I'm pretty sure the convention is "Khaaaaaaan!!!"
“Boys are only interested in pirates and Star Wars,” my daughter tells me. She is four and speaks with the confidence and clarity only a four-year-old can manage. Star Wars Thirty-seven years on, and the Star Wars franchise still captures kids' imaginations Her proof? The games played, toys brought in and the clothes worn …
Fringe was brilliant. Brilliant character development, and a relations story that actually brought something to the series and was not just tacked on as an afterthought once a thousand bored housewives had sent a petition to have some smooching (like in Bones, Castle, House, FBI Missing Persons, and just about all the others).
Abrams has his name on Fringe ? I'm surprised, but I will accept it as the one good thing he did.
Except for Season 5, that is. That season doesn't exist.
Season 5 was such an awesome idea and the teaser from season 4 built up my hopes greatly. Then I watched season 5 and it all went down hill from there. The worst part is that the actors gave a great performance as usual and the new supporting cast were good, even the observer actors with their highly restricted allowance of acting (no emotion, specified observer movements, etc) yet the story was aweful. Maybe this is the one Abrams got his hands on
"I very sure that Han shot first"
I'd be surprised if you weren't sure, considering he did. My point was that I doubt Quentin would re-master a film to change a fundamental character aspect of one of the main protagonists.
Imagine Beatrix waking up and just deciding to let bygones be bygones and go back to the Hick record store? Or El Prez deciding that he'd keep the treasure for himself?
No, because I'm sure he has artistic integrity.
Also, it's the flaws in things that give it character. Make everyone sacharine sweet and you're just turning out another Hollywood CGI turd.
Quentin is also not squeamish about violence and flawed characters.
I wouldn't be surprised if Quentin has actually fired a real gun and can relate to having one pointed at him. There is nothing remotely sinister about defending yourself in that situation.
JJ Abrams: Well, on the plus side, MI:III is easily the best of the franchise. On the other, all the rest of his haven't been.
The problem with letting Tarantino near one would be his ego and the inevitable cameo: "What do you think, Jedi Quentin?"
I'd like to see one by Park Chan-wook or Kim Jee-woon. Stunning visually, and not afraid of revenge killing blood baths which is what (without the blood) the Star Wars films have been about.
"The problem with letting Tarantino near one would be his ego and the inevitable cameo: "What do you think, Jedi Quentin?"
Whilst he obviously does give himself a part to play, it isn't usually a role that affects the movie too much, and he does bump himself off quite regularly too - keeps everyone happy :)
I'd like to see one by Park Chan-wook or Kim Jee-woon.
I'd like to see a Star Wars film by Stephen Chow. Obi-Wan flings hundreds of stormtroopers at Darth while undercranked Luke, Han, and Leia race through the corridors of the Death Star! Everyone meets in the hanger bay for a song & dance number. Then they join forces to fight the Emperor and his sidekick Super-Powered Jar-Jar, and their army of droids that don't fall apart when you blow up their ship.
> Well, on the plus side, MI:III is easily the best of the franchise...
Remembering, though, that the Tom Cruise "Mission: Impossible" films have pretty much nothing to do with either incarnation of the TV series. If you want to see something more in spirit to the original M:I series, watch "Burn Notice" (at least the earlier BN seasons) or "Leverage".
And just for the damn record, did anyone watch the final series of Fringe and not wish to the Gods of Kobol that there was another? It was absolutely amazing. The final scene were genius, bringing a neat conclusion to a pretty damn epic storyline. It more than made up for the lack of Peter Bishop a couple of years earlier...
Believe (executive producer)- Cancelled after 1 series
Almost Human (executive producer)- Cancelled after 1 series
Person of Interest (executive producer) still going but getting very samey.
Fringe (executive producer) - Lost the plot in the later series.
Alcatraz (executive producer) - cancelled after 1 series
Undercovers (executive producer) - cancelled after 1 series
Lost (executive producer) - lasted 5 series too long
In fact probably the last good thing he did was Alias and that lasted 2 series too long.
Err one word:
The post-apocalyptic world without electricity, where the woman had great hair, impeccable makeup and neatly ironed white t-shirts with some awful acting and dire story lines thrown in for free.
Cancelled after 2 series
JJ Abrams is proof you don't need talent to succeed in Hollywood
The post-apocalyptic world without electricity, where the woman had great hair, impeccable makeup and neatly ironed white t-shirts with some awful acting and dire story lines thrown in for free.
Agreed. I watched the first few episodes of Revolution, and it lacked any bit of verisimilitude. It made Alias and Fringe look plausible.
I assume that after the power went out, someone went around and killed everyone with any knowledge of pre-electrification technology - the survivalists, the reenactors, the primitive-camping enthusiasts, the subsistence farmers, many of the people who grew up on reservations... Because clearly no one in the show had the slightest clue.
(And, yes, for the sake of argument I'm overlooking the favorite complaint about the show's rather choosy "stop electricity" magic, which somehow only affects deliberate technological use. I'll overlook a whoppingly inconsistent magic premise if the world-building is a little convincing.)
If we're really lucky, Roberto Orci Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof will take over writing and let JJ crack on with blinding us with lens flares and horizontal wipes.
Course we're all gonna watching from behind the sofa with rock bottom expectations anyhow -- what's the worst that could meesa happen?
What could be worse? Hmm... That gives me an idea for the plot:
Sick of being marginalised, ignored and despised - but equally disgusted with democracy and the Jedi, for failing to save the Republic - he turns to the Dark Side. In training during the period of the Rebellion, when Vader and the Emperor were in power, he missed most of the defeat. But he emerges now, to revitalise the Sith, and provie a counterbalance to the new government, who have become arrogant and corrupt - as so many revolutions do. Who is this?
Cower in fear before: Darth Jar-Jar!
Possibly with his new army of Ewok storm troopers, for extra comedy value.
I hate all of you. Ewoks and Jar-Jar were only surpassed in their terrible awful out of placedness, uselessness and badness by the collective performance of the young Anakin, I thought that kid in Episode one was the worst actor with the worst lines ever until I saw episode 2 and 3, in which Hayden Christensen made me simultaneously cry and homicidally angry with the sheer vast ineptitude of his performance, quite possibly the worst acting work of a bad script ever executed by anyone in every possible instance of the multiverse from forever to eternity.
