How unhappy are you about J. J. Abrams directing Star Wars?

There seems to be some mild backlash over the announcement that J. J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie (example here). But did anyone else hear that and think “total disaster”? I wasn’t thinking that when I first heard about Disney buying the franchise. I was hoping for an enjoyable if unsatisfying on reflection movie like The AvengersBut as far as I can tell, J. J. Abrams is just a completely crappy director.

Granted, the only J. J. Abrams I’ve ever seen is his Star Trek, plus the bit of Alias that a friend involuntarily exposed me to once. But I thought his Star Trek was an unambiguously terrible movie. It seemed that its main premise was that in order to make Star Trek appeal to the younger generation, it was necessary to do a contrived reboot that would allow Star Trek to be about young people. As someone who enjoyed watching the adventures of old man Picard in grade school I found this profoundly insulting. And the villain was a forgettable, generic-guy-with-a-doomsday-machine.

It may seem unfair to judge Abrams without having seen much of his other work, but from what I’ve heard about it, I think I’m glad I never wasted my time on it. When Lost was in the middle of its run, I heard a lot of good things about it. It sounded like a really smart show, one I’d enjoy, I just never got around to it. Then it had its repeatedly mediocre final season, during which the creators admitted they never actually had an explanation for the show’s mysteries.

That struck me as cheating the show’s fans–selling them an intelligent puzzle show for many seasons, while they were really faking it all along. I’ve heard the story behind Alias was similar. Makes me glad I never wasted much time on either show.

[Edit: As his TVTropes page explains in somewhat painful detail, Abrams' involvement in Lost is widely exaggerated. But apparently everyone makes this mistake, so it's not my fault! And he also apparently kinda abandoned the other TV shows he's widely credited with. So he's off the hook for Lost, but that reduces his resume to a bad Star Trek movie and Mission Impossible III, which some people apparently liked but I've never heard anyone rave about.

Confession: I mainly wrote this post because I hated Abrams' Star Trek.]

Oh, and I’m sure there’s no way Abrams’ take on Star Wars will ever be as good as this movie, even though it doesn’t exist (HT: James McGrath):

  • Jonas

    Entertainment: Serious business.
    Why do people feel that they have wasted a lot of time watching 7 seasons of a tv series because the last episode was crap? (I refer to Lost here) I never get that. Isn’t time you enjoyed wasting not wasted time? Isn’t that what tv series and films really are? Entertaining time wasting?

    • Nox

      If you’re talking about a show built entirely on the promise of the upcoming reveal, the reveal does need to be something good.

      • Chris Hallquist

        This, with the caveat that for all I know the characters (on Lost) were compelling enough to make up for the mystery aspect being crap. Or something.

      • Anquan

        Still don’t think that means that the first five seasons were a waste of time. It just means that the last season was underwhelming. Unless you were watching only because you were expecting the final reveal to uncover some mystery about the universe you’d never thought of before, the fact that you enjoyed the first five seasons should still stand on its own.

  • Scott R

    Abrams came up with the premise to Lost, and directed the series pilot. Beyond that, he had little to nothing to do with the rest of the series.

    So the author of this article is judging Abrams as a “crappy director” based on 1 movie and a few episodes of Alias. Reading this was a waste of my time.

    • Justin

      Is this Scott R from Bristol VA area? Reading this article was a total waste of time. I was excited at first when I found this website as the first few pages I read were insightful and well written. As I continue to read more articles however I find that it seems that they’ll let just anyone publish an article. A lot of them have no basis in fact, are horribly written, are an utter waste of time or all of the above.

  • Frank Lazar

    I took my spouse to see the new trek and his response was . “Now finally Star Trek has grown up.” for once this was a Trek production that did not ride on treknobabble and magic wish fulfillment gimmicks as Next Generation did, nor the ham acting that defines William Shatner. And he did his approach that allowed a farewell bridging from the classic Original Series and it’s descended timelines into a reboot that can be free from all the old baggage of prior productions.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Did he not see First Contact?

    • Rain

      “Now finally Star Trek has grown up.”

      My response to the movie was more like “Now finally the entire crew of Star Trek is a bunch of high school kids. Yeah, seems legit.”

      They could have done without the hand to hand combat scenes too. Especially the fist fight in the bar. How boring. Get real. It’s like they are there to fill up screen time and make the movie longer and stuff. They could have casted some better Kirks too. Both Kirks were horribly miscast.

