Thursday, January 24, 2013
Live Long and May The Force Be With You: J. J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars Episode VII
I held off on delivering my thoughts on Disney's recent acquisition of Lucasfilm and their production of a new Star Wars film primarily because the news had been reported to death by the time I began posting regularly here and also due to the fact that my opinion is one of maybe three of the most prominent concerning the matter: I love the original trilogy, the prequels are guilty pleasures, I admire George Lucas and his contributions to cinema, but his time with the franchise had clearly passed and the series needed new blood.
Frankly, and please forgive me for sounding morbid, I firmly believed that I would not see another Star Wars film until George Lucas passed away and the keys to the kingdom were handed to his next of kin, or at the very least until I had children of my own. The notion of a new Star Wars film before then seemed unlikely to me, however the idea that George Lucas, an independent filmmaker who managed to create arguably the most successful franchise to remain within the controlling rights of its creator, would ultimately sell his empire had never even crossed my mind.
It was an exciting time to say the least and since then just about every week featured a 'news' item that revealed who WASN'T going to direct chapter of the Star Wars saga. Now after weeks of speculation, The Wrap is reporting that J. J. Abrams will officially be directing Star Wars Episode VII. It seemed like the most obvious choice considering Abrams is known for his genre work, is adored by fans worldwide, and successfully rebooted the Star Trek film series. However it was only last year when Abrams himself denied any involvement with the film and seemingly took himself out of consideration. Today though it seems he was pulling some sort of Jedi mind trick on us all. So what do I think?
Good. Solid choice. As someone who was not the least bit knowledgeable on anything Star Trek related, Abrams managed to create a film which allowed me to enter and enjoy the world of the series while evidently appeasing most long-time fans of the franchise. As for the rest of Abrams filmography? I maintain that his entry into the Mission Impossible film franchise remains the best of the series and I was on the positive side of the divisive film Super 8. The rest of his work also indicates that he is a man who takes his work seriously and can deliver on quality material.
I am by no means a super-fan of Abrams. I like his work, but no more than most other filmmakers. That is not to say that I think he is an average quality filmmaker, I just do not have a wild enthusiasm for him that others do, which I completely understand. Perhaps it is because Abrams always seemed like the most obvious choice or perhaps because, in my estimations, there really is not one stand out director who would have been any more 'perfect' for the job than any other. Either way I am relieved that the film is in good hands and look forward to seeing where the Star Wars saga, and the franchise as a whole, is heading under new management that have thus far proven they can more than handle a beloved universe considering the success of both The Avengers and The Muppets.
The icing on the cake? Those who believe in the sudden notion that character, story, and pathos driven summer blockbusters that explore big issues and take themselves as seriously as any other film should are now the worst thing to happen to cinema in a post-Avengers world....they will all be losing their minds over the idea that the guy who 'ruined' Star Trek by not making it escapist enough is now going to helm the other great space opera film. The evil side of me will enjoy watching this.