Let’s begin by showing off a little bit of the astronomical goodness that is widely considered to be the year’s best film so far:
And with that being said, and considering what a truly incredible film Gravity is, one sudden thought popped into this mere mortal’s mind, one that could very well save pop culture if Disney decided to make another smart move.
Alfonso Cuaron should direct the next Star Wars movies.
I highly doubt that’s going to happen. He was one of the directors rumored for the job, although he was never actually approached. Steven Spielberg was, and so was Jon Favreau, and Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim was a lot better than expected), and even obscure first-time director Colin Trevorrow.
Out of that group, only Trevorrow seems to have benefited. He’s currently in pre-production for the next Jurassic Park movie, ominously titled Jurassic World.
Anyways, back on topic. Cuaron’s a pretty unknown name outside of film geek circles, and his only claim to fame before the biggest non-franchise fall movie in history was the third Harry Potter film. That one is universally regarded as the best, but it’s actually his next film that made him a cult name among film geeks like me.
I’ve mentioned Children of Men before, in an article about District 9 director Neill Blomkamp that I’m not going to link to out of principle. While District 9 is a truly great sci-fi film (and it’s such a shame how disappointingly dull I found its successor Elysium), Cuaron’s foray into sci-fi is arguably better, and it’s one of two reasons why I want him to replace good old J.J. for the next Star Wars movies, or at least one of them.
Actually, Blomkamp wouldn’t be a bad choice either, he’s clearly got the chops for it now. After he’s done with his next film Chappie, starring Hugh Jackman and Sharlto Copley, he could easily make Star Wars 9. Or he makes 8 and Cuaron makes 9. Or something.
Going back to Cuaron, his 2007 film is one that succeeds because of how seamlessly it brings you into the setting, where people stop being able to have children. It’s a seriously violent and intense movie. It’s here that Cuaron first showed how well he can film action without the brain-dead circumstances we see in today’s current blockbusters. Here’s the best part of the movie, a sequence in which not only do we get a lot of exposition in a completely natural way, but also combines it with action in a way that very few have been capable of:
This is the best example of Cuaron’s signature filmmaking move, the long take. He likes to use as few takes as possible, and looking at the same scene that way, it’s incredible how all of these actors could remember so many lines and convey so many emotions in that time period without a single cut. It’s truly impressive stuff, and not something any filmmaker should pull often if they don’t want a mutiny. He actually has another great one at the end that actually left me near tears, so that one you’ll have to find yourself.
So we’ve already established that Cuaron can create multi-faceted characters, flawed and still identifiable. Now all we need is the action and you’ve got a pitch perfect Star Wars movie.
Wait, he just did that with Gravity.
Check the video at the top again. Watch it. Now watch every bit of YouTube footage about it. It’s not the same as seeing the movie itself, but believe me when I can confidently say that he can very well make action sequences.
I could go on, about how varied his filmography is, how down-to-earth he seems in interviews, and how dedicated he is to making new stories in filmmaking without regurgitating what he’s done before.
Sure, his prequels may not be as bad as people say, but they’re still soulless wrecks with none of the energy or spirit of the originals. Even worse news is how apparently George Lucas came up with the original ideas for the sequels all along and how he’s consulting Abrams on how it should be done.
Clearly a director with proven talent should be the one to take the reins, and one who has a distinct creative vision. As much as I’m fond of Abrams, he’s stuck mostly to sequels and reboots, and Super 8 was essentially an homage to Spielberg. An excellent homage, yes, but it didn’t have anything truly original to offer.
I’m also certain that Abrams will bring his A-game to the new film, but he shouldn’t direct all of them, otherwise he’ll develop the lethargy that hit Lucas when making the prequels. Better to have a guy like Cuaron take the reigns, and deliver the Star Wars film or films we always dreamed of.