In what has now become an annual tradition, I found myself once again taking in the spectacle of a new Star Wars film on a Sunday in mid-December. The first time I did this was a bit unique in that I then hopped a plane to Peru that evening, the memories of the film dancing through my mind during a trip through the jungle. Last year’s experience had little of the build-up, nor the memory; Rogue One is a fine movie, it just doesn’t really make an impression on its own given that it’s solely in service to a greater film. Now, The Last Jedi is a film I’d been trying to temper my expectations for since the moment I walked out of that theater in 2015. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite film of all time, so this new middle chapter had quite a challenge facing it and a bit of sequel-driven history to live up to. Let’s just say, it’s complicated. As I walked home from the screening, I was somewhat torn. There’s a lot of really awesome things that happen in The Last Jedi. There are also an excessive amount of minor things that really shouldn’t be in the film at all, or at the very least, odd decisions that should be toned down a smidge for the sake of tonal continuity. But most importantly of all, in direct response to the main criticisms of The Force Awakens, it doesn’t clone a previous film, but rather attempts to subvert its spiritual predecessor at every turn. Does it work? Let’s walk through it together and find out.
Now it’s a bit weird, the continued relationship between Star Wars and the NFL. It certainly makes some sense, with both ESPN and the Star Wars franchise under the Disney umbrella, however the two worlds, at least in my mind, remain about as far apart as they can get. What do Star Wars and football have in common, other than common corporate ownership? Some demographic overlap? Mainstream appeal? Guys in helmets? Well, now Disney has gone ahead and established a tradition: during a Monday Night Football presentation some two months before release, a new full-length trailer for the upcoming Star Wars saga film will debut during halftime.
Unlike as had been done for The Force Awakens in 2014 and 2015, this is only the second trailer for The Last Jedi to be released. The teaser, released in April about two years to the day after The Force Awakens’ first full-length trailer, is the only thing we’ve seen concerning the eighth film in the franchise and it left us with many, many questions. So, without any further hesitation, let’s see what they’ve given us to snack on this time:
A classic Star Wars harp glissando brings us right in. Someone (it’s Kylo Ren) is standing in an
Imperial First Order hangar looking over siege equipment.
“When I found you…”
That’s definitely Snoke speaking, in the unmistakable growl of Andy Serkis.
“…I saw raw,…”
An intimidating group of AT-AT-like walkers. That shuttlecraft looks familiar.
Kylo Ren (I think) leads Storm Troopers through a roughly, black and red, backlit passageway. The overhead perspective is intriguing. In the background, sparse piano notes play under high squealing strings.
“…and beyond that…”
“…something truly special.”
We cut to black.
her Luke’s lightsaber and stares at it for a beat. Lucasfilm titles.
A drone shot of the island, again.
Cool hand, Luke! Rey gives him the lightsaber. This seems to be a different occasion than the stare-down at the conclusion of The Force Awakens.
“…inside me has always been there,…” Rey whispers.
I have a feeling look is going to be making a lot of puzzled / confused / intrigued faces in this film. He’s the Yoda to Rey, yet I think Rey is far more powerful in comparison to Luke than Luke was to Yoda.
“…but now it’s awake…”
Roll credits! Er, that was the last film, wasn’t it.
Rey happens upon the tree-root bookshelf from the teaser, looking curiously at it from the books’ POV.
“…and I need help.”
Various shots of Rey swinging the lightsaber around conclude with this one:
Where she expertly controls the blade into a firm position just inches from the rock. Damn, girl.
The ground fissures and Luke looks on… like this:
That seems… not great? For the light side, I mean. It could be awesome for the movie!
Again we see the slow-motion narrow depth of field shot of levitating stones.
Rey is focused. Seems her training is coming along pretty quickly, eh?
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before…”
When was that? Ren slaughtering the Jedi students? Darth Vader? The Emperor? When?
A robotic hand bursts through collapsed wooden debris as fires burn in the background. Likely the scene of the flashbacks, and perhaps Luke’s hand. So he’s strongly implying that Kylo Ren is the raw strength, also echoing Snoke. And, he’s inferring Rey is stronger than that. Makes a lot of sense, given the events of the first film.
“…it didn’t scare me enough then.”
“It does now.”
