There are very few things that we can actually say about the seventh movie. We know the director and some other stuff, and I have to admit that hearing the involvement of J.J. Abrams didn’t light a spark of hope in my mind. Abrams’ style in directing and forceful inclusion of his trademarks have [both] always been very hamfisted and ultimately have done more disservice than anything else. For example, the nu-Star Trek films are far too action oriented for their namesake and they carry all the markings of Abrams from the floaty texts to the immense amounts of lensflare. I have to admit, that the action Abrams’ directs would work better in Star Wars than in Trek.
As you might’ve gathered, this post will be more about what I personally think of the current state of Star Wars films than looking from any other point of view.
What we know is that Lucas is not completely out from the picture, as he is a creative consultant on the new trilogy, which basically means that they’re asking if the whole things fits into the mythos, but Lucas doesn’t have any power. Basically he is there to get his name on the credits and be a part of the films somehow. I find this good, as Lucas’ prequel trilogy was somewhat disappointing. It’s been ages since I saw Episodes I-III, and I think the last time I saw Episode III was at a theater. It was actually the last film I saw in my all-time favourite theater Aallotar, which went down due to many reasons surrounding the building and the owners’ age. Hmm, I need to get a female blogger on this site, who would be willing to take on that name.
Comparing Star Wars (IV) to the original drafts of Lucas, there’s a huge change between their tone, emphasize, style and story. I read it some ten years ago or so, and I read it again just to see how different it was. I had forgotten how much stuff that was cut out from it appeared in Episode I, stuff like Imperial Hovertanks and pretty much everything being chrome. Annikin’s father, Kane Starkiller, is also a cyborg and at one point has a line about how he is just a head and an arm or something along those lines. There’s a lot of silly stuff like that, but I can’t really recommend to read any of the earlier drafts. As mentioned, a lot of these parts appeared in Episode I, and were something that pretty much everybody called stupid or problematic.
At my younger age I regarded Episode VI as the best one. There was something about it that kept me more entertained, but I’ve found myself appreciating Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope a lot more nowadays, especially Empire… which is very funny when you remember than Lucas had very little to do with that movie at all in the end.
We’ve seen with Lucas that the more freedom he had, the worse product he put out. Irving Kershner on the other hand had a huge responsibility to make a better movie than Star Wars IV. That’s the key in any business; to make something that could replace the previous one in every possible way. Empire did just that. Return of the Jedi on the other hand didn’t try to outdo Empire, and neither did Episodes I-III.
In this sense, we can be very hopeful with Episode VII. The staff that works on Episode VII will be having an extremely heavy burden to deal with. Episode I was the biggest damn fiasco ever, and the hype for it was immense. The hype we see for Episode VII is nothing compared to it, and that’s good. I’m sure that the first time we hear the title or see concept art and all that, the hype will go up exponentially.
And through all this, Abrams is like Lucas; he doesn’t care what the audience wants and expects. He just does his own thing and that troubles me. I’m dreadfully expecting Episode VII to look like another Apple store with sleek surfaces with clean cuts and computer controlled curves with humongous amounts of unnecessary lensflare and shaky cams everywhere. Episode I’s design basis was to have Naboo’s ships to be more handcrafted, and we all can say that they were far away from looking handcrafted; they looked like a damn 3DCG models. There’s also the issue how CGI is outdated faster than good actual physical models. Imagine if Lucas had actual artisans designing and crafting models for him. The largest difference between the models and CGI is that the stuff we saw in Episode I-III looked newer and more modern than what Episodes IV-VI had. That’s a natural progression when you don’t give a damn how things look. There have been a lot of explanations and retcons why things look like they do, but it all ends in the fashion of the current moment. 70’s naturally was more low-tech than 00’s, but that’s why it would have been good for the Lucasfilm staff to take a look at the earlier styles, which were not sleek and clean cut. The only things that have always been sleek and clean cut in the human history are diamonds and blades. At least now they have a proper reason to make the new trilogy look technically superior with the 00’s inspired crap Abrams loves so much. I’d hate to think that the upcoming trilogy would lay groundwork to which the 2010’s design would take cues from, at least when it comes to films. That, and Kaplan, the costume designer for the nu-Trek, is going to work on Episode VII, which is a complete mixed bags. On other hand some of the nu-Trek’s costume designs were good, but on the other hand they were just bad and very damn generic. Star Wars needs something more than simple bodycondom.
The thing that makes me worry the most is is Michael Arndt, the screenwriter for Episode VII. His track record is very short and doesn’t give enough clues if he will be able to write a screenplay that follows in the lead of Episodes IV-VI rather than I-III. But he can write a plot, that much is true. Now we have to see if he is able to create a story for Star Wars, and that takes some work and research. Then again, he is working with Abrams, and he didn’t even know what Star Trek was about. Sometimes I wish I could punch these people just as much people wish they could punch me.
Whatever first proper piece of illustration or leaked photos we’re going to see about Episode VII will give some insight. If it’s going to be anything like with the new Robocop movie, I will need a storeful of booze. Episode VII is a large questionmark of which there is no real reason to guess what it will be like, but seeing the people involved, we can make these slight assumptions on the visual direction it will go.