Bird v. Favreau, Galactic Hollywood Smackdown

Blow-by-blow, who should helm Star Wars: Episode VII? Two worthy contenders face-off for the keys to a galaxy far, far away...

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By parkerray - 11/15/2012
Hopefully another announcement will be posted tomorrow or sooner at starwars.com (Kennedy and Lucas did promise weekly updates). Until then, for those of us waking at all hours, hopped up with wonder over the coming decision, let's see which of these fan favorites would be left standing.

Age/Vitality: Both directors are longtime married saps (i.e. lucky bastards?) with three kids each. Both are unlikely to be totally obsessive and married to their work (which could be looked at as a strength or a weakness). However, at 46, Favreau is nine years younger, so that gives him a slight edge. There is something to be said for wisdom, and Woody Allen's still turning out decent stuff at 76. But Favreau's nearly a decade closer to the younger generation the torch is supposedly being passed to.

Advantage: Favreau



Desire: Favreau issued the most positive statement we've heard from any director. From Bird, only silence. Which could possibly mean he's already got the gig. But otherwise I did a little combing trying to find any of his thoughts on the Star Wars mythology, and I did find one thing (on Wookiepedia). He loves Star Wars fans. When asked if his droid reference in The Incredibles was a sneaked teaser for the upcoming prequels: "No. No, no, no," said Bird with a laugh. "I like that [the fans] think that, but it's more the term 'droid' is Lucas and we made the term 'Omnidroid,' and then got the OK [listed in The Incredibles credits] as a courtesy. So, no, there's no sneak. But God bless those fans. They're crazy." That kind of jocular attitude would be perfect for someone as under fire as this lucky director will be. But still, in the absence of any more direct statement...

Advantage: Favreau



Other Talents: Outside of the director's chair, Favreau's done stand-up and written hilarious parts for Vince Vaughn and others, while Bird worked a long span and helped shape The Simpsons. In terms of comic timing, we could expect stellar things from both. Bird's background in animation could also mean great things. But the most important factor, I think, is Favreau's acting work. (He's had roles of a lot more depth than sidekicks like Happy or Foggy, though we may love them.) And that first-hand knowledge means big things for getting the best performances out of his actors.

Advantage: Favreau



Worst Movie: Tough to say, because Ghost Protocol was shockingly boring. Shocking especially considering all the raves, and more so that I had never been bored, even for a fraction of a second, on ANY other Bird movie. Still it wasn't quite as dusty and boring as Cowboys and Aliens. Maybe even because Cowboys and Aliens had more potential.

Advantage: Bird



Best Movies: Easily the toughest call! The Iron Giant and The Incredibles were flawless. Perfect balance of character, action, humor, and emotion. And to Favreau's credit, Whedon couldn't have shined like he did, without the groundwork of BOTH Iron Man movies. The first was a landmark, and a lot of the choices made in the sequel make more sense after seeing what they were building toward. Then also, I haven't come across many people who find Elf as hilarious as I do, but I notice it's added to more and more all-time best Christmas lists every year. Interesting to note that all four of these movies (unless you have a douchey lack of respect for animation) might be enjoyed equally by anyone, of any age. Ask me in an hour, and I'll have a different opinion, but right now I'm going to go by the fact that I've rewatched Favreau's stabs at perfection way more often than Bird's.

Advantage: Favreau




Galactic Hollywood Smackdown Winner: Favreau, 4-1



I had no favorite when I started writing. And I'd love to see either of these directors at the helm, now or in the future. And considering the laser perfect choice of scribe in Michael Arndt, I still wonder if there's another director out there that no one's seriously considered.

Who are your favorites? Any other qualities I should've considered for the Smackdown?
Source: Wookieepedia
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8 Comments
marvel72 - 11/16/2012, 3:28 AM
bird should of won this all favreau has done is iron man & elf.
jingorot - 11/16/2012, 6:53 AM
this article is so biased, it's comical.

1 - bullshit category
2 - bullshit category
3 - bird without a doubt
4 - bird without a doubt
5 - favreau (that too because marvel had a leash on him, and RDJ improvised like a boss on set)

let me introduce two proper categories to replace the bullshit ones:

consistency in movie quality - bird
compatibility - bird

favreau - 1
bird - 4
jessepostal - 11/16/2012, 8:10 AM
I'd take favreau, love iron man(who doesn't) and elf. The incredibles to me isn't as good as people make it out to be and his others were the same, mediocre. I'd take Johnston over all of them. He's got the look and feel these movies need
jingorot - 11/16/2012, 4:31 PM
@jessepostal

i can't express how glad i am that you have no decision making power in this.
parkerray - 11/16/2012, 7:21 PM
@Derp Nope, dead serious. I was hoping the starlight rippling through the glowy manes of each director made that clear. And I agree RDJ is what makes Iron Man great. Would've been way better if it was just him running up and down a hallway of mirrors talking to himself. Improvising, ha.

Seriously though, I do appreciate Bird's long list of accomplishments, especially his formative work with The Simpsons, which is like equal to formative work on all of pop culture.

But Ghost Protocol, especially compared with Bird's other work, is the fattest, stankiest turd.

@Battlin Was really hoping people would name some directors I hadn't considered or seen named anywhere else. Didn't know anything about Adamson, but yeah that trailer is pretty epic visually. Also, I will consider using some of those comparison points if I write another smackdown.

Though I was kind of kidding with 'vitality,' I standby the fact that age is a factor. If someone was in college when they first saw Star Wars, it is different than if they were in elementary school. JJ Abrams made a similar point about his generation and the way they revere the mythology on such a deep level having grown up with it.

@jingorot bullshit comment. ha. and then #5 you wrote word for word what Derp said. and talk about dripping with bias. Really though, I've loved Brad Bird and pushed him on everyone since The Iron Giant. And aside from the actual tally, I repeated more than once how hard each decision was, and praised both directors, I think, pretty equally.

@ jessepostal Yes, another Elf fan! I feel less alone and validated, pass the syrup. Pahaha. And yes, Johnston really surprised me with Cap.

...I really thought they'd make some kind of announcement today. Instead they just added "New This Week:" over the same video from last week. Heh, playing with us.
jessepostal - 11/17/2012, 4:12 AM
@jingorot, I feel the same about you with the mediocre take no chances bird pandemic that's going around on this site
jessepostal - 11/17/2012, 4:18 AM
@park, elf is a classic :) and ill take that syrup now :)



Johnston worked on all 3 of the original movies. Than the ewok specials, than some sw toons. The guy knows the mythology first hand, puts a lot of heart into everything he does, which is one thing this franchise needs, and can make it look how the original trilogy did. Why would you want anyone else when you have the perfect formula already set up.
parkerray - 11/19/2012, 3:53 PM
@jesse I didn't know he had that much history with them. Cool. All I read from a few sources was that he designed Boba Fett, but yeah makes way more sense that he would've stuck around and done more than just that, though Boba Fett alone is pretty awesome.

I guess they're going to draw it out at least another two weeks now (5-part video segment). Unless it accidentally leaks sooner. Spent all night wondering about Treverow. For nothing.

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