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J J Abrams directs Portal: The Movie


Alex W.
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At his best he is a technically competent director whose films lack any distinctive personality of their own. At his worst he is a useless sack of shit who seems to enjoy fucking beloved franchises up the arse. 

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I think he's about 50% of the full package. He knows his visuals and he knows how to string plot beats and set pieces together into the shape of a story, but he's not very good at the actual story part. But because the studios are run by accountants and they all rely on spreadsheets to tell them what's working, he keeps getting work.

 

The TFA art book paints a picture of a properly mental creative process. They'd just start with an idea like "there's a jedi killer" and get a load of artists to throw ideas at the wall, then he'd come along and pick the ones he liked. Sweet shot of a crashed star destroyer in the desert, the knights of ren, a death star but you can walk on it and it's got weather - and the story developed from that.

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1 hour ago, Exidor said:

and he knows how to string plot beats and set pieces together into the shape of a story, but he's not very good at the actual story part.

 

It doesn't matter if the director isn't very good at that, as long as they're working from a screenplay by a writer who can!

 

But in Abrams' case, all his films except the two Star Treks have him credited as writer or co-writer, and he's been a writer much longer than he's been a director. So yes, it is fair to blame him for story problems in those films - but we should blame him in his role as a writer, not his role as a director.

 

The reason I make the distinction is that I'm extremely wary of making assumptions about who contributed what things to a film, and of making blanket statements like "this director is great at visuals, but bad at stories". (Something you hear a lot about Tim Burton and Zack Snyder.) IMO it's fair enough to say "this director is bad at storytelling", because that's the part where all the filmmaking disciplines have to come together and work well, and that's the responsibility of the person who has final cut privilege. But if you're criticising story ideas, you should probably be blaming the writer instead of the director, and if you're criticising story structure, the writer or editor may be the person at fault.

 

So where @JohnC made a joke above about Abrams' inability to do a third act: maybe he can't, but if so that's an issue with writer JJ not with director JJ!

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I'm kind of ignorant about how the movie production process works, but wouldn't the director be expected to pipe up if there was something obviously wrong with the story? It's their ship, I guess. Or to they often not have much of a say on the script by the time they're brought on board?

 

Edit - What a wealth of absolute shit that TFA pre-production process was.

 

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Starkiller Base Was Built on Dantooine and Called the “Doom Star”

 

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Darth Vader’s Castle Was Almost Leia’s Resistance Base

Ralph McQuarrie’s unused original concept art of Darth Vader’s castle from Empire Strikes Back inspired the idea of a castle among the landscape on this junk planet. They played with putting the villain’s castle on various other different-looking planets.They eventually settled on a green-looking planet. The idea was for it to be Princess Leia’s castle, where the heroes find her after leaving Crime City. The castle of course would be obscuring the subterranean Resistance base. But in the final movie Maz Kanata gets the castle.

 

"Give somebody a castle for God's sake!"

 

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Space Pirates?

One idea involved a bunch of alien space pirates raiding the Millennium Falcon. Another piece of art features the pirates having captured Rey’s oval-looking ship and making her “walk the plank” as their ship flies over the planet’s ocean. I’m guessing the ideas for these pirates somehow evolved into the gangs that board Han Solo’s freighter. A scene for the film was planned and probably shot involving one of the space pirates’ speeder ship not stopping for Finn as he trekked through the grueling heat to Nima Outpost on Jakku.

 

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The Map Was Hidden Inside the Death Star, Now Submerged Under Water

One early idea had a piece of the second Death Star submerged underwater on this junk planet, with Rey going on an adventure to scavenge goods from the old space station. One piece of concept art shows her diving, swimming through the Death Star’s trench. She would find a hidden map inside the Emperor’s tower that would tell us where the Jedi are and where Luke is hiding. Later concept art shows Rey taking the Millennium Falcon underwater to find the Emperor’s chamber submerged deep underwater.

 

Well now we know why the plot points in TRoS feel like old rejected Star Wars concepts.

 

https://www.slashfilm.com/force-awakens-changes/

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Why the hell would the Emperor have a map to where Luke would be hiding in future in his bedroom. Did he have a premonition during Return of the Jedi and doodle it on a sheet of A4.

 

I know it’s a pointless question because I'm putting more thought into this than JJ ever did.

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2 hours ago, Alex W. said:

I'm kind of ignorant about how the movie production process works, but wouldn't the director be expected to pipe up if there was something obviously wrong with the story? It's their ship, I guess. Or to they often not have much of a say on the script by the time they're brought on board?

 

Edit - What a wealth of absolute shit that TFA pre-production process was.

 

 

 

"Give somebody a castle for God's sake!"

 

 

 

Well now we know why the plot points in TRoS feel like old rejected Star Wars concepts.

 

https://www.slashfilm.com/force-awakens-changes/

 

JJ doesn't care about story, he cares about excitement.

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I feel, I hope, that Valve exercises some level of control over this. They don't seem like the type of company that would just let the movie people take full rein and ruin what they've built up. I could be horribly wrong, though.

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What if this all turns out to be a massive trick and the day the Portal movie trailer is supposed to arrive, people in the cinema actually get the first ever trailer for Half Life 3.

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11 hours ago, James Lyon said:

I feel, I hope, that Valve exercises some level of control over this. They don't seem like the type of company that would just let the movie people take full rein and ruin what they've built up. I could be horribly wrong, though.

How many members of the Portal development team are still working at Valve? Especially those involved in it's story.

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18 minutes ago, Headache said:

How many members of the Portal development team are still working at Valve? Especially those involved in it's story.

 

Geez, yeah, Chet Faliszek left Valve, didn't he? Ah, who knows how the movie'll end up, then.

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