JJ Abrams can't possibly do worse than Lucas in Episodes 1-3. DOUBLE PLUS UNPOSSIBLE.
"What could be worse?"
How about 'updating it' in keeping with the times, pointing out that the Empire was only pursuing those evil pirating rebels rightfully defending its legitimate copyright...? I mean I'm pretty sure those stolen Death Star plans were (C)Empire... Not to mention all that Evil Hacking perpetrated by Mr. Solo's company while aboard said Death Star - why, it's actually lining up perfectly with the currently accepted crime/punishment ratios: you pirate a few files, you get your homeworld blown up, you bastard! Right? I'm sure Disney would see the value of the message there...
How else are you knowing it's in the future. That and an under-lit foreground and lots of flashing lights in the background ..
"On the subject of lens flares, let's see if he can top his previous best of 826 in Star Trek Into Darkness..."
Damon Lindelof will take over writing
Don't forget he was the one who created such believable characters and their motivations in Prometheus (ie the geologist who got lost after mapping out the tunnels and the biologist afraid of dead alien bodies but not obviously dangerous vagina headed snakes).
When Lucas made his first SW movie, he wanted to tell a story. He wrapped it up in a galactic bow tie, but it was good guys, bad guys. White hats and black hats. The whole 'a long time ago in a galaxy far away' premise was just a vehicle to smuggle in space ships, tractor beams and megalasers. But the story was there. And there was nothing whatsoever in it that did not contribute to the story.
It all turned to excrement when he decided he wanted to make a movie not to tell a story, but to sell theatre seats. He wanted to reach as many demographics and target audiences as possible. Jar Jar for the kiddies, Jedi for the slightly older kiddies, Pod Racers to sell video games. Special effects to show of the capabilities of ILM. Anything even remotely able to generate merchandising. If the story needed to be modified to sell lunch boxes, so be it. The later 3 films are merchandising commercials. Nothing more. I don't believe for one second he wanted to tell a story. In my - often not very humble opinion - the only thing that interested him was to increase the share price of his companies.
And a lot of people fell into the trap because of the rep of the first three. And Lucas laughed all the way to the bank. And Disney saw the money making protential and bough the franchise. And now THEY want to make as much money as possible from it. Not to tell a story, or ponder good and evil, or even pay hommage to the story. All they want is fill seats and sell the lunch boxes, the shampoo, the towels and so on and so forth.
I think he should be ashamed. But then, I'm not a billionaire, and will never be one.
That's what I call "art from the heart, as opposed to art for the mart." To me, there is art, and there is advertising. And in my book, the two are mutually exclusive. Yes, I know there are some very creative and brilliantly made adverts out there, but they are not art, because the motive is money, not passion. And there are some really crappy artworks out there, but they are still art, because they are made with passion.
For this reason, I can more admire and enjoy a 4-year-old's crayon stick figure with scrawled grass and wonky flowers, than the most slickly-produced CGI enhanced soft-drink advert. Because the 4-year-old is simply trying to tell a story. The advert is trying to bypass my conscious decision-making mechanisms to make me buy something.
And you're right about Star Wars too. With the original trilogy, Lucas was young and idealistic, and he had a story to tell. With the prequels, he'd been corrupted by the tremendous wealth that success had brought him, and he forgot his roots. And it shows - in some indefinable, ineffable way. All the elements of the original series are there, but because in the prequels the motive was money those elements failed. Comic relief in the original series was provided by R2D2 and C3PO, and we loved them for it. But with Jar Jar Binks it just fell flat; it was too contrived. Nobody saw in the speeder-bike chase in Return of the Jedi, an advert for a video game or the speeder bike toy. But the pod race in Phantom Menace simply screamed "Buy the Playstation Game!" And Luke's "Big NOOOOOO" in Empire Strikes Back sent chills down our spines as we realised he'd rather die than face the fact that Darth Vader was his father. But Anakin's "Big NOOOOOO" became the butt of a slew of internet jokes and memes.
Passion cannot be faked. Like love, it cannot be bought, not for all the money in the world. It has to come from the heart, and it has to be genuine. Not even the artificial, plastic, lollipop, pseudo-happiness espoused by Disney can pull it off. Anyone with a smidgin of humanity in their breast will know it when they see it, and they'll love the artwork for it.
cos they made sooooo much more selling jar-jar binks figures than the (frankly stunning) millennium falcon model from the first series?
somehow I think not.
All the star wars films were about making money. The first movie was probably the most successfully franchised movie of all time. As attractive as your vision of a nartist starving in a garret passionately doing his thing for the benefit of mankind is, it simply does not apply here. Of course there was a story (a story as old as god's dog in fact) but the making of the movie was and always is about bums on seats.
For sure the guy that made the earlier films had a bit more fire in his belly (i'd ascribe that to youth rather than poverty or artistic integrity), but the sfx were state of the art, for their time (1977 ffs!) and serious reading of the characters and their motivations reveals a pretty 2d motley collection - the bad guy was just bad, the good, just good. no explanations, no development, didn't like cutesy jar-jar, yet loved the ewoks! (teddy bears! FFS)
I think the huge failure of the later movies is not the way they stack up against the original 3, but the way they stack up against the movies the fans think they have, inside their heads. And no director is ever going to win that battle.
that said, I, along with everyone else, am sure the new ones will suck harbles bigtime
"Having said that, Blakes 7 is still awesome !!"
B7 can't be good, they copied crApple! They stole the iphone!
In one episode of the first season (IIRC) you see Blake holding a smart-phone sized device while he talks his shipmates through a battle strategy. He's showing using his finger to draw on the device (could've been a stylus but fairly sure he used his finger) and what he's drawing on the device comes up on the main screen. Later in that episode or the next you see the device sitting near the transporter controls in a wider shot, and its screen clearly has a grid of icons just like a modern smart phone (well the few I've seen anyway.
The special effects? Crap by almost any standards (mis-matched 1970's wheelie chairs for the prisoners' seats on the transport ship???), but the story lines were quite good.. And watching them fumble around trying to learn about the Liberator, how to fly it and how to use it was a lot more believable than many stories that've followed.
I think the huge failure of the later movies is not the way they stack up against the original 3, but the way they stack up against the movies the fans think they have, inside their heads. And no director is ever going to win that battle.
