From “Star Trek” to “Star Wars” – The Rise of J. J. Abrams (opinion)
On the 20th of December, people will take a break from the holidays to watch The Rise of Skywalker. The timing of the movie virtually assures Disney of a hit regardless of fan support. Fans are concerned the success of the movie will lead to more DISNEY Star Wars versus stories that respect the previous lore. It’s a well-founded fear. Disney is definitely into mass production of films with little consideration of developing something new. Every current movie is a politically correct remake or a story crafted by committee and screen tests.
Into this comes J. J. Abrams, the current “Hollywood Golden Boy” – the man every studio wants to direct their flagship franchise, aside from Marvel, of course. Kevin Feige stands alone on the mountaintop of franchise cinematic achievement. The DCEU appears to be the next stop on the J. J. Express after his crowning Star Wars grand finale.
Abrams shows his appreciation of George Lucas in his first two Star Wars movies. The first movie being the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. Abrams sought out advice from George Lucas while tackling Star Fleet, and the force master’s influences are all over the film.
Star Trek (2009) is essentially Star Wars: A New Hope. We have a farm boy who’s listless and without purpose. He is fatherless and motherless as he grows into his early adulthood. The young lad is clearly special learning of his profound destiny from an aged mentor.
Next, the hero learns of the impossible challenge ahead after the destruction of a planet. The big unbeatable MacGuffin (massive ship versus Death Star) menaces the galaxy. Leading the hero to forge a partnership with a former rival turned friend to overcome the impossible: once by a one in a million shot and the other through trans warp transportation.
The overconfident antagonist meets his fate in a fiery demise. Both movies end the action with the hero being grandly awarded in an elaborate ceremony.
Now there are other Star Wars moments such as being imperiled by a monster on an ice planet as well as each getting the key to victory from an otherworldly source, voice Obi Wan and Future Spock. (Yes I know Hoth is in Empire, not A New Hope).
The point is simply this, Abrams has demonstrated a propensity to copy. His successes are with established franchises using an established outline. Large corporations are poor risk takers, making Abrams’ production style ideal for decision makers protecting a career. Unfortunately for the fans, if not all movie goers, that leaves Return of the Jedi as the source material for Rise of Skywalker. Unfortunately, final light side victory comes only from defeating Emperor Palpatine, again. Fans hoping for a grand finale for the iconic franchise most certainly are headed for a disappointment, nub nub.
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