Tag Archives: J.J. Abrams

“Star Wars” – Attack of the production line?

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Honestly, you go away for a couple of days – a work trip, not exactly exciting – and things get all confusing for any self-respecting member of the “Star Wars” generation.  It’s as though you’ve been out of the game for a while and people get delusions of grandeur or something…

The sci-fi franchise’s new overlords, the Walt Disney Company, this week unleashed dark, Sithian portents of wholly predictable corporate malevolence by announcing that films seven, eight and nine in the new trilogy will open two years apart in 2015, 2017 and 2019 , with spin-off movies featuring “Star Wars” characters filling in the gaps between new instalments of the main saga (“Salacious Crumb – Lust for Glory” – make it so).

So, the House of Mouse is borrowing a note or two from the thus-far successful Marvel Studios play book and pitching their comic book movie business against the biggest name in cinematic sci-fi in a playground battle to win all of the marbles in the yard.  Greedy, much?

I confess to be alarmed by the proposed timeline – is two years between movies really a realistic schedule which would allow for quality to be maintained?  It doesn’t seem as though director J.J. Abrams could realistically turn around movies on this scale in that production line fashion – could any director keep to that kind of workload and deliver something which didn’t feel like a product tooled to meet a release date line in the sand?

Is the plan, then, to alternate directors on each Episode? Curiouser and curiouser…

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Cumberbatched Into Darkness

It’s a Thursday, there’s precious little on TV – why not take in the latest trailer for “Star Trek Into Darkness”?

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This would be the “Empire Strikes Back” of the reborn “Star Trek” movie franchise, then?  I’m guessing so, what with the doomy tone, Benedict Cumberbatch‘s messianic sociopath running amok and blowing up half of the planet and the gloriously blatant shuttle craft/Millennium Falcon riff showing up in this two minutes and 15 seconds of face-melting, nerd glee.

Oh, and if you’re into that kind of thing, Alice Eve‘s character apparently can’t afford clothes.  Hollywood double standards, how do they work?

Have a new poster for the movie whilst you work that one out…

"Star Trek Into Darkness" - none more dark, squire...

“Star Trek Into Darkness” – none more dark, squire…

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“Star Trek Into Darkness”…earlier?

Hmm...badge-y...

Hmm…badge-y…

In the UK, we might suffer through hilariously terrible weather for most of the year, must bear at least some responsibility for unleashing Simon Cowell, One Direction & Robert Pattinson on an unsuspecting globe and can’t keep a shop open to save our lives, but know this, global peeps –

We’re getting “Star Trek Into Darkness” a week early!

Ignore that date on the poster above – the second “Trek” adventure from J.J. Abrams is now out in the UK on 9th May 2013 – which is going to come as scant consolation to all the people in the Den of Geek comments section, linked above, who have booked days off work  and holidays on the basis of it coming out a week or so later.  Nerds, eh – gotta love ’em…

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The Young Han Solo Chronicles?

"I once caught a Wamprat THIS BIG!"

“I once caught a Wamprat THIS BIG!”

Today’s piping-hot “Star Wars” rumour?  Lucasfilm are developing a young Han Solo movie.  And a Boba Fett flick.  Zoinks!

But, as ever with these things, Entertainment Weekly’s story on the matter is quick to assert that these additional “Star Wars” movies – which are being made in addition to the J.J. Abrams‘ spearheaded “Episode VII” – are in an embryonic state and that nothing is set in carbonite, yet.

That proviso noted, would you want to be the actor tasked with embodying Harrison Ford‘s devil-may-care intergalactic bounder as a younger man and living up to the burden of attention that accepting such a role might bring?  I’m pretty sure I would run a couple thousand parsecs from it and I suspect that you would too.

Early casting around on the internet has the likes of Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper being proposed for the role on various sites, and as good as they are, they’re not exactly in the right age range for the part.  Physically, at least, Garrett Hedlund has some of the quality of a young Ford – but I’ve not seen in anything which suggests that he has the comedic lightness of touch to embody the Corellian scoundrel fully.

As I said – wouldn’t want to be that actor…

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J.J. Abrams is “Episode VII” Chosen One

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J.J. Abrams, pictured shortly before pwning f00lz and dropping the mic, like the proverbial boss that he is…

At last, our global geek nightmare is over (or possibly just beginning, if you’re a Troll).

After a few weeks of denials, stonewalling and outright, behind-the-scenes deal making, the truth appears to be finally out there – J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII“.  Let me be amongst the first to say ‘Phew!’ and be glad that a director has finally agreed to make what is 2015’s most eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster.

