Before Doc Brown opened the DeLorean’s door and before Spielberg welcomed us to Jurassic Park, George Lucas took us on a tour of the galaxy. Yes, we are going to spend some time discussing Star Wars. I can sense fifty or so girlfriends leaving in utter frustration. Fear not, my fellow Nerf-herders, we don’t need them. Years of space travel have been good to us. They brought us the green dancer at Jabba’s Palace, Princes Leia in a bikini and shortest but not least, Yoda.
But now there is a possible disturbance in the force. Episode VII is on the way and George Lucas is sitting on the bench. Who will steward this venture? Our Star Wars foster parent, “The Disney Company,” has chosen Master Abrams. My lack of enthusiasm for Disney’s purchase of my childhood universe does not extend to “The Double J.” I believe J.J. Abrams is up to the task. We Star Wars fans don’t like to admit it, but from time to time we have peered over the fence at the Trekkers, formally known to us as Trekkies. What do we see when look at our red and gold uniformed neighbors, apart from Shatner’s girdle and lame-ass cell phones? We see space.
Starfleet has it right. Space is the final frontier and I think with a background in space films, Abrams is well suited for this. The primary difference between the two franchises is that Star Wars is an epic the likes of the Iliad, whereas Star Trek is more of a telling of individual stories.
I give respect and the Vulcan high-five to Gene Roddenberry and the original Trek series as it tackled many a hot-button topic. Kirk’s flirtation with green women and the diversity of the crew was sending a much need message of acceptance to the viewers. However, it is easier to seize a topic and tell that story for a hundred and twenty minutes. Keeping alive a saga about love, betrayal, and redemption is something else entirely.
Abrams’ past two films have shown me he knows how to tap the emotions of his actors. Giving an emotionally powerful performance is an absolute must for the upcoming film. Remember, the rebels just defeated the Empire, Luke confronted Vader and regained his father, and the Jedi order rests on the shoulders of one man. There wont be the intensity of Episode III or the darkness of V. Instead, Abrams must show us what it is like to rebuild a galaxy previously shrouded in darkness. He will hopefully make the new film as streamlined and enjoyable as his Star Trek films. Nevertheless, he cannot simply make an action movie and lose the flavor and blessing of plot.
On a lighter note, I like how The Double J has made space look. We want to feel like we’re at the cantina conversing with real aliens, not Azog The Defiled, all-CGI character. (Sorry Lord of the Rings fans. We’ll play this game in another post). Abrams’ use of actual sets and actors in makeup brought space to life in a way I have not seen done well since Star Wars. Now, I guarantee a full report on the film when it comes out but until then, keep the faith. We’ve taken our lumps courtesy of Jar Jar and we found redemption via the final saber battle on Mustafar. We are on the right track for great flick.
A final message to Abrams as, yes, I dare to believe he will see our little but strong-in-the-force website: When you tackle Episode VII, in the words of Master Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
Stay Glued to the Screen