Opinions Vary: J.J. ABRAMS AIN’T THE PERFECT FIT FOR ‘STAR WARS’
Coming out of Star Trek Into Unnecessary Reveals, a slow rolling realization swept over me. J.J. Abrams wasn’t unquestionably awesome. In fact, he was becoming the master of Smug, Self-Satisfaction courtesy of Contrived, Forced Mysteries. Don’t get me wrong. He can get great performances out of folks. He can cut a mean set piece. However, there are other concerns. As I sat stewing, wanting to chop him and the entirety of the Bad Plotting team in the fucking neck, I began to get concerned. You see, this is the ass clown who is the official steward of The Franchise.
I was concerned.
After much ruminations on the topic – involving Divinations courtesy of Blood Letting, Tin Foil Hats, and countless conversations with our own Eduardo Pluto – I’ve come to a conclusion. Abrams ain’t right for Star Wars. Or, at the very least he isn’t the Glory Be Messiah that I (I will take culpability for jizzing all over his initial announcement) originally ordained him to be. Here’s the deal: Abrams could knock it out of the park. Episode VII could rule. I’m allowing for that possibility. But this OV is dedicated to the delineation of my various anxieties involving Captain Lens Flare and Self Back-Patting.
1) He’s already done Star Trek
Perhaps an obvious reason, but one that shouldn’t be dismissed. There is already enough incestuous cross-cultural pollination going on these days. Franchises over-lapping, creators handling multiple big franchises, Disney essentially owning my entire childhood. All that shit. So Abrams dropping his interpretation on both franchises is cause for consternation. Is he capable of envisioning two distinct franchises? Or is his Lens Flare Happy, witty-bantering nonsense going to read like a carbon copy of the Trek? I mean, shit. The dude already spent two Trek movies obviously pining for The Force. Now he is getting his chance. But yeah — dude. It’s like you’re banging out the holes of both my Mom and my Dad. I’d rather have someone enter into the fray who isn’t already knees-deep in the other culturally enormous Space Thing.
2) He cannot recognize a good plot from a bad one
J.J. Abrams cannot plot. He cannot plot for the life of him. You’re going to say that Dildo Lindelof and the Bad Plotters are responsible for the Into Darkness nightmare. I’m going to reply that the Emo Glasses’d One had to sign off on their painful, messy nightmare. Even ST2009 spun itself in circles trying to wiggle in multiple dimensions, Old as Fuck Spock, and other bullshit. Most of Abrams’ energy is dedicated to M. Night levels of SURPRISE!!! bullshit, at any cost. Narrative structure? Meh. Fuck that! It’s all about the Mystery Box.
Which brings me to my next point.
3) The Mystery Box is fucking stupid, keep it away from the Force
Abrams loves structuring his movies around some sort of dumb fucking reveal. Cabbagepatch Bumbledick’s identity was fucking insipid in Into Darkness. He was Khan, but he wasn’t really much like Khan, but they called him Khan, so they could say, “Hey, it’s Khan!” Whatever. It’s all about the Mystery Box. Now I know you may be inclined towards pointing out that Empire Strikes Back has one of the biggest BOOM IN YOUR FACE SKYWALKER’S DADDY IS HITLER moments in movies. Granted. At the same time though, they’re not predicated on those reveals. It was a neat reveal, but ANH functioned without any of that stupid chicanery. I don’t want any absurd reveals in Ep. VII, and I’m fearful he’s going to crowbar his way into pulling one off. “Caff-Pow!, he isn’t writing the script!” Well, see point number two.
4) His aesthetic doesn’t work
Abrams’s cinematic approach is a sexy, sleek slathering of Lens Flare across smooth visuals. Generally, I love his aesthetic. But it ain’t Star Wars. Look at me getting all provincial. It ain’t my Star Wars!, I yell. Covered in peanut butter with a Skywalker figure up my ass. The original iterations of The Force Flicks were predicated on that Used Future swagger we have all come to know and love. Is that trope played out itself? Maybe. But at least it isn’t the fucking punchline that Abrams’ GLARE EVERYWHERE has become. Could he change his style (to an extent) to fit the movie’s needs? Sure. But like I said. I’m worried.
And it’s the final point that concerns me the most.
5) Abrams doesn’t create mythos, he jerks off to them
Abrams isn’t a visionary. He isn’t. Abrams is a Fanboy who Jacks Off all over his Favorite Movies without realizing why they work. Super 8 was a sloppy blow job all over Spielberg’s knob. Unfortunately it was another catastrophe wrapped around a Reveal. Star Trek Into Darkness didn’t do anything for furthering the mythos of the Star Trek Universe. Instead it spent two hours throwing action sequences at us, all whilst inundating us with Trek fanservice. Over, and over, and over again. Two movies into Abrams’ run and the franchise is somewhat forgettable. Especially that second one. Which was essentially The First Movie Again, This Time With More References!!!
Episode VII is a jumping off point for a Star Wars revival. It needs to be helmed by someone who is interested in putting their own stamp on the Universe. Someone who is going to give the fans of That Galaxy something new to glom onto. We’ve already had three movies that spent their time trying to worship the original Trilogy, all the while gutting the franchise of heart and consequence. Three movies spent making C-3PO and R2-D2 essential figures in the Universe while having absolutely no clue as to how to write them.
For Abrams’ to truly wow audiences, he is going to need to take his finger out of Uncle Lucas’ ass. Slide his index finger off of George’s prostate. Pull his own pants up. And then Abrams is going to have to do something he doesn’t seem comfortable doing. Abrams is going to need to quit with the Hero Worship that is wrapped around all of his major works, and instead carve out a slice of the franchise’s history in his own cinematic vision. If he has one of his own.
I’m not sure.
I am worried.
6) It could still rule
As I started this post off with, I’d like to reiterate that these are the anxieties of a Fanboy who has been letdown by someone he perceives to be Too Smug, and Too Happy with Himself. As I also said, Abrams is very serviceable director. Unfortunately he allows his own hero worship and arrogance to harpoon his strengths. Dragging them down into the miasma of banal twists. And homages. So yeah, that’s what I’m feeling. I really fucking hope I’m wrong. I do. But right now I’m convinced that Abrams brings with him even more potential problems than he does assurances of Rockitude.