Personally I kinda liked the Episodes I II & III. Sure Jar Jar was kinda anoying. probably more so then the Ewoks. By proxy of having been in all three Films. But, I still hate those furry little sh--s more then I'll ever despise Jar Jar
But you have a point there I guess it was a help that I went into Episodes I II & III with no added fluff bar Episodes IV V & VI. And lets be far of those only V - The Empire Strikes Back was (and is), the only decent Film to come outta this Franchise. Same with Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. Nothing for, or since has even gotten near those levels of epicness.
Again I'm not bothered by any retconned EU shite as I never exposed myself to any of it. My guess is this will be a test of how well ILM can time warp the main characters 30 some-odd years back in time. I'm not sure what Gampa Luke can still get up to these days. I mean hes not a Yoda Muppet or what-ever he was in canon. Neither are the rest of 'em.
I just hope that this answers One final question I've had since early-mid 80s... Did Palpatine manage to both survive, and escape the destruction of the Second Death Star? I've seen stories suggesting that he had, or that he had Clones of himself made, and that it wasn't actually him on the Death Star, but on of his "Clones". If the new movies can do ANYTHING at all I hope they at least answer these questions.
Heh! There's a web comic using still images from the Star Wars films, but the storyline is it's a bunch of teens and a 10 year old little sister playing a space based RPG (laser swords, laser 10 foot poles, etc). The game quickly goes off the rails when the "cheddar monks" head down to a hastily created planet and Lil' Sis creates her character: a tall dinosaur with bunny ears and long eyes. He then tells the monks they have to travel through the planet to reach the wise old queen who is 14.
It makes as much sense as Lucas' version.
Naughtyhorse - I think the huge failure of the later movies is not the way they stack up against the original 3, but the way they stack up against the movies the fans think they have, inside their heads.
IMO they all fail on that count. I remember being taken to see it at the cinema when I was about 4 or 5 (I remember the start but that's about it) and then the excitement when it was first shown on TV several years later and I got to see it again and actually take in the story, and then Empire and then Return of Jedi. Hell I even thought the Ewoks were cool back then. Problem was as I got older the plot holes became more obvious and the dialog got clunkier (don't even mention parsecs). But my overriding memory is that they were great films, it's only when I actually watch them that the illusion is shattered. I'd guess kids who saw episodes 1-3 when they came out genuinely thought they were great too, they probably even liked Jar Jar. I expect Abrams and Disney will do a reasonable job (can you imagine being the guy/company who killed off the star wars franchise!?) and I'll still watch them, but they're going to have to be bloody spectacular to win me over.
And Abrams has form for doing just that as the article points out.
so maybe we don't agree with the choice, it is at least competent :-)
It does make me smile the way the fans all think they own it. talk about willing suspension of disbelief, and then the ensuing sulks when the latter 3 films didn't measure up against the first 3.
Then again I run way against the grain here, not a huge fan of star wars 1-3, actually quite enjoyed all the eye candy in 4-6.
@Peter R. 1:
I think after the success of the first SW movie, Lucas was already on his way to what you describe as his motives for the second set of 3 SW movies. Why else would Yogurt/Mel Brooks go on about it in Spaceballs?
(NY/NJ accent) Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs-the T-shirt, Spaceballs-the Coloring Book, Spaceballs-the Lunch box, Spaceballs-the Breakfast Cereal, Spaceballs-the Flame Thrower.
Benedict Cumberbatch's Kahn was a stinker. Kahn originally had the intellect and menace of The Master from Doctor Who (I don't include John Simm's ridiculous pantomime dame's performance) crossed with super strength but what we got was a villain no more frightening than Scary Spice.
Booo, I want my money back Abrams.
I liked his first Star Trek too. I thought it was lots of fun, had lots of shiny special effects and lots of good gags. Admittedly it also had many flaws, but they were far outweighed by the good bits.
I thought his second one was weak. Although probably better than 90% of the original Star Trek films. So I guess I should take a back seat in the discussion. I didn't think the original Star Trek or the Next Generation of spin-offs was all that good to start with.
I've not seen much of his other stuff. I liked the first 'Almost Human', but haven't got round to watching any other episodes yet. So no idea if it deserved to get cancelled.
The temptation is to go and see stuff in hope. After the Phantom Morass, I now feel slightly guilty for paying to see the other two. As it just encourages crap-sequel-itis. As Mark Kermode says, if you pay to go and see this rubbish, then it's your fault it gets made.
But then it's hard to know if it'll be crap at all. I actually quite enjoyed the second prequel at the cinema. It was way too long, and had some horrifically crap dialogue, but there were two huge set-piece fights that made it fun to watch once. Whereas Phantom Menace and the 3rd one were rubbish. Equally Jackson's Lord of the Rings films were way too long, baggy and pleased with their special effects stuff. Also the dialogue they wrote themselves was far worse than the Tolkein original, when they bothered to re-use it. And yet I chose to watch The Hobbit. The first one was OK, but the second one was truly crap. And now I'm left having seen two thirds, wanting to complete the set, but not wanting to give the bastards the money, after they made me sit through so many hours of crap. Bollocks did that need to be a trilogy of 3 hour films!
The only thing Abrams could make was an ST parody (the last ST NG film was a parody as well). More or less like Lucas made a SW parody with the last three movies.
Abrams doesn't understand ST, and he attempted too to make something to sell to the average movie viiewer of today. Gone was the main idea behind ST - challenge the viewer and his mindset.
Sure, if all you want is some special effects and an action movie, maybe Abrams can be your man. If sci-fi for you is something more - something you can even do without special effects, well, whatever Abrams touch will become a parody.
Montalban's Khan was a cartoon villain. He had no intellect what so ever. He was the 60's expectation of a leading man. That's not something terribly intelligent. That sort of thing boils down to machismo mostly (which Montalban had plenty of).
Any incarnation of The Master is a better interpretation of what Khan should have been and Cumberbatch was closer to that than Montalban ever was.
People defending Montalban are just doing it based on nostalgia.
I think the best person to have been cast as Kahn would be Mark Strong but probably a bit to old now, maybe if he were 10 years younger.
If I were to cast a Dr Who movie, Benedict Cumberbatch would be my first choice as I think he would make a fine Dr Who. I just thought he was not suited at all to playing Kahn - which is the director's fault miscasting the part.
