There are a number of different ways that one could describe Colin Trevorrow's The Book of Henry. "Unconventional" is an adjective I might use for his drama. "Unpredictable," is another. As is "flawed." But never once did it cross my mind that The Book of Henry -- the story of a young boy who helps his mother (Naomi Watts) catch a potential abuser from beyond the grave -- is a "carbon copy" of George Lucas' genre-defining Star Wars: A New Hope. And yet, there's this:
It's wholly possible that Colin Trevorrow is being sarcastic. Because, while I only saw The Book of Henry once (and once was more than enough), there was no way to mistake the story that he was telling in Henry for the one that George Lucas spun around farm boy Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and his destiny to save a galaxy.
What could Trevorrow be talking about? In The Book of Henry, a menacing neighbor (played by Dean Norris of Breaking Bad) is suspected of possibly abusing his step-daughter (Maddie Ziegler). Because Henry (Jaeden Lieberher of IT) succumbs tot a brain tumor before he is able to prove that Norris' character is committing a potential crime, he leaves extensive clues for his mother, Susan (Naomi Watts), to follow to unmask Norris as a criminal.
Refresh my memory, was there a scene in A New Hope where Obi-wan Kenobi almost takes out Darth Vader with a sniper rifle while listening to instructions from a deceased Luke Skywalker? Because that happens in The Book of Henry.
This is all that Colin Trevorrow shared on the matter, so we're actually hoping that he does open up a bit more on the creative thought process that links The Book of Henry to A New Hope. It's no surprise that Trevorrow -- who also helmed Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed -- is from that generation of filmmakers whose careers were deeply influenced by the Star Wars trilogy. And Trevorrow almost got a chance to play in that sandbox, tapped to follow up Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi. But creative differences sent him packing, and now J.J. Abrams will return to conclude the trilogy he started with The Force Awakens.
What do you think? Did you see The Book of Henry? Did you spot any similarities to A New Hope? If you have good theories into how Colin Trevorrow's offbeat and quirky drama parallels Star Wars, in any way, share them in the comments section below.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.