Your Best Shot post for The Film Experience had me frozen and locked in fear. This week, Nathaniel R. chose the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I will indeed be hitting up that movie with my favorite shot.

But part of why this is so late is because – as many of my friends resented me for – I found that movie ok and that came from the fact that I just wasn’t impressed by J.J. Abrams as a visual artist. In fact, it’s a movie that I sooner came up with a worst shot for – the final telephoto helicopter ugliness when two characters meet – than a best shot. And half of my problem with that is how all the best shots, as far as I am concerned came from the very trailers of the film. Which is why they were some of the best trailers ever made when they convinced a Debbie Downer like me to finally bother watching the movie.

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I don’t feel like taking some of the shots that obviously stood in the previews because that feels a bit too lazy (plus my undeniable favorite shot from all the trailers didn’t even appear in the film – where we see Kylo Ren from the back practically limping in the frozen landscapes of Starkiller Base), yet little of the actual shots within the movie proper actually hit me as much more than the medium wide television shot version of a Star Wars project and I was having a lot of trouble selecting one that actually caught the space opera grandeur that makes me love the franchise in the first place.

So I look back to the two shots above and think… what do I really like about them? The horizon is nice. The rustic leftover aesthetic from the franchise proper gives it an aged feel that compliments the original 1977 film‘s indie roots quite nicely. But that’s getting too cerebral into it. I just think they look fucking cool. It’s Star Wars! Looking cool is a job requirement… to the point that they could easily resemble…

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… the conceptual art of the legendary Ralph McQuarrie, practically the lifesblood of the look of the franchise.

Both of those trailer shots could easily be mistaken as one of McQuarrie’s works so all I needed to do was pick out a shot from the film that didn’t feature in the trailer (as per my dumb and arbitrary rule for myself) and that looked like it popped right out of the vivid imagination of the man…

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Well, I hope I did well enough. It’s certainly not as bright and hopeful as McQuarrie’s western swashbuckler design and Snoke is one of the worst things about The Force Awakens, but it captures the grandeur of the blockbuster (I mean it’s a giant being speaking in darkness to his servant) and it helps to have the shoddy CGI that makes up Snoke be relegated to the shadows. And it does look cool, like a dark charcoal work of McQuarrie’s. Darkness is cool.

Plus I really wanted to have a shot in regards to Kylo Ren. He’s too good a character.

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