I agree completely, the work he produces is weak and forgettable.
I put your comment to Mr. Abrams' office and his publicist replied to me with a statement:
Mr. Abrams wishes it to be known that he is fully committed to ensuring the artistic, critical and financial success of the latest film in the Star
TrekWars franchise. To demonstrate this commitment he has decided to change his name to "Jar Jar Abrams" and would be grateful if you would call him by his new name whenever possible.
"The only good thing from this looming intergalactic wreck? The inevitable fact that people will rediscover the original first three films, a fact that will introduce a new generation to their brilliance and safeguard and perpetuate their legacy."
I wouldn't count on that. The more dross that gets churned out in an effort to milk the idea dry, the more likely it is that the first three films will be buried by being associated with the newer garbage.
The trick to generating a lasting reputation is to leave the audience wanting more. But you can only give them so much of that, because the audience starts to switch off as the quality drops, as it inevitably does. Sequels, prequels, call them what you will, always dilute the quality of the original offering.
Disclaimer - I saw the first Star Wars film when it first came out and utterly loathed it because it didn't live up to the hype. I was expecting something genuinely awesome, and being faced with cowboys and indians in a galaxy far, far away, complete with stereotypical characters, American accents and a simplistic world view turned me off completely. Might have been my unrealistic expectations, but there it is. R2D2 for comedy value and Darth Vader as the ultimate bad guy is about as far as my interest in Star Wars goes.
But I do appreciate other people have a different view and wouldn't want to denigrate that.
I have always thought Star Wars was more like a fantasy tale set in space than a space western. Has all the usual fantasy elements, the Wizard, the boy apprentice, the rogue, the feisty princess, the evil Lord, the faithful servants, the quest, the climactic battle where good triumphs over evil, etc.
OF COURSE it was the way you describe, and deliberately so. Star Wars was pure Space Opera, distilled from innumerable '50s pulp SF magazines and paperbacks and that was why it was magic: it left no cliche unturned. All the way from the archetypical kid from the backwoods planet making good, through the brawl in the sleazy spaceport bar to the mega spaceships and the galactic empire. When the first clips appeared at SF Cons many of the fans said it was rubbish because spaceships couldn't dogfight like WW2 fighter planes, but they forgot one thing: they do in Space Opera.
The thing that made Star Wars great was that George Lucas was obviously a pulp SF fan from way back and made the film as his tip of his hat to that genre. Subsequent films went down hill as they progressively stepped back from their origins, which is a pity because there was still a lot of unmined ore in the original seam.
I agree. It was something like King Arthur + WWII type sea/air warfare transported into space. You have the Jedi Knights and their almost *magical* swords, a kind of Parsifal-Skywalker and Lancelot-Solo.
And then you have the battleship/carrier and figther/bomber type of combat - the Zero-like unprotected highly manouvrable Tie Fighter against the heavier, better protected X-Wing, and so on. The Empire looks modelled very alike the Nazist army - up to the uniform designs, and their quest for the "ultimante weapon" - while the Rebels doesn't look like "Indians" at all - they fight using a technology at the same level - if not sometimes better, like the hyperspace-capable X-Wing - than that of the Empire - and its an "Alliance" like the "Allies" in WWII. There's a taste of Battle of Britain, and/or of Midway.
It was a clever combination, IMHO, not really "sci-fi" but for the setting, yet appealing because it was telling old tales we are never tired to listen to.
That "magic" was destroyed in the last three movies among bad characters, silly weapons (like the weapon that "bites" pieces away from the target!), thin story and so on....
Sci-Fi is a setting - in general the more it is treated like this, and not an effects-laden crutch for poor script, dialogue and ideas, the better the film is.
The first Star Wars film (ep:IV) succeeded because it took commonly used story elements and a relatively standard plot line and set these elements using a Sci-Fi setting. The effects weren't cheap for their time, therefore they didn't detract from the plot. Likewise the effects weren't the focus of the film either.
The second film (ep:V, The Empire Strikes Back), continued more or less along the same lines and while there was greater emphasis on the technology and effects, they generally didn't feel like they were shoved in just because they could be, and a plot was fitted around them afterwards.
The third film (ep:VI, The Return of the Jedi), showed a bit of promise but on the marketing (merchandising) success of the previous two, piled in with merchandising features often to the detriment of the film. It still worked as it wasn't too grossly overdone, but it did detract from the film.
The recent films (ep:I, II & III) were built from working out what (and who) to merchandise, fitting special effects around them and then trying to shoe-horn any form of plot but only only if there was space available.
The "Star Trek" relaunch was very much similar, but more from the point of starting with pointless special effects, incompetent plots and then throwing in a few "popular" actors and topping it off with a few nods to the original to keep some "spirit" of the originals in there.
The entire concept of films and where they come from is often lost, for example Impossible Mission was all about a team of people working together, not one single "super character" (played by a famous actor) where it became a more effects driven copy of any James Bond film.
I said many times - a lot of the protests and negative reaction to SW 1-3 and also to the latest ST movies comes from the fact that the critics are comparing them not to the original films but to their childhood memories of the original films.
Having the benefit of not seeing any of the originals in my childhood I can say that a lot of criticism of the new movies is misplaced, while the praise for the old ones is ridiculously excessive.
As for SW 7 - I am not concerned about JJ Abrams but Disney's involvement scares me...
The Disney bit has never bothered me, they are behind the Marvel branded movies after all and I don't hear people complaining about these much. Disney are not daft, there are a number of films made by Disney that have different labels on them, quite grown up some of them.
This reeks of copy pasta....
No, we compare them to the actual movies and TV series. Despite their old effects, and a different style of writing and acting, the plots, the characters, everything, was far better than whatever Abrams could think of.
You can still watch an ST episode of forty years ago, and despite its poor "special effects", you can still feel the power of the story being told. Same is true for the first two movies and a half (until Ewoks appear...) of SW. That, for example, doesn't happen with "Space 1999 " and other series that despite better effects had far thinner plots - and characters.
Abrams movies are some kind of videogames, without the bonus of being able to playing them. If what you're looking for is spending 120 min with the brain turned off and enjoy some simple entertaining action, Abrams movies are for you.
"Yeah, they did. But not nearly enough of them..."