Luke looks pants-shittingly terrified. He’s shaking. Rey looks on sadly, though I’m not sure these two scenes actually go together.
Bam, Kylo Ren’s theme blasts. The man himself emerges from a lift.
Nice scar, Kylo! Is that a tattoo or a fancy bandage? He smashes the mask against the wall.
“Let the past die.”
Space battle! TIE Fighters shoot at Resistance ships. Leia’s on one of them. The sounds here are perfect, as the TIEs overwhelm the auditory scape. It sure seems like darkness has the upper-hand so far.
Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter looks sinister. Like an old Interceptor, but with red (red, again!) cockpit glass and a horizontally stretched fuselage.
“…If you have to.”
A shot tracking the TIE from behind as it flies into a Resistance ship. Whoa, this is something new.
“That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
Man, if these means killing both of your parents… Yikes.
And this trailer does everything to suggest that it does. Wow.
…or does it? The sounds go silent except for a single alarm beeping. I can see the conflict in his face. Is Leia using the force on young Ben Solo? Probably!
The Millennium Falcon flies, pursued by TIE Fighters into a cave tunnel full of sparkling red crystals. So much red in this film’s imagery. I imagine this to be the red soil planet. The Falcon does its trademark twist as it navigates the through.
Chewie looks upset! What could possibly provoke this kind of reaction from the Wookiee?
This little guy lets out a scream too. What are these things called again? Porgs, right? I really hope they’re integrated well. I don’t want my gloomy Star Wars film derailed by too much cuteness!
A Resistance ship takes a hard green bolt and explodes with force. Damn.
Poe seems taken aback by what just happened. I wonder what kind of ship he’s on where there’s just… windows. I don’t think we’ve really seen that before, outside of a bridge, you know?
“We are the spark…”
“…that’ll light the fire…”
Sick close up. I love me some locked-in Poe Dameron. Go kick some ass, buddy.
“…it’ll burn the First Order down.”
I can’t quite hear what he’s saying but I think that’s close.
Holy Phasma. And she’s got a sword of some kind? Sparks go flying as she brings it into position.
Finn! I can’t believe it took this long to get him into the trailer. He’s angry, and he’s got an electric stun baton.
It looks like we’re getting another non-lightsaber duel, this time between Finn and Phasma. Where the heck is this happening? Everything is on fire and/or exploding.
Sick. I wonder if only one of them makes it out of there alive… Do I bet on the rehabilitated Finn, or Brienne of Tarth?
Resistance ships explode and BB-8 gets zapped. We’re getting pretty bleak here.
Angry Luke, in black, in darkness, in rain, laying down, possibly in defeat.
“…the way you think.”
Luke finishes his thought, and here I’m thinking, are they blatantly foreshadowing some kind of twist? I don’t know how this is going to go, but if I’m reading too much into the parallels with Empire, then perhaps I should take another path? Am I reading too much into this?
That’s a great shot of Leia, by the way.
Rey plunges into a pool, to emerge into the dark, rainy scene with black-clad Luke. I bet this is her “failure at the cave” moment.
Snoke narrates as the First Order finishes their domination of the trailer. First, Finn is captured.
Then their forces are ready for an onslaught. The deep hangar looks almost like a matte painting.
The strike begins. Red dirt erupts from beneath the desert. If it’s to be a Hoth parallel, at least the aesthetic is somewhat different. The red really pops here.
Exploding TIEs crash as skiffs bounce away. And by skiffs I mean HOLY SHIT THOSE ARE B-WINGS. YESSSSSSSSSS! In the teaser post I took them for something new, but from this angle it’s for certain. I guess it’s possible to deploy only one wing into attack position?
SNOKE. My goodness CGI has come a long way. The animation is still a slight bit off, but the still image is crisp. He’s not quite as Gollum-like as he appeared in the hologram from The Force Awakens, instead appearing more like a old, slightly deformed human. I still think he’s like three feet tall. An evil Yoda, if you will.
Rey is tortured, yet again. She’s stuck awkwardly leaning backward as she twitches and wind blows. I think that’s Snoke in the background, but I cannot be sure. The red of the surroundings suggest the same room as Kylo Ren was in during his introduction above.
Cut to black. The music vanishes, except for, again, sparse piano.
