Article by AKG
With WrestleMania season now firmly behind and Champions League drawing ever so closer to its climax, one can understand if my distraction quo was a wee bit overboard this weekend. There's just something weird about this WFH culture, it ought to be conceded, that makes every day feel like a Monday, isn’t it? (Though it isn't... Thank Goodness!).
But just when I found WRESTLING & FOOTBALL weren't going to cut it for me in the time-wasting department this time around… I wondered if a little bit of BLOGGING juuuuust might make it up. I guess I was right.
I, ever since crawling down the floor of my parents’ living room in a diaper, have been a die-hard (H/B)ollywood movie buff, uttering the heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping dialects of the protagonist time and time again & giving the despicable pantomime villain a piece of my mind in my dreams… EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Though the textbook curriculum stuff always found it pretty darn hard to get access to my (Then. Now. Forever. 😉) crazy mind, the movies, curiously enough, would seamlessly get etched into the psyche with picture-perfect finesse… Much to my parents’ chagrin!
But why suddenly the nostalgia? Well, this past week, in a business-as-usual meeting about our team composition at workplace, there was this abrupt argument that broke out about something that instantly struck my mind like a bee sting and set the wheels in motion… serving as the raison d’etre for today’s article.
What was it again?
A largely ubiquitous corporate conundrum… “What’s a perfect employee and the perfect team?”
Facing something of a quandary, and swamped with an avalanche of intrigue, I thought to myself why not then connect some dots from my past to figure it out then… eh?
So, venturing into the eternal realm of movies, let me tell you this first. When it comes to the success of a movie, we've almost always gone for the stars & given 'em the round of applause profoundly every single time but fell just short (or cared less probably...?) to give credit where it was indeed due. Yes ladies & gentlemen, I’m talking about those few behind-the-scenes stakeholders who indeed make the movie worth all the hype & hoopla it ever gets, not to mention the overnight success it achieves worldwide at times. Yeah. The Directors. The Lyricists. The Background Artistes. The Voiceover Crew. The Singers.
But for today, only for argument’s sake, I’ll be sticking with the directors. And the modified lingering question? Who’s a Perfect Director then? Let’s find that out, shall we?
Take Sam Raimi for instance. Of Tobey Maguire starrer Spiderman Trilogy fame. A slick blend of nerve-jangling, all-action themes with an inevitably strong emotional spine – The quintessential winning formula that’s propelled him to instant stardom over the years. Certainly, no doubting Marvel’s brilliant decision of rehiring him for directing their upcoming spectacle that is Doctor Strange – Multiverse of Madness.
Then there is, of course, Bryan Singer. Mmmmaannnnnn I love his movies I’ve gotta tell ya. This dyslexic but incredibly gifted, monster of a director is also no stranger to critically acclaimed blockbusters with X-Men (1, 2, First Class, Days of the Future Past and Apocalypse… phew!) and Bohemian Rhapsody among some of his absolute best. And thanks in no small part to his childhood struggles, his drastic experiences somehow are reflected in his ensemble pieces. Or masterpieces should I call them, with all due respect. A visionary with a futuristic approach to stuff IMHO.
Speaking of vision, there’s one who’s almost always two steps (maybe even three? Not sure really) ahead of his contemporaries when it comes to making high-impact sci-fi thrillers. Michael Bay, a truly revolutionary man waaaaayyyyyy ahead of his time and one of the pioneers of swashbuckling sci-fi genre flicks. Armangeddon, Transformers, Pearl Harbor. Talk about audiovisual extravaganza with edge-of-you-seat action sequences and Bay’s your guy for the job! This is a man born for greatness. Period.
Then there are those rare, one-of-a-kind gems, that are able to do some groundbreaking stuff that obviously sets the trend for years to come and in the process becomes a benchmark for others to follow. Christopher Nolan fits this depiction brilliantly. Inception, The Prestige, Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Tenet… You name it. Some of the most mind-bending, reality-distorting stuff that can easily edge past the confines of what a normal human mind can fathom and that usually will only stifle lesser minds. Certainly not for the faint of heart.
