Abrams. Because, love or hate the scripts or lens flares he works with, he's got a great sense of pacing and how to use the camera to dramatic effect. For all his talent and experience Wise was out of his element on TMP. The rest aren't career directors and all suffer from deficiencies in their overall direction even if they excel in one aspect or another.
Eh, I don't know. Abrams' directing style leaves me unenthused. I'm not sure that's an indictment of Abrams, though, but more of what style is expected today of big, blockbuster action films.
I was watching Independence Day
last night -- one of my favorite of the big blockbuster films -- and afterward I started thinking about how dramatically filmmaking has changed in less than 20 years. Yes, Independence Day
was big on action and special effects and all the other hallmarks of summer blockbusters. But it wasn't filmed in a way that made you think the director had ADD. Action scenes didn't have to have a camera angle change every 1.2 seconds.
I find that the frentic pace of modern filmmaking, especially of action scenes, is so fast as to make it difficult to follow what's actually happenening. Pair that up with other modern Hollywood techniques of the day, like ShakyCam, and it makes it difficult for me to watch a modern film.