Discussion Abrams' themes and motifs in Ep. VII

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Episode VII and Beyond (Archive)' started by Julius Vernon, Jan 30, 2013.

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  1. Julius Vernon Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 7, 2012
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    JJ Abrams has distinct story and filming themes and motifs in his films. Some of those are likely to be utilized, while others will almost certainly not be utilized. Some of his familiar themes won't be utilized simply because he's only directing, not writing.
    • Resurrection. At times Alias was a resurrection fest. Most of the time it worked for that because of the storyline being more comicbook-like. It would not work in Star Wars. Beyond Force Ghosts (or perhaps resurrected corporeal Force beings in a place like Mortis) we won't see cheap resurrection. Vader, Palpatine, not happening. This story has to be solid to protect the investment, and won't be cheapened.
    • Coming of Age. This is a recurring theme in SW in general and I fully expect to see it. This is something that I think Abrams has handled extremely well in his productions as well.
    • High pace action. At times Alias and even Star Trek are so high paced it's dizzying. This is often the purview of the director. We may very well see this. This is more about how the story is told than the story itself. While the dizzying pace is not classic SW it could work if applied correctly.
    • Flashback/jumps in time. This will be limited by the story he gets, but he could still easily jump in time. This is not classic SW and I do not expect to see it.
    • Lens flares. It is a common filming motif of Abrams. I'm not talking about brightness in the background (a la most lightsaber battles), but rather the overt light reflection on the camera. I don't think we see too much of it in Ep. VII, to be honest. It can look classy in the right setting, but generally SW hasn't relied on it too heavily and I think we'll see Abrams tone it down a bit.
    • Epic panoramic shots at a faster pace than most other directors. I've noticed this in watching Abrams. He uses these grand shots, with a quick camera pace. It's especially noticeable in Star Trek. I could see this working, but I also would hope we get some of the classic panoramic holds a la David Lean.
    Overall I think we get Ep. VII directed by JJ Abrams more than JJ Abrams' Ep. VII. He has shown a strong ability to imitate and I think that may very well be the approach Kennedy, et al are looking for. He will probably imitate Lucas/Kershner/Marquand more than making his own stamp, though I'm sure it will have some of his stamp clearly on it.
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  2. Darth Claire Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2012
    star 4
    Hmm Abrams themes *watches Star Trek*. Ok this is what I got...Actors are sexy, choking is common, lens flares are epic, and theres SOO MUCH EMOTION!!!!!! :_|
  3. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Oct 1, 2012
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    Yeah... remember that Abrams wrote neither the story nor the script.
  4. Echo-07 Force Ghost

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    Nov 9, 2012
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    But he's already said he plans to work with Arndt on the script, so he will get some input. Still, I wouldn't worry.

    Another motif JJ works is complex family issues. That was definitely something that he and Damon Lindelof concentrated on in LOST and was also used in Super 8 to some extent. Add in the fact that Arndt is writing the script -- think complex family dynamics of Little Miss Sunshine -- and SW 7 is ripe for the picking here.

    I should add that I believe this because Ep 7 is the passing of the torch episode and will probably focu around the new generation having to carry the mantle of responsibility of the old (parents) in "trying to save the galaxy." HUGE issues there IMO.
    Last edited by Echo-07, Jan 30, 2013
  5. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    He did? That is cause for worry.
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  6. Echo-07 Force Ghost

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    Not a cause for worry IMO. He's not so untouchable that he can afford to have SW bomb critically.
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  7. Darth Chiznuk Chosen One

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    Oct 31, 2012
    star 5
    As long as he keeps Orci and Kurtzman away from it I'll be okay. Lindelof I'm okay with.
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  8. Darth Claire Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2012
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    I'm mostly worried that Arndt might make me cry too much. I mean...this is the Toy Story 3 writer we're dealing with! The guy who made this!

    We're gunna die of depression in the theatre if they let him kill any of the original three.
  9. DV75 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2001
    star 3
    Oh man.

    I am actually dreading that very thing.

    Add to the fact that Lawrence Kasdan is helping with the script and was notorious for wanting one of the big 3 to kick the bucket in ROTJ.

    It would be a big disapointment for old-school SW/OT fans like myself to have any of the big 3 killed off in the first film after waiting so long to see them on the screen again.
    Last edited by DV75, Jan 30, 2013
  10. KED12345 Force Ghost

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    Sep 10, 2012
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    Well, if they do kill them off, at least it will be meaningful and well done.
  11. Darth Claire Force Ghost

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    Dec 21, 2012
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    I think they're gunna die sooner or later. Only full way to pass the torch onto the new generation. Plus....Luke will probably be the mentor to the new hero and we all know what happens to the mentors in the first film. I will be shocked if the big three last all 3 films.
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  12. Julius Vernon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2012
    star 3
    I agree that you won't get as many story themes because that will primarily be the job of Lucas and Arndt. But as I mention in the OP there are a lot of cinematographic themes and motifs that Abrams has used repeatedly. I think it is likely that some of these will emerge in the film.
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  13. stellarmagic01 Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 1, 2012
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    Well a lot of the themes will come from on high and the story being told. I mean, just today I suddenly realized just how blatantly obvious the PT enemies were in their designed.

