Thursday, January 24, 2013

J.J. Abrams is directing STAR WARS Ep. VII

And the wait for 2015 becomes even more unbearable.

The Wrap's Lucas Shaw just dropped this bit of nuclear knowledge on the internet, and along with Latino Review's scoop about the line-up for WB's Justice League movie, that makes for a heck of a news day. So it's official - J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible III, Star Trek, Super 8) will journey from where no man has gone before to a galaxy far, far away.

You know, this could seriously work.

Full disclosure, while I really liked 2009's Star Trek reboot, I had my share of problems with the film, namely story issues from a mess of a script that got saved by a good director and a great cast, and I've made no secret that I had a couple worries about Star Trek Into Darkness when the first teaser was released (worries that are much diminished after the full trailer and IMAX preview).

BUT this is a really good choice, for a variety of reasons.

1). J.J. Abrams is a good fit tonally. The new Star Trek film can best be described as "Star Wars in OUR galaxy" and that's not a bad thing. At its heart, Star Wars is a rollicking space adventure, and Abrams' films - especially his Trek - definitely fit that mold.

2). J.J. Abrams is already established. He's made a name for himself in geek culture and has been successful as a director, and what this means is that he already has the experience of making a movie in the studio system. We won't see some up-and-comer disastrously butting heads with execs about this or that element of the movie. Abrams has done this before, and because he's made lots of money doing this before, he and the "money" are likely to get along fairly well.

3). J.J. Abrams needs a good story. I like the guy as a director of set pieces and his ability to evoke a spur-of-the-moment emotional response is pretty impressive (see the beginning of Star Trek and the end of Super 8), but his stories tend to fall apart when you think about them at all. Partly because they also tend to be obsessively convoluted, which is why the totally straightforward serial nature of Star Wars could really work for him. Especially since Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) has already signed on to pen the screenplay.

It makes sense. The guy can do effects-heavy action, he can create an emotional connection to the audience, he's proven himself in the genre, it's a good choice. A tad safe, but this is Disney doing Star Wars - it was always going to be safe. And after the Prequel Trilogy, that's probably what everyone wants.

Well actually, I can think of some Star Trek fans who might not be too pleased. . .

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