    • RobMcCune

      Now finally Star Trek has grown up.

      Really??? ZOMGSexLazersExplosions is grown up now? I suppose now that they don’t look to too closely alien cultures, alternate / distorted realities, ethical dilemmas, or the effects and implications of technology brings it more inline with the spirit of science fiction as well.

      • Peter B.

        I concur. The rebooted Star Trek was a solid action movie. It just didn’t have anything to do with science fiction. The space battles and aliens and fancy technologies were there …and served as stylish props only.

  • Yoav

    Look on the bright side, it could have been Michal bay.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I got 99 problems, but this ain’t one.

  • Ken

    Didn’t really know anything about Abrams. Just looked him up on IMDB. Hey! He helped write Armageddon!

    Wasn’t that the decent asteroid movie? [click]. Nope. The totally lame one… From the sound of it, his Star Trek movie is similar, but with more fist fights.

  • eric

    I was kinda hoping for Joss Whedon. But good directors make crap movies and occasionally bad directors put out good movies, so I’m going to reserve judgement until it comes out.

  • Justin

    I’m an avid Star Trek fan and have watched it from Kirk to Archer. Every season and every episode and I enjoyed each of the series. Granted every series had episodes that you wouldn’t want to see a second time but what show doesn’t? Overall I would recommend each of them to a friend.

    That being said I really enjoyed the new Star Trek movie. Yes they made it into an action oriented movie that would more appeal to the masses and not just Star Trek fans. I don’t see why that means it can’t appeal to Star Trek fans also. Were there fight scenes in each of the Star Trek series? I felt Chris Pine made a fine young Kirk. I also really enjoyed the new young Spock. I can see those people growing up to be their older counterparts from the original series.

    On the subject of JJ Abrams Lost was good even though he had little to do with that. But the poster of this article left out Fringe (which I personally love) and Super 8 which was well received.

  • Justin Allen


    Chris, Don’t you work for some sort of singularity focused group? How are you not watching Person of Interest?

    • Chris Hallquist

      I Googled it once, when a player in an tabletop RPG game I run told me his character was inspired by the show. It didn’t ping as something I needed to see–my impression was that it treated the machine as a plot device, rather than a subject for serious speculative fiction exploration.

      • Justin Allen

        It starts out as that or at least, it was turned in to that. They start to explore the machine itself during the more myth heavy episodes of the show and the show does flashbacks mostly through stuff that the Machine itself saw. Mild Spoiler, the whole reason it acts like a plot device for the first season is because it got turned into that. The main character who helped to create it essentially locks it away from anyone being able to access it directly before running off and hiding for a few years because ~reasons, his only connection via the numbers it spits out at him. When they dig into the backstory, what the machine is like before the “leashing” (my word) is rather cool. Especially when, as of a couple episodes ago, it appears to me that it could have broken Harolds protocols at any time and was only contacting him in the roundabout way it was as a courtesy. Hell, one of the villains(well, kinda) of the show who shows up for myth episodes main motivation is trying to unleash a fully operational artificial intelligence onto the world at large.

        Either way, its a great spy-ish show and one of the most oddly progressive (politically) TV shows out there. One of my favorite things on TV. The plotting is also really good and it doesn’t treat the audience like idiots

    • Chris Hallquist

      Also, I’m unclear on Abrams’ level of involvement with the show.

  • Annatar

    There is no damage Abrams could do that hasn’t already been done by Lucas.

  • Mogg

    Erm… hated Lost, hated Alias with a passion, love Star Trek, loved the Star Trek movie apart from Eric Bana’s awful acting – which was weird, as he is in fact a capable actor. Also used to love Star Wars, but given how bad the last three Star Wars movies have been a change in director can’t possibly make it worse.

  • Mike D

    JJ’s had his share of busts, but his Star Trek reboot is the most critically acclaimed in the franchise… yes, even edging out both Wrath of Khan and First Contact. Maybe he’ll screw the pooch on Star Wars, but it can’t be any worse than the prequel trilogy.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I just discovered that J. J. Abrams is directing the new Star Wars movie(s). In fact, from this very article. Zero(0) is the number of fucks I gave in that instant. Zero is the number of fucks I predict I will give in the future. Star Wars jumped the shark with the 4th movie, and stayed jumped throughout.

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