Many things come to mind at the mention of JJ Abrams. More recently, you can’t separate him from the topic of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But what about before? He started as a spec screenwriter, became a hit showrunner and television producer, and then (and still remains) a franchise synergist. Of the five movies he’s directed, four have been apart of a franchise. And two of those belong to the same franchise. I believe this is one too many. JJ should not have directed Star Trek Into Darkness.
Tom Cruise was so enamored with Alias that he invited JJ to direct Mission: Impossible 3. M:I 2 was a dud, and Cruise needed someone to pump blood back into his dysfunctional franchise. So he hired a nobody in JJ Abrams and we’ve seen the result. A mysterious, fresh, and exciting movie packed with fun. Bad Robot stayed involved and JJ continued his producing role to guide the light. Brad Bird directed an arguably better film in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, but it wouldn’t have happened without JJ.
Then he moves into a franchise with one of the most passionate fan bases on the planet. Star Trek was equally as mysterious and fresh as his previous movie, but it left a lot of fans unhappy by changing the canon and, well, being different. With a second successful franchise in his pocket, he couldn’t just leave it alone like M:I Ghost Protocol. He had to take it out a second time. Instead of creating a new canon that was promised by the first movie, he made a sequel based on the original canon. Also, the handling of Khan was quite controversial.
The problem is that Star Trek 3 doesn’t seem like it can be properly tended to by anyone else but JJ. I’ve been spoiled by him directing two great blockbusters, and I can’t really get excited for anyone else. I get why Justin Lin is directing. He also reinvigorated a franchise in decline (Fast & Furious), but it’s a much more dumb franchise. Yes, I am aware that Furious 7 just made like a billion dollars. Not to mention that Simon Pegg is tapped to write. Another questionable choice for me.
Skipping out on STID would have meant JJ releasing another original film. I treasure Super 8 very much, and will anticipate JJ’s next original almost as highly as I am Star Wars. He even said at Star Wars celebration that he almost turned down Star Wars so that he could spend more time with his family and his original stories. Since directing Star Wars should have been a no-brainer to him and all the fans, that would make skipping out on STID a missed opportunity.
I read somewhere that someone couldn’t get into the idea of Star Wars Episode VII just yet because it was being directed by the director of Star Trek Into Darkness. Star Wars is the most beloved franchise of all time. The stakes are raised, and as a follow-up to STID, the comparisons could potentially ruin this for many people. Fans fear the overuse of lens flares, and butchering the canon of everything that came before it. After seeing the first teaser, I was shocked at how much it stayed within the boundaries of the original trilogy. Now that the second teaser is out, I couldn’t help but think that it does somewhat resemble Trek. The lighting of some of the shots, hard zooms in action sequences. At least JJ filmed it on film. But I think it could ruin the movie for A LOT of people if they can’t put that comparison to bed.
The flip side of all this is the possibility of JJ not even being considered for the job of Episode VII if it not had been for STID. You could make a solid argument for that, but I don’t believe it’s the case. JJ had already won over the likes of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg. He’s also known Kathleen Kennedy since he was a teenager. I think JJ was always in the running for the director’s chair. I just can’t help but look back and notice that the once great Star Trek franchise might be in danger.
Original article is here at Filmbeef.com