Sunday, January 27, 2013

JJ and the Jedi Reboot

Big news in the nerding world, JJ Abrams has been chosen to guide* the Star Wars franchise by Disney. (*I almost said 'helm' but that's another franchise.)

Image Credit: Joi Ito/Flickr

<aside>I'm not sure what it bodes for nerds and geeks everywhere that a large chunk of things we love are controlled by Disney, Hasbro, and Funimation.</aside>

My personal reaction is: "Meh."
Part of that is due to the fact I don't really pay attention or care much about producers, directors, etc.  Hell I can't name a lot of the *actors* in my favorite shows and movies.

And part of it is, I find his work a mixed bag of "yay", "ugh", and "what"?  "Lost" had some good moments, but never lived up to its promise/hype. (I put it right up there with "The Matrix" franchise in that regard.)  I really enjoyed "Alias" and "Fringe" (fare thee well, Walter Bishop).  I was not impressed with the "Godzilla" meets "The Blair Witch Project" film "Cloverfield".  "Felicity" was not my genre.  And then there's "Star Trek".


The weakest entries in the "Star Trek" franchise have been the one's that emphasize spectacle.  JJ took the last movie and turned it into "Space Action movie #155".**  There's place for that; but "Star Trek", a show from the 'story first' school of sci-fi like "The Twilight Zone", ain't it.  JJ's touch actually could fit better with the "Star Wars" franchise.

Regardless, your typical remake/reboot fist into one of three categories: completely ignore the source material other than names of characters/places/things (I'm looking at you "Battlestar Galactica" and "Wild Wild West"), extremely devoted to source material (as much as possible, "The Lord of the Rings" movies for example), and capturing the flavor of the original ("Addams Family" and "Brady Bunch" movies).  All three can be done well or poorly.  My personal opinion is if your project falls into the first category, you'll do both your vision and the franchise best by being completely original with your idea even if it's harder to sell that way (comparisons of the two Galactica series are impossible because they start from entirely different premises, and are basically two different series).

File:Battlestar Galactica 1978 - intro.jpg  File:Battlestar Galactica intro.jpg

So will the next "Star Wars" movie be good?  Maybe. It will action packed at the very least.  It's fate will rest mainly on which film(s) of the franchise it's compared to.

 Matching the original "Star Wars" (which I refuse to put a episode number on), not really possible.  That movie changed everything. It set the stage for every blockbuster film that came after. It changed the movies from just what's on the screen to what's on the cup you drink out of the dinner after the movie, what's under your Christmas tree, what your next Halloween costume is.  It did for merchandising and branding what "Star Trek" did for conventions, cosplay, and fanzines. 

Matching most of the rest, it's got a shot, I guess.  And that'll make it successful.

If we're only favorably comparing it to "Phantom Menace" (The Zeppo of "Star Wars" movies), ::shudder::.

So, good luck Disney and JJ.  A precious cargo has been placed in your care. Don't exploit the hearts of nerds just to make a buck.

**I kind of wish the "Star Trek" franchise hadn't been rebooted before "The Avengers" hit the screen.  If anybody could make Gene Roddenberry's vision relevant in today's eye candy world, it's Joss Whedon.

 File:Buffy the Vampire Slayer title card.jpg File:Fireflyopeninglogo.JPG

(Happy Geek Moment: Blogger recognizes 'Roddenberry' as a legitimate word! <3)

Copyrights on the logos in the blog entry belong to really big companies and certainly not me.