This guy, huh? He creates the biggest movie of 2015, creates an iconic droid character that makes R2-D2 look like a garbage can, building on a heap of smashing achievements in TV and movies. However, if history is any indicator, he will soon be apologizing for what critics didn’t like. (In fact, some feared he started pre-apologizing with the trailer!)
No matter what you think about Star Wars: The Force Awakens (I loved it both times I saw it) you knew, I knew, and he knew, that there would be detractors. Detractors with good points, even. No movie is perfect and Star Wars fans are not easy to please.
Here’s how the JJ apology tour works. He seems like a relatively non-egotistical, reflective, thoughtful guy. When he’s promoting a given movie, he’s upbeat, he’s excited about it. He should be, because he really pours his heart, brain, and soul into every aspect of a movie he writes and/or directs.
But then the movie comes out. Some critics, fans, cinemaphiles, even other directors, will dump on it in some ways. With Star Trek, it was the lens-flare and the red matter, for instance. Any creative type knows that you should probably not read the reviews, or respond to complaints. But JJ can’t help himself.
At first, JJ ignores the complaints, at least publicly. Some time after the movie’s release, he’ll defend his choices but be super-nice about it. He’ll explain his reasoning, talk about his process, his approach, and actually does a decent job impressing me, at least.
That’s where we’re at with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Check out his lengthy answers in this podcast or this i09 article about the podcast. The press are claiming that he ‘understands‘ the concerns. Is he trying to convince the critics or himself? He’s starting to second-guess his own choices, I think.
And then, down the road, there will be a ‘popular mismemory’ about reaction to his film. Like that Star Trek Into Darkness was terrible and the end of the franchise, which it wasn’t. And he’ll say okay, maybe the critics have a point. Maybe he did this thing or that wrong and he’s sorry, he won’t do that again. No overdoing the lens flare, the fan service, the hiding the villain too much, the unsolved mysteries, the lack of exposition, etc.
It happened with both Star Trek movies he directed. It happened with Super 8. It happened with Lost and Fringe. Eventually, JJ will agree with some critics and say he’s sorry. He’s going to do it on Star Wars pretty soon. And he shouldn’t. He did a bang-up job.
Don’t apologize, JJ, don’t!