It was a couple of Fridays ago, at my friend’s flat, that I found out that JJ Abrams was going to direct Star Wars Episode VII. Sure, I was happy but the initial ‘pop’ (wrestling term for a crowd reaction) wasn’t a huge one.
Maybe it was because I was half expecting it. After all he had been the most popular choice to the majority of fans I had spoken to.
Maybe it was because I didn’t really believe that it was true. So many stories of people jumping on and off board the good ship Episode VII had circulated over the last few months; couldn’t this just be more Bantha fodder?
Or maybe I just didn’t care.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do take notice of who directs films. This will, most of the time, determine if I go and watch a film. The way I see it is if we’re going to spend the best part of £20 for a night out at the cinema then I need to get my monies worth. Just seeing a trailer and thinking “ohh that looks good” just isn’t enough anymore. We need to know what studio the film is coming out of, who stars in the film and, in many cases the most important thing, who directs the picture.
With Star Wars this has never really been an issue for me. Now granted I was either not born or not old enough to care when the original films came out but I am yet to speak to anyone who was around at those times who has told me there was big anticipation when Irvin Kershne (EP V) and Richard Marquand (EP VI) came aboard to direct those two films. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.
To me though, a new Star Wars film has just been about seeing how the story progresses. We can all sit back now and bang on about how the prequels are a load of rubbish (which they are not I hasten to add), but the anticipation for Star Wars fans when these films first came out was huge and was nothing to do with who was directing the movie. It was simply down to the fact it was… well… Star Wars.
So what could JJ Abrams bring to the next instalment of the Star Wars saga?
For starters I think you have to look at what he was able to do with the Star Trek and Mission Impossible film franchises.
I’m neither a huge Star Trek nor Mission Impossible fan but you cannot deny that the way he rebooted Trek and salvaged MI was nothing short of brilliant.
A fair amount has been said about the fact that JJ is at the helm of both the Star Trek and Star Wars film franchises. Some of the online chatter seems to suggest that he shouldn’t be in charge of both projects. Why not?
The skill in which JJ Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise suggests to me that he is the perfect choice to take the reins on Episode VII. Star Trek was new, fresh and exciting while at the same time embracing the history of the Star Trek name. The way that Kirk and Spock were portrayed was a personification of just that.
It is this care and attention to detail in his telling of the Star Trek story that goes to prove that this genre is a labour of love to JJ Abrams and not just a path to a quick buc,k as we’ve seen from other directors rebooting franchises. Yes Michael Bay, I am talking about your Transformers movies.
If there is one film that stands out to me as the one main reason that I feel JJ Abrams is the perfect choice for Episode VII it has to be Super 8.
Take the central characters in Super 8. It’s a group of friends setting out on an adventure who get slightly more than they bargained for. Sounds like Luke in A New Hope to me. The performance he was able to get from such young actors also impressed me, and this skill could be used perfectly on possible characters such as the Solo kids.
In Super 8, Abrams delivers on so many levels. It’s a nod to the Spielberg movies of the early 80s at its core, with a nostalgic feel and a group of kids at its nucleus. It’s also a monster movie, an action fick, a love story and a coming of age movie. All things that he moulds together with great skill and care, to deliver a film that took me back to my film watching childhood as soon as it started and in my opinion fits perfectly with the likes of ET, The Goonies and Indiana Jones as being a film that is one you simply have to sit and watch whenever you see it pop up in your TV guide.
Isn’t it just this sort of thing we want from the next Star Wars film? A film that offers fresh, new and exciting ideas to the Star Wars Universe, while at the same time making us feel all warm in fuzzy inside, a film that takes the franchise in a new direction but doesn’t forget where it came from and most importantly a film made by someone who is clearly a fan of the genre he is working within.
I for one am happy that JJ Abrams is captaining this ship and when the time is right I’m sure I will jump aboard along with millions of other fans worldwide.