Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Star Wars Director Speculation

The endless speculation over who is going to direct Episode VII was inevitable, but that doesn't make it any less irritating. People seemed to start with the attitude that literally every director alive was a possible candidate, and anyone who made an off-the-cuff remark--like Ben Affleck's "I'm glad I don't have that job"--had "officially taken them out of the running!" It's kind of a sad, hilarious thing to watch, because fanboys are never going to like it no matter who does it or how it's done. It just makes this whole process truly funnier, because everyone's acting so excited because of (a) the stupid opinion that the whole series of films is going to to be so amazing, even though they've despised everything any Star Wars film did from the Special Editions onward, (b) the idiotic and frankly classless opinion that Star Wars will automatically be good when it's taken out of the hands of the man who created the whole thing for you ingrates, and (c) the way half of this craziness is being pushed by the very people who said they should never make any Star Wars movies ever again. So, you know, the usual points for rabid fan consistency and hypocrisy.

Honestly, I don't find the prospect of who's going to direct Episode VII that exciting or interesting, given the current state of American filmmaking overall and given the fact that I'm not really looking forward to everyone despising a film they asked for for years and then having to hear how "wrong" it is. If it's too funny, fanboys won't like it because it's not dark and serious enough. If it's too dark and serious, they won't like it because it won't be more fun. Whomever goes into directing this is just asking for it so, hey, good luck.

I did think it was funny how everyone spent weeks getting all pissy over how they didn't want Disney doing Star Wars because of whatever reasons we're supposed to hate Disney owning things, because god forbid someone gets too commercial and merchandises the shit out of Star Wars. It was extra hilarious when the same people who were saying "Keep all the Disney people away from Star Wars!" were pretty much the exact same people saying "Let Brad Bird, the director of The Incredibles, make it!" And, like, totally without irony, too. "Yay, the writer of Toy Story 3 is writing it! Don't let Disney people near it!" I know, I know, Pixar is a company that Disney merely owns. Like Lucasfilm.

So now the Speculation Machine has supposedly narrowed it down to three candidates: Matthew Vaughan, Jon Favreau and David Fincher. Apparently, since David Fincher did actually work on Return of the Jedi, this somehow makes him more qualified to be involved with Episode VII than anyone (like, say, George Lucas). No one ever points out that Jon Favreau does a voice on Clone Wars, which as far as I can tell makes him just about equally as qualified as Fincher to direct Episode VII, since their contribution to the actual storyline is pretty much the same.

I really don't like the idea of a David Fincher-directed Star Wars movie. Yeah, he's slick, and his movies look pretty, but he's really only directed three or four movies I've ever liked. He's not quite on the Neil Jordan level of making movies that are instantly forgettable, but Fincher's movies would be a lot better if he was less interested in pretending his mysteries are complex instead of just needlessly complicated and figured out how people work.

Matthew Vaughan is also slick, and his films also look pretty, but it's pretty much the same problem. And the more characters you give him, the less he's able to juggle them around. X-Men: First Class looked good, but it had a thousand characters and exactly one of them was interesting or well-acted. His films are okay fun for a while--I liked Stardust but never felt the need to watch it again, and I liked Kick-Ass but it holds up less each time I see it (and that's overlooking a lot of the narrative stupidities that take away from the point of the premise, because it's basically just a dumb cartoon and not smart like it thinks it is). And anyway, if history is any indication, Vaughan will just talk about it for a year before deciding to go do something else instead and being replaced by Brett Ratner or Bryan Singer, and that's just too horrible to contemplate.

Of those three--and no one seems to be able to prove if these are just the biggest fan rumors or if this is actually what Lucasfilm is considering--I really only like Jon Favreau to make it. And that's just because Favreau makes movies that are like the big fantasy movies I liked when I was a kid. I can see him making a movie like Return of the Jedi, or at least how I remember experiencing Return of the Jedi as a 7 year-old--and let's face it, when people get all pissy about the Prequels, what they're really getting pissy about is growing up and not liking films aimed at kids anymore. Nostalgia is a lot of what makes the films you liked as kids work over and over again.

Favreau's made Elf, Zathura, and Iron Man, three movies I dig. I wouldn't mind seeing an Episode VII that was closer to those kinds of fantasies. I suspect I'm in the minority on this and that what most fans want to see is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Kick-Ass. And if they get it, whatever; I've already got six Star Wars movies I like...well, let's be honest, five, but Attack of the Clones doesn't ruin it for me.

Either way, I'll just see what happens. It's not a big priority to me because, you know, I don't think I love movies the way I used to anymore. But I love Star Wars. So I hope things go right.


Kal said...

For my two cents I am hoping for Brad Bird after watching both Iron Giant and Incredibles this week. He knows that a good story is more important than all the visual bells and whistles you add to the screen. I have confidence that he will be able to insure a good story in a way that Lucas never could because he can't step back for a second and let others do the fine tuning to his grand vision.

Bird is also a Disney guy with a good track record and I am sure the studio wants to hit the ground running.

Always appreciate your thoughts on these kind of pop culture topics.

Kelly Sedinger said...

See, I think something else is likely to happen: the new movie might be kinda 'meh', but fans will embrace it in droves, because it will prove the Received Wisdom that is the "Lucas is a hack and the only good that ever came of Star Wars was because of other people!" conjecture.

As for me, I don't care. Just make a good movie that's undeniably Star Wars.

SamuraiFrog said...

Kal: Bird's already said he's not interested; he has his own science fiction movie he wants to do. When fans first started mentioning his name, even though I thought it was funny for the reasons I mentioned above, I thought it was a fantastic idea. He would've been a great choice, if he were interested.

Kelly: Same here. If we're going to do this, I just hope I like it.