A depressingly poor kill ratio of heavily armoured well-trained killers with blaster weapons and armour support versus pygmies armed with sticks and sharp fruit, I always felt.
In the first two minutes of Episode IV, stormtroopers were badass, but went rapidly downhill from there.
I'm not a great JJ fan but he is pretty good at telling a movie story for the generation below the average age of those that remember the original star wars films from the cinema.
Like it or not Hollywood has moved on and so has the audience leaving us just as a 1 small segment of a much wider one. We probably aint the biggest movie going demographic anymore no matter how much we would like to think we are.
On balance the nerd in me was horrified by the bastardisation of the Star Trek back catalogue in his 2 versions - but taken as standalone and switching off the nerdy part of my brain leaves me actually reasonably satisfied with both. Star Trek improves with repeat watching, and I expect the sequel will too. God knows they are far superior to some of the dross in the series such as the Final Frontier, Insurrection and Nemisis springing to mind.
As to the TV list GreggS lists out above - that other Darling of the Nerds (counting myself among them) Joss Whedon - doesn't actually have that great a record - whats the point of appealing to the nerds with Firefly and Dollshouse if you can't appeal to the general public as well, and Im not even going to mention Agents of Shield (shudder). Whilst we're on that subject he's going to be lucky to have Age of Ultron hit the same mark as Assemble!
Movie sequels generally suck - for every Godfather part II or Aliens or T2 there is an Alien 3 or a Terminator Resurrection.
On balance I think we're being a little hard on a guy that has an almost impossible act to follow as he's not up against a Movie but a whole piece of culture and mythology and as long as they are mildly better than the second trilogy and contain no JarJar I'll be reasonably happy.
"I think you meant Alien Resurrection. 3 was not too bad"
Agreed, 101%. Alien 3 is actually my favourite in the trilogy (the alleged Resurrection doesn't exist in my world, much like the mythical Highlander 2 that didn't get made either.) I liked it because it raised the stakes, and therefore the suspense, to even higher levels than Aliens, by eschewing the hardware and making the protagonists even more expendable than Marines.
In Aliens, Ripley had access to a military arsenal - machine guns, grenade launchers, flame throwers, sharp sticks... the outcome was a foregone conclusion. But in Alien 3, it was down to just the sharp sticks. My favourite line in the entire trilogy is in 3 - Ripley's immortal and beautifully sarcastic, "What about torches? Do we have the capacity to make fire? Most humans have enjoyed that privilege since the Stone Age!" describes the desperate situation perfectly. And don't forget the Big Whammy at the end - that Ripley sacrifices her life to wipe out the last surviving specimen of the Xenomorph brings the story, Wagner-like, full circle.
I actually liked them both equally in a not a patch on the first 2 way! Its just that 3 had so many false starts and rewrites and it almost made David Fincher's brain explode. Google Alien 3 wooden planet for a hint.
I just felt 3 was a bit of an Alien rehash with the generation of british character actors prior to all those currently appearing in GOT. Also I've never quite gotten over the disappointmnent I felt when Hicks and Newt were killed off - offscreen. That still makes me sad :(
Those things have all been so mediocre they did not even register. Now that I see the common thread I will steer clear. To paraphrase an old expression from Wolfgang Pauli, those movies were 'not even bad'.
I am glad that others said it: Star Wars was OK, but not nearly as great as people seem to think. I am a long time sci-fi fan, but The Godfather movies were truly great; Star Wars is not in the same class at all. Our culture is pretty vulgar, so the fact that something is really popular is not much of an endorsement.
"Star Wars' concept of space was a new telling of space. Space before Star Wars had mostly been a camp Saturday romp. Satin cat suits in Buck Rogers and phallic-shaped rocket ships belching smoke in Flash Gordon."
Right. So 2001: A Space Oddysey, Forbidden Planet, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Things To Come, The War of the Worlds, The Thing From Another World, This Island Earth, When Worlds Collide, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (to pick just a handful of the Hollywood films made before Star Wars which addressed SF/space themes and received significant mainstream attention without the aid of satin catsuits or phallic rockets) never happened then...
The only one slightly comparable to Star Wars in that list is 2001 - and even that is at the other end of the spectrum - its pretty damn opaque for the average movie goer.
The rest are undeniably great movies but very much of their time and therefore difficult to compare to the new Blockbuster era ushered in by Messrs Speilberg and Lucas and of which only SW and 2001 are examples of that canon.
I suggest you to watch Forbidden Planet. Far better than 2001 (which is highly overrated just because the Kubrick worshipping) - and it couldn't be different, Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is far better than any A.C. Clarke book....
If a movie without lasers zapping around is not good for you, well, it's your problem...
Forbidden Planet is like Star Trek version 0.1. It's much better as a movie despite of it's obviously cerebral underpinnings. It doesn't seem to be trying to make itself painful like opera. 2001 comes off like it was trying to be opera. It's something you watch because you are culturally superior not because you actually like the thing.
Still. The design of pretty much all sci-fi before Star Wars favored the "shiny and new" approach and outfits that looked like they were trying too hard to be futuristic. The rustic design approach of Star Wars was a different direction.
SW visuals are stunning, but how things are displayed is very much related to how people perceive them in a given point in time. The Fifties were when airplanes abandoned WWII camouflages and where shiny metal objects. The first astronauts suites were also silver. Future was shiny. It inevitably influenced how a story should be told "visually". The second part of the '70s was different It was a time of crisis. Vietnam war showed a less shiny army, and a lot of soldiers and weapons among the forest mud. and dirtied by it and showing long war use. Future was much gloomer. This shift probably in one way or the other, changed the way to "show" a story.
A director with a patchy track record, a history of recycling bits from other genres', the inability to write scripts where the characters are anything more than 2 dimensional and is a mastery at the art of marketing.
I'm sorry are we talking about JJ Abrams here? because it sounds awfully like George Lucas. On that basis the Star Wars franchise is in good hands.
(as a side note, it was amazing watching the end of 633 squadron last night how much George Lucas lifted for the death star scene in the 1st Star Wars film. All it needed was a ghostly voice telling Cliff Robertson to "use the force, skipper" and it would of been virtually word for word)
Close but no cigar.
It was The Dam Busters. Dialogue?
Q: "How many guns do you think?
