Why I Like JJ Abrams For Star Wars


When Star Trek ended it’s long run of spin-off series after something like 19 years the movie franchise had already gone down in flames. People were saying it was the end of Trek. Rick Berman, the man who took over for Gene Roddenberry, had simply refused to break too far from the formula he felt still worked after all these years. The problem was the formula was making it increasingly more difficult to ever begin watching Star Trek without starting from the beginning. 

Many years of non-stop television series, ten movies over twenty five years, and constant complaints…even from the most die hard fans meant we may have seen the end of Star Trek. Thankfully Paramount wasn’t ready to accept it. They wanted a way to make Trek accessible to the masses. So they said, “To hell with the fan’s Prime Directive. We’re gonna shake things up.” And shake them up they did. After creating the best Mission Impossible up to that point Paramount was highly impressed with JJ Abrams and wanted to extend their working relationship with the man. Soon after they announced he would be taking the reigns of one of the most beloved franchises in the history of media. 

Let me say something here – I hate remakes/reboots/prequels or whatever other name they spend more time coming up with than the actual scripts of the remakes/reboots/prequels Hollywood makes. For some reason, though, after seeing Star Trek in 2009 I was completely satisfied. It was sort of a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel all rolled into one. And it worked. Abrams was not really a fan of Star Trek but two of his good friends and frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were. He tasked them with the near impossible – make a script that marries all of Trek together and changes everything to make it fresh and new. Abrams used his love for Star Wars by creating some great fights and seriously cool space battles, something more epic than we had seen in any of the previous Trek films. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is coming this Summer. I have seen the 9 minutes of footage they played in front of the Imax version of The Hobbit and let me say I was seriously impressed. Some say it’s a betrayal of Trek franchise for Abrams to leave it. I don’t see it that way. He has a proven history of laying the groundwork for other people to expand on the worlds he creates. With Alias he took a backseat after a couple years and allowed others to continue it on. With Lost he allowed Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse to make it into the show that became event television for six years. Fringe was left in the hands of others as well. He continued to stay on as executive producer for all of them but nurtured others into taking these shows and moving them in exciting new directions. Even after Mission Impossible III he stayed on as producer, hired a couple of writers he’d worked with in the past and entrusted the directing duties to Brad Bird. He took the fourth film and made the best one in the history of the franchise. So when it comes to Trek I have faith that Abrams will find the right person to replace him and take the franchise to new heights. 

As far as Star Wars is concerned I am very excited. Abrams has a very fertile imagination, a great eye for dynamic shots, and the ability to pace a story very well. The problem with George Lucas was that he felt bored. It was like he felt obligated to make the prequel trilogy but didn’t really want to. So he loaded it with boring stuff about trade embargoes and the inner workings of the Imperial Senate. It was like the odd numbered Star Trek films and how they were slow, boring movies with little action.

Between hiring Michael Arndt as the writer, bringing in Lawrence Kasdan to consult on the script, and hiring Abrams as director I feel like this new Star Wars film could be the best on since Empire Strikes Back.

Now, let the casting rumors begin. 

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LucasFilm Is Now Disney Owned?!


Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard the news. Disney purchased LucasFilm for a whopping $4.05 Billion. That is Billion with a B. This is a crazy bit of news. Nobody even knew it was on the market.

Disney wasted no time talking about their plans for LucasFilm. They intend on having Star Wars Episode 7 in theaters by 2015, the same time as Avengers 2, with 8 and 9 to follow shortly after. This is great news for Disney, but what does it mean for fans?

First off, Disney owns Marvel Studios and their comic book line. That means Dark Horse Comics will lose the rights as soon as their contract is up. There’s no way Disney is going to re-up that contract now. Marvel was the first company to release Star Wars comics back in the late 70’s and they will have it back again in just a couple short years.

Second, we must address what this means for the fans of the movies. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are both owned by LucasFilm. Fox and Paramount only had distribution rights. Now that Disney owns them that means we won’t have Lucas making poor decisions on how to handle these two properties. Instead we’ll have Disney making those poor decisions…maybe. The good thing is Kathleen Kennedy is staying on as the head of LucasFilm. This could go the same way as Marvel or Pixar for Disney where they are able to make their own decisions while having access to giant bags of money.

People that know me know that I hated the Star Wars prequel trilogy and didn’t really like Indiana Jones 4. With Lucas out of the picture we finally get to see other people step up to the creative plate and give us a new vision of the worlds Lucas created. We may also finally see a Star Wars television series.

After so many years of Lucas slowly losing his touch with what fans want we now get to see what may be a bold and creative new playground set in his sandbox. Overall I am excited. I still have reservations about it but that comes with the territory.

Lucas is also keeping ILM. That’s his baby, something he seems to care about more than screwing his fans with inferior product. One of my biggest complaints with the prequel trilogy was that Lucas seemed more in love with his technology than with his stories or actors. I say let him have the tech and give the other stuff to people who care about the stories.

Brian and I talked about this subject in detail on our podcast we just recorded. It will be available on Monday. And when my friend Dave and I record our Midichlorian Mayhem podcast (coming soon) we will be touching on it even more.

Don’t forget to go “like” our facebook page. There is always new stuff to talk about and we want your feedback. We also do weekly polls where you get to tell us what we review on the show. Go check it out. And while you’re there go “like” our other pages too. You can find them here and here.

Why Can’t They All Be Like Prometheus?


I’m old enough to remember when summer movies had something more to offer than just blowing things up, fast cars and hot women. I remember E.T. and The Thing back in 1982. I remember Back To The Future in 1985. I remember the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies offering more than just explosions from 1977-1989. So when was the change?

Through the 90’s I saw most of the big summer movies. Die Hard With A Vengeance was the closest thing to having substance that comes to mind. And that still Palestine in comparison to the original from 1988. Now, I’m not pointing fingers, but Michael Bay started making movies in the 90’s. Bad Boys was nothing more than a big, loud movie skating by on charm. I fell for it, and so did the masses. Was that beginning of the end?

When I think back over the decades of summer movies I think about story and character, mood and tone. Alien had all those things in spades. After over thirty years Ridley Scott returned to play in that universe again. He succeeded where others have failed (George Lucas) by creating a compelling story that felt fresh even though we knew going in how it was going to end. The fun was watching how they got there.

When Star Wars Episode I came out I was one of the first in line to see it. Like all geeks I grew up watching the originals over and over in theaters, on cable, on laserdisc, VHS, back in theaters, and then on DVD. I loved them. And watching Episode I tainted that love.

It seems to me that the people we relied on for great summer entertainment stopped knowing how to deliver and the ones who idolized them just learned the flashy parts of filmmaking and forgot the substance.

I’m gonna name off some of my favorite movies from childhood through high school – Terminator, The Abyss, Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Highlander, Gremlins, Goonies, Little Shop Of Horrors, The Breakfast Club, and many more. I could spend a day rattling off movies I loved from that time in my life. No time for love, Dr. Jones, gotta get back to the article at hand.

My point is that for every Ridley Scott, who seems to still know how to kick ass, there’s numerous people like George Lucas who have no idea how to make a movie anymore. The new generation of filmmakers needs more people like Joss Whedon, who hit it out of the park with The Avengers, and less like Michael Bay. Giant hanging testicles on a robot? That’s what passes for entertainment these days?