J.J. Abrams: The Safest Pair of Hands in Hollywood
With the recent appointment of J.J Abrams as director for Star Wars: Episode 7, followers of the saga were relieved that the next chapter in the franchise could move forward with a legitimate fan at the helm. Looking back on Abrams career, it’s easy to understand why Disney chose him. He is one of the most talented, visionary and sought-after directors in America and his failures are few and far between and with original offerings such as Super 8 and Cloverfield he has proved to be value for money. Kathleen Kennedy, the Chief of Lucasfilm, would have thought about this decision long and hard, potentially there is the success of a $4 Billion take-over on the line, and after taking some time, she went with the man who I believe to be the safest pair of hands in Hollywood. Abrams successes are well-renowned and his failures not big enough to count. He’s the man Tom Cruise (arguably the most powerful actor in Hollywood) head-hunted for Mission Impossible 3, the man we secretly ever-so-slightly dislike for ‘forcing’ us against our will to tune in to Lost every week and the man who we can all trust to bring the biggest movie franchise of all time to the forefront of film-making once again. After all, if he can make Star Trek cool again, imagine what he could do with a light-saber.
After a hugely successful career, J.J. Abrams has decided to take on arguably the biggest task in fim-making that has ever existed; take the Star Wars saga forward and give fans something George Lucas never could...
In accepting the job of directing Star Trek, Abrams took on a project that had little or no relevance to modern day cinema-goers. Despite its huge success over a forty year period, Star Trek had become dull, predictable and uninteresting. It was struggling limply to evolve into a franchise for the post-Matrix Sci-Fi generation. As a fan of the older, more popular incarnations of Star Trek, Abrams saw the opportunity for a re-imagining of the cult series. He saw the potential to re-invigorate and enliven the characters he loved as a child and in doing so, reach a whole new generation of fans. To put it simply, he wanted to make Star Trek cool again and in 2009 he did just that. He assembled a (almost) completely new stable of actors to guide through the pitfalls of entering in to this well-threaded world and designed an elaborate, well-conceived plot that gave everybody involved the chance to go somewhere “no-one has gone before”. The story created a whole new history for the crew of the star-ship Enterprise and allowed not just the people involved in the production but the audience aswel to get past the fact that essentially it was a reboot. In fact, the idea that it was a reboot was part of the storyline. Abrams and Co., through sheer ingenuity re-launched the entire franchise to a 21st century audience. With the upcoming release of the second film ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, another huge step forward has been taken and the trailer for the eagerly awaited sequel has the movie-going public salivating avariciously with excitement. It cannot be over-stated just how bad a condition Star Trek was in when Abrams took over but his talent for story-telling and his love of the source material combined to create one of the best films of that year.
In taking over directing duties on Star Wars: Episode 7, Abrams has given a huge boost to the newly-acquired Disney franchise and allowed worried fans all over the world to exhale a huge sigh of relief. Over the past number of years there have been many veiled whispers and grumbled murmurings of a new Star Wars trilogy, but the sometimes hostile disillusionment with the disappointing prequels and never-ending re-releases had taking its toll on one of the most loved stories of all time. Before Disney acquired Lucasfilm, Star Wars was stuck in purgatory. The only steps forward were done via The Clone Wars cartoon series, but as excellent as it is, it simply can never live up to a live-action film. Apart from that series, the only future for these characters the public had to look forward to was the 3D release of the prequels which was hardly what eager fans were clamouring for. It would have been another disappointment in a long line of disappointments. Thankfully Disney decided to buy Lucasfilm with the intention of propelling the property forward and finally fulfilling its true potential but even then audiences were cautious in praising the bold move. The idea that we would simply get a whole new era of Episode 1’s or something resembling a live action cartoon began to percolate. A number of director’s names were bandied about in the media, almost as if Disney were testing the waters; to see which headline would garner most attention. Again, fans were sceptical, we were unsure Disney were moving forward with the project for the right reasons. There were flashes that our worst fears would come through; in our mind’s eye we all saw the headline “Brett Ratner to direct Episode 7” or “Mc G gets the job”. Happily though, those fears were allayed with the recent announcement of Abrams’ appointment. It was genuinely a cause for relief. The announcement allows fans to whole-heartedly believe that the immediate future of the films we loved, both as kids and adults is in a safe pair of hands and we can look forward with excitement and anticipation to the next chapter in the Star Wars saga.
Over the last number of years J.J. Abrams has proved himself a talented director and producer across television and film. He has become that safe pair of hands Hollywood can rely on. He helped to create shows with worldwide appeal with Lost and Alias and even re-defined what Tinseltown thought audiences wanted to see with Super 8 and Cloverfield. He is the ‘best case scenario’ Star Wars fans could have hoped for. We now can relax and enjoy the little teasers that inevitably find their way online throughout production of a film such as this. The future is bright, bring on 2015, bring on J.J. Abrams vision of the Star Wars universe and we’ll take in every sliver of genius he invests in to Episode 7.
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