Star Wars: The Force Awakens Everything is a Remix Video Essay

In 2010, Kirby Ferguson created a video essay called Everything is a Remix, about how it’s not just Quentin Tarantino, but every single artist (authors, musicians or filmmakers) who borrows something old to make something new. The video essay spawned a series of essays, which was later combined into an almost 40 minute long documentary (which you can watch here).

Ferguson has returned once again with a new Everything is a Remix video essay, this time focusing not just on Star Wars: The Force Awakens but also the overall storytelling career of JJ Abrams. The video isn’t just a visualization of all the complaints we’ve heard about Force Awakens being a rehash of A New Hope (we’ve already seen that before), but a serious look into the screenwriter, director and producer’s filmography, as well as an examination of how Abrams copies, transforms and combines his stories to create his art. But it also asks: is the remix method growing stale and have we hit the limits of remixing?

Kirby Ferguson certainly makes a good case for JJ Abrams as a remix artist, combining and transforming his influences for many of the films and television projects he has created. And Star Wars: The Force Awakens is no different, borrowing story elements from Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope as well as some visual elements from other films. But Ferguson recognizes that this was an intentional choice, which is something Abrams has even admitted and explained publicly.

Ferguson explains why blockbusters tend to sway towards the familiar while smaller critical hits tend to side with the novel. The sweet spot directly in the middle is getting harder to hit these days. Christopher Nolan has made a career of aiming for this area of the graph, and the new Planet of the Apes films have also achieved this target.

Oh, and stay around after the credits as Ferguson takes a look through The Art of The Force Awakens book to get a better look at how the team of artists that helped conceive the visuals of the film were drawing from a variety of sources.

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