“I need someone…”
“…to show me my place in all this.”
The Force Theme starts to play here, but it’s cut off.
Wait for it…
Oh my gods. I don’t know how they keep topping themselves. This cannot continue forever, can it? What to expect from a potential Rey / Kylo Ren alliance? Where do they even go from here? Does Kylo continue to be pulled toward the light? Does Rey succumb to her darkest instincts? I DON’T KNOW!
But I do know that I am excited for this film!
For The Force Awakens, I stopped watching and talking about new trailers after the Monday Night Football one dropped, and you know what? That really worked for me. I’ve been keeping a blind eye toward the happenings surrounding The Last Jedi since even before the teaser debuted, and with ignorance comes surprise, tempered expectations, and hopefully a whole lot more enjoyment of the final product. So, from here until whenever I get around to seeing the next film (opening weekend, Sunday matineé, naturally), I will say no more about it.
Two months isn’t a long time. It wasn’t last go-around, and it certainly won’t be again.
The long-awaited Adidas NHL jerseys are finally here, having been revealed today, and, well, it could have been worse. Some of my wishes, the ones I wanted most, failed to come true, but a few actually did, in a way! First, a little history
The Adidas jersey technology (called Adizero) was revealed last year before the World Cup, touting lightweight construction and liberally deploying nonsense buzzwords. The World Cup of Hockey jerseys weren’t bad, but they also didn’t really look like NHL jerseys, given the general lack of waist striping, thick yet minimal arm striping, and only one traditional shoulder yoke, to say nothing of the added Adidas three-stripe motif. Lots of stripe issues, apparently.
For all of the Adidas cut jerseys, the most glaring new change is the collar. No longer does it rise above the shoulders and taper to a point at the base of the neck; instead it lays flat and is rounded, joining to the NHL crest from the sides. I need to see it modeled on players in full gear and/or during play action to really make a judgment, but my first impression is I’m not sure that like it. It feels less like a sweater and more like a shirt. In a way it feels cheaper. At least, and it was a touch-and-go for a while, they can support laces.
One more common thing to note: the logo crests and rear numbers generally appear quite a bit larger. I’m going to say that this is for the better. There are numerous tweaks to the fabric, crest construction, and stitching, but I won’t go into detail as that’s not really my area of expertise or interest.
So, here are my brief (mostly) thoughts on each of the new jerseys’ unique aspects. For fun, I’m going to assign a letter grade to each, based on my expectations, how they could (potentially) be better, and how they took advantage of or missed a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Alright, let’s go!
In what will surely be the theme of the day, this looks basically like their old one. I must say, unlike most rose-glassed millennials, I think I prefer their current logo and color scheme to the Disney mask and bizarre eggplant and jade scheme. That said, this jersey still needs some work. The lines along the lower arms and torso remain weird, and I’d rather they went with either the original Mighty Ducks’ striping style, or their (former) third jersey’s, but that’s neither here nor there. These are merely adequate. (C)
It wasn’t that long ago that the Coyotes debuted a shiny new jersey, so it’s little shock that they’re sticking with it, more or less. It’s decent, though I still prefer their original Reebok Edge set without black. (B)
Can’t mess with a classic, though I must say the shoulder yokes look a bit weird in the new cut. (A)
Still using navy blue. Still using front numbers. Still using silver. Sigh… At least they got rid of the piping, finally. The collar is no longer fully gold, with blue in front instead. Huh. I’m simultaneously let down and relieved. An intermediate step, I’m hoping — progress, however little, is still progress. Let’s see those Winter Classic uniforms ASAP! (B)
No retro promotion. Sigh. The continued use of black. Ugh. Flags on the shoulders? Why?? They got rid of the piping but kept the side stripes. That de-italicized their nameplates? I don’t get it. They’re better, but not much. (C)
Whoa! Really did not expect this! The Hurricanes have reintroduced black into their jerseys, thank the hockey gods, but more importantly, the storm flag stripe is back! These are solid. A cleaner, but not emptied retooling of their original jersey, it’s got history, distinction, and modern simplicity all in one. Drastic rebrands aside, this is what the Hurricanes should have done in 2013, but it’s better late than never. (A)
