Star Wars was a great movie, but not one of JJ Abrams' best

It Was On ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ When J.J. Abrams Lost His Signature Momentum

Star Wars The Force Awakens has almost had an entire year to settle since it was released in theaters in December of 2015.

Since then, we’ve seen and have anticipated a new Star Wars story trailer or us to be excited about, which fills in the gaps of what J.J. Abrams didn’t do in his movie where it takes place in the nostalgic, early days of the series with the Empire and the Death Star.

Easily, J.J. Abrams’ movie did for the studios what Star Wars is supposed to do, and that was to make at least a billion dollars in the box office, which is not only confirmed by Variety, but their article also says that the movie almost reached $2 billion worldwide.

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With every movie J.J. Abrams has made over the past decade, as a filmmaker, he has become a master at capturing the kind of excitement that puts life back into the movie theaters and therefore boosts concession sales.

Star Wars movies do what they're supposed to do, sell a lot of popcorn.
Hot popcorn is the draw for casual movie goers. And there is no doubt that a movie like Star Wars: The Force Awakens sold a lot of it! [Image by Jon Seidman | Flickr | CC BY 2.0]

But his first — and now his last — Star Wars movie also captures when he lost his signature momentum, because he left more of himself out of the film while leaving the formula that made it a success intact.

Certainly, bringing back older characters was a major selling point to fans which is still the case with Mark Hamill reprising his role as the legendary Luke Skywalker for upcoming films.

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But there’s been a lot of discussion around how effective and long-lasting this Star Wars movie was for the fans and on the very surface, older fans are quick to leave a lot of problems they had with the movie alone for the kids, acknowledging there’s a new generation of viewers who many older fans feel have to see Star Wars the “right” way.

Because what J.J. Abrams has been good at is capitalizing on the nostalgia of movie-watching excitement from the ’80s and, perhaps, even the late ’70s.

A clear indication of this was with his 2011 sleeper Super 8, which took advantage of that setting where a bunch of kids in a small town encounter an alien; it included a kid-favored ending that he’s passed onto a new generation. Fans of the movie Explorers should take note.

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One comparison to make with others who are hard-at-work capitalizing on that ’80s trend is with the hit series Stranger Things, which captures the feel of the ’80s to market to a new generation. And there’s no doubt that the same older generation who were highly anticipating Star Wars: The Force Awakens and were sharing that excitement with their kids are probably getting their kids to watch Stranger Things too in order to get a better grasp of the era they’re coming from.

George Lucas might have had some problems when he brought Star Wars back but, JJ Abrams didn't get it right either
Star Wars directors J.J. Abrams (left, The Force Awakens) and George Lucas (right, all Star Wars movies up to 2005).

In a way, J.J. Abrams’ involvement in the first Star Wars movie in a decade was specifically done to bring back that nostalgic energy, but he had to compromise in maneuvering a restart of a new series of movies by leaving himself out of it, and if you wonder what that looks like, then consider this: Star Wars: The Force Awakens would have been a far better movie if he had put more of himself into it.

George Lucas might have also been on the right track when he put a young Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s The Phantom Menace because then, the movie lends itself to a younger presence that works to draw in kids.

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Star Wars:The Force Awakens didn’t have that presence and might have relied on some help from older fans who were excited to share that with their kids, instead of attracting a younger audience by itself.

Of course, the record-breaking figures Star Wars: The Force Awakens pulled in is really the only mark of success for the studio. And J.J. Abrams — while perhaps holding back — is only happy to be a part of it all.

[Photo by Richard Chambury/Invision/AP Images]

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