The Big Picture: This Episode is Part of the Problem

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This Episode is Part of the Problem

MovieBob thinks we're in to a really rough lead up to the new Star Wars films - and it's because of JJ Abrams.

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Ah the mystery box, the reason I wait longer to see a movie because reviews are even more important in figuring out if it's worth my time.

Thing is JJ is in full control of what gets released to journalists so he might as well use it to build excitement for the movie. He can save all the good stuff for when the movie is released, but he can still release the odd picture, design or set photos. This builds excitement for the movie among fans, gets them wanting more.

i feel this topic didnt deserve it own episode

I prefer movie creators to not give away too much. I like to be surprised at the movies, not be going, oh this must be the part where *twist* happens.

For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

So really, the less I know/find out about Star Wars 7, the better. I've learned to tread VERY carefully around the internet to avoid things I'd rather not find out.

(I've been avoiding all the Godzilla trailers since the teaser already sold me. I don't need to see anything else about it)

I'm always reminded of this scene when Bob talks about the Mystery Box.

Hutzpah Chicken:
I'm always reminded of this scene when Bob talks about the Mystery Box.

The funny part is that's exactly what's usually in the Mystery Box.
Also, we don't need no stinkin' badgers.

I almost feel like this is a recreation of the whole JJ Abrams mystery box episode, oh well it will happen when Abrams comes up.

Abrams isn't in the same box as Snyder and Bay because of the Mystery Box, but rather because he's a phony. We went along with the first Star Trek movie, despite many of its flaws, but the second movie solidified the fact that this man has no idea what Star Trek is about, who the characters are and why it all mattered in the first place. This is why nobody has any faith in his Star Wars movies, considering he's already shown he's only in it to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. I.E.: he booted the script where the original trio were the support for the new characters in lieu of one where the original trio is front and center, possibly with Han Solo leading the charge as the fan favorite that he is. Whoopie. Just what we wanted! >_>

Interesting take on both the man and the industry. You can say it was fueled by both sides, but I'd say this is something not often discussed in a 5 minute time frame and given articulate explanation. I've never had an issues with Abrams, but this whole idea seems to basically be Lost, but in real life.

What I will say to anyone worried about the movie...Disney wants this to fail a lot less than any of us certainly. On top of that, we know that most good movies are not just a director -- a savvy producer, great editing, and a solid few scriptwriters can make a huge difference.

ShadowGandalf01:

For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

Because its a 9 year old twist which would be revealed by just looking at the case. It's the type of spoiler you just can't keep secret from those who actually look into it.

The point about the internet mystery circle jerk inflating even more due to lack of material is the most infuriating part. Star Wars just got the largest infusion of life that it's seen in over a decade, but instead of talking about how stoked everyone is for movie point A or B, or favorite actors, the silence has left us with nothing to do but complain.

We complain about the director. We complain about the destruction of canon. We complain about how dumb it is that all the same actors are back (opposite of what was intended) simply because we don't yet see a reason WHY they need to be back. We complain about the lack of details about Star Wars games, like DICE's Battlefront 3 (and it's relationship with the really screwy Battlefield 4) or Visceral's Dead Space Uncharted: The Star Wars game.

Rather than giving us actual reasons to be excited, they tell us nothing, leaving our minds open and free to fill the empty space up with nothing but fake ideas of how terribly everything is going to get screwed up. The mystery box is supposed to make us excited, but instead the opposite is happening, and it SUCKS BALLS.

You cannot get excited for and hype something if there is literally nothing existing to hype.

I hope to God J.J. Abrams is not gonna keep going with this mystery box schtick for very long. We're fast approaching San Diego Comic Con, where Hollywood tends to hold its big reveals for the summer mass-gathering of geek culture. For years, Marvel Studios has been the 800 pound gorilla of Hall H with their new announcements and previews. Phase 2 is nearing the end with Guardians of the Galaxy andAvengers: Age of Ultron and its a safe bet that they will reveal the plans for Phase 3 starting with Ant-Man. Other studios would sell their soul for a slice of that attention (assuming they haven't sold their souls to begin with).

Now is not the time to be playing this "Ooooo! What's in the mystery box?" gag with us. Abrams is already behind the 8-ball with the reports of the studios having difficulty dealing with his antics. He does not need anymore bad press because he wants to keep people in the dark. Disney, the Star Wars community, and geek culture in general have a breaking point and, if Abrams fails to live up to the hype, they will turn their collective backs on him in a big fucking hurry.

