J.J. Abrams Versus ‘Star Wars’ – One Nerd Bastard’s Opinion

- 01-25-13Featured, Film Posted by Jason McAnelly

Well, the news has broken that J.J. Abrams will indeed be the next guy to take a shot at the long-lived Star Wars franchise.  This has, naturally, elicited a number of opinions from the populace of this strange little world we call the Internet.  Some people are praising the decision, citing Abrams’ work on the Star Trek reboot as proof of his capability at handling a big, fan-favorite property.  Others are crying foul, screaming that Abrams should be locked in an iron coffin and dropped to the bottom of the ocean in order to avoid letting him touch our beloved Star Wars.  With the shit still flying and landing fresh in the faces of the numerous debaters, I thought I’d throw my two cents into the mix, for better or worse.  If you give a damn, check out what I have to say after the jump.

First and foremost, I want to get something out of the way.  It is a fact that many choose to ignore, and one that will haunt every damn Star Wars film that Disney puts out over the next 100 years or so.  That cold truth is…

No one will ever be good enough for Star Wars.

No matter who sits in the director’s chair for any of the upcoming Star Wars episodes, there will always be a huge pile of people tearing their hair out and threatening to riot.  Those in Hollywood can not make the fanboy (and girl) populace happy, no matter what they do.  So we need to accept that we will always be a bit disappointed by what we see.  The end product will be the same.  Some will love what Abrams eventually brings to the big screen, while others will freak out.  A few lunatics may even, in their frustration, make claims that Episodes I-III were masterpieces compared to what Abrams puts together.  Emotions will override reason and we will see the results flooding through the Internet on an hourly basis.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…

So, since J.J. Abrams will never be able to reproduce the glory and wonder of the original trilogy, the question shifts to whether he can actually direct a Star Wars film and have it not be complete crap?  My opinion, plainly stated, is that he is one of the best people currently out there to undertake this mission.

Let’s look at his track record and see how his achievements apply to the unique difficulties of tackling a new Star Wars storyline.

 

1) He has worked in television on many series.

If you look at the nature of keeping a series storyline intact, the skills required are very similar to those needed to keep a film franchise consistent.  Star Wars has history and will have a much larger future.  Abrams already knows what he will need to do with the one film he’s directing so that those who came before him won’t be overstepped and those coming after him will not have to dodge around what he’s creatively thrown into the mix.

2) He did a great job with the new Star Trek reboot (despite what many of you say).

You might not like the finished product, but Abrams took a franchise that had been dragged out to the point of tired and bruised and gave it new life.  He used a classic Star Trek cliché (time travel) and turned it into an excuse to create a whole new world of possibilities.  No, the old series have not been pissed all over by this move.  They were dead long ago and there was likely no way to revive them.  Anyone who’s seen Star Trek V or beyond knows that there was nothing left to salvage.  Not even the presence of the original, much-beloved actors could save the half-dozen piles of crap that made their way to the screen.  By using a tried-and-true Star Trek method, he gave future writers a chance to craft new stories and opened up the franchise so that many generations will be able to see new Star Trek movies and series, much the same way that kids today are watching a show like Doctor Who, ignorant of its past.  His approach was both a clever writing maneuver and a hugely marketable way to address the property.

And it was a damn fine movie overall (suck it haters).

3) Super 8.

You may like the movie, you may not, but the execution of the film shows, in my opinion, that Abrams knows how to approach a project with the intent of pleasing both kids and adults.  Star Wars is, at its heart, a franchise that appeals across all age ranges.  The very fact that Abrams was capable of making a horror film aimed at kids shows that he possesses a certain set of skills that will prove invaluable in the long run.  Do you seriously want even the remotest possibility of another Jar Jar Binks situation?

The biggest problem I see with the addition of Abrams to the Star Wars franchise is the potential for it to end up resembling, both visually and stylistically, his work on Star Trek.  The two are separate entities and to meld them together could cause irreparable damage.  I speak not solely for the fans who may become frustrated that the franchise they loved the most is now indistinguishable from its “time-sworn rival”.  I speak also of marketing and the fact that two franchises that appear to copy each other will end up losing credit with new crowds.  Old fans may not care as much (assuming they get past all their butt-hurt), but the catch-words of those young initiates just exposed to Star Wars may just end up being “It’s kinda like they ripped off Star Trek.”

