Friday, April 21, 2006

J. J. Abrams' Rehabilitation As Golden God Of Geekdom Almost Complete

Well, then. Looks like there is going to be another Star Trek film.

Okay, fair enough. A couple of them were okay. At least okay-ish.

And, yes, it will be a prequel. And it will feature Kirk and Spock, as younger men. So Shatner and Nimoy are out, looky-likey youngsters are in. I would expect this very idea to send Trek purists screaming down the wobbly corridor. Maybe at the very heart of Trek fandom, it has.

But Paramount had a PR trick or two up their sleeve.

The film is to be directed and produced - and I am willing to wager, directed - by J. J. Abrams, of Regarding Henry, Filofax, Forever Young and Gone Fishing fame. Alright, fair enough, he also cooked up Alias, Lost and Harry Knowles' latest lust affair, M:I 3. This week is a good week for Abrams.

Knowles knew about the Trek movie before the news broke, clearly, and tried to get one by us as he greased the wheels for Abrams. Reviewing M:I 3, he said "I want to see the great J.J. science fiction film. It’s in him. I guarantee it. It’ll knock all of our dicks in the dirt, just like this one did to me tonight."

I suppose Knowles, Abrams, and the Paramount Payola Bursar all thought this was pretty clever.

The Aint It Cool story on the Trek film is entitled "Best News Ever?? J. J Abrams to direct a Kirk/Spock movie."

Lost probably plays a big part in Abrams current standing, though as I understand it, the show really "belongs" to Damon Lindelof. No matter how big the cult, however, Lost is just TV. Abrams is now getting his shot at the big time on the big screen.

I'm really very fond of Joy Ride/Road Kill, the John Dahl killer-trucker yarn that Abrams co-wrote and produced. Its a great B-movie - head and shoulders above Duel, certainly, and blessed with Steve Zahn firing on all cylinders. And a lot of the dialogue in Felicity, another Abrams TV show, had genuine snap and crackle. The odd episode of Alias made for easy, and easy on the eye, TV dinner accompaniment - before the show started to love itself too much. Other than that, really, I'm an Abrams neutral. I don't have anything in for him.

But that's not true of everybody. Or it wasn't, at least. A couple of years back, J. J was behind an attempt to bring back Superman - before Bryan Singer, before McG, but after Tim Burton and Kevin Smith. His approach was far from traditional, maybe even downright wacky, with a living Super-suit and Kryptonian Lex Luther. Aint It Cool virtually crucified him.

The first big story on the Superman script was a kill-piece, no question. They headed it "You'll believe a franchise can suck", in block caps. After Moriarty had done his worst, the fan community set about clubbing the corpse in the "Talkbacks" below. Comments like "Why mess with an icon?" and "I'm all for UPDATING material...but changing stuff that ALREADY WORKS is moronic!" gave way to "Terror awaits us", "Terrorist plot" and "If they make Abrams SUPERMAN script, they terrorists will have won! It'll be like taking a crap on the American flag."

Typos and political naivery aside, it was clear that Abrams had messed with something sacred to geekdom. I thought he was in for it. How wrong I was.

I can't wait for Mission: Impossible 3. I like the format, and I'd love to see Tom Cruise in something watchable again. This Kirk/Spock number, though? Meh. I could just about care less.

1 comment:

Shatner's Curse said...

Well, when I read HK's M:I3 review, I thought, "oh here we go, Harry's became a scientologist". I remember how everyone was talking about a big Abrams/Knowles feud a while ago, how after the (deserved, probably) Superman script kicking, the character of Hugo in LOST was some sort of dig at Harry (dunno how, he's about the most likeable member of the ensemble). Now Harry is handing out critical b.j.'s to Abrams left, right and centre. Being a suspicious type, I too smell a conspiracy.