Ah, yes. Now comes magic. A man with the Midas Touch ostensibly. James Cameron always has had an air of charisma and flair around him. A director held in the highest of esteem in the Hollywood boulevard, he can almost conjure a rabbit out of the hat for you. The sheer elegance and aura can be judged from the very fact that two of his films (Titanic and Avatar) have been two of the highest grossers of all time. Described by a certain biographer as part-artiste, part-scientist, this man simply exudes pure class and panache.
And eventually we land on GOAT territory. The director par excellence. The Gold Standard. In an illustrious and glittering career spanning over four decades and having won everything that’s out there to lay one’s hands on, this precociously talented man stands in a class of his own amidst the pantheon of all-time greats in this business. Of course, I’m talking about Steven Spielberg (Duh bro!). With crown jewels like Schindler’s List, ET, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, he’s set the bar so high up that it’s really hard for anyone to get anywhere near anytime soon.
Now having delved into such depths, we come right back to our still-unresolved original argument. The Perfect Director? Well - INSERT DRUMROLLS HERE - all of them are. With their diverse array of inimitable skills but with a flavor unique to each in their own magnificent way. Take for example the baseline stylistic dissimilarities of this triumvirate. While a GOAT like Steven Spielberg prefers to present true-to-tradition cinema-esque vibes with special effects sparsely dispersed and mostly reserved until the climactic sequences, with the story inevitably squirming around “an ordinary hero entangled in extraordinary circumstances” narrative, a theme that has historically resonated perfectly with the classic, theatre-savvy audience and has been a connoisseur’s dream for the critics since time immemorial, it’s still in stark contrast to someone like Michael Bay, who instead feels in his element when packing each frame with baroque detail and often floods the screen with a whirlwind of gleaming lights and puffs of smog to amp up the high-octane drama quotient, a trait that surely panders the young gen Z demographic but often amidst streams of pitiless invectives from critics and purists alike. And then there’s always Christopher Nolan’s propensity for epistemological narratives, with their strong intellectual, astrophysics-inspired backdrops and evocative tones that tend to often leave your pulses racing while your head spinning! (Yawn-inducing in certain cases too)
So.. whose film is it that you’d watch on a weekend then? I, for sure, know that I can’t go wrong with any single one of ‘em but I’d rather love to go with all of ‘em in a heartbeat. Coz whose creation could be the most beautiful of all? Well, beauty’s in the glinting eye of the beholder, mind you. As when it boils down to raking in all the moolah at the box office – it’s an even-stevens affair for the troika.
And the same applies to the argument of a perfect employee. And by extension, the perfect team.
Every individual is unique in his/her own way and brings a different flavor and dynamic to the overall equation. The apples-to-oranges comparison hardly does any favor to the prevailing argument here but rather only obfuscates it. What instead truly lends credence to it is the fact that if only 2 of these geniuses (viz. Spielberg and Bay) can come together to bring to life what only seemed impossible before ‘em (yeah… I’m of course talking about… Transformers) that would alter the landscape for the very CG industry as we knew it and lay the proverbial modern foundations for today’s CG-heavy spectacles that drive the lucrative wheels of some of the multi-billion dollar Hollywood studios today (a.k.a. MCU universe… Yeah looking at you Disney/Marvel!), then the prospects of a team, assembled by bringing together a few of these brilliant men, should only be best left to one’s wildest imagination I reckon.
So, there you go. Maybe a touch of genuine class here... A hint of unbridled flair there... A pint of pragmatism here... And maybe a couple of brute forces of nature or prodigious talents too... All with the chutzpah for true innovation… Whip that up... And voila! Creating your perfect team wasn't so difficult after all, was it?
Just a thought, guys. Just a thought. (CHUCKLES)