    The Manufactured Foe! LOL... made of droids, scumbags, and businessmen... It's so bloody obvious now.
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  14. chris hayes Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 13, 2012
    star 4
    mmm JJ Abrams won't have the clout to change the script so he'll work with the theme's & mofits he's given .
    Last edited by chris hayes, Jan 30, 2013
  15. Serpico Jones Jedi Master

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    Nov 3, 2012
    star 2
    I think they'll give him a lot of leeway considering it wasn't easy getting him to accept the directing gig.
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  16. Julius Vernon Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 7, 2012
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    The discussion is primarily centered on filming themes and motifs. We're all well aware that he isn't writing the story or script, but his influence will certainly be felt.
  17. Serpico Jones Jedi Master

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    Nov 3, 2012
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    I'm sure he'll add and subtract to the script. It wasn't easy for Lucasfilm to lock Abrams up so I'd imagine that he's going to have a pretty free hand.
  18. Echo-07 Force Ghost

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    Nov 9, 2012
    star 4
    Not to be snide, but you do realize Darth Maul was designed as the quintessential "Devil" to Anakin's immaculate conception?
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  19. General Immodet Jedi Grand Master

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    Dec 5, 2012
    star 4
    Episode 7 will deal with a Holonet reporter. We will see all events through the eye of a sort of camera...
    Oh, God, I really hated Cloverfield...
    Last edited by General Immodet, Jan 31, 2013
  20. stellarmagic01 Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 1, 2012
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    I have a masters degree now... I was a child then. But you're right, Maul's demonic appearance alongside Anakin's makes sense... Is it possible part of the problem with the PT is that George was just a bit too heavy handed with his symobology and themes?
  21. Echo-07 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2012
    star 4
    I don't think that was a problem. I think the symbolism needed to be big and clearly defined. And it was. I think the biggest flaw of the PT was Jar Jar Binks. He didn't work on any level to any age range. Tweaking Jar Jar ,and a few other minor things, would have helped the PT IMO.

    Aside from that, the political machinations, although slow and some would say "boring," were necessary for the story George was telling. I argued this before, but that story -- the fall of the Republic, eroded from the inside out by corrupt politicians, banksters, and business CEO's (as you pointed out), is the story we live in today. We are going through it now and people don't want to face it. It is unpopular. People don't, or can't, believe that the leaders they vote for, they support -- Obama et al -- are really working dilligently AGAINST their best interests. They are working to bring down the Republic of America its Constitution and of course the Bill of Rights. It's in slow motion, but definitely happening and the villains of the PT are the ones we see in our country today.
    Last edited by Echo-07, Jan 31, 2013
  22. Darth-Seldon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 6
    I'd brace yourselves because Harrison and Kasdan are finally going to get their chance to write and film the epic death of Han Solo. Assuming it happens, I can't wait.
  23. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4

    I hate to say it, but these are all pretty generic motifs that could fit with almost any modern genre director, especially those inspired by Lucas and Spielberg. I mean, all you have to do is cut lens flares, and you've got Christopher Nolan all over.

    The only quintessential Abrams ingredient that's missing, however, is the whole "Mystery Box" thing, telling stories that are driven by questions that won't even necessarily be answered over time. This obviously is more of a TV thing because you can stretch things out as long as possible. It manifested itself in "MI3" a tiny bit with the whole "Rabbit's Foot", although there it was more of your standard self-conscious MacGuffin. It was there a bit more in "Super 8" and "Cloverfield", though obviously you can only go so long before revealing the monster or whatever, as both films do.

    Is it something we'll see in the ST? Very possibly. The overall story of the PT technically falls into the "Mystery Box" definition, although there it was obviously undercut by the fact that we already knew the answers in advance (as a corallary, try watching large chunks of something like "Lost" after the big questions have already been answered, and it doesn't work in quite the same way). If Lucas' story for the ST is as mysterious and ethereal as initial rumors were, then perhaps the creative pairing is a good one. Otherwise, the only real manifestation of the "Mystery Box", I think, will be in an increased attempt at pre-release secrecy.
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  24. Darth_Articulate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 4
    It would be really interesting to see the theme of Pressures of Taking The Baton of a Legend. This theme is obviously present with the makers of this film and is the fit subject for whoever the protagonist is. After blowing up the original Death Star, how much of a legend do you think Luke Skywalker is amongst the liberated systems? One of the reasons I think this theme will color the story heavily is the following quote from Abrams at TED:

    "When people do sequels or rip off movies, you know, the genre, they're ripping off the wrong thing. You're not supposed to rip off the shark, or the monster, you gotta rip off...you know, if you're gonna rip something off...rip off the character, rip off the stuff that matters, I mean, look inside yourself and figure out what is inside you"

    The pressures of taking over for a legend
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  25. LawJedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2009
    star 4
    Even more so than the easy lens flare jokes, I'm surprised that people aren't talking about how much JJ has people leaping. People are constantly leaping around like they have super powered shins in Star Trek. And the Into Darkness promos have their fair share of leaping off stuff, or Cumberbatch hulk-leaping around. As I recall, Tom Cruise had his fair share of leaping in M:I3. It just seems to a preferred visual, like George's affection for heroes swinging on ropes or speedy chases.
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