As expected, nothing to see here. Hard to improve upon what they’ve got, even if I think it’s massively overrated. (A)
Ohhhhhh baby, I see mountains! The Avs are back, and it’s only been ten years in the making. Can you believe that the Colorado Avalanche have gone half of their team’s lifetime without this classic look? It just feels so right that it’s been restored. From absolute worst to near-best, Colorado is the winner of the Adidas redesign. Perhaps their team will chart a similar course on the ice? (A)
Columbus Blue Jackets:
Disappointing insofar as it’s not the cannon jersey, but I’m glad it still looks pretty sharp. The major changes appear to be that there’s no more white in the collar, and there’s a new (worse) nameplate typeface. Otherwise, yeah, again I didn’t get my wish. (B)
Not much to report, which is great because the Dallas Stars reinvention in 2013 was one of the best rebrands in NHL history, at least from a jersey perspective. Stick with what works. (A)
Detroit Red Wings:
Again, nothing to really see here. The simplest uniform set in the league stays that way, and we’re better off for it. (A)
In April, I watched the Edmonton Oilers defeat the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center. During warmups, I shot photos of the teams, and I have to say, the Oilers looked damn good in their road whites with royal blue shoulders. After suffering the worst of Reebok’s 2007 transition, management made the wise (easy) decision to go with the original 80s jerseys full-time in 2011. With the team finally resurgent this past year, it seemed to all be clicking into place. …And then they scrapped the blue homes for orange. Not the worst decision, given the WHA history there, but still a little weird. Alberta should be blue vs. red, but that’s not the main issue anymore.
For some reason, they’ve decided to replace the royal blue with navy in their color scheme. Huh? Navy simply does not go with orange. The Islanders tried it in 2002 and, surprise surprise, decided to re-adopt their classic colors as soon as they were allowed. But then there’s the new Oilers jersey itself. What they’ve done here is kind of a shame; thankfully the recently leaked jersey wasn’t quite accurate and the collar isn’t completely hideous, but it’s still not great. Those stripes, while faithful to the previous home/away set, don’t work with these colors — the blue looks black in contrast, and I’m worried about how the away jersey will look. This is a definite step backwards. Way to take a top-10 jersey and throw it right in the trash, Edmonton. (D)
Having just completely rebranded last year, the fact that there’s nothing new on these is warranted. This is, in my opinion, the best the Florida Panthers have ever looked and it’s a relief they didn’t even go so far as to tweak anything. (A)
Los Angeles Kings:
No changes here. I wish they’d bring back purple in some way, however these have become another modern classic jersey — two Cups in three years will do that to a look, even if it’s not the best. (B)
Finally, we’re back to green homes in Minnesota, and as a nice compromise, they’ve taken the script M from the old (beautiful) thirds and put it on the shoulders. They’ve notably added a wheat-colored chest stripe, which is becoming somewhat of a trend thanks to the Panthers stealing from Montréal last year. In addition, red remains an accent around the NHL crest, as well as in a stripe nestled inside the wheat arm stripes. If the road jersey can finally match the home, the Wild will be one of the best dressed in the league. I am very pleased with these. (A)
Don’t. mess. with. perfection. (A)
Huh. While I’ll admit the old template (once shared with and worn more poorly by the St. Louis Blues) had its flaws, it added some necessary contrast. This one seems rather dull and empty. Thankfully, the piano keys and number strings remain, as well as the original typeface, but I am slightly underwhelmed. It’s a bit curious that the blue at the waist and arms was pushed even further down. I don’t know — that might be too much yellow. On the other hand, it’s minimal and clean, which is a highly desired quality in a timeless jersey. In retrospect, I might view these better. For now, they get a (C)
New Jersey Devils:
Here’s a look at the new New Jersey jerseys. New Jersey had their old jerseys for nearly thirty years; for the first time since 1992, New Jersey has new jerseys. I wonder if they didn’t want new New Jersey jerseys because of obnoxious people like me talking about their new New Jersey jerseys like I’m doing here? Or, maybe because the old New Jersey jerseys were such a timeless, modern classic, three-time Cup-winning uniform that it would be idiotic to change them? Well, it’s not a radical departure, but it’s different enough to feel wrong. The waist stripe is gone and the white on the arms is widened significantly, apparently to evoke the Colorado Rockies. One curious addition: a green inner collar featuring the three Cup-winning seasons listed. Was this necessary? No. I prefer New Jersey’s old jerseys to New Jersey’s new jerseys. (C)
