Star Wars the Force Awakens is receiving overall positive reviews this weekend and for the most part it deserves a lot of the praise. The film also marks JJ Abrams’ fifth theatrical release as director over his 9 year career behind the lens. Really, just his fifth? Yep. Although his name appears a lot he had only directed 4 films before getting the keys to the Millenium Falcon. Thankfully he did a good job with this new film and marks his best release yet! Let’s take a look at JJ’s previous films and get a clear picture on why I’m hailing this one as his best:
Mission Impossible 3
This was JJ Abrams’ first film as director. It’s hard to criticize him too much with his first outing and it is noteworthy that he was given the opportunity on such a larger budget movie to begin. The film fell on the lower end of top Mission Impossible films and didn’t generate the revenue studios had hoped for.
This movie is more than a bit divisive. In what most are referring to an homage to earlier Steven Spielberg films the movie Super 8 was a hit in the box office. A lot of folks loved the 80’s energy pouring out of this film while others panned the movie for its ending. “No film this year opens more promisingly and ends more dismally than J.J. Abrams’ Super 8” – Fernando F. Croce. Not ending a movie well will give you that Sham-hammer sort of reputation and can negate a lot of positive sentiments for the rest of a film.
Star Trek was awesome. This movie revived the franchise and brought it to a new generation with an energy and tone that was satisfying to fans of the series and a great introduction to new audiences. The film had a good balance of suspense as well as great thought out dialogue and humor. While Star Wars is more of a space western, Star Trek is its antithesis and is a slower paces space drama.
Star Trek Into Darkness
This is where things get tricky. While Star Trek Into Darkness had a lot of great things going for it based on the momentum on the previous film this is JJ’s first attempt of creating a sequel to a previous film he directed. Not unlike Steven Spielberg himself he has trouble with maintaining that excitement over two films. The main issue with this movie is undoubtedly the villain and how this character wasn’t meeting expectations for fans. The bright idea to make Benedict Cumberbatch Khan is about as good as putting a T-Rex in a city. It almost sounds good on paper but then you see it and wonder “what the fuck were they thinking”.
After looking at his filmography one would understandably wonder why Disney initially had so much trust in the guy. JJ has a decent eye for camera work and clearly produces his best stuff when he’s using pre-existing material or outright mimics’ someone else’s work but it’s not entirely screaming “let me handle the biggest film franchise ever”. Star Wars the Force Awakens will satisfy many fans of the original trilogy and will undoubtedly have some criticisms for its flaws, and there are more than a few, but overall this movie has stood out at Abrams’ best work EVER.
Since we know that Abrams’ is not directing any more Star Wars films for the foreseeable future we can all sit back and wonder what franchise will he resuscitate next?
I hear Indiana Jones could use some help.