A: (The Dam Busters) "I'd say about ten guns"
A: (Episode IV) "I'd say about fifty guns"
and so on. This is not to say of course that the scriptwriters of 633 Squadron weren't lifting chunks of Anderson's 1954 masterpiece, because they almost certainly were.
I mean, take on a great space/western franchise like Star Wars, and do a good job, or, even a great job? Who is there? Who else could Disney have chosen?
Thinks: Firefly. Did Jos Whedon ever write or direct any films or TV that was any good? In the genre? Recently? One would love to think he was offered the job but had to turn it down on account of being too busy.
The Civil War analogy never sat right with me. The historical Union always struck me as the good guys so I could never equate them with Firefly's blatantly evil Alliance. It also suggests that Joss Whedon might be some 'cold dead hands' nutter and as he's from a Union state (NY) that doesn't work either.
Call it post-colonial guilt but I always saw the Alliance as representing the overbearing British empire. Casting the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor in 'Serenity' and him doing such a bang-up job probably didn't help!
@lee h o
"Did Jos Whedon ever write or direct any films or TV that was any good? In the genre?"
Ahem - Avengers Assemble ring any bells? Arguably a sub-genre of the SciFi/Fantasy movie.
I believe he ruled himself out of the SW running early on - (although so did JJ until the moola was increased no doubt). Also I may be getting my timelines muddled not sure whether the grosses were in for AA at that point.
The Force is always with Star Wars, it's just an utterly brilliant setup.
I once heard a story about Columbus and people saying anyone could discover USA, where he ask people to put an egg upright, after failed attempts he picks up the egg and smashes it so just the end breaks leaving it upright. One comment that he could have done that and Columbus respond something like "you didn't".
George Lucas got the idea and made it come to life, unfortunately we have a sad group of egoistical assholes that somehow thought because they enjoyed watching some children movie when they were kids and in some weird reality distortion filter forgot Star Wars was never Blade Runner or some other epic grown up movie, they had RIGHT's and it was wrong of GL to keep making children movies and toys and whatever else kids stuff has been branded with Star Wars.
It's not about Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks, it's the FACT that the Jedi tries to be nice to them that matters, most of the movies we get shown all kinds of reasons why the bad guys is bad, but until Jar Jar Binks, we never got any example of the Jedi's being nice.
Beating on Jar Jar Binks, is like beating on a mentally retarded kid, it just show how much of an asshole you are.
It's not about Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks, it's the FACT that the Jedi tries to be nice to them that matters
Jedis are Space Progressives? The mix of self-infatuation and direction-by-mantra exhibited in the low-numbered episodes are starting to make sense now.
Duke Leto wants to enter the council? He's a 1%er, throw him out!
Beating on Jar Jar Binks, is like beating on a mentally retarded kid, it just show how much of an asshole you are.
An excellent article which captures everything that no one around me seems to care about.
Star Trek was an excellent reboot - in the sense that the audience interest graph stayed pretty much in the high end for most of the two films. There was swizzy technology, audience demographic involvement - and young rebellious children who could grow up to save the universe. Yay.
But in comparison to the previous incarnations the whole experience left me cold. The referential humour was butt clenchingly meta (good: Community, bad: Terminator 3) - and the whole Khan plot tried to be so clever it just came across as stupid (particularly to anyone who hadn't actually seen Wrath). The Federation as a totalitarian government was very hip and modern but again - did we need this change of direction?
I think Star Wars success was down to it being an original story which had been crafted together for years in Lucas and other people's minds. The technology was limited so they had to make it count. It was politically and historically referential but subtlely enough for it not to make people instantly identify with it. If we can have more of that then I'd be happy.
"The Federation as a totalitarian government was very hip and modern but again - did we need this change of direction?"
There have always been factions within each empire that seeks to destabilize for personal advancement - see 'Undiscovered Country' (you only have to watch it once mind, I'm not that cruel)
Yes, but one thing is to show there are bad people in the Federation too - still the Federation fights against them, another turning Roddenberry's idea of a Fderation of Planets "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" in something far worse - and in the process turn Vulcanians is something different as well.
It is that process began in the last ST movies and seasons, but it was one of the reasons those was often so-so in quality. They focusses too much on trying to re-imagine the ST universe to make it palatable to a different audience - the one who needs to see conspiracies everywhere...
"and young rebellious children who could grow up to save the universe. Yay."
I've enough of "young rebellious children". That's something that sells well to the actual audience, but usually "young rebellious children" just create troubles, rarely solve them.
And that is what exactly Start Trek was not. But Kirk, who was a sort of "enfant prodige", the other characters are men who grow up learning their way through experience, and able to balance the "rebellious" spirit Kirk exibits sometimes. With TNG, they put in charge an older Captain who was able to learn a lot in its carreer (and has an artificial heart to remember him of a time when he was far less "experienced" and far more "rebellious"...).
Abrams just made a group of Wesley Crushers...
> The Federation as a totalitarian government was very hip and modern but again - did we need this change of direction?
Trek taking on current events and embedding them in the middle of the plot.
That's pure TOS. Just go watch the original episodes.
If you don't like that kind of direction then that has some deep and significant meaning that you might want to contemplate further.
I HATE this bullshit about the Star Wars (pre)sequels being crap - it is utter, utter bullshit. The only people who say they are crap are 40 something fans of the original films (i.e. people like me). And the only reason we say they are crap is because we have this weird belief that, because the original 3 were made for us, everything to do with Star Wars must also have been made for us.
WRONG WRONG WRONG
We are sad old men (and, in a few cases, sad old women). We are irrelevant fusty old farts and nobody gives a flying fuck what we think. Just ask those same kids in the school yard how old they think you are? Here's a clue. They can't tell the difference between you and your parents. We are all just old and therefore our opinions are worthless.
And just as the original Star Wars films were made for us, a generation raised on Saturday afternoon Cowboy films and dodgy 70s Sci Fi, so the prequels were made for a generation raised on Power Rangers - which I think is complete and utter shite but kids brought up on it (including mine) worshipped it. And those kids LOVED the Star Wars prequels.
And that means they were great films. Because they were designed and marketed to a target audience and they hit the nail on the head - just like the first films.
Unfortunately, a bunch of hopeless loosers who can't/won't grown up keep harping on about it as if Lucas got it wrong. He didn't. He just doesn't care one iota about us - and nor should he.