New York Islanders:
Same classics as they were, except I’m going to rate them as if there were improvements because there’s no more black alternate. (A)
New York Rangers:
Like their cross-town rivals, the Rangers didn’t need to change anything. The only difference is the red from the NHL crest is much wider due to the Adidas cut. Looks weird, but there’s not much to do about it. (A)
Oy, Ottawa, what are you doing? It wouldn’t have taken much to make this uniform infinitely better, yet you do so little anyway. Somehow you’ve successfully converted one of the worst Reebok-era uniforms faithfully into Adidas form, albeit with a new number font. Wow. I don’t get it; a stunning new set would bring in so much money, and for a frugal owner, that would seem like a no-brainer, no? Disappointed. (D)
It doesn’t appear that the Flyers really did anything here, except perhaps thicken the white at the end of the sleeve. Can’t complain, I think their look is fine. (B)
One of only two teams not to put out reveal teasers, probably because they’re busy doing other things at the moment. Also, there’s nothing new anyway. (A)
San Jose Sharks:
Look at that new Shark shoulder patch! I’m very happy to see this, and it looks great. Still rocking the minimal teal, I see. That’s fine, I love the color and it doesn’t make my Pavelski jersey too obsolete. I would have liked waist stripes, but what’re ya gonna do? Can’t win ’em all. (B)
St. Louis Blues:
The only major change here is a switch from yellow to white on the back numbers, which I think I like more. In addition, there’s a new hanger effect inspired by the St. Louis city flag that is quite welcome. Already one of the best jerseys in the league, it’s even a slight bit better now. (A)
Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Toronto-south look lives on, unchanged. It’s alright, I guess, though I think I’d prefer it if they went back to black. (B)
Toronto Maple Leafs:
The other team not to put out teasers, it too makes sense as not a lot has changed from last year’s fresh redesign. And why should they? This is the look of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future. (A)
Come on Vancouver! What are you (not) doing? Your jersey is perfection except for the one thing I asked you to change. We get it. You play in Vancouver. You don’t need to tell us with a wordmark. (B, but it coulda been an A)
I’m not sure about this one. The Capitals have been rocking their look for a decade, and while it’s been symbolic of the franchise’s best (regular) seasons, as well as their consistently heartbreaking playoff runs, I’m not sure it really translates on this new template. It feels…off. Also, it should have been Weagle. (C)
Yep, looks the same. I was never really a fan of the Jets look, yet it’s been six years now and that’s, well, how they look. (B)
And last but not least, the newest member of the National Hockey League, from T-Mobile Arena on The Strip in Paradise, Nevada, playing in its first professional season, please… welcome… yoooouuuurrrrrr……
Vegas Golden Knights:
Not bad, eh? As expected, there is red featured on the arms as an accent stripe, while gold plays a major role in the elbows and above a thick black hem line. I would have liked more red, but alas. Black also fills the arms up to the shoulders, similar to the Coyotes’ latest. The shoulders feature the secondary logo, which looks damn good here. Shame the aways don’t have a grey yoke, but those details in the gold are an interesting touch! Really, not a bad start, Vegas. (B)
And that’s it. Except the remaining 31 away jerseys will appear
over the next few days sometime between now and the start of the season — many are already appearing out in the wild.
As for my overall impression of these, they’re decidedly above average. My final grades are as follows:
- A: BOS, CAR, CHI, COL, DAL, DET, FLA, MIN, MTL, NYI, NYR, PIT, STL, TOR
- B: ARI, BUF, CBJ, LAK, PHI, SJS, TBL, VAN, VGK, WPG
- C: ANA, CGY, NSH, NJD, WSH
- D: EDM, OTT
The Oilers’ leak had me spooked, but they’re by-and-large decent. I’ll get used to the collar change eventually, while most of the jerseys look so similar to their previous iterations there won’t be any adjustment needed at all. However, the missed opportunities will surely continue to haunt. Buffalo, Calgary, Ottawa, Washington, and Vancouver… try harder next time. Minnesota, Carolina, and Colorado? I appreciate what you’ve done. Thank you.