Do I think that Abrams is the best choice?  Probably not.  They could have dug around and found someone more capable.  Eventually.  But the likelihood of them dropping the ball would have been increased ten-fold.  Settling into Abrams is like grabbing someone blind out of the top 10 percent.  It may not be the absolute best possible decision, but it’s a damn good one and that’s about as solid as you’re going to get.

Disagree with me?  Don’t give a fuck.  I’m pleased to have renewed faith in Episode VII.

And now, fair Nerd Readers, let the trolling begin! (in the comments section below, in case you couldn’t figure it out)

Category: Featured, Film

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  • http://www.facebook.com/djtommymac Tommy Mac

    excellent! I know we’re gonna have to spend the next two years or so listening to the haters, I’ve already resigned myself to that. But I came to the same conclusion you did; it doesn’t matter WHO they eventually picked, somebody would bitch about it.

    J.J. Abrams is a good choice, we will find out eventually if he was a GREAT choice…I’ll be in line with my popcorn in one hand and my lightsaber in the other come 2015.

    • http://twitter.com/JediPug1 Lisa Dullard

      I concur! :o)

  • Charler Albert

    Seconded.

  • Andy

    Well Said.

  • You’vebeentrolledbyatribble

    If the new star trek was so good how come it didn’t hold first place for more than one weekend at the box office. It fell to 2nd for Angel’s and Demons. (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=startrek11.htm) I don’t know many people who have watched it more than once, whereby Wrath of Khan i know people who have seen it dozens of times if not more. The new Star Trek wasn’t as bad as some people say, but it certainly should not serve as canon for all future generations. Don’t forget how he did us dirty with “Lost” too, in season 1 the entire interwebs called out “purgatory” then in season 6 its not “purgatory” its a “flash sideways” which ends in a church and seems alot like purgatory. My trolling is done…discuss :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-McAnelly/1223229920 Jason McAnelly

      Kinda hard to compare new Star Trek with Wrath of Khan. That movie has been out for decades and naturally has more views. I’ve seen the new Star Trek 3 times, personally. Not sure about my friends and neighbors.
      And I hold no account for box office. Twilight sold many tickets, does this mean it is good? People spend their money on all sorts of strange crap. Many of my favorite flicks do very poorly at box.
      I do think that the new Star Trek is perfect for restablishing canon. I could be biased cause I was burnt on Star Trek about season 3 of TNG and only gave the other series a short watch, but I think having an empty slate to play with is the best thing they could do. No longer have to worry about upsetting every fanboy because one date or costuming choice doesn’t match up from Episode X of Season X of Series X. It’s the same plague that affects comic continuity.

  • Alex

    “Disagree with me? Don’t give a fuck.”

    Well that’s hardly professional dude. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and you should welcome open discussion even if it doesn’t exactly line up with yours. That isn’t trolling, it’s just how conversations go. Now, if someone was just completely anti-Abrams for no really good reason then yeah, that’s trolling. But to not “give a fuck” about what your readers think… doesn’t that kind of make YOU the troll? :P

    Anywho, the choice of Abrams intrigues me. He seems very capable, my only concern is any use of lens flares. I’m hoping he’s realized how much he’s been parodied for that and will leave that as a visual style for Star Trek. Did he also do that for Super 8? I never saw it but it seems like I saw a Super 8 trailer with flares. I don’t know.

    I also fear Episode VII echoing that Simpsons parody of the original Star Trek crew doing Star Trek: So Very Old. We’ve already cringed at Indiana Jones past his prime and being reminded of it constantly. I don’t know if I want to see a bloated and wrinkled Luke, Leia, and Han… We’ll see though :)

    Cautiously Optimistic Alex

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-McAnelly/1223229920 Jason McAnelly

      You are correct. I am the troll. :( Actually, I wrote this piece while getting over a sickness, so my grumpiness definitely carried over.
      As for the lens flares, I think he’s already been quoted as saying he realizes that people are going crazy because of them.

  • IronDouche

    I don’t think JJ is a great choice largely because I feel his work is always a perfect execution of style over content. I don’t think he has a great feel for characters or has the ability to elicit emotion from his audiences. Having said that he’ll undoubtedly come up with some cool visual ideas and TBH there’s hardly any difference in style between the prequels and his star trek reboot. It’s just going to be more of the same and I’m sure that’s what the Disney accounting department is hoping for.

  • JamieB

    I hope we can See the light sabers over the lenseflaire.

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