My son is the age that Lucas was supposed to be pandering too with the prequel movies but that seems to have ended in total failure.
My son loves the Clone Wars cartoon series and he likes the original movies but he simply has no interest in the prequel movies.
Pandering doesn't always work. If the basis of your success is not pandering, then perhaps you should avoid that approach.
We had 3 great canonical sequels sitting ready to be made in the Thrawn trilogy (Heir to the empire, dark storm rising, the last command).
They contain many old characters (the CG makeovers would have been on overtime) and many new ones including a couple of great villains (Grand Admiral Thrawn and Jorus C'baoth) along with good plot lines that complete an arc across the books with some fantastic imaginative set pieces. Thoroughly recommended reads, something that can't be said for most of the Star Wars universe fiction.
The move to Disney and Abrams is devastating.
The only Star Wars book I ever read was the first of the Thrawn books, memorably due to the use of brains rather than brawn - the negative commentary on Vader getting all the best troops and wasting them by his over reliance on the Force was good, as was the clever use of a cloaked ship to give the impression they had a weapon that could fire through ground shields (although I would have thought the power drain on the shield would have given the game away on that one).
YES ! That !
Absolutely. That would have been awesome.
Maybe in another 75 years, when MPAA is bankrupt and forgotten along with its copyrights, and when technology has given us artificial voice simulators and CGI has lept forward in power, we will get a proper Thrawn trilogy with the original cast all in well-done CGI without (too many) lens flares.
And maybe I'll win the lottery this week.
It was a well made film with a great cast, a few nice references for the fans,
BUT saying that, anyone who watched space seed & ST:TWoK clearly can see how even though the actors were great, the story was a bit weak, and Khan had been watered down (although in this version you are talking about a man that has not had the same hatred boiling up inside himself that the original Khan had)..
I do hope the next instalment of Star Trek is without Abrams at the helm..
But on the Star Wars front... he can't mess up more than they did with the prequals.. I watched them all with my boys a few weeks ago... and even they (4 & 7) clearly loved the Original Trilogy way more than the prequels... I think the only good thing about the prequels is that without them we would not have the clone wars animated series, which both my boys love!
English has rules which imply the noun usage of swash in this phrase.
A buckler is a small wrist-borne shield, with which one would buckle. What would you buckle with your buckler? A swash (the fall of a heavy body or blow) from a sword of course. Ergo, one buckles a swash. If one swashed a buckler we would all be talking about bucklerswashing.
One does not buckle with a buckler. The word is an onomatopoeic derivation of the Old French word bocler, so the -er suffix is not indicative of an agent noun in this case. None of the verb usages of buckle make sense in this context - we may therefore infer that swash serves as the verb in this phrase.
Cool. I didn't know the etymology of buckler. That this should have resulted in one who swashes a buckler being a swashbuckler rather than a buckler swasher is testament to the peculiar irregularity of non-invented languages. We're not in C++ anymore, Toto.
"A buckler is a small wrist-borne shield"
Close, but no. Despite modern popular belief. No buckle on it at all.
A buckler is a small shield *held* in the hand via a clenched fist, not strapped on.
They'd be a bit crap in the predominantly urban situations in which they were used otherwise.
"Gimmi your money"
"Hang on, I just need to tie this thing on. with you in a sec."
What the movies lack is grit, forgetting about the science behind the gadgets, a good sense of humor and characters (actors) that are charismatic and likeable. The last episodes were full of CGI, stiff as board acting/characters, too much pseudo science bullshit and the humor was shoe horned in by way of stupid aliens and robots.
A lot of the gung-ho from the originals was lost. It's not a sci-fi movie. It's a cheesy cowboys and indians movie that just so happens to be set in a sci-fi universe. A universe where we do not need to worry about things like gravity or the vacuum of space (sound). It's more about the storytelling and empathizing with the characters than sweating the small details. These things set the overall tone of a movie and allow us to decide whether it's enjoyable or not.
I can never forgive Lucas for reducing the force to something detectable in the bloodstream. It's like telling you father Christmas and the tooth fairy don't exist when you are aged 5.
"It's like telling you father Christmas and the tooth fairy don't exist when you are aged 5."
LOL, I never understood why is this considered such a big deal :-) Somebody tried to tell me about Father Christmas bringing presents and stuff when I was 5 - I had to tell them to please stop pulling my leg.
Similarly, I initially found the whole mystical "force" thing distracting and had to rationalise it for myself. So, the Me-di-chlorines (hmm, MeCl2 - bivalent metal salts of hydrochloric acid?) or whatever were never an issue for me...
I think the problem with Star Trek: Into Darkness is simply that the Wrath of Kahn worked so brilliantly. Ricardo Montelban wasn't a great actor, but he played Kahn brilliantly. He conveyed the impression of being menacing, but intelligent. The story also gave him a reason to hate Kirk.
Also, the final battle between Kirk and Kahn works brilliantly. The SFX are excellent, as is the music, but the way it's directed is excellent as well. Especially the way that, although both characters are in command of powerful ships, with good crews, it comes down to a battle of wits between two men. Well, one man and a genetically enhanced man.
Star Trek:ID was a good summer blockbuster, but I didn't have the same feeling of awe that the Wrath of Kahn gave me when I saw it.
You hit the nail on the head squarely. The original WOK was menacing because we are shown his brutality in separate scenes from Kirk et al. The Chekov terror on seeing "Botany Bay?" was priceless!!
The reboot was good, because it quite literally reinvented the time-lines.
I like ITD, but I must agree it could have been much grittier. There was no shortage of on screen talent...
The reversed Spock/Kirk demise was clever, but not clever enough. The tribble felt decidedly obvious. Better if Kirk stayed dead for a bit...
I guess this is the problem with Hollywood. Unless it is a fantastically famous book series (e.g. LOR,HP etc..) making proper "unresolved until sequel" films is financially impossible.
"The reboot was good, because it quite literally reinvented the time-lines"
But why "reboot"? Because you lack ideas, and you have to borrow someone else and twist them so they look new? Stop "rebooting" someone else idea - guess Roddenberry's ashes would like to kill Abrams, if they could -, and create something original on your own, please.
I hate reboots. They are childish, children "reboot" their plays over and over, because they are children and still have to learn how to create instead of apeing someone else.
