No, I’m sorry Alias fans, your beloved series isn’t coming back, but I knew the headline would Garner your attention. With all of his success, however, the unstoppable J.J. Abrams machine has earned himself a nifty new monicker: Midas.
Let’s face it, like a box office rubbernecker, there is a small part of me just waiting to see this guy fall flat on his face. I mean, is there anything he touches that DOESN’T turn to gold? I thought Christopher Nolan was batting a thousand, but Abrams has had more swings and connections from big screen to small, and now that he’s responsible for getting Star Trek‘s engines back on line, it seems there is nowhere the man can’t boldly go.
Let’s review, shall we? Cutting his teeth on the WB with Felicity (until Keri Russell cut her hair) , Abrams got his name known on Alias, but it seems that when he got Lost, he was truly found by the masses, and shortly sought and brought to the big screen to direct Mission Impossible 3. Here, he succeeded in the most impossible mission of all: getting ME to like a movie with Tom Cruise again (after the second offering failed to Woo me). He then blessed Cloverfield with Abrams water, tagged the trailer on Transformers, and a few Slushos later we were overwhelmed by an underwhelming cameraman filming the monstrous destruction of NYC. This highlighted the man’s ability to tease and titillate his audience with marketing both standard and viral.
MI:3 also revealed one of Abram’s top talents, as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s casting provided the perfect villain: J.J. is a genius when it comes to casting. This would bear itself out in his casting for Trek, with Quinto and Pegg and even Pine. Of course, planning and landing a guest spot by Nimoy didn’t hurt, and crossing the veteran science fiction actor over with his latest television show provided him with Fringe benefits. Well before he says “action” or spends endless hours in the editing room, his thoughtful planning produces golden fruit. He’s planning a series of films out of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and I think he’s the man for the job.
To be honest, I was skeptical of his casting for Fringe, and initially found none of the ensemble singularly compelling. What, some guy from Dawson’s Creek and a rather haggard blonde? They killed off the best actor in the pilot… or so I thought. At least the wacky dad was interesting. Thanks to some friends suggestions, I hung in a few episodes and found that this truly WAS an ensemble story. It wasn’t a show hinged on a known dynamic actor or an anchor character; the story was the character, and hence has become one of my most anticipated hours on television. Marketing, casting, storytelling… what CAN’T you do, Mr. Abrams?
Of course, Trek purists might call him something other than Midas… I’ve heard “childhood wrecker” and other comments more pointed than a Vulcan’s ear. Still, unlike people who use words like “canon” for make-believe continuities, it’s clear that J.J. Abrams decided to get a life, and he’s making the most of it.
Before his head gets TOO big, however, let’s note that Abrams was a writer on Armageddon. Yes, Armageddon. Hard to believe that movie had a script, let alone was touched by our man Midas. Everyone has skeletons in their closet, and J.J. even has a Nightbeast.
Off the top of my head, I’d say Nolan and Abrams are our top talent currently. Who do YOU think is the best director out there currently, and why?