Friday, May 9, 2014

Roberto Orci New Frontrunner To Direct Star Trek 3

Deadline is reporting that after heavy campaigning, Roberto Orci has successfully placed himself as frontrunner to direct Star Trek 3. The writer previously co-wrote the scripts for Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Amazing Spider-Man 2 and other actions films.

On one hand this could be good news and Roberto Orci is a true Star Trek fan. He knows the TV series, the characters and more and isn't the not-really a fan that JJ Abrams was who really just wanted to make a Star Wars film but at the time that wasn't an option. On the other hand, the simple fact is Orci and his previous collaborators are awful storytellers. While Orci, Abrams, and company are excellent at conceiving a concept and Abrams has an excellent eye for casting, but they are just horrible at the details of execution. They are so focused on action beats that a coherent plot and character development becomes a rushed afterthought that gets "fix it in post".

Being able to conceive and sell a concept is really the critical first step in getting any movie or TV series made. People spend their lifetimes trying to get one concept to the big or small screen and Orci and friends seemly do it on a monthly basis. Abrams is practically a star making machine with uncanny ability to tap unknowns with actual acting skills for roles they seem to have been born to play. So if Orci or Abrams wanted to have a consulting position to help conceive of the story for Star Trek 3, than more power to them.

However I just do not like the idea of them being involved in the day to day decision making that is writing and/or directing the movie. Orci suffers from the exact same problem of JJ Abrams where after creating the concept, it all starts to fall apart. They are so focused on the action beats that they rush through plot while throwing in mostly irrelevant beats and calling it character development with a poorly conceived or rushed ending. Studios inexplicably don't care because they love the action beat focus but the end result is usually a big opening weekend followed by a steep dropoff in sales both at the box office and home video. In other words great in the short term, bad in the long.

I think, unlike Abrams at this point, that Orci is capable of telling a good story with a solid beginning, middle and end that includes more than just lots of action scenes. He "knows" what makes for a good film, he just has not figured out how to put the puzzle piece together. To be fair most filmmakers spend their entire career in this state. Abrams is unlikely to improve because he believes he has mastered the puzzle and that is why all his films more or less are serviceable and entertaining but also completely forgettable. Orci, being new at directing, will be striving to improve and that could lead to better storytelling skills and attention to the details.

I would just rather Bob Orci get through his rookie directing phase on someone else's franchise. What I want is Star Trek movie that is clearly a Star Trek movie. It can have lots of action but it should feel like it could only belong in the Star Trek universe. After two stabs at it, Orci is part of the team that failed to do that and a third strike could just kill the franchise for a generation. Here is hoping he proves my doubts wrong if handed the job.

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