I know this isn't a popular view - and will probably get leapt upon by the masses.... but I actually look forward to JJ's work.
I really enjoyed Cloverfield,MI3+4 and BOTH Star Trek movies and enjoyed Alias, Fringe, Alcatraz, Undercovers,Person of Interest, Revolution and Almost Human.
Yes, he likes Lens Flare rather too much and sometimes the stories can be derivative - but I tend to see those more as homages rather than blatant copies. When I listen to, or read, interviews he comes across as someone who is a genuine fan and is enjoying living out many a geeks dreams in writing and delivering great science fiction material and great thrillers.
I expect some folks are probably booking me a room with padded walls already but there you go.
@AC you are not alone in enjoying JJA's stuff. Not all of it hits the mark but when you're prolific and flavour of the month, you get to try a lot of stuff, not all of it worth anyone's time.
Alias, Lost (early seasons), MI:3, Super-8, and at least the first new Star Trek...all brilliant. Claiming that the man has no talent, as some in this forum have done, is idiocy in the extreme.
fair enough then, personally I think he'll do ok directing Star Wars episode 70 million or whatever it's called
Pinning hate of JJ on Cloverfield is a bit harsh though I reckon. That was Matt Reeves and Drew Goddard's baby. JJ fronted the money and encouraged Matt to play with visual effects from what I've heard, Drew wrote it. I sense (not like force sense, regular sense) a fair amount of ignorance surrounding the work discussed by The Reg author. I enjoyed reading how obviously he hates JJ though. Maybe JJ stole his girlfriend or bacon sarnie once?
(personally I thought Cloverfield was really excellent, on par with Chronicle for positive modern scifi cinema surprises)
Whatever anyone thinks of JJ's directing chops EVERYONE HAS TO AGREE that, at his worst, he will be a measurable shit-tonne better than Georgie Lucas directing/writing. Freaking Michael Bay would probably be better.
Lucas came up with a great franchise but he was unusually bad at bringing the story* to screen. So many really dumb writing moments and bad direction. I mean, surely, universally, everyone vomits in their mouth just a little bit any time Anakin and Padme have a scene together where they speak! uurrk, word vomit
(http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=150 sums up Anakin/Padme moments pretty well)
By default Star Wars always looks amazing, it's surely a given for this new one too. The music is also automatically killer. The music is as iconic as the Star Wars universe.
And if Ben Burtt is involved in sound effects like he has in the last 6 movies you can expect this new Star Wars to bring great aural personality to the creatures, vehicles and weapons as he always does.
Plus, the script of any Star Wars movie is usually ludicrously bad and the direction (I'm looking at you episodes 1 through 3) is at best cheesy. To say JJ will screw the job anymore than George would've is a very, very big stretch. It could be so much worse than this, fans are already extremely lucky.
And Disney. I don't know what they're capable of after swallowing so many other companies but I do know that they have a fuck load of very talented artists. ILM had quite a lot but ILM + Disney + Marvel is a very interesting conglomerate to have beavering away at any creative job. The film will visually be spectacular no matter how hammy the story.
Point is, Star Wars was always about the team making it, not the director. It won't be any different with Ep7. Doubly so because Disney now own all the previously used teams! I'm reserving judgement until I see it, it really doesn't matter so much who's directing it.
*Visual effects and sound were always Star Wars' strong point. Remember that in the early days of the Star Wars releases they pioneered new sound technology (THX) because current cinema audio tech just didn't do the films justice. George was an excellent business man and team builder but he was very lucky that Star Wars was received so well, because so many parts of it were (and still are) so very, very bad.
You speak like he makes all these film single handedly. Yes, he's directing it, what we'll see on the screen comes from his vision, but there's a HUGE number of studio executives that'll be reviewing everything he does. He hasn't got carte blanche to do what he likes here, like he probably had with the tv shows.
Not saying it won't be a train wreck, but i think there are a lot of people other than Abrams who are going to have a hand in what we get to see. If it's rubbish, they all need to be blamed. And if we're pleasantly surprised that it's enjoyable, then they all need to be congratulated.
Can Abrams really mess it up any more than Lucas' recent work?
From the article's arguments, I'd say the risk is dire.
But from a mathematical probability that he'll do at least better than I, II or III? The bar is really quite low, you know. In fact, to make it any lower, you'd kind of have to dig a hole for that bar.
Concur with the article though - the big fail has been the Disney-isms, which started with the Ewoks and has gotten worse ever since. Primary colors all over, frenetic pacing, silly characters, lack of gravitas or menace.
Dumb plots - starting with the Ewoks again:
I got this cunning plan to get rid of the Rebels. Let's show them how to turn off our force field. However it's only a trap, with all those sharpshooting storm troopers.
But, hey, let's make sure it is the real switch, for the real force field. Cuz.
In the meantime, do we really need to know about it everytime someone farts at that studio??? The top-10 BBC story the day before yesterday was that it was the first day of shooting, for Pete's sake.
Article's right, brilliant marketing for what is probably gonna be more third grader fodder. Got caught up in the hype for I, not again.
I think it's time we fondly remember Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. And amnesia the rest.
I have just had to go to IMDB to see which film MI3 was again, I'm the type of person who quotes films every day but could I hell remember that one.
As for Fringe, I loved Fringe, even the last season - the most powerful image for me is when Walter found the old CD and sat in the car listening to Yahoo when everything around him was destroyed - such a fantastic scene - JJ obvously had nothing to do with it or it's doubtful I would have remembered it.
Somethings going to happen
The main thing with Abrams is that he's a safe pair of hands, and for me, I think he makes good films. I enjoyed Star Trek and MI3 and I think that Super 8 is probably his best film as it seems to be a more personal project.
What I'm not sure about is whether he can make a great film. I think he'll do a good job of making a watchable, enjoyable film. But I'm not expecting it to be mind-blowingly awesome.
Why Jerk Jerk A fails. The barest possible story line just barely enough to link together a string of action scenes. In fact it feels like they came up with a bunch of action scenes first, stuff they wanted to shoot and then tried to wrap a story, lazzily mind you, around it.
All works for their target audience who has the same attention span of gnats. Hope they are not as so mind boggling lazy as their last effort of Star Trek, basically just ripping off the other movies.
Problem with his work, no story to tell and no way of telling, really on second set, action scene capable.
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