Whilst this would appear to signal a farewell to his work on Paramount’s “Star Trek” franchise – a decision that many vocal Trekkers will doubtless be happy about – I’m convinced that Abrams is the right person for this job.  It’s no secret that I loved his “Star Trek” reboot as, no matter what the aforementioned Trek fans might say to the contrary, his 2009 film essentially saved the venerable sci-fi series from the doldrums.

Yak on forums and social media about lens flare and sexed-up “Trek” all that you want – post 2009, the Gene Roddenberry creation is now a film series that has serious money pumped into it and has attracted a younger generation of viewers to a property which needed new eyeballs if it was going to continue.  Prior to the “Trek” reboot, you had nostalgia, the con circuit and as sorry as it might sound, a steady diet of nothing new to look forward to.

Whilst the “Wars” universe is nowhere near as moribund as “Trek” arguably was, thanks to the success of the prequel trilogy and the “Clone Wars” universe in attracting younger fans into the fold, it too presents equally daunting challenges to a film maker.  If fans of Kirk and Spock are vocal on the internet, they are but dilettantes in comparison to the foaming-mouthed, nerf-herding fanboy rage of Star Wars fans reacting to changes in their favoured fictional sandbox.

It’s a brave director who takes on this job, but I hope that the guy who made “Trek”, “Mission: Impossible 3” and the excellent “Super 8” is up to the challenge of facing down naysayers by doing what he’s great at – making a fun blockbuster which succeeds purely as entertainment first and then as a contribution to the wider “Star Wars” universe second.

Truth be told, I have every faith in him – and there’s not a lot of directors working in this scale of genre film-making of whom I would speak so glowingly.   The action will be spectacular, he works well with emotion and relationships (the previous architect of this film series? Not so much…) as does “Episode VII” writer Michael Arndt and he’ll doubtless bring Michael Giacchino aboard to bring a different musical note to the series, which will be nice.

The big question is, of course, this – who is Greg Grunberg going to play?

 

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The Good News Geek

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I don’t know if this exactly qualifies as good news per se – for it heralds an ultimately tragic story – but it does confirm “Star Trek Into Darkness” director JJ Abrams as one of Hollywood’s kindler uber-nerds.

JJ Abrams grants terminally ill fan’s wish to see ‘Star Trek’ sequel

It’s small acts of kindness like this – ones which make somebody’s life that bit more enjoyable in the face of terrible illness or sadness – that make this oft-bleak world of ours seem a bit more bearable.

I’m sure that internet hard-men and the Troll set are already preparing their snappy responses to this story and pitching it as part of the P.R. campaign for the movie or some kind of scam, but I think we all know that this isn’t an act quite as cynical as some perma-scowling hipsters would have you believe it to be.

And, after all, isn’t it nice to be nice sometimes?  It’s almost as if Reddit is good for something other than Cat Memes and gross sexism after all…

 

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Further Into Darkness

Lovely "Star Trek Into Darkness" images (c) Paramount Pictures

Lovely “Star Trek Into Darkness” images (c) Paramount Pictures

There’s a new trailer for J.J. Abrams‘ second “Star Trek” adventure, “Into Darkness”, which is technically the first proper look at the film – last week saw a teaser trailer and a nine-minute prologue which unfurled ahead of selected IMAX screenings of “The Hobbit“.

But, as I was denied such bounty by the uncaring folk at my local cinema, let us not focus on what we don’t have and instead turn our attention to what we do get.

Yep, no portents of angst or doom in that image...

Yep, no portents of angst or doom in that image…

Which is Bruce Greenwood‘s glum voice over suggesting there may be trouble ahead for Kirk & Co., huge action sequences, portents of dread and lots of furrowed brows on display.  Watching it, there’s a palpable sense that there’s a big elephant in the room with this “Star Trek” sequel – is it following the path laid down by “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and upping the emotional stakes big time (i.e. killing off major characters) or is the speculation about the identity of the villain merely misdirection of the kind so beloved of and oft-practiced by major magic geek Abrams?

The trailer indicates that nobody’s safe in this movie – Chekov‘s even sporting a Red Shirt at one point, for pity’s sake! – and I’m all for that if  this eagerly anticipated follow-up has the courage to deliver on all that Debbie Downer potential.  This is, after all, a summer movie – not a genre known for wallowing in melancholy and bad vibes, man.

You can be in danger – but nobody’s allowed to get hurt.  Or are they?

 

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