Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Why the love for J.J Abrams?

I was catching up with my TED viewing yesterday when I chanced across a lecture given by J.J Abrams, writer, producer, director and spectacle wearer. The lecture was interesting enough, much talk of character development over special effects, a mystery box that he keeps in his office to remind him about, well, the importance of mystery presumeably.

Despite the passable lecture I didn’t understand why the assembled audience made up of scientists, designers, artists etc laughed harder than was necessary at so, so jokes and gave a standing ovation once he’d finally stopped.

I’ve seen many a TED lecture and although it is a rare occurrence, some can be quite dull but usually this is down to the specific orator rather than the subject of discussion. J.J Abrams ‘owned the stage’ which essentially meant he walked up and down it and made sure to make eye contact with as much of the audience as possible.

So far so unremarkable but it must have been the enthusiasm he brought to the TED hall that caused the TEDites to temporarily lose their senses because the other conclusion is far more chilling. It could well be that these learned, innovative and ‘free thinkers’ actually like and elevate J.J Abrams’ works with their own.

A friend of mine once wrote about coming up with clever ideas in advertising as, “lets not take ourselves too seriously we’re not curing cancer.” Or something to that effect but that’s just what the assembled mass at that TED lecture did. It’s like grouping the invention of the big Mac to that of the electronic microscope. Different league, no, galaxy.

Which leads on nicely to one of Mr. Abrams crimes against, everything, yep that’s not overstating it in the slightest. Now it’s important to mention that for the purposes of this spleen clearance I’m discussing Abrams written works:

Armageddon: so painful is the memory of seeing this in the cinema my mind, as a self defence mechanism, only allows me to remember the scene where the triumphant (only U.S) astronauts return and do the slow motion walk thing with the stars and stripes flapping in the background. Then someone says (I think it’s Billy Bob Thornton) to Bruce Willis’ daughter, “Permission to shake the hand of the bravest man on earth.” Or something equally anti-genius.

Regarding Henry: meh

Forever Young - with Mel (Jews are no friends of mine) Gibson: Fell asleep

Gone Fishin’: utter tripe

Alias: I missed most of Alias but did catch up by about series five and I admit the dialogue is pretty snappy despite the overall and overused spy cliché storyline.

Lost: Like many I was taken in by Lost and as I’m not a complete ‘playa hater’ I can congratulate Mr Abrams on a well deserved Emmy for Outstanding Directing for A Drama Series for the first series of Lost, which I assume, was actually won on the strength of the opening episode. Who doesn’t like jets engines on a beach. However, Lost soon became Lost in it’s own pseudo- well everything.

Mission Impossible 3: spew

Cloverfield: the trailer looks interesting but how many times has that been misleading

Star Trek 11: really? Why?

In light of all this Abrams bashing, take heart for if ‘award winning’ writing can be distilled from: emotion, character development and mystery, you should all get writing right now and you too can have a gold statue.

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