Abrams big "mystery box" concept does the opposite of make me wonder about things. I may be unique on this, but the more news there is about something... the less I actually care about it. The 'mystery box" will simply make people speculate more (as Bob said) but it will drive any enthusiasm I have about a particular movie into the ground. Usually, by the time one of these movies comes out, I am ready to wait for the DVD/Blu-ray/digital release. And I may drag myself to see a movie, but if I don't, I will not feel like I am missing anything. I feel that the upcoming Godzilla movie did it best, in recent memory. I have only ever seen 2 trailers for the thing and a teaser, and read a single article about how some Japanese people think Godzilla is "too fat". I can't wait for this movie, it can't come soon enough. I have seen and heard so many things about the new Star Wars films, if they never come out I am pretty much OK with it at this point.

I don't know, maybe that is just me.

Good Lord, this week's episode is meta.

ShadowGandalf01:
For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

Because the Winter Soldier arc is so famous you could've learned everything there is to know with half a google search. Plus the writers didn't have balls like Shane Black and choose to do something new and creative with the IP, nor the balls to copy the politically relevant parts of the Captain America canon like the Nomad arc.

RunicFox:
What I will say to anyone worried about the movie...Disney wants this to fail a lot less than any of us certainly. On top of that, we know that most good movies are not just a director -- a savvy producer, great editing, and a solid few scriptwriters can make a huge difference.

Definitely, even looking back at Abram's last forays. Star Trek reboot was, despite the standard insane Abrams lighting effects, a really fun movie because the actors absolutely nailed their parts and there was time given to create character chemistry. Compare that to Star Trek 2, where the entire point of the movie was *spoiler* "he's not Khan, he's not Khan, he's not Khan, who am I kidding he's totally Khan." The entire movie had no other purpose or characterization other than to drag out a "secret" that literally the entire world already guessed.

You know what would be really funny? If Abrams shows nothing before it come, and then it turned out he made it nothing but fanboys bitching for 2 hours. It will like that for me anyway, so would be nice if everone else could share my misery. But that's an awesome idea, and the star wars fanbase makes anything the worst thing ever.

Ronack:
he's only in it to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Really? Between the 'cast of almost exclusively white dudes' and the 'only selling point is dragging back the old cast to play to the nostalgia of old fans', my very strong impression of the new Star Wars movies was that Abrams wasn't casting the net nearly widely enough.

TiberiusEsuriens:

RunicFox:
What I will say to anyone worried about the movie...Disney wants this to fail a lot less than any of us certainly. On top of that, we know that most good movies are not just a director -- a savvy producer, great editing, and a solid few scriptwriters can make a huge difference.

Definitely, even looking back at Abram's last forays. Star Trek reboot was, despite the standard insane Abrams lighting effects, a really fun movie because the actors absolutely nailed their parts and there was time given to create character chemistry. Compare that to Star Trek 2, where the entire point of the movie was *spoiler* "he's not Khan, he's not Khan, he's not Khan, who am I kidding he's totally Khan." The entire movie had no other purpose or characterization other than to drag out a "secret" that literally the entire world already guessed.

I tend to agree I had issues with Abrams first Star Trek movie, but I had enough enjoyment and the promise of a "new Star Trek universe" to explore because things changed right at the start. The problem with the second movie is it felt like a highlights reel of "the greatest moments of Star Trek" and felt like a movie you have seen many times already.

That leads into my concerns with where this Star Wars Episode is going, for they are making the original cast the focus of the movie, so now instead of getting something new I am left with the feeling its going to be another "greatest hits" movie.

Zontar:
Because its a 9 year old twist which would be revealed by just looking at the case. It's the type of spoiler you just can't keep secret from those who actually look into it.

deathbydeath:
Because the Winter Soldier arc is so famous you could've learned everything there is to know with half a google search.

It's the Internet. Deliberately looking up information on anything is guaranteed to give you exactly the information you're looking for. The question is, why also force the people who weren't curious enough to purposely spoil themselves to know?

I never heard of the mystery box...?
Its just a prop right? Like a figure of speech?
He doesn't actually lock things in a cartoony looking riddler box does he?

ShadowGandalf01:
For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

To be fair, that wasn't really supposed to be a secret or a big reveal, not to the audience anyways. I'm not even saying this because of stuff like this being a really old comic book arc or it being super easy to look up on Google.

I mean the Cast List gives this away. Sebastian Stan is one of the highest names on the cast list. I think he's right after Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, and since Sebastian Stan was also in the first movie...well yeah.

