Why I’m Butt-Hurt About J.J. Abrams

Lifelong STAR TREK fanboy Jordan on being dumped by Abrams.

Why I’m Butt-Hurt About J.J. Abrams

Hello, my name is Jordan Hoffman and I am a Star Trek Fanboy.

Foolishly quoting Spock led directly to noogies and wedgies in middle school and summer camp. Conversation about warp drive, the Prime Directive and the holodeck spiked many a first date. Comparing a business plan to that of the Founders' battle tactics during the Dominion War in a company wide meeting (as I swear I did once) lessened the opinion of me in the eyes of my superiors. Chris Pine may be on the cover of GQ these days, but a lifetime of Trekkiedom is, make no mistake, a scarlet letter in society.

I have no regrets. Star Trek made me who I am. (Indeed, I've been writing a weekly column at StarTrek.com called One Trek Mind for over one year and I'm still pinching myself.) Oftentimes when I am faced with a difficult decision I think "what would Picard do?"

The point I'm making is that, laugh all you want, Star Trek isn't just a show (and movie series and books and games and comics and bulletin boards) - it is a part of my life. I am closer to it than to some of my cousins. And it took a lot of trust to stop worrying and love J.J. Abrams.

When Abrams first crawled out of his mystery box and started promoting Star Trek he did everything wrong. He did a London-New York-Los Angeles press tour and, I tell you no lie, he opened with "I've never been a fan of Star Trek." (You can read this direct quote and me heckling him before a crowd of my peers here.)

At the end of the day, though, Star Trek ending up being, in my opinion, a fantastic film. Yeah, the red matter stuff and Nero waiting around the parallel-universe black hole for a bunch of years doesn't quite make sense (even if you did read the tie-in comics) and having Uhura order Slusho reeked of hubris, but it is still a miraculous achievement. I mean, just imagine how bad it could have been?!? Imagine McG's version. Imagine Peter Berg's version. Imagine no Leonard Nimoy in it. Imagine a bunch of CW actors running around an uninspired Enterprise bridge. (Joke that it looks like the Apple Store, joke that it's chock-a-block lens flares, it still looks cool.)

Yeah, begrudgingly I trusted J.J. Abrams with Star Trek and in the end it worked out. I gave my favorite toy to the popular kid, wasn't sure he was gonna give it back, but he did.

While I would have loved a sequel immediately I kept quiet when Abrams went off and did Super 8. Of course most fans' real goal is to get three films and then spark a TV series as quickly as possible. (My longtime hunch for this: the third film involves a planet in transition similar to Bajor - or the crew of another Starship - and the show is about them, not about Kirk and Spock. Maybe there's a holdover character - Chekov, probably, as other opportunities aren't exactly banging down Anton Yelchin's door, no offense, dear Navigator.)

Instead of letting this natural order play itself out - the Christopher Nolan time table of one Batman film, one Prestige or Inception in between - Abrams decides to race off like a directorial back door man when we're not looking.

It didn't bother me that Abrams and his circle were developing television shows every time they took a shower (I honestly couldn't list all of them), but to look at the big fat birthday cake that is Star Wars and shout MINE! is, in my opinion, an act of creative gluttony.

Know this: I love Star Wars. Star Trek is a key part of my life, but the other, lesser franchise is still a great deal of fun. You wanna grab beers and yap about IG-88 or Midi-chlorian counts or the lesser known works of the Mon Calamari Ballet Company? I'm down. But the thing is that Star Wars, at least for people in my age group, was something that was accepted - it was never not cool. Star Trek only became cool very, very recently. And J.J. Abrams, for better or worse, had something to do with that.

The basic gist, as Mashable quoted me, is this: I feel like J.J. Abrams took me out to the prom but left with the hotter girl.

I get it. Abrams' dream was to direct Star Wars and, when it looked like it would never happen, he "demeaned himself" and slummed it with what he considered second prize. When this opportunity presented itself, you'd think someone with an ounce of humility would say, "no, no, I've got my plate full with what I have here, let's let someone else have a try." But no. That's not this guy's style - he has to have everything.

It's very frustrating, because he SEEMS like a pretty terrific guy. I know for a fact that the recent business of letting a dying fan watch the cut of Star Trek Into Darkness was his call - and that he was NOT doing it for publicity. It ended up making headlines because it occurred during a news vacuum between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Search every published story and you'll never find a quote from Abrams - he never went on record. I don't want to get into specifics of how I know, but, really, put all your cynicism aside for a moment - he made that dying request happen quickly and on his authority.

I've even briefly met the dude, and he was charming, friendly, talkative. But he drives me crazy! He just doesn't understand what Star Trek means to the fans that PROPELLED THIS CANCELLED SERIES TO BECOME THE POP CULTURE PHENOMENON TO BECOME SOMETHING REQUIRING A REBOOT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Sorry, I just became Film Crit Hulk for a second, but you catch my drift. There's a give and take with the fans in this franchise, or at least there should be, and right now the fans are giving and Abrams seems to be doing nothing but taking.

Hoffman, mellow out, you say. Can't a guy be at the helm of two major intergalactic franchises? The answer is, sure, and I believe that Abrams' Episode VII is going to be terrific. It's just the disrespect that kills me. He'll come at us with talking points about the approach to the two different Universes being wholly different (PS - light a candle for the poor Paramount marketing department who have to maintain a press campaign about THIS movie and not the other, largest fictional franchise in the history of humanity) but the damage is already done. My heart is frozen in carbonite. Yeah, it'll thaw, because I'm a battered fanboy wife, but when you think of me - and the rest of Star Trek fandom - picture our pained faces hanging on the wall of Abrams' palace.

Jordan Hoffman's photo About the Author: Jordan Hoffman is a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can also be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and StarTrek.com.
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