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J.J. Abrams: a visionary for our times

J.J. Abrams: a visionary for our times

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Few have managed to be on top of the game in Television and Film at the same time – and just one name comes to mind recently that has deeply influenced both with his visionary style, and that man is JJ Abrams.

The creator of such hit series as Felicity, Alias and Fringe – and not counting the cult-like global religion of Lost – had his first taste of the big screen courtesy of Tom Cruise, who offered him to pump back energy into the Mission Impossible franchise, and there’s no doubt the third installment in the series, directed by Abrams in 2006, is by far the most kinetic.

But when Abrams, instead of just looking for the next star vehicle, started revisiting some of his personal themes, going from Sci-fi to Time Travel to homages to Old Classics, Hollywood soon realized they had not just found another action director, but a bona-fide auteur.

The first chapter in his own personal cinematic canon was Cloverfield, which he produced in 2008, a new, 2.0 vision of the ‘Monster Movie’ for the 21st Century, all shot in a first-person POV style reminiscent of countless YouTube videos.

Next in line was a descent into the roots of where it all began, probably the most influential science-fiction series ever. Developing a prequel to the stories of such beloved characters literally meant re-writing History, but his Star Trek (2009) proved more than just a spin-off, and pleased fans both old and new.

Now with Super 8 (2011), the big opener in Locarno, he moves into Spielberg-territory, again with a supernatural element that happens to step in front of someone’s camera. "I've always liked working on stories that combine people who are relatable with something insane." he says "The most exciting thing for me is crossing that bridge between something we know is real and something that is extraordinary. The thing for me has always been how you cross that bridge…"

Massimo Benvegnù
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