I’ve put Abrams in the same category as Soderbergh and Kubrick but only as a junior member.
These are directors that do all the production stuff excellently, but whose creative life is in what the camera brings. They see the film not as storyboards (like, say Spielberg) but as the dynamic vision the storyboards represent.
That’s why Abrams likes to acknowledge the camera. He does so by his sweeps, by his slightly unusual colour balance. In places he likes to play with unusual depth of field. In his best film (Super 8), he makes the camera an onscreen character. But none of these has the power of his lens flares.
He is so in love with them that he has a dedicated team that adds them in artificially. Because unlike Malick he isn’t going to wait for the 20 minutes of perfect, natural light per day.
I find it too cartoony, and suspect that in a few years we will laugh at this. But I surely do celebrate the man’s love of the camera and how he shares it.
Posted in 2015
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.