I get being disappointed, and I am genuinely sorry to hear that you were, but you were disappointed by something that wasn't really a secret. That would've been like being upset at a Spiderman film because you didn't know Peter Parker was going to end up being Spiderman.

Captain America had other stuff going for it that would have sucked to be spoiled on, but I don't think the identity of the Winter Soldier was one of them.

RunicFox:

What I will say to anyone worried about the movie...Disney wants this to fail a lot less than any of us certainly. On top of that, we know that most good movies are not just a director -- a savvy producer, great editing, and a solid few scriptwriters can make a huge difference.

Case in point: the original Star Wars Trilogy, George Lucas' original ideas were, frankly, awful and the entire trilogy was saved by good editing (Episode IV) and good writers (Episode V). Then they let him have free reign on the prequels and look how that turned out *shudders*.

At least with this new trilogy we get a director that is passable overall, with a few moments of greatness.

daxterx2005:
I never heard of the mystery box...?
Its just a prop right? Like a figure of speech?
He doesn't actually lock things in a cartoony looking riddler box does he?

Have you ever seen the TV Show Lost? Abrams wrote Lost, and that's where his Mystery Box approach first gained attention.

If you haven't seen Lost, in its most simple stages it was about a group of people who survived a plane crash on an island. While exploring, they come across a mysterious vault; no explanation as to what it was, just that it was a vault and they wanted to get in.

Cue about 20 episodes of them running around in circles trying to find a way in, and when they finally do get in, the reveal was actually a very big let down (a let down that came with another mystery box attached thankyouveryfuckingmuchjj).

That's the mystery box in action. Abrams uses a huge lack of information about a project or specific plot point in order to get people buzzing about what it might be without actually ever giving them a starting place. So you have people going off on these wild theories. While it works wonders in terms of getting people to discuss your property, it rarely leaves many people satisfied with the reveal.

The thing is, though, is that the above works for TV Shows. I have yet to see Abrams translate the mystery box to the cinema successfully. It just doesn't work. Cinema hype and TV Show hype are two entirely different beasts.

Strain42:

ShadowGandalf01:
For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

To be fair, that wasn't really supposed to be a secret or a big reveal, not to the audience anyways. I'm not even saying this because of stuff like this being a really old comic book arc or it being super easy to look up on Google.

I mean the Cast List gives this away. Sebastian Stan is one of the highest names on the cast list. I think he's right after Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, and since Sebastian Stan was also in the first movie...well yeah.

I get being disappointed, and I am genuinely sorry to hear that you were, but you were disappointed by something that wasn't really a secret. That would've been like being upset at a Spiderman film because you didn't know Peter Parker was going to end up being Spiderman.

Captain America had other stuff going for it that would have sucked to be spoiled on, but I don't think the identity of the Winter Soldier was one of them.

I disagree. While am not a big comic fan, I am generally aware of what is going on (I visit comicvine a couple times a week, I follow the movie rumours) and I certainly have more comic knowledge than the average movie goer and I didn't know who he was. The vast majority of viewers (at least 95%) will not have known his identity.

Also, is this what the internet really thinks of Abrams? Sites like RT clearly have limited usefulness and are overused by many but it does say something that he has never had a rotten film or even been close for that matter.

Well, it was good of Bob to explain himself about complaining about certain movies, but I hope he doesn't do that again. I remember each time Michael Bay does a Transformers movie, he deliberately released fake news to get confused with any real leaks.

Zontar:

ShadowGandalf01:

For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

Because its a 9 year old twist which would be revealed by just looking at the case. It's the type of spoiler you just can't keep secret from those who actually look into it.

He's right. I don't even read Captain America comics and I knew about it... Ha

These days Star Wars is damaged goods for a lot of old fans of the franchise and I don't know that those old fans can or will let go of their bias when any new information ekes out about the story. Given the shaky attitude towards the series I think any director would likely keep their shit under wraps on this project for fear of negative press poisoning the well before any context is given to any released or leaked information.

And I can't say I'd blame them. In just the past few months I've seen folks dismiss the entirety of X-Men Days of Future Past because they don't like to design of Quicksilver, or that Godzilla is going to fail because the new design is too bulky.

Unfortunately Abrahms has a history with this kind of secret keeping malarkey as promotional tool so everyone now presumes that what could likely be director or studio apprehension is now calculated secret keeping.

I am so sick of JJ Abrams. I got burned after being excited to see Super 8, the ending to LOST was such a major disappointment, and whatever good will was gained from the first Star Trek was trashed from Star Trek 2 and that stupid role-reversal KHAAAN!

In my opinion, JJ Abrams works okay (not great) as a director, but someone should keep the writing far away from him, and honestly give him very little control over the direction. Let him set up the shots and use his lens flare and that's it.

SonOfVoorhees:
Thing is JJ is in full control of what gets released to journalists so he might as well use it to build excitement for the movie. He can save all the good stuff for when the movie is released, but he can still release the odd picture, design or set photos. This builds excitement for the movie among fans, gets them wanting more.

You mean like when he controlled the media and told us that Benedict Cumberbatch totally wasn't Khan, gave him a different name to hide that he was Khan, and hid all of the media that would reveal it was Khan, but everyone assumed he was Khan and he turned out to be Khan?

Or how set leaks managed to show up despite all the control?

Yeah, this is a shitty way to build intrigue and interest.

ShadowGandalf01:

For example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would've been gobsmacked to learn the identity of the Winter Soldier while watching the movie, but instead, it was given away, by me reading the film synopsis. Why?

You mean you wanted them to keep secret the identity of a guy whose identity is not secret in the comics, has been around for a decade since his return, and is being played by the same guy who played Bucky in the previous movie?

The main reason they "gave it away" is because they didn't have any good reason to think it was something they were "giving away." We've even had non-comic fans say they knew that.

Brian Tams:

The thing is, though, is that the above works for TV Shows. I have yet to see Abrams translate the mystery box to the cinema successfully. It just doesn't work. Cinema hype and TV Show hype are two entirely different beasts.

Part of the problem there is that Abrams doesn't seem to plan very far ahead and a movie is released all in one part. It's hard to build the kind of mystery that comes from very blatantly pulling the answer out of your ass at the last moment. And you can't daisy chain them as well.

Bob, please, please, PLEASE, do some kind of video involving Big Trouble in Little China, or maybe John Carpenter / Kurt Russell episode, or an episode on classic Actor/Director pairings that just worked. Anyway, man I loved that movie way back when. Seeing that little bit in this episode made me like you a little more.

I might have wanted to read this thread, you know. Why is everyone intent on spoiling Captain America:The Winter Soldier in it?

Ronack:
Abrams isn't in the same box as Snyder and Bay because of the Mystery Box, but rather because he's a phony. We went along with the first Star Trek movie, despite many of its flaws, but the second movie solidified the fact that this man has no idea what Star Trek is about, who the characters are and why it all mattered in the first place. This is why nobody has any faith in his Star Wars movies, considering he's already shown he's only in it to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. I.E.: he booted the script where the original trio were the support for the new characters in lieu of one where the original trio is front and center, possibly with Han Solo leading the charge as the fan favorite that he is. Whoopie. Just what we wanted! >_>

Thank you. This is just JJ Abrams playing with his Star Wars toys and being paid millions to do it. He has no grand vision, he doesn't want to do the franchise justice (Whatever that means). He just wants to make Luke and Darth Vader crash into each other while he makes lightsaber noises with his mouth. Everything he has done previously has shown me he's a one note hack and I have no doubt that his movies will be worse than the prequels. Say what you want about them and their shitty dialogue, at least they had a reason to exist beyond brand recognition and fan service.

Swarmcrow:
i feel this topic didnt deserve it own episode

Agreed.

OT - I think JJ does the mystery box thing wrong. What was done with Inception (the first 2 trailers at least) is how to do it. Show off some flashy stuff from the start of the movie, give some plot points. Boom, excitement. Then when you see the film you realize you only saw about 20 minutes into it. The other 2 hours are all new and fresh.

Iron Man 3 did a decent (though not great) job at keeping the main meat of the movie down while building hype. The teaser for Godzilla, same deal.

I can't help but be generally underwhelmed and disinterested since Abrams was hired. I'm sure his stars wars will be passable but it wont be great or interesting or have any depth. He knows how to take a script and put it on screen but he's just not the guy who who can drag emotion out of his characters and actor. Besides him there just isn't a good reason to make another Star Wars movie. James cameron could have easily just made more aliens movies instead he made avatar and it was fine. I'm saying they could have just made a scifi trilogy instead of desperately anchoring the ship to star wars which lets face it Lucas pretty much crashed into a wall.

It reminds me of the opposite effect of the studios having Garth edwards do Godzilla. In a way seeing whether Garth can pull it off is worth the ticket of admission alone and yet everything we've seen shows Garth is approaching the film with a boldness unheard of in american remakes/rehashes/adaptations. If you're gonna do a Star Wars movie that has no right to exist give it to someone who can find a